IT'S EASIER ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS THAN FOR PERMISSION!
Is there anyone out there that loves second generation Mustangs? I know one person who does, my wife Lorie. About three years ago I bought a Mustang II. Of course I hadn’t told Lorie; if I had she would have immediately said “STOP”! Not because it was a Mustang II but because we already had two Mustangs sitting in the garage and no room for another.
Over the years, Lorie and I have had the opportunity to own several other Mustangs. The big body 73 convertibles have been our favorites but we have also owned an 83 LX convertible and Lorie’s daily driver is a 2008 GT convertible. Lorie and I have been a members of the MCA for about 15 years now and have been showing cars at National Shows since about 2006. We noticed that of all the generations of Mustang, other than our 73’s, the second generation was the one that we very rarely ever saw at shows.
We, like everyone else it seemed, had very little appreciation for the Mustang II. I started thinking about restoring a second generation car about six years ago and started looking locally for something to work on. As I looked, I found that there were IIs everywhere, but very few were running and even fewer were worth looking at. Parts are impossible to find and anyone that might be sitting on NOS parts want your proverbial right arm and left leg for anything they own. The Internet became my daily destination in my search for my Mustang II.
As time progressed, I became a little more versed on the history of the Mustang II. Most people think that it was a result of the first “Arab oil embargo” but it was not. The 74 Mustang II actually was released 3 months prior to that event. It was also the Motor Trend Car of the Year in 74. The concept of a smaller Mustang was result of declining sales, government EPA and mileage restrictions, and Ford’s decision to take the Mustang in a different direction. Most Mustang folks consider our little car the bastard Mustang or the Lost Generation. We love it!
I bought our little II without Lorie’s knowledge or permission. Our youngest son Ben and Lorie were on their way to take him back for his senior year of college at Western Carolina University when I did an end run and bought our little red car when she was out of town. For several days, she did not believe that I had bought the car and it didn’t really sink in until the day we drove to Greensboro, NC to pick our little car up. It rained all day and when we arrived at the DMV the car looked great, but it was raining and very dark. Lorie exclaimed “That’s a cute little red car”. It was truly a barn find, and every bird in the barn had found the car. When things dried out and in the light of day, it did not look so good the next day.
Well, we knew we had our work cut out for us. First thing was to make sure it was mechanically sound which we did. Next we started looking for help with the restoration. Thankfully there are a couple of guys we come in contact with regularly, Billy Maddox with the Tara Mustang Club who owns a Concours 78 King Cobra and Jake Jarrell who is also restoring a Mustang II and whenever a second generation car shows up at a MCA National or Grand National show the judging normally falls to him. With their help we have done our best to put “Little Red” back in shape. Very close to our home in Denver, NC we have a great group of folks at Klassic Rides who did the majority of the restoration work. They stripped everything off the car that could be stripped. Dents were straightened and rust spots were repaired and fixed. I even had an opportunity to help paint my first car. After three years picking through junk yards, buying parts off the internet and trading with other II owners, our car was finished.
Her coming out party was at Mustang Week in Myrtle beach, SC two years ago. We also showed her at the Des Moines, Iowa and Waldorf, Maryland shows in 2011. In 2012, Lorie and I had the opportunity to take her to three National Shows as well as the Grand National in Mustang, Oklahoma.
“Little Red” draws a lot of attention at most shows we attend, mostly because there are so few Mustang II’s that are shown but it seems everyone has a story about a second generation car they are happy to share. Our little Mustang II has become a conversation piece and is truly an example of why Lorie and I enjoy being part of the Mustang hobby. Bringing a piece of history back to life and the enjoyment it gives both Lorie and me has been worth all the time, sweat and money we have devoted to our “Little Red” Mustang. We will look forward to future shows and being able to share our story and to hear those stories of all those that stop by to see us.
By the way, I think I have been forgiven.