NO RESERVE - 1978 Ford Mustang II Ghia RHD

Highlights

  • One of two extremely rare Mustang IIs discovered in a suburban garden
  • Built with right-hand drive for the British market
  • Last taxed for the road in 2010
  • Sold as a restoration project with huge potential

The Background

Launched in 1964, the tempting prospect of affordable power made the Ford Mustang the fastest-selling car ever in its first-year production.

It went on to cinematic stardom when Steve McQueen drove a ’68 fastback in the ever-so-stylish film Bullitt, and motorsport enthusiasts were enchanted by the antics of the charismatic Parnelli Jones and others in Trans Am racing.

It’s obvious why the first-generation Mustang is one of the most popular American classics in the world today, but what about the second?

The Mustang II was introduced for the 1974 model year and lasted only until 1978. Available as a coupé or hatchback, with two-plus-two seating, it’s now very obscure. Why so? 

Its misfortune stemmed from the fact that it was a child of the fuel crisis and ever-tightening legislation which prioritised safety and emissions over lovely things like powerful engines and dynamic styling.
Essentially, its name has been its undoing. The first-generation was the affordable pony car, the racer and the film star, and the Mustang II was not. By any other name, it would be celebrated for what it was – a compact, semi-sporting coupé which was very well received when new because it answered America’s prayers for something smaller and more economical than pre-fuel crisis cars.

It did have some silver-screen kudos of its own, too – the delightful Kate Jackson and Farrah Fawcett both drove Mustang IIs in Charlie’s Angels.
Sharing a platform with Ford’s super-economy model, the Pinto, it could be had in basic trim or as the sporty Mach I and luxury Ghia, with its half-vinyl coach roof and opera windows. 

A small 130ci (2.3-litre) straight-four was standard, but a V6 and the well-known 302ci (4.9-litre) V8 were optional. Power output of the latter between 1976 and 1978 was 139 b.h.p. – not bad for a cheap coupé in the regulation-choked ’70s.
Unusually for an American car, a right-hand drive version was made for the British market, not that you’d guess. With the Capri’s popularity, there was minimal demand for the Mustang II in Britain and very few sold.

Even though 1,107,718 Mustang IIs were built, of which 240,912 were Ghias (1978 Ghia production being 34,730), survivors in Britain are almost mythical.

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The History

This Mustang was built at Ford’s factory in San José, California, for export to Britain. It was sold new through Invicta Motors, the Kent Ford dealership with outlets in Canterbury, Margate and Ramsgate.

It had been enthusiast-owned for a number of years by the time the previous owner purchased it in 2006 as his first car. Shortly afterwards, he took it to well-known drag racer John Blay of Croydon, who rebuilt the engine and transmission.

Blay was the man behind the High Tension ’79 Pontiac Trans Am which ran at Santa Pod, hence the High Tension Racing sticker in the rear window.
A year after buying this Mustang II, the owner purchased another which he intended to use as a spares car until he realised it was much better than he expected, and so he kept the two alongside one another. 

However, in 2010 he started a family, and with children to feed and businesses to run the Mustangs were laid up in a garage. Unfortunately, space constraints forced them out of that garage in 2019 and into the garden of a spare, unoccupied house in leafy suburban Surrey, with some temporary canvas garages affording them only minimal protection.
The vendor, a friend of the previous owner, acquired them somewhat unexpectedly in December 2021 when he purchased the land on which they are sitting.

They have suffered a bit from their exposure to the elements, but both are eminently restorable and should make very rewarding projects for anyone who fancies an unusual American classic.

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The Paperwork

The Mustang is sold with a current V5 and Ford’s 1978 Car Shop Manual, Volumes 2 to 5 (Engine; Electrical; Body; Pre-Delivery, Maintenance and Lubrication).

Additionally, it comes with Chilton’s Repair and Tune-Up Guide for the Mustang II. Some digital photos will also be supplied showing the Mustang in happier times.

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The Interior

Sliding into the Mustang’s interior is like stepping through a time-warp into the 1970s. The Chamois-coloured cloth and vinyl upholstery and the thick carpet are typical of the sort of fittings one might have found in the decade’s full-size luxury cars like Cadillac Eldorados and Lincoln Continentals.
The interior looks to be entirely original. A few years sitting outside hasn’t done it the world of good, but we think that, given a good clean, most of it could be made highly presentable once again. 

Unfortunately, the front passenger seat is going to require more extensive repairs, since it looks as though some rodent has chewed a large hole in the cloth and had a go at much of the foam underneath it.
The dash has a spot of patina but, again, could easily be made presentable, especially since the vinyl dash top hasn’t succumbed to drying out and cracking. The same can’t be said, though, of the walnut sections of the facia, which have become delaminated and will require some proper restoration.
Apart from a few marks, the headlining is in good order, although the passenger sun visor seems to have lost its mirror. The boot is in reasonably good shape, with the carpet appearing intact and largely quite clean.
In addition to all that, this Mustang was specified from new with a number of optional extras, including the Sport steering wheel (standard fitment with the Cobra appearance package), digital quartz crystal clock, SelectAire air conditioning and the centre-console storage tray.

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The Exterior

Needless to say, a car can’t sit around outside for a few years without suffering a little bit, but this Mustang isn’t too much the worse for wear. The Black paint with Light Gold coach lines is a handsome and fairly unusual colour scheme.
It hasn’t deteriorated too badly at all and, while we wouldn’t want to make any false promises, it is our belief that a good clean and polish would be good enough to get the paint up to a show-worthy standard. A few larger blemishes, such as a patch of damaged paint just below the boot lid, will require proper repairs but such things are few and far between.
Regrettably, there are a few areas which won’t be quite so easy to repair. Some splits and cracks have appeared in the plastic bumpers and overriders, and the front valance is split down the middle. 

While the Mustang would appear to be largely structurally sound, there is evidence of some corrosion beginning to appear around the sills, door bottoms and lower wings, and these will obviously want attention to stop them progressing. Some cracks have also spread along the top of the Chamois vinyl roof.
The car sports 1990s aftermarket wheels by US Wheel, which would suit it very well if they hadn’t become quite badly pitted. Fortunately, the original wheels have been retained by the previous owner, who has agreed to pass them on to the car’s buyer.

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The Mechanics

The Mustang is sold as a non-runner. While it was running in 2010, it is quite obvious that damp has affected the engine bay to a considerable extent and it may well have affected the engine internals. 

In our own opinion, we think the best way to proceed would be to rebuild the engine again. It may be that a number of new parts have to be sourced, but this should not be difficult. 

The small-block Ford engine was produced from 1962 to 2002 and is so plentiful still that virtually anything can be sourced for it. If you’re not sure where to begin, there are many American car specialists in Britain who would be glad to advise.
While we do not know exactly what sort of state other mechanical systems are in, it hardly needs to be said that a lot of things can happen when a car sits for 12 years, from brakes seizing to the fuel tank corroding, so bidders should be prepared to get quite involved with the car’s mechanical restoration.

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The Appeal

The Mustang II has always been the Mustang most overlooked by enthusiasts, and that’s a great shame. 

It may not have had the performance credentials of the first and third generations, but it did what was absolutely necessary for ensuring the Mustang’s survival through a difficult period for the American auto industry. 

We can appreciate it for what it is – a small, good-looking and relatively economical coupé with no shortage of luxury trimmings.
This car is obviously only for those who are prepared to commit to a serious restoration, but it’ll be well worth tackling. If you value scarcity or anything a little unusual, the Mustang II is a great car to own because, even though they were sold new here, they’re as rare as hens’ teeth today. 

Even at American car shows, Mustang IIs are hardly ever seen, so when one does show up it draws an interested crowd.
Even though it’s something of an underdog, there are so many things going for it. Despite its rarity, the fact it shares components with many other American Fords means you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding replacement parts. 

Because it’s compact and right-hand drive it could hardly be better-suited to Britain, and the best thing – it’s got the famous Ford 302 V8, detuned a little but still packing plenty of power. If we were looking for an American car to restore, we’d be sorely tempted.


Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Auction FAQs
Auction Details
  • Year 1978
  • Make Ford
  • Model Mustang V8 GHIA
  • Colour Black
  • Mileage 64,109 Miles
  • Engine size 4942
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Market Harborough
  • County Leicestershire
  • Country United Kingdom
  • Auction ends
Bidding history
36 Bids
  • Cl•••• £3,400 05/04/22
  • Fr•••• £3,300 05/04/22
  • Cl•••• £3,200 05/04/22
  • Fr•••• £3,100 05/04/22
  • Cl•••• £3,000 05/04/22
  • Fr•••• £2,900 05/04/22
  • Cl•••• £2,800 05/04/22
  • co•••• £2,700 05/04/22
  • Cl•••• £2,600 05/04/22
  • co•••• £2,500 05/04/22

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