Jeff Ford
September 1, 2000
Photos By: Tom Rounds

"What we've got heah is failyuh to communicate." Certainly a classic movie line if ever there was one. The line was uttered by the hard-nosed camp warden played by Strother Martin in the movie Cool Hand Luke. You see, Luke's character-played by Paul Newman-just didn't get the idea that he was supposed to stay in the camp-neither did Charles Guenther of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. However, unlike the movie hero, Charles is a stable individual whose only crime is that he endeavored to restore a II-something that is definitely outside the perimeter fence built by the vintage Mustang crowd and others.

"I have participated in non-MCA [Mustang Club of America] shows," Charles said, "but have found that judges do not understand the work that has gone into restoring the Ghia to concours condition." Indeed, there are even some in our own community who don't see the II as anything but a "badder" idea from Ford. We tend not to agree with these naysayers and point to the fact that the II is the bridge that gives the Mustanger the power we wield with Ford today. Without the much maligned II, we might be merely a tiny voice in the sea of Ford public opinion.

So what, you say? Well, witness the fact that you can still get parts for your '65 Mustang in the Ford parts department. You think that would happen were it not for the brand loyalty of Mustang buyers? It's highly doubtful. The bridge in that road of power is the II.

Well, enough banter about the reasons why the II is important. On to what makes this '78 so valued to Charles.

"I found the Ghia on a used car lot," Charles explained. "The unusual Chamois Glow paint caught my eye. After examining the car, I realized that it was in unusually good condition." That condition came from the fact that the car was used as a get-around-town vehicle for a gentleman who traveled the U.S. in a land barge known as an RV. A deal was struck for the Ghia and an '84 Buick in exchange for his new minivan-definitely something many of us wouldn't have the guts to do

Of course, with its time behind the land-bound tuna boat and at the hands of the barge pilot, the car needed a paint job and some interior spiff. The interior makeover was (and is) not the simple task that it is for the '65 owner. The dash had to be found new old stock (N.O.S.), as did the seat material. Then the seat had to be stitched. As for the paint, Jeff Stachnik of Maple City, Michigan, sprayed on a new coat of the tan hue. Luckily, the 2.8 V-6 and C4 automatic needed nothing more than a good cleaning and a spit shine

With that done, Charles has been busy driving and showing the II. Although Charles and the car saw some hard times, we think the results were well worth the labor.

Ghia Me
The Ghia package consisted of the following items:

  • Standard 2.3 overhead cam engine
  • Four-speed manual transmission
  • Half-vinyl roof
  • Plush 18-ounce cut pile carpeting
  • Luxury level all-vinyl bucket seats
  • Bright accent moldings
  • Deluxe spoke-like wheel covers
  • Retail Price: $4,242
    Units sold: 34,730