Stored 27 Years: 1973 Ford Mustang

The pony car craze started with Ford’s Mustang (hence the segment’s nickname), but the shine was off the armor by 1973 at the end of the third generation. The once small and nimble Mustang had become big and bloated, but change was coming for 1974 in the form of a sub-compact based on the Pinto. The seller’s car is from that production year’s last hurrah and has come out of storage where it’s been since 1993. The body is surprisingly straight after all this time, but then is no indication if it will easily come back to life. This ‘Stang can be found in Grenada, Mississippi (center of the state) and is offered here on eBay for a Buy It Now price of $7,950. The Make Offer button is also available.

After 1966, every model year that passed produced fewer Mustang sales than the year before, except for one. The market quickly became populated with competitors and the Mustang gradually got away from its roots. From a peak of 607,578 units in ’66, sales dwindled to 134,817 in 1973. Ford execs must have seen the handwriting on the wall and downsized the car for 1974, calling it the Mustang II. In hindsight, that looked to be a fortunate decision because the oil embargo in ’73 caused buyers to flock in droves to more fuel-efficient cars. The first year of the Mustang II saw sales bounce back to 385,993, almost triple the year before and the best since ‘67. (source: Wikipedia)

The seller dragged this 1973 Mustang out of a shed where the original owner parked it 27 years earlier. The owner died and the seller acquired the car from the estate. The body is not in as bad a shape as you might think, but it’s not without some rust. Due to a leak in the shed, water got into the car and rotted the area around the upper firewall. The upper left corner of the trunk also has a small rusty area and there is some at the bottom of the rear glass. While we have no photos to support it, the seller says the car has no rust underneath, perhaps due to being undercoated when new.

The body wears the car’s original paint and it would be interesting to see what a wax job would do for it. The vinyl top, which was filthy when pulled out of the shed, may also clean up well. We think this Mustang may have the Grande option package due to the addition of the vinyl top and interior appointments. The interior seems to have survived fairly well, although we can see a busted seam on the driver’s seat bottom. The headliner, however, is sagging and will need replacing. Both door panels look good.

We’re told the car comes with fairly a common propulsion combination, i.e. 302 cubic inch V-8 paired with an automatic transmission. Power steering and brakes are also present and is factory air conditioning. The seller has made no attempt to start the car, so we have no idea what will be required to get it running again. At a minimum, the gas in the tank must be like varnish by now, so a cleaning out of the tank, carb and new fuel lines should be attempted first, along with a fresh battery.

Of all the Mustangs from the car’s first decade, these latter ones are the least popular today with collectors. Which means they sell for less and would be uncommon at a lot of car shows. Hagerty suggests the average resale value on a 302 V-8, non-special edition Mustang is about $9,000, so the seller’s asking price leaves little room for all the repairs and refurbishments that will be needed. So the Make Offer option is the way to go on this one.

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  1. Bob_in_TN Member

    I’m no rust repair expert, but that doesn’t look good. This car, a coupe in period-correct colors, would be interesting to see restored — 71-73’s are not common, and when one does appear, it’s usually a Mach 1 or a convertible. But as Russ notes, not a particularly common, popular, or valuable model, thus the work would be a labor of love. The asking price here is tough.

    Another example of the zillions of Mustangs that are still out there in barns.

    Like 3
  2. Steve R

    This might be a $1,500 car. The 71-73 Mustang coupes are uniquely undistinguished compared to rest of the rest of the 65-73’s.

    There is no easy fix for the rust on the firewall, it doesn’t run and has other issues with the body. The asking price is ridiculous, especially in the current economic climate. Lots of people on this site like to say values of old cars are going to crash due to a lack of interest from the young, If that happens, generic cars, like this one, with no special appeal other than being old and sharing a nameplate with actual desirable models will lead the way down.

    There are better cars out there for less money, a wise consumer will keep looking.

    Steve R

    Like 11
  3. Gaspumpchas

    You guys are correct, that firewall damage is ugly, and who knows how far it goes into the car. Good luck and stay safe.

    Like 3
  4. JoeMac JoeMac Member

    I lean much more towards cars that were driven for 27 years as opposed to rotting for that long. I never get the attraction of a car with 1/2″ of dirt and everthing in the barn sitting on top of it. How about moving all grandpas crap off of it, wash it, get it running, take some nice pictures, and then post it up for sale. Is that too crazy of a concept??

    Like 7
  5. lc

    Not a Grande as its missing the Grande scripting on the sail panels, Mach 1 styled door panels with miscellaneous wood trim interior bits, cloth seat inserts and factory flank pin stripping. Still a neat car and needs saving, but for a few less dollars.

  6. jokacz

    I believe Larry Shinoda referred to these as “Forrestal Class” Mustangs.

    Like 2
  7. Dickie F.

    Where does all the air filters go, when mister expert removes it to ensure easy long term access by the surrounding elements.

    Then tells the potential buyer, oh I haven’t turned it over yet, (so I don’t know if it is rusted solid).

    Like 1
  8. Erik

    I have fond memories of this generation of Mustangs as the neighbor girl had a new mustard colored one with mustard colored vinyl room back in 1973. And then when I was a teen in the 1980s my buddy took me to his grandmother’s and while there he said we should checkout his grandma’s car she keeps in basement garage and there under a layer of bedsheets was a like new triple green (paint, interior, roof) ’73 Mustang convertible that we all thought at that time in the ’80s her car was an ugly relic of the 1970s. Anyway, as to this car, I cracked up with the “wonder what some wax would do for the paint” part of this story. Reminded me of the old commercial for car wax where they went into a junkyard and put wax on a faded hood to show the shine restored. I am constantly amazed by how cars like this one in recent years have gone from being “junkyard cars” to being “barn finds” and with that so did asking prices. By all means nearly any car can be saved with enough money but experience has taught most that only two people do so…the foolish rich and the foolish poor. Best of luck to the buyer!

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