1977 Ford Mustang Hatchback 5.0 V8 from North America
It's a quick, nimble reliable car that I'd recommend to anyone
The transmission went out at 144,xxx miles, but that can be expected for a car that's 30+ years old.
The front seats are very low in stature, so the head rests come up to my neck, and I'm only 5'10".
13" wheels from the factory seem a little small, especially when driving down the freeway. Fitting later model Mustang wheels with correct spacing helps to solve this issue.
It is very fun, and has plenty of torque, which is needed to quickly jaunt around town without having to really lay into the gas. It's an easy car to drive when in a hurry, and it handles great, which can be partially attributed to its small size and weight of well under 3000 lbs.
The rear seats fold down so nice and flat. The cargo space is generous when choosing the hatchback version.
Parts can be harder to find, except for engine components, which are everywhere for a 5.0 Ford engine.
I am happy with the base model, as it provides all the amenities I need without being under equipped.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st January, 2010
You can get a lot more power if you replace the stock 2 barrel carburetor with a Motorcraft 2 barrel made for a 60's era 390 or 400. It adds almost as much real street usable power as a 4 barrel without the gas gulping secondaries. Your 302's carb probably has a 1.02 or 1.08 sized venturi. A bigger two barrel can flow almost twice as much air. Go here for more information:
Those bigger carbs will flow more air, and fit right on your engine and will look stock. And you won't need to replace your intake manifold - that's a giant pain in the rear, and never really works right, no matter how much you work on it. There's always an oil leak or an intake leak unless you stay with the heavy stock iron intake and gaskets. I tried replacing mine with an Edelbrock Performer & 4 barrel on my '74 Galaxie, and ended up going back to the factory lump - and putting a 1.33 carb on. It made a world of difference, and I got 16 MPG vs. 13 MPG on trips.
Also look for a Motorcraft shorty exhaust header from a newer 80s era 5.0. They are more efficient than your cast iron headers, and will fit better than those big hot rod type headers like you see in the magazines, and should bolt right in. Don't forget the 2" diameter pipes for your dual exhaust, too. You don't want to go too wide or the exit velocity will suffer, and your exhaust scavenging will suffer resulting in a loss of power. The rest of the emission controls are shot by now; you might as well enjoy yourself! Stock horsepower for your 302 is 130; these mods will bump you to 160 or 165 if you get it tuned on a dyno.
It'll still look and run like it's stock, only better. Good luck!