This is a review of the AMT ’77 Mustang II kit 099-38276
The ugly ducking… or in this case, stallion. This is another one of those that I actually bought and, unfortunately for me, sold quickly due to a badly bent frame and a sub-par engine. The car was fun to drive and got looks everywhere, but alas, was not to be. The model has also taken me a while to concoct for some reason, but it is done… and it is terrible. LOL.
For a car that is thought by most to be the most atrocious Mustang ever conceived, there are dozens of boxes and many, many iterations out there – though they are getting very scarce. 80% or better of the Mustang II kits out there are modified in some way – either the Cobra II form, or some drag/pro street version, but there are a good many that can be built o-natural.
NOTE: These Mustangs for the most part had the same style and features from 1973-1978 – with only slight changes to the car that the untrained eye would most likely miss.
CAR BACKGROUND :: I am one of the few crazies in this world who thinks the Mustang II isn’t the ugliest of the breed. It IS very close, mind you, but I still maintain that this can be an adorable car from certain angles…, and I think that is part of the problem with most Ford enthusiasts’ view of them. See, Mustangs were not built to be adorable, gas misers. They were “pony cars” and were thought of as fun-driving, free-spirited cars. After a time, bigger and extra-potent engines phased that image into one of muscle-car-dom and when Ford said they were making the new one to be enviro-friendly, well, nobody bought them. No. People bought them. People SWARMED to buy them. So much so that the 1973-78 Mustang II is still the second best-selling Mustang of all time and one that will most likely stay there for the remainder of its namesake. So why the cold shoulder by most? Well, the Mustang II is also the slowest Mustang ever built. At a woeful 80+hp to start with, the highest engine power you could opt for was a tepid 132hp, 5 liter V8. That doesn’t sound horrifying, right? I mean my 2020 Hyundai only has 147hp and still runs low 8s to 60 miles per hour, so it can’t be that bad, right? Well, yeah. The top line Mustang II Cobra with the V8 would, if not broken down getting to the race, run 9.5 sec to 60 and through the ¼ mile in about 16.8 seconds. Unfortunately, the Cobra doesn’t have the Hyundai’s 8 speed automatic, higher-quality tires, and traction control. The Mustang II I made has the V6 that was only rated at 93hp and that would raise the quarter into the upper 17s. Yup, about 12 seconds to 60mph.
Would this car be better thought of if it didn’t have the build quality issues and maybe more horsepower than a Prius? I suspect not. The car is an acquired taste to look at; has an odd driving position (I drove mine for a while and hated it), and with anything over 200hp, would probably be skittish to drive briskly. It is still one I have a soft spot in my heart for and potentially always will.
My ’78 was a trunk-back (or Ghia) and I think it was the better look/design (looked way more cool with my son Aaron posing next to it as well). The hatchback to me looks more “Gremlin-y” and more economical. Anyways, this one is painted Italian Red and is a bit darker of a red than I had intended. It worked like I needed it to and I think it is a fine example of the kit and car. Missing is a side mirror (which I will be adding, and I used tires from another kit as the ones from this kit were very “truck-like”. To note: the hood is a lousy fit; will probably have a bit of flash to remove; may need carefully bent; will need care painting as the cut-out for the scoop is VERY thin and shows with some paints, and there is a TON of chrome to be done, so buyer beware.
The engine bay actually looks respectable for an MPC-turned-AMT kit. The V6 fits nicely and has just enough detail to merit an open hood, but just barely. Well, it is NOW because of some mods I’ve made. There was NO brake boost AT ALL, so I added a Ford-looking one. The battery included also looked lousy… like that of a riding lawn mower (pic right), so that had to go too. Also pictured right is AMT’s half-ass attempt at a radiator wall. Sorry, looks more like an odd barrier for a tank to drive around than that of a holder of antifreeze. I don’t remember what this one is out of, but it does the job.
The interior is standard AMT fare with reasonably detailed doors and dash, missing rearview mirrors and directional stalk, and a steering wheel out of a drag car. It matches as well as a 460ci engine would. Disappointing. I used one from a late-60’s car and it looks much better – even if still not stock-fare. I am sure some of the above kits mentioned have one that is better, but mine certainly didn’t.
This underside is also typical AMT/MPC garbage. The bottom of the car looks like a cheap K-Mart toy; there is very little detail; there are no extra pieces to attach (shocks, sway bars, springs, etc); the exhaust is lame and one-piped, and the only saving grace is the dual exhaust that I affixed to the end. YUCK.
It did come out exactly as I hoped. It looks about what I wanted for the fun little car. It is a shame that these kits are mostly junk and in need of help. The tires are off a pickup; the body floats badly; the hood is usually a disaster; the glass has scratches in all but the newest kits, and too many pieces missing. I know adding a piece here and there isn’t too bad, but overall I added a side mirror, rear view mirror, tires, rims, radiator, shroud, brake boost, exhaust tips, steering wheel, and a gear shift.
It makes for a very large sigh when you also have to plop down some $60 for a stock one and maybe $45 or so for a pro street version (to say nothing of the RARE ones for $100+). Thankfully mine was from a set of 400 I recently purchased (and will be selling soon on eBay), so I paid well under $60, but it still hurt to pay for a kit this crappy. If you need it to build it, I guess you’ll pay whatever (like I would), but if not, I’d pass on this one.
GREAT investment… and that is about all.