Junkyard Find: 1977 and 1978 Ford Mustangs

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The Mustang II stands as the poster child of the Malaise Era; based on a miserable economy car yet bearing the name of a beloved icon from a more optimistic period. You don’t see many Mustang IIs these days, for obvious reasons, but a few are being kept alive by enthusiasts. Here’s a pair of well-stripped examples that appear to have come from the reject bin of a Mustang II collector.

The ’78 has King Cobra decals on the doors. Could it be one of the very rare 1978-only King Cobra Mustang IIs?

Well, maybe, but there’s no King Cobra decal on the hood, and the underside of the hood has this emissions sticker for the never-installed-in-the-King-Cobra 2.8 liter Cologne V6. Maybe it’s a King Cobra with a hood swap, or an ordinary V6 Mustang with a door swap, or a random collection of Mustang II parts with King Cobra decals slapped on.

Whatever it is, we must admire the 70s-ness of the T-tops. Sure, all T-tops leaked like crazy, but that’s like saying that Quaaludes had unpleasant side effects.

Then there’s the ’77, which has a sort of Harlequin Mustang II effect with its multicolored body components.

If the chrome Moroso air cleaner don’t fit, cut a hole! Then, when you put your hot-rod 351W engine in some other Pinto family member, apply duct tape over the hole to keep the rain off the 2300.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
2 of 44 comments
  • Kalman Kalman on Aug 27, 2013

    if it wasnt for the mustang ii the ford mustangs would of died in 70's. y'all should be thanking that they created the mustang ii for saving the whole mustang generation.

  • Laserwizard Laserwizard on Dec 28, 2015

    I rather resent the slams on 1970's vehicles - yeah, they weren't well put together, but the unions had something to do with this as well as the management - it was a totally different era - and not one company during the 1970's in this sector built great products - this was a transition period where Government Regulations really were non-sensical - arbitrary - and not well thought out - like those 5 mph bumpers. it was like a perfect storm of stupidity at all levels of government (we are now emulating this today). The automotive sector was one that for nearly 20 years that had yearly styling changes and very little intervention from regulations. Companies were now adopting to the new intervention of do-gooders that never once worked in the sector and never understood engineering. Stupid laws were being passed (i.e. bumpers) and not well thought out environmental regulations which made products unreliable and wasted even more petrol. I think we have to view products through the prism of when they were built. I can certainly refute "they don't build 'em like they used to" when my first car, a 1964 Falcon that was 16 years old when I got it had only 64K on the odometer and it was ragged out. My current car built in August 1996 has 168,000 miles and it drives like new. It is all about the times the vehicles were built, not by our new adjusted mores.

  • Daniel J Alabama is a right to work state so I'd be interested in how this plays out. If a plant in Alabama unionized, there are many workers who's still oppose joining and can work.
  • ToolGuy This guest was pretty interesting.
  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."
  • Jeff Does this really surprise anyone? How about the shoes and the clothes you wear. Anything you can think of that is either directly made in China or has components made in China likely has some slave labor involved. The very smart phone, tablet, and laptop you are using probably has some component in it that is either mined or made by slave labor. Not endorsing slave labor just trying to be real.