Junkyard Find: 1978 Ford Mustang Stallion

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

After the first-generation Mustang went from frisky lightweight to bloated monstrosity, Ford transferred the name over to an economy car based on the Pinto. This proved to be a wise move, in light of certain geopolitical events that took place right around the time the first Mustang IIs began rolling into showrooms, but most of the old Mustang magic was lost during the Pinto-ization process.

Ford created a bunch of flashy trim packages for the car, and I spotted one of the more unusual ones in a Denver self-serve yard a couple of weeks back: the Stallion.

The Stallion Option Group was appearance-only, and got you stuff like a black grille, black rocker panels, and these snazzy fender decals. The Stallion could be ordered in Silver Metallic, Vermillion, Bright Yellow, or Silver Blue Glow paint.

While a 2.8-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 were available engine options, this car has the base 2.3-liter four-cylinder. Power was rated at 19 horsepower, on a good day (actually, it was 88).

This car is in the same yard as this ’79 Mustang Cobra, so it’s possible that both came from the collection of the same Malaise Mustang hoarder.

As recently as five years ago, every Mustang II front suspension got yanked and purchased within days of hitting a cheap self-serve yard like this one, because hot-rodders use them to modernize ancient Detroit machinery. These days, though, it’s easier to just buy a brand-new aftermarket setup.

Go Mustang!

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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.

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  • CaptainObvious CaptainObvious on Apr 09, 2019

    Watching the commercials - I'm reminded of another that played at the same time with the tagline: Mustang II - Boredom 0! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzhtHx0p-dM And this commercial mentions the Stallion package!

  • Rocketrodeo Rocketrodeo on Apr 14, 2019

    Destined to be the rarest of Mustangs, due to the widespread ignorance that is perfectly reflected here, by people who should know better. The Mustang II was not a response to the gas crisis; it anticipated it and was on the market at just the right time. It was the first downsized American car, and it was wildly successful, selling more than any Mustang other than the original. My dad bought one in 1975, with the 2.3 liter four cylinder and four speed manual, and it became my first car. Lots of my friends had them too. It got 30mpg and handled and braked far better than the 67 GT fastback that I replaced it with. People who claim to be car guys can't bitch about how bloated the Mustang had become in the early 1970s and also bitch about what a bad car the II was, especially since the early foxbodies weren't much if any better. The weight was right, the design was right--for the times--and with some good old fashioned hot-rodding with off-the-shelf parts it becomes a legitimately fast and tight-handling car. The rack and pinion steering is still modern, and even if the rest of the suspension is completely conventional American rear-drive, you can do a lot with a smallblock on a 96 inch wheelbase.

  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.