With the debut of the Mach-E taking the Mustang brand in unfamiliar directions, now’s a good time to look back on another pony that flouted tradition. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Mustang II represents the most vilified of editions—at least so far. Let’s see if it, and its price, are really all that bad.
Do you have friends? Well of course you do—after all, we’re friends. Having friends means doing fun things together and that’s why friend friendly sports sedans like yesterday’s 2004 Mercedes Benz E55 AMG are so engaging. With its $8,200 asking, it wouldn’t take a village to buy that Benz either and that resulted in a 70 percent Nice Price vote—our second win of the week!
In case you have just now awakened from a coma—welcome back!—you probably know that this week Ford introduced a new Mustang. Not just that, they’ve introduced a new sort of Mustang, one called the Mach-E that is not a pony car but an all-electric five-door hatchback. Purists clutched their blue oval pearls at the car’s introduction and debate has raged in the ensuing days since over whether or not this Tesla Model Y competitor can, in fact, carry the mantle of the Mustang mystique.
Here’s the short and skinny on all that: all carmakers need to come out with full-on electrics and the best place to start is high up the model line where profits are thickest. Making the Mach-E a crossover targets the center of the market’s most lucrative category, and naming it Mustang gives it band equity right out the door that some new name wouldn’t have. It’s all very savvy on Ford’s part.
Will the Mach-E be a hit? It’s hard to say. The car is within a few inches in almost all directions of the upcoming Telsa Model Y, and that marque has even greater brand equity within the target audience than does Ford or the Mustang.
If the Mach-E does fail it won’t be the first time a Mustang has missed the mark. Back in the early 1970s, automakers in the U.S. faced a daunting double whammy with the demands for both safer and more fuel-efficient products.
The Mustang debuted in April of 1964 and rode on a platform that was rooted in the even earlier Falcon. By the dawn of the next decade, it had grown ever bigger and more bloated. Something needed to change and that eventual change was so dramatic that the new car, which arrived for the 1974 model year, was dubbed the Mustang II. Sadly there was no Electric Boogaloo edition.
The Mustang II shifted the model from Ford’s mid-sized Falcon platform—which continued on under the Maverick—to that of the recently debuted and clean sheet designed Pinto. This new ‘Stang represented a number of firsts for the line—first rack and pinion steering, first available four-cylinder engine, first Mustang hatchback, and the first to not offer a convertible among them.
Here’s the thing, none of this really worked. While the Mustang II was vastly more space-efficient and modern, it lacked the older car’s je ne sais quoi—it wasn’t seen as a true pony car.
That may have been unfair to both the Mustang and its designers since the car did, in fact, mark a return to the original Mustang’s size and it did still offer a V8 option, it just did so sort of as an afterthought.
Okay, so the Mustang II, much like the Edsel before it was perhaps not one of Ford’s most shining moments. That doesn’t mean that, also like the Edsel, they aren’t interesting and desirable today. As a microcosm of ‘70s retro-ism this 1977 Mustang II coupe is about as funky as they come.
Amazingly, this orange over a shit-load of more orange, half-landau-equipped coupe is offered on Hemmings. It’s condition obviously warrants that. The paint—Tangerine Orange with inset white stripes nose and tail—looks to be in top-notch condition. There is some fading noticeable when comparing the exterior to what’s been sprayed under the hood, but it’s not bad at all. Some glue smears blemish the vinyl top trim but that too appears easy to overlook.
The interior is… well, amazing. The upholstery is a mix of vinyl and cloth with the latter being one of the most aggressively plaid patterns imaginable. An aftermarket wood-rimmed steering wheel and shift knob dress up the other tactile surfaces and complement the standard fake wood on the dash. The only issue here really is what seems to be some mold discoloration on the passenger-side door and frame. I’m not sure however if that’s just noise in the pictures or not.
The mechanicals are just as interesting as that crazy interior. This Mustang rocks a 2.8-litre Cologne V6 and four-speed stick. With fuel injection, the German-built six made a reasonable 158 horsepower in its homeland. Here, in 2-barrel carburetted form for the States, it made… um, 93 horses.
The car is described in its ad as being in excellent condition, and comes with a clean title and just 38,000 miles on the clock.
What is the price for this disco era time machine? The asking is $18,700 and before you go rushing off to madly smack at the Crack Pipe button multiple times, take a moment to have a look at the Mustang II market. Being unloved for so long many of these cars have made their way to the big corral in the sky and that has left fewer and fewer to fulfill demand. Many have given up their suspensions and steering to the kit car industrial complex.
This is an exemplary example of the breed and while it may not be the greatest Mustang that ever lived, it certainly is representative of one part of the marque’s rich history. With new history being made at the moment with the introduction of the Mach-E maybe the time has come for the II to shine as well? What do you think, is this classic Mustang II worth that $18,700 asking? Or, is that price as crazy as calling an electric crossover a Mustang?
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