Ford hit a home run with the original Mustang. The ensuing models kept the bases loaded for the next nine years. But when the malaise era hit, the score was Mustang II, America zip.
The first generation Mustang was based on the popular, but mundane, Falcon platform, and shared that car's cart spring rear-end and sloppy recirculating ball steering. Regardless of this humble parentage, the Mustang provided a sassy take on the personal coupe, and appealed to both the stag and the secretary. Originally forecast to sell 100,000 a year, the Mustang was so successful, Ford managed to move over a million of the ponies in its first 18 months on the market.
By the time the ‘70s rolled around, things were much different in Mustang land. Long lines at gas stations meant fuel economy was now on everyone's minds, insurance companies and the government conspired to make cars safer and cheaper to repair, and action was finally taken on that urban scourge- smog. Ford reacted to these market factors by redesigning the Mustang for 1974 using a partially clean-sheet approach. While the first generation Mustang shard much with the Falcon, the Mustang II was based on the lowly, and stodgy, Pinto's underpinnings. The changes, on paper, looked to be improvements- rack and pinion steering, coil spring suspension, lighter, smaller body, and an available hatchback body style to complement the coupe, although the convertible was now nowhere to be seen. Unfortunately, much like Star Wars sequels, what seemed good on paper, didn't turn out that way in execution. The Mustang II was slow, cramped, and handled poorly. On top of that the available engines, from the Pinto's 2.3 OHC four, to the Capri 2.8L V6 and the 302 V8, were lacking in both power and refinement. The Windsor 302- the most common of the thin-wall small block engines Ford debuted with the 221 back in 1963- was now limited to a smog control-strangled 122bhp.
Our Nice Price or Crack Pipe candidate is a '77 Mustang, sporting the coupe body, and with that squirrel-fart 122hp V8 backed up by a C4 3-speed slusher. The interior is a red rarely seen outside of certain streets in Amsterdam, and the seller claims that the original radio does not work. That's probably a good thing as it would likely only bring in very sad music. Or worse, disco. The dashboard is an eclectic mix of wood grain plastic and non-woodgrain plastic, and for passenger entertainment there's a mechanical-digital clock that also may or may not work. Additionally, it appears the A/C, Moses-like, wants to set its freon free.
Other than those foibles, the car is very clean, and probably wouldn't cause you to have depression-based suicidal tendencies while owning it, but we make no promises.
So, is $5,400 a fair price for a Mustang that many still feel was like hitting into a double play? Or do you think that price is out of the ballpark?
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