Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
May 5, 2014
Photos By: Al Rogers

When Giacinto Ghia established his Italian auto design and coach building company in 1915, he could not have imagined that his name would appear on an American car called the Mustang in the 1970s. Recognized for luxury and exclusivity, Ghia changed hands a number of times during the 1950s and 1960s, eventually ending up under the ownership of Alejandro de Tomaso, who became known in Ford circles for his Pantera sports car that was marketed by Mercury. Through that Dearborn connection, de Tomaso sold his Ghia shares to Ford in 1970. To take advantage of such a prestigious name, Ford applied the Ghia badge to the top-of-the-line '74 Mustang II Ghia, which replaced the luxurious Grande model from '69-'73.

The Ghia transitioned right into the all-new Fox-body '79 Mustang, once again as the top luxury model. Available for both the hardtop and hatchback, the Ghia package added luxurious appointments, mainly in the interior, including cut-pile carpeting, deluxe seat belts, special door panels with map pockets, Sport steering wheel, Light Group, passenger-side visor vanity mirror, and carpeted luggage compartment for the hatchback. A special sound package also deadened road noise. At around $5,000 retail, it was an expensive compact for the time.

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In the summer of 1979, Tom and Patricia Peers were looking for better fuel mileage and decided to trade their Chevy van for a smaller vehicle. At the local Ford dealer, Patricia was drawn to the new Mustang, in particular the Ghia hatchback with its luxurious interior, matching body moldings, and storage space with the fold-down rear seat. Instead of choosing one off the lot, they ordered their Ghia with nearly every available option, taking the price up to $7,200 with big-ticket items like the optional V-6 engine, air-conditioning, and AM/FM/8-track stereo. Patricia says she didn't order cruise control because it wasn't available with the sporty-looking Sport steering wheel.

As a teller at a nearby bank in Shawano, Wisconsin, Patricia usually walked to work, leaving the Mustang in the garage. "We used it more as a weekend car," Patricia says as she explains the Ghia's current 28,000 miles. "Most of the mileage came from trips out west to go camping." Today, the Peers' Mustang is a show car and Sunday driver—and a well-preserved, almost all-original example of the top-of-the-line '79 Ghia.