It takes a special kind of enthusiast to own a Mustang II. Despite selling over one million copies during its five-year production run, Ford's second-generation Pony gets no respect. Its quirky styling, svelte proportions, anemic powerplants, and modest Pinto underpinnings make it the butt of many jokes. With that kind of reputation, who on earth would own one?
Well, Allenton, Wisconsin's Jeff Sherger currently owns 10. We say "currently" because Jeff has owned more than twice that many over the years. His passion for the Mustang world's often-forgotten offspring began in 1984, when he purchased his first. He still owns it today. Naturally, some of the 23 Mustang IIs he has bought were donors; remember, parts are not as plentiful as those for earlier generations. Jeff adds, "Anyone who knows these cars agrees that if you are trying to modify a Mustang II, it requires a ton of patience. Many of the parts don't exist."
Jeff has owned this particular car, aptly dubbed "Red One," since 1992. Jeff admits it's not much of a nickname, just simply his answer to, "Which car are you bringing tonight?" It was born as the most desirable of the Mustang IIs: a '78 King Cobra. With a sprawling Cobra hood decal hiding a defanged 139hp 302, the King Cobras were hardly memorable. Like Elvis in polyester, the King unfortunately lacked the substance to back up its flamboyant appearance.
"A truck-driver friend happened to spot it for sale and called to tell me about it. I jumped in my truck as soon as I hung up the phone and drove down to check it out. When I saw the car, I knew I was buying it." It was already repainted a bright red hue but without the billboard-size decals. After bringing it home, Jeff made plans to replace the anemic 302 and automatic transmission with a more "lively" combination.