1978 Mustang II Sleeper

The poor, pinto-based Mustang II is the butt of many jokes inside and outside the Mustang community, given its radical departure from the late 60s/early 70s muscle Mustang formula, but it was right for its time, which is to say the Mustang was a victim of the Malaise Era.  Interest in a few of the rarer Mustang II versions has picked up a bit, but basic coupes are still cheap.  Our seller found one and decided to make a sleeper by swapping in a 2.3-liter, turbocharged four cylinder from a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.  We approve.

Mustang IIs were available with a (sadly wheezy) version of the Ford 302 small block; but that swap would almost be too predictable.  Given the Mustang II and the turbo 2.3 both have Pinto origins, why not bring 'em together?  Even if bone stock, this engine should motive this small car better than anything originally available in it.  This engine also has serious tuning potential; so the sky is the limit.

The only bad news here for many will be the presence of an automatic trans.  If you can get past that, this is one cool sleeper.  If it were up to us, we'd consider some stealthy steel wheels to complete the effect, though we actually really like the look of these Fox Mustang Pony wheels in this car.  The monochrome white look brings in a bit of the late 80s, which means the 2.3 should feel right at home.

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St. Cloud, FL, USA
$3,800 with 11 bids, reserve not met, $4,500 BIN price and 1 day to go

The Pony wheels make this look good for a Mustang II; but they take away some of the sleeper effect.

In retrospect, this doesn't look as bad as I recall - these were maligned most for lack of competitiveness with previous mustangs.

This must be a photo from the restoration process, as other images show the front end more complete. Note that we've included a true "before" shot below.

GTA badge presumably came from a '67 Mustang or other period Ford (Fairlane?).

Here's the interior.  The automatic is too bad; but this is likely best for straight-line surprises, anyway.

Seats have been recovered decently, but look very aftermarket.

Were you conceived back here?  If so,that's the only use this seat has seen.

Here's the turbo I4 from a 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe (a great car in and of itself).

Here's a "before" shot.

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1978 Mustang GTA Turbo Coupe

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