The Leisure Suit of Cars: 1977 Ford Mustang II

This “piece of automotive history” is a 1977 Ford Mustang II Ghia and it’s rust-free, according to the seller. This yellow pony is on Craigslist with an asking price of $4,300 and there are “NO joy rides. Have cash in hand if you are serious.” Boom! ‘Nuff said. This nice Mustang II may be the leisure suit of cars and I don’t say that in a bad way at all, just that it’s from a certain era that some of us remember and some others want to forget. Thanks to Pat L for tracking this great car down for us!

Having grown up in this era, or having been a teenager and aware of things as much as any teenager really is (although they think they know everything), I really liked these cars. I had a model kit of a Mustang II and they’ve always stuck in my craw after that. The seller has the mileage listed as 36,392, could that be on its first trip ’round the bend? It sure looks like a super low mile car. Ford had just purchased Italian coachbuilder, Ghia, and the Mustang II is said to have been influenced by its long-hood-short-rear-deck designs and, in 1974, Motor Trend named the new Mustang II its Car of the Year.

My model kit wasn’t of a Mustang II all gussied up with a padded, vinyl top, white bodyside moldings, and a luggage rack on the trunk lid. But, I’m into unusual vehicles (as if I needed to mention that) so this one looks pretty appealing to me, personally. Although, I’d have to get an appropriate wardrobe in order to really do this car up right. The Mustang II was made for the 1974 through 1978 model years; the beginning of the disco era. Coincidence? I think not.

The Mustang II, as most of you know, is a second-generation car and it was an all-new platform, at least for the Mustang is was. For the Pinto, it wasn’t new because that’s what it was based on. The first thought was to have it based on the Maverick, but it wasn’t to be. In all fairness, and according to legend, the Mustang II was “less of a Pinto than the ’64½ had been a Falcon.” Is this considered the malaise era?! Come on, who doesn’t love a yellow Mustang II with a white, padded vinyl landau top and white bodyside moldings?! Yep, you guessed it, this is Mr. Lee Iaccoca’s work, or he was at the helm. What tipped you off, the padded, vinyl landau top and white bodyside moldings? Just think if the Mustang II would have come with opera lights, what a missed opportunity..

The Ghia was the luxury version of this car, getting the vinyl roof and, initially, a V6. The interior looks fantastic on this one, from the front seats to the back seat to the headliner, pretty much like it just came off of the assembly line. This car does have AC but, as is often the case, it isn’t blowing cold. The Mustang II came out right after the oil embargo so the timing almost couldn’t have been any better to introduce a smaller, more fuel-efficient “fun to drive” car. The previous Mustang had grown to fairly huge proportions and car makers were considering getting rid of their gas-guzzling pony cars as gas prices continued to rise and gas became more in demand and, sometimes, hard to get. Some car makers actually did get rid of what we now consider highly-desirable and collectible vehicles; such as the AMC Javelin, Plymouth Barracuda, and Dodge Challenger. Now, let’s see what’s lurking under that yellow hood!

Well, looky here, it’s a Ford 302 V8! Sure, it has under 140 hp, but it’s a 5.0L 302 Ford V8! There would have been torches and pitchforks if this car would have had a lowly four-cylinder or maybe even a V6 but, come on, this is a legendary Ford 302! Just think what you could do to hop this baby up, the possibilities are almost endless. Ok, maybe they aren’t that endless, but you have to admit that this is the most desirable engine for this car, at least for the 1977 model year. In its last year, 1978, the Mustang II offered a “King Cobra” version with over 400 hp! No, actually it still had less than 140 hp, but it looked like it had 400 hp. These cars aren’t for everyone, but there are a lot of folks who like the Mustang II and this car would probably draw as big of a crowd around it at a gas station as almost any other Mustang would. Have any of you owned a Mustang II? And, an even more important question: have you ever owned a yellow suit?

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Comments

  1. Jeff G

    I’m sorry but there wouldn’t be much “joy” in that ride for me.

    1
    • Scot Douglas

      You beat me to it. :)

  2. Mark S

    I have two Mustang II’s. First one was a 1978 Ghia with a 302 V8 and the second was a plain 1976 with a 302 V8. I’ve also had a 1967 and 68 Mustang and have to say. I liked the Mustang II better. It handled better, the interior was laid out better, and it just looked better. But I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    1
  3. healeydays

    The only good thing that came out of that Mustang II is the front end that has been the best thing that street rodders love to use.

    • Johnni B

      healeydays that’s exactly what I was going to say.

  4. Joe Haska

    I like the proportions on the French VW, and the Cameo pick-up much more than this factory styled Mustang. This model wasn’t exactly knocking it out of the park for the Ford designers, like 1965, I’m just sayin.

    1
  5. James

    Awwww dam. I was hoping i could go over there and pretend I was interested in buying just so I could get the chance to drive it for myself.

  6. Neal

    Hilarious title and write-up! Bravo!
    I love the line about the 400 hp Cobra, too.
    I always loved those Cobra models with the cool vinyl graphics and spoilers, but otherwise not a huge fan of the Mustang 2.
    I do own a rust-red-orange suit, by the way. It was my uncle’s.

  7. Billy

    When I drove on my way to college back in the 70s, I went past a Ford dealer who always had a lot of these brand new out up front by the road. Looked pretty good to me then, of course compared to what I was driving, it was. Never actually got around to actually driving one, but I would think the heavy V8 up front would have made it imbalanced.

  8. fretless58
  9. MikeG

    The thing I remember most about these cars was the engine knock they had at take off or going up hills.

  10. Chebby

    The M2 may be the worst Mustang ever, but this looks like a pretty good example: fully loaded, nice colors, and the rare V8. It’s kinda neat for the asking price.

  11. JW

    Wife owned a new 78 Cobra and I actually liked driving it, compared to the other 70’s cars it was quick with the 302 and handled rather well. Now the one pictured doesn’t do a lot for me in the style dept.

  12. RJ

    I can just see this thing appearing on stage of The Price is Right circa 1977 with someone like Big Rhonda from That 70s Show excited to win it.

  13. ccrvtt

    The first year of Mustang II production was nearly 386,000 units. Over 5 years of production Ford made over 1,100,000 units. It was fairly successful despite being downsized and raising the ire of the purists. It’s a coherent, clean design and would make a distinctive daily driver in this age of indistinguishable KIAs, Fusions, Camrys, Altimas, Chrysler 200s, etc. I like it. Great find.

    1
    • Mike H. Mike H Member

      Thank you for that! Yes, while people want to torch the Mustang II for not being the original Mustang, the reality is that the market for a car like that was dwindling amid the Energy Crisis and Fed emissions standards. Uncle Lee again scored big with this idea of a smaller and more economical Mustang, and the buyers spoke with their wallets. For the time these were great sellers, and – while our eyes view history a little differently from the future – these were really great cars for their time.

      1
  14. Glenn Redfern

    I am the proud owner of a 78 Mustang II coupe. I took care of the power issue with a 351w and T5 manual transmission.

    1
    • Neal

      Nice!

    • charlie charlie

      Yet the 15 or 16 inch wheels gives it the 4×4 look. Stick with the 13 or do what you can to get the tires higher into the car.

  15. Anton

    I own a 74 king cobra just love all the haters but jump out of the woodwork and you just gotta love the add Guy trying to sell it as a flop but still trying to make a buck on it the Mustang 2 but and it’s a big butt without the mustang II there would not have been any muscle cars !!!! if any of you haters out there can name a better selling car ? than the Mustang 2 then you have the right to downgrade the car and the car still out sold every car today !! Plus most of you out there are in plastic fantastic !!! Now lol which are worth nothing what’s the price of plastic these days on the market ? this Dark Horse is Real Steel and will rise again as a great

    • z28th1s

      They didn’t make a King Cobra in ’74 so I doubt that you own one!

      1
  16. Jay E.

    I think that “great cars for their time” may be overstating it just a bit. Keep in mind that in 1977 a 69-71 muscle car was only a couple of years old, most had low mileage, and they were available for less than this car cost new. I had a MustangII Mach 1 302, and it was a pleasant car to drive, But not “great” even when new. A used Charger with a 383 would absolutely blow it into the weeds. From a innovative standpoint the Ford Fiesta from back then is easily overlooked. The times were confusing, to say the least.
    What is available today from a new car lot should be considered “Great” by any measurement compared to the Mustang ll.

    • Mike H. Mike H Member

      I think you’re missing my point. The Mustang II wasn’t anyone’s idea of a muscle car. People weren’t buying as many performance vehicles in the wake of the first energy crisis and Ford positioned the Mustang as anything but muscle; let’s remember that the standard offerings in the beginning were the 2.3L and the 2.8L V-6, of which neither was terribly powerful.

      At a time when new cars were becoming more and more emissions choked and everyone was moving to make their cars smaller and lighter to work better with de-tuned engines, the Mustang II was positioned in the right place at the right time. Yes, I’m sure that your Mustang II 302 was a pleasant car to drive, but what was out there in (I’m guessing here) 1977 that was brand new and more powerful? I’m sure that the F-Body twins come to mind, but they weren’t really that powerful, and the Mustang II wasn’t in the same category with them any longer.

      It isn’t fair to compare ANY cars of the Malaise Era to what is available today. The crappiest of Kia is light-years ahead of even the best offerings of the 1970’s as far as economy, power, options, and build quality, hence my original statement of “great cars for their time”. Is a Mustang II a “great car for today”? Oh LORD no! A nice weekend driver, maybe, but what car from that era IS great as compared to what you can have today?

      1
      • JoeBazots

        I definitely get your point. The Mustang II helped keep the line alive – just think, since MY 1964 1/2, the Mustang has been continuously manufactured. Can the other pony cars say the same? ….Hmmm, all I hear are crickets from GM and Mopar…

        The cool think about these little cars is that the potential is still there. You can have a little piece of history in a survivor. Now you can build those little motors into quite a powerhouse when compared to stock. I guarantee that you’d still be welcomed with open arms and garner tons of attention at your local Cars & Coffee meetups. You could probably even take it to GoodGuys and receive lots of lookers.

        1
  17. Vegas Vic

    The seventies rocked! This is what was USA new for us high schoolers back then. Tweak the engine and it’s a great ride, certainly different.
    GO! Mustang, true fine Formidable Ford find…. Yellow? You won’t loose her at Mighty Mall of America parking lot!

    1
    • Mike H. Mike H Member

      Ha-ha! I’ve been unable to find my car more than once at the Mall of America; that place pisses me off sometimes.

  18. Vegas vic

    Agree!
    But with Relatives in Winnipeg, mall is in between… Gotta stop!

  19. jimjim

    This is hilarious. Like this car, my wife is turning 40 this year. I was going to throw her a surprise party in September. How funny would it be if this thing were sitting out in the driveway with a big red bow (like the Lexus commercial, except in a Coen brothers way). Probably cheaper than jewelry, too. The more I think about this, the better idea it is in my head. . .

    1
  20. Rock On Member

    jimjim- I hope that you have a comfortable couch to sleep on after that birthday party.

  21. Vegas Vic

    Do it! Super fun summer ride for you two.

  22. jimjim

    I am seriously considering it. A trans am with t-tops would also fit the bill.

  23. Sam

    I was 10 and a huge Charlie’s Angels nut, Farrah posters and all. Kelly (Jaclyn Smith) drove one like this on the show while Farrah had the white with blue stripe hatch version. My sis had a dark brown one with a V8 and a stick that our dad bought for her. Good memories.

    1
  24. phil

    the mustang II lived threw the opec and epa emissions battle to eliminate the muscle car engines.
    allowed the ford mustang name to move forward to today.
    My modified monroe handler package assembled on a v8 4speed cobra II 2+2 handling package t-top factory a/c optional upgrade by creative car craft out of California less than 10 were made.
    2nd photo world of wheels ford auto corral.
    a with a fiberglass do it youre self race weight body kit for 1200.00 from maier racing also out of california.
    Phil Mustang II Spec Shop Fairfax, MN

    • JW

      Nice car and yes they could be made to look cool and back it up with the right amount of $$$ and ingenuity.

  25. Rustytech

    Phil that’s a nice looking car! Thanks for sharing. For all you hater’s, consider this. If ford had never made these, there likely would be no Mustang today! Muscle car ( no ) but compared to their contemporaries these were solid cars, the sales figures tell us all we need to know.

    1
  26. Bobby Aldrich

    I love the Mustang II’s and have owned many of them. I still have five. The yellow Ghia is a super nice car.

  27. Stephanie Davis

    That’s a great car. I own a white 1978 Ghia also with a 302 V8. It’s light weight and great steering make it a blast to drive.

    1
  28. Mercuryman

    My dad bought me a 76 Ghia notch when I was 18. I learned how to fix cars with it. Rebuilt the 2.3, auto trans, rear end and all the suspension. Hopped it up a bit too. They were a well engineered car, maybe too much. Heavy for the size. Now Mercury had a different offering. The Capri. Fantastic car! I’ve owned 21 of them. Still have 6. No matter what, every car was important in some way to someone. They all deserve to be cherished. I work at BMW as a tech now. I really miss that Mustang.

  29. charlie charlie

    Let stay on topic of this car. its on the high side of asking and personally being an ass about no joy rides. Acts like he owns a ’65 Shelby that the olde man himself owned. Give me break.

    1

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