I've been thinking for awhile now that I want to buy another car like the one I had when I first started driving. A 1977 Mustang II, Ghia body style. Not a very popular model, but near and dear to me since I grew up around that car. The car belonged to my mother, then my sister when she started driving, and eventually passed on to me and signed over to me as a graduation gift. Heck, this was the car Dad drove Mom to the hospital in the night I was born.
So I was driving to a friend's house yesterday when I passed this car. Pic 1, Pic 2. It was the same model, same body style as the one I had, even the same color, although somewhat faded.
Upon closer inspection, the car started to seem really, really familiar. Little ding here that I remembered, just little things. Then I remembered I had one of the registration cards to the old Mustang, and when I compared the VIN...its the same car. I haven't seen this thing in almost 8 years.
The guy didn't say if he was willing to sell it, and even if I got it, it would still be a bear of a project to restore. Body has a bit of rust but seems solid, the interior is ratted out at this point, the mechanics are a mess.
Think its worth hounding the guy to sell it to me?
You already asked yourself the toughest question"Am I willing to put in the money, time, and effort?" So your already ahead of the reality check curve.Looking at the photos, I would say yes.The body looks solid.That's a restoration blessing.
The frame? That's the big one.If the frame is still solid, I would buy it.My uncle had the same mustang in dark blue in the late 70's.Then again, I think the only cars he's ever owned have been Mustangs.Myself ?Ive helped friends restore old cars, I would love to get a 79 Smokey and the bandit model Trans-am (I had one in high school..until I was 22). I don't think my Condo association will let me keep a project car on the property. I'm looking for a house right now with a detached two car garage so I can work on some muscle car restoration projects. Right now I've helped restore a 54 split window chevy pickup, a 70 Chevelle SS, a 74 Dodge charger, a 87 Buick Grand National, and a 88 5.0 mustang GT.
My advice too, if you really want that car, don't "hound" the current owner.Act more like your doing him a favor getting that unsightly "heep" out of his driveway.Act marginally interested. The more eager you seem, the heavier the pricetag will be attached to it.
So are you just looking to restore it to factory specs? Or are you thinking about Muscling it out? I can picture it muscled out.But even a factory spec restore, would overjoy your family. I'm curious to know.Hope you get the car back, at a reasonable price. Still looks good for its age.
I was thinking about putting a small block 302 in it, would fit in nicely to replace the 2.3 liter 4 cylinder it has stock, but then again that would probably mean redoing the drive train all the way back. I think it has a C3 transmission in it? Not sure if that would hold up without looking at its specs, especially as old as it is. Gear box would have to be reworked for sure.
302 is a nice, sturdy, small block 8. It's also got some teeth to it.The block alone will run you about 1400 to 1600 bucks.Or you could shell out 4500 to 7000 for a "crate"(all the parts are put together...the higher performance the more expensive)Yes, you will need to buy a new transmission, drivetrain,and motor mounts for the upgrade.
Another factor, you will also need to beef up the suspension, and the swaybars.If you drop a 5.0 V-8 under the hood, you just created a monster.On the cheap, you can get the block, and build the engine as you can afford it.The Chevelle my friend restored was a 3 year project, and he purchased parts as he could afford them(his family needs came first).I estimate the mechanical upgrade cost to you including suspension and drivetrain will set you back anywhere from 11000 to 16000...depending how vicious you want that beast to be. You might be able to cut costs by installing a 6 cylinder,and installing a less heavy suspension, and transmission, you may even be able to keep the swaybars..and consider adding a turbocharger, and intercooler instead, if you want more umph when you step on the gas. Just an option I'm throwing out there.I personally would prefer the 302 myself.
I had a 78 'notchback' and loved it. 4 banger and 4 speed wasn't a muscle car but it shure was fun to drive and got pretty good fuel milage. I'd avoid a bigger engine tho, thats a rather small car and a bigger engine under that small hood will be a bear to work on.