1973 Ford Mustang Grande 351 Cleveland 2bbl from North America
A nice large coupe. Although a Mustang in name only
The rear shocks busted through the floor pan. I had my mechanic weld metal plates over the area where they had come through; they were fine after that.
It went through about a quart of oil every 3000 miles. I'm shocked that's all due to my flogging of the poor car.
I had the C3 transmission rebuilt.
At the end of my tenure with the car, it never really ran right, probably due to neglect, as I didn't have the money to properly invest in its maintenance.
Small exhaust leak caused a distinct ticking sound from the headers.
This car could have been a great restoration project, had I the funds to dump into it. It was a Grande Mustang Coupe, which in my opinion looks far better than the whale butt fastback Mach 1. It had a vinyl top, which gave it a more upscale look. We had it painted black, and with the black vinyl top it looked really nice; most people confused it with a 1st gen Camaro than a Mustang.
The engine was a 2bbl 351 Cleveland, which has great potential as a powerhouse of an engine with the right equipment bolted on, and had tremendous low end torque, with power fading away as the revs climbed, mostly due to the lack of carburetor size. The previous owner had replaced the entire interior with tweed Recaro bucket front seats and a new rear bench. He also installed a full exhaust system with headers and aftermarket mufflers, while increasing the size of the original pipes.
When I first got the car, it was in very good condition, just ripe for a full engine resto, but lacking any money to speak of, I just drove the poor beast slowly into the ground. The engine noise was fantastic, very vocal, you could tell it was a deep breathing engine. The exhaust also sounded great, not too loud, with a deep burbling sound at idle.
It had the stock dog dish hubcaps on 15" steel wheels, with cheap tall tires on it, which helped it ride like a Cadillac, but also handicapped it if I tried to push it around the twisties in my local mountains.
The transmission was decent for cruising, not liking to be hustled, but shifted like butter and was good around town. If I had the money, I would have upgraded to a much better C4 tranny.
I liked the lines of the car, and it always generated comments, most good, some called it the batmobile for its dramatic front quarter panels and the way they almost mimicked a Corvette stingray.
With the black on black and tinted windows, it was a seriously intimidating car. The chrome rear bumper was my favorite touch, I couldn't stand the front plastic bumper though, it looked cheap and not at all flattering.
I changed the front grille out to a Mach 1 style, and I purposely omitted the Mustang emblem from the grille to add a bit of mystery, since most people had no idea what kind of car it was without looking at the rear gas cap. I also removed the Mustang emblem from the sides.
The interior was very plain, but functional, and slightly claustrophobic with its high sills and looooooong hood. I mean, the thing stuck out six feet in front of the windshield, and I had a few encounters with posts and other low lying objects. I guess the plastic bumper did its job after all.
The trunk was rather small, and coming from a '66 Chevelle, I wasn't used to lack of space, but it made backing up easier.
The engine bay was enormous, with a good foot and a half between the radiator and the grille, which makes me wonder why Ford felt they had to have all that hood, as the car would have looked so much better with a shorter overhang.
Overall, I really liked that car, especially the interior, which was custom. It was very comfortable, with adequate power for most situations, and an engine that had A LOT of potential if I had wanted to add another 200 HP. Unfortunately, the car was rather large to be called a Mustang, which I have always thought of as a small, nimble car with an up sized engine and fun driving dynamics. This was a BIG coupe with a BIG engine and a great highway ride, not small by any measure, except maybe for the interior room.
I wish I had kept it, as now I have the money to restore it properly, but oh well, live and learn. I sold it for a measly $500.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th December, 2010