Pick of the Day: Mustang II with a fascinating history

Rarely driven car is something of a time capsule

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pick of the day
This 1978 Ford Mustang II gains value from the story of its unusual history

Sometimes collector cars are bought simply because of their rarity and value. But sometimes they are bought because of their story. For example, Jay Leno says he doesn’t buy cars, he buys stories.

The Pick of the Day is a car with a story. The car is a 1978 Ford Mustang II, certainly not widely to be considered a collector car even if there is a small cult out there of loyalists. 

But here’s the story, as shared by the private seller in Romney, West Virginia, advertising the car on ClassicCars.com:

“This Mustang II is as close to perfect as a 42 year old car can be,” the seller reports. “It has the V-6, power steering and brakes, automatic transmission, AM-FM radio, and some décor option that included the white band around the bottom with a blackout grill.”

The seller adds that the car has been driven only 4,800 miles since new, and that’s part of the car’s story.

The car was originally purchased in Pennsylvania, apparently by an older woman who rarely drove it. After her death, the car went to the funeral director as partial payment on her burial services. 

But the funeral director was a large man who became even larger, to the point that he really couldn’t fit into the car and drive it either. In fact, he became so large that he no longer could go up and down stairs and he used the Mustang II to help pay for the installation of an elevator.

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The owner of the elevator company sold the car to a collector, who kept it 4 or 5 years before selling it to the current owner in May 2019.

In celebration of the purchase, “I drove it to; The Summit Hotel in Uniontown to have dinner and celebrate this incredible little car, on to Mt. Lake Park, MD to spend the night, then home to Romney, WV.  All together, probably about 150 miles and it ran perfectly.”

Since purchasing the car, the seller has installed new whitewall tires, a new temperature-sending unit, had the car serviced, and drove it in the Autumn Glory Parade in Oakland, Maryland.

The seller also has discovered three dime-size holes in the headliner, apparently caused by a mouse at some point during one of the car’s idle periods — “I didn’t notice until I got home.”

The seller adds that the car has one unusual feature: A faux key hole in the driver’s-side fender.

“Evidently, back in the day you could buy one of these, plastic with double faced tape, and put it on your fender to fake out would be thieves into believing you had a car alarm.  Kind of 70’s and I left it on.”

The car is offered for $9,800. To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Had a 1974 Mustang ll , bought used, with low mileage for $2000. Turned out to be a great car! Was used by spouse and 2 teenage sons. Many miles later, car still ran remarkably well. Unfortunately, the body was not as reliable as the engine.

  2. Hmmmm….that white band of paint running around the bottom of the car certainly matches the red and white interior, if one likes that sort of theme. The mice overhead
    makes me think a potential buyer might want to really check the whole car and make it truly mice free. Overall though it appears to be pretty darn nice. Hopefully that price is negotiable.

  3. Those cars are always called “Charlie’s Angels Mustangs” by the crowd I run with. I have no idea who coined the phrase, but it seems appropriate.

  4. And, now after only a year of ownership, it’s magically for sale….again…. Car just can’t catch a break!!!

  5. I had a 74 Mustang ll (boredom zero as the slogan went) as my first car in 1981. Mine was a red fastback. It was an awful car – but it had a story as well. My Dad and I bought the car from Alan Young – the voice of Mr. Ed the talking horse. So I guess these are lousy cars with good stories 🙂

  6. Alan Young was the owner of Mr. Ed. I believe his voice was an old cowboy movie star, maybe but not sure, Alan Rocky Lane.

  7. I had a 76 cobra 11 blue with white racing stripes, blue interior, with a v-6 4 speed. when i was 16/18 yrs old i LOVED MY CAR sold it to get married in the early 80. BUT now 33 yrs later i had to have another one this one is white with blue stripes, blue interior, v8 automatic i got it from a one owner lady who bought it new in 76 and has all the louvers on sides all snakes. Had to replace seat cover on driver side, dash cover, and bottom of deck lid under spoiler but i LOVE MY COBRA11

  8. I like the car because of the time era.. If somebody wanted they could put a small block V8 in it and turn it to a Far OUT Mustang II…

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