My First Car was a 1978 Ford Mustang II

Ford Mustang Grill
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My First Car was a 1978 Ford Mustang II

When I was almost 16 years old, I purchased my first car, a beat-up 1978 Ford Mustang II 3-door Fastback. Back in the 80s in Ohio, you could get your license at 15 and a half, so I already knew how to drive, and I needed a reliable car to take me to school and to work.

My 1978 Mustang II

The first winter I had her, I was driving home from school and it had recently snowed. I was coming up on a stop sign and a school bus was in the opposite direction letting kids off the bus, I tried to stop for the stop sign, but the road still had ice on it, due to the tall trees on the one side. I started to skid and hit a load limit sign, sending it hurtling towards the stratosphere, In fact, I’m sure that load limit sign is still airborne today, lol. I ended up putting it in the ditch and denting the read quarter panel on the passenger side. Good thing I hadn’t got it painted yet. 

It has a 2.3 Liter inline 4 cylinder engine that puts out 93 horsepower and 98-foot pounds of torque. It was painted a stock dark midnight blue with a stock tan interior. There was nothing fancy about it, but it worked and I could afford it.

I wanted more, but I couldn’t afford more, so I modified the Mustang a little at a time, paycheck my paycheck. She went from a lame-ass POS to a nice-looking ride. When she was done she was the nicest looking 4 banger in the school parking lot.

She was the car that I learned to drive a stick as she had a four-on-the-floor manual transmission. In fact, many firsts happened in that car, like my first speeding ticket, my first peeling and squealing ticket, my first accident, which I told you about earlier in this post, and a few other firsts. 

One of the first things I did was get a new paint job, and that was Bright Dark Blue Metallic that changed colors depending on the angle you looked at it and the light that was shining on it. I ripped out the interior and gave it all a very deep cleaning and put it all back together. The JC Whitney catalog became my friend as I was ordering items left and right with the money I had leftover from my paycheck. 

JC Whitney catalog
JC Whitney catalog

At that time in my life, I worked at a local restaurant and at 16 years old I was working over 40 hours a week and pouring the money into my car and dates with my girlfriend (who is now Mrs Average). New seat covers, new floor mats, a removable sunroof, a spoiler, a front air dam, and some rear window louvers. I beefed up the sound system, with a new AM/FM Cassette player with an amplifier and equalizer, and new speakers all around.

Next came some pinstriping and a flaming horse decal for the hood and some hood pins and the look was complete. Then under the hood, she got a major tune-up with new gold plugs, high-performance wires, a new distributor cap, a new carb, and a chrome valve cover and she was looking good all around and ran like a champ. 

She was looking as close to a Mach 1 Hatchback or Cobra II as I could get her. I even bought a model kit and made it look just like her. I really loved that car and I really wish I never sold her for a 1984 Mercury Topaz (I know, a huge change, right).

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