1974 mustang interior

1974 mustang interior DEFAULT

The Ford Mustang debuted on April 17, 1964, and quickly became one of the company’s most successful model launches in over 30 years. It’s a generational icon of Americana, and its story is still going strong today. But much like the Mustang’s exterior, which has changed a lot over its 54-year run, the interior has seen its fair share of changes, as well. Our friends at Budget Direct came up with a series of sketches that show how the Mustang’s interior has evolved since its introduction for the 1965 model year.

Today’s Mustang interior may feel modern with its soft-touch materials, high-quality brightwork, a plethora of digital screens, and endless technologies, but the look is unmistakably Mustang. Ford has used the double brow design, first introduced with on the original Mustang, since it began its retro revival with the fifth-generation offering for the 2005 model year. But the design hasn’t been around forever.

The double brow disappeared when the Mustang entered its second generation for the 1974 model year. The Mustang’s interior took on a more driver-oriented approach, though only slightly so. The second- and third-generation (Fox Body) Mustang look drab by comparison. Ford discarded the symmetrical interior for nearly 20 years before it returned with the fourth-generation Mustang in 1994 in the form of a double arch. It wasn’t the same double-brow design pioneered by the original Mustang, but it was similar enough.

Since 2005, Ford has continued to refine the double-brow design, maintaining the look through the current sixth-generation Pony Car. It has a ton more technology than ever before with screens in the instrument cluster and dashboard. Each sketch looks back at a different Mustang era while also providing a peek at the pop culture of the time with various music albums and mediums represented.

Sours: https://www.motor1.com/features/368927/ford-mustang-interior-evolution/

Terrible Cars that Weren’t Actually Terrible: The Ford Mustang II

The truth about the Mustang everyone loves to hate.

It is widely accepted that the 1974-78 Ford Mustang II represented a low point in Mustang history. No question, the Pinto-based subcompact was a terrible Mustang—but was it a terrible car? We say no. Like the AMC Gremlin of a few years before, the Mustang II was really a much better car than history remembers.

The Incredible Expanding Mustang

From 1967 onward, the Mustang had a problem: it was getting bigger and fatter. At a 1968 Ford stockholder meeting, Anna Muccioli, an artist who owned 200 shares of Ford stock, famously addressed CEO Henry Ford II.

"I have just one complaint," she said. "Thunderbird came out years ago. It was a beautiful sports car. And then you blew it up to the point where it lost its identity. And now the same thing is happening to the Mustang. I have a '65 Mustang, and I don't like what's happening. They're blowing that one up. Why can't you just leave a sports car small?"

Muccioli was not alone in her opinion. The small-car segment was growing rapidly, and yet the Mustang had been gaining weight every year since 1967. The bigger and heavier the Mustang grew, the fewer Ford sold.

"The Mustang market never left us," Lee Iacocca, father of the original Mustang, often said. "We left it." In December 1970, as Ford's new president, Iacocca ordered a smaller, trimmer Mustang for the 1974 model year.

Ford Mustang II: Let's Get Small

What Ford came up with was really small and really trim—a car derived not from the mid-size Torino or even the compact Maverick, but from the subcompact Pinto. Compared to the outgoing 1973 Mustang, the new Ford Mustang II was more than a foot shorter, 4-inches narrower, and 900 pounds lighter.

In order to keep weight and costs down, Ford took a gamble: It offered only four- and six-cylinder engines.

"I've driven a V-8 in this car, and it's fantastic," Iacocca told MotorTrend in September 1973. "But to keep some discipline in the system, we kept it down to the smaller engines. Otherwise it'd be overweight before we got it on the market."

Still, he saw the potential issues.

"It'll be compromised. It's not gonna slam you back in the seat. And if you put air and automatic on a [2.3-liter four-cylinder], you do not exactly have a bomb on your hands."

Instead, Ford trusted the market research and spent money on an upscale interior and two body styles—notchback and fastback—both of which did well in California clinics.

The Ford Mustang II and the Energy Crisis

Would buyers accept a small, pseudo-luxury Ford Mustang II without a V-8 engine as a sporty car? We may never know for sure. In October 1973, less than a month after the 1973 Ford Mustang II went on sale, the Middle East's oil-producing nations announced that, in retaliation for supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War, they were cutting production. They were also banning oil exports to several countries, including the United States. Oil prices skyrocketed, gasoline was rationed, and blocks-long lines formed at filling stations.

For Ford, this was serendipity wrought huge. MotorTrend named the Mustang II its 1974 Car of the Year, writing that it was "the right size at the right time for the greatest number of motorists. Not small enough to be cramping, and not big enough to be excessive."

Iaccoca was more succinct.

"Sometimes I think we're luckier than we are smart," he said. "Here we come up with a 20-mile-per-gallon car in the middle of a fuel crisis." Sales for 1974 Ford Mustang II totaled 386,000, the best year for Mustang since 1967.

But what if the OPEC embargo and the ensuing energy crisis hadn't happened? Would the Mustang II still have been a hit? It's impossible to say for certain, but we think the evidence points to an overwhelming yes.

What Did Mid-1970s Car Buyers Really Want?

MT published its Car of the Year decision after October, but even before the energy-crisis kicked off, both MT and other publications praised the new Ford Mustang II. It was universally acknowledged that the car wasn't terribly quick; the equine-aware will note the Mustang II's chrome-horse logo was reconfigured from a gallop to a canter. Still, its trim size and rack-and-pinion steering made the Ford Mustang II feel nimble compared to traditional American cars. And the public liked its upscale (by standards of the day) interior and luxury-themed Ghia model.

Remember, in the early 1970s, the oil crisis wasn't the only factor influencing consumer attitudes. Baby boomers, a focal point of both the Vietnam War and 1960s cultural revolution, now faced adulthood amid the realities of a crashing economy and rampant inflation. The unfolding Watergate scandal further eroded confidence in authority. Environmentalism was starting to take hold, and increasing numbers of women were joining the white-collar workforce. This was the birth of the "Me generation", young adults who rejected the idea of "Keeping up with the Joneses" and who looked inward toward their own self-satisfaction. Popular trends included self-help, jogging, and small "personal luxury" cars.

On the automotive front, automakers rushed to shed their muscle and pony cars, sales of which had been stagnating since the decade began. The Dodge Challenger, Plymouth Barracuda, and AMC Javelin were all discontinued, and the Mercury Cougar, once a Mustang clone, moved to the mid-size Torino platform. The Chevrolet Camaro was nearly axed, saved only through the efforts of company enthusiasts and dealers.

Just as Ford had derived the Mustang II from the Pinto, General Motors developed a similar-sized car from the Vega, though it wasn't marketed as a Camaro or Firebird replacement; it was offered as the 1975 Chevrolet Monza, Pontiac Sunbird, Buick Skyhawk, and Oldsmobile Starfire. Americans wanted smaller, more efficient, more upscale cars, and the Ford Mustang II gave them what they wanted.

Why Did the Ford Mustang II Became an Object of Hate?

While the Ford Mustang II started off as a hit, it wasn't long before it became a joke. By the 1980s, people were already thumbing their noses at it. Why? What changed?

As soon as the energy crises ended, Americans gravitated back toward bigger cars. Sales of the Camaro, nearly abandoned by GM in 1973, began to rise steadily. Ford Mustang II sales never repeated their 1974 high, though they did remain fairly steady and even increased slightly as oil prices began to rise again in 1978.

Before the public could get sick of the Mustang II, Ford had an all-new replacement ready to go. Based on the Fox platform that underpinned the new-for-'78 Fairmont, the 1979 Mustang was trim in size but not cramped. With an engine lineup ranging from an economical four to a (reasonably) strong V-8—and including a high-tech turbo four—it had the same broad range as the original Mustang. Its contemporary styling made both the Camaro and the Mustang II look like 1970s throwbacks. Rather than leave it alone, Ford embarked on a year-by-year program of improvements to the Mustang's engines and chassis.

The 1980s saw the economy accelerate like an old-school Detroit muscle car, and the 1970s began to feel like a bad dream. Old staples like 8-track tapes, wide ties, and avocado-colored kitchen appliances became kitschy jokes. The Ford Mustang II found its history being rewritten: No longer was it a nicely sized alternative to the land yachts car buyers of the early '70s were eager to escape. Instead, it became the cheaply-engineered effort of a complacent American auto industry on the cusp of getting its ass kicked by the Japanese. The Ford Mustang II quickly seemed to embody everything that was wrong with the 1970s, and it became the go-to terrible car.

The Sensible Car That History Forgot

Today, it's nearly impossible to find an intact Mustang II. Ford built more than 1.1 million in a five-year run, and most went to the crusher unloved. When the occasional survivor shows up for sale on auction blocks, it still sells for peanuts.

It's true the Ford Mustang II was a miserable sports car. Aside from some nimbleness inherent in its small size, it wasn't particularly good to drive, and even the V-8 model that showed up in 1975 wasn't a stellar performer (0-60 in 9.6 seconds, quarter mile in 17.5 at 78 mph). No question, the 1974-78 Mustang II represents a pause in Mustang performance between the original and the Fox-body cars.

Still, the Ford Mustang II deserves more respect than it receives. Ford intended it to be a humble car, and it fulfilled its design requirements, did its job, and then faded into history.

As the "No Boring Cars" publication, perhaps it's hypocritical of us to show sympathy for the Ford Mustang II, a boring car if ever there was one. But we at Automobile are not merely car enthusiasts; we're fans of the entire car industry, and the Mustang II is a historically significant example of a vehicle that was right for its time. We acknowledge the Ford Mustang II was a terrible Mustang—but history shows it wasn't really a terrible car.

1974 Ford Mustang II Specifications
PRICE:$2,895 (base)
ENGINE:2.3L OHV 8-valve I-4/88 hp; 2.8L OHV 12-valve V-6/105 hp
TRANSMISSION:4-speed manual; 3-speed automatic
LAYOUT:2-door, 4 passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
L x W x H:175.0 x 70.2 x 49.6-49.9 in
WEIGHT:2,679-2,650 lb
0-60 MPH:14.2 sec (V-6 w/manual transmission)


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Sours: https://www.motortrend.com/vehicle-genres/why-ford-mustang-ii-was-not-terrible/
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By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 7.15.2020

1974 Ford Mustang II from sketch to production Ford Motor Company Archives 11974 Ford Mustang II from sketch to production (Ford Motor Company Archives) 

During the early 1970s, most automotive companies began trying to improve fuel efficiency and cut manufacturing costs. In October 1973, the oil crisis began and severely affected the American automotive industry. In fact, the OPEC embargo changed the course of our domestic automotive industry and led to a far-reaching change in national energy policy as well.

1974 Mustang full size clay mockup Ford Motor Company Archives RESIZED 21974 Mustang full size clay mockup (Ford Motor Company Archives)

The new downsized 1974 Ford Mustang models were introduced before the oil embargo started. For many years, automotive historians and consumers had mixed reviews of the Mustang II, due mostly to the styling of the next generation Pony car. However, the 1974 Mustang did win Motor Trend’s prestigious car of the year award.

Mustang cut out design proposal Ford Motor Company Archives RESIZED 3Mustang cut out design proposal (Ford Motor Company Archives)

Ford made 386,000 of the 1974 model year Mustangs. There were three body styles to could choose from and no convertible models that year. The consumer could also choose between a four cylinder or V6 engine.

1974 Ford Mustang II Ford Motor Company Archives RESIZED 41974 Ford Mustang II (Ford Motor Company Archives)

In 1975, Ford Mustang sales began to decline, despite adding a V8 engine for that model year. Lee Iacocca once said of 1974-76 Mustang models, “This was the generation where the Mustang lost its way.”

Ford Mustang II interior Ford Motor Company Archives 5Ford Mustang II interior (Ford Motor Company Archives)

The Mustang Cobra II was introduced in 1976 and became an extraordinarily successful model without a high-performance engine. For 1977, the Cobra II models offered black and gold racing stripes.

1976 Ford Mustang II Cobra Ford Motor Company Archives RESIZED 61976 Ford Mustang II Cobra (Ford Motor Company Archives)

Also in 1977, Ford introduced optional Lacy spoke aluminum wheels in chrome or white painted spokes and red trim rings that were extremely popular on the Mustang models. The new 1977 Mustang models also introduced a great looking T-top roof design with twin lift-off glass panels available on the fastback models. American consumers also enjoyed the new two-tone paint scheme available on certain models.

1976 Mustang Mach I Hatchback Ford Motor Company Archives RESIZED 71976 Mustang Mach I Hatchback (Ford Motor Company Archives)

1978 was the final year of the Mustang II styling, and sales recovered to 192,410 units. Some automotive historians have said that Mustang sales helped the economy recover from the 1970s American fuel crises.

1977 Mustang Ford Motor Company Archives RESIZED 81977 Mustang (Ford Motor Company Archives)

The special edition King Cobra Mustang models were introduced in 1978, the first Mustang to officially feature the 5.0 badge. Ford sold 5,000 units of the King Cobra, which proved to be strong numbers. It was a great looking model, and many drivers enjoyed the rear end design with its “King Cobra” lettering prominently featured.

1977 Mustang rear view Ford Motor Company Archives RESIZED 91977 Mustang rear view (Ford Motor Company Archives)

In conclusion, Ford’s 1974-78 Mustang models are often overlooked by some automotive historians. However, many great automotive groups and clubs still enjoy these great looking automobiles.


Davis, Michael W. R. “Images of America: Mustang and the Pony Car Revolution.” Arcadia Publishing, 2014.

Langworth, Richard M. “Encyclopedia of American Cars 1930-1980.” Beekman House, New York, 1984.

Lamas, Jonathan. “Second Generation (1974-1978) Mustang Photo Gallery.” June 9, 1978. 


Sours: https://www.motorcities.org/story-of-the-week/2020/the-ford-mustang-ii-for-1974-78-was-new-generation-styling
1974 American Ford Mustang 2 V6 2.8L Interior and Exterior Video View

Second Generation (1974-1978) Mustang Photo Gallery

1974 Mach 1 Mustang II

The Mach 1 Mustang returned in 1974 as a hatchback model.

Mustang II Trotting Pony

Mustang II's front pony emblem was modified to symbolize more of a trot than a gallop. Given the lack of power under the hood, this makes sense.

1975 Mustang II

Consumers spoke and Ford listened. In 1975, the V-8 engine returned to the Mustang lineup. Despite its return, this new 302-cubic-inch, 4.94-liter engine was nothing like engines of the past.

1975 Ford Mustang II

In the 1975 version, Mustang's V8 produced just 130 horsepower and was only available with an automatic transmission.

1975 Ford Mustang II Grille

Here's a look at the 1975 Mustang II grille.

1975 Mustang II Downsize

This Mustang was 19 inches shorter and 490 pounds lighter than the 1973 version.

1975 Ford Mustang II Emblem

Ford's Mustang II emblem this year returned to the galloping horse.

1976 Mustang Cobra II

Inspired by the Shelby Mustang, Ford introduced the Mustang Cobra II in 1976. In the spirit of racing, the Cobra II featured a nonfunctional hood scoop, a distinctive front, and rear spoilers, as well as racing stripes.

1976 Mustang Cobra II

The 1976 Mustang Cobra II resembled the look and feel of the original Shelby Mustang though it lacked the power.

1977 Mustang Cobra II Racing Stripes

Racing stripes for the 1977 Mustang Cobra II also came in black and gold.

1977 Mustang Cobra II Rear

The Mustang Cobra II featured dual exhaust pipes.

1977 Mustang Cobra II Lettering

Like the other Mustang Cobras IIs, the 1977 model featured Cobra II lettering prominently on the right rear end of the car.

1977 Ford Mustang

The 1977 standard Ford Mustang featured T-tops.

1978 King Cobra Mustang

The special edition King Cobra Mustang made its debut in 1978. It was the first Ford Mustang to officially feature the 5.0 badge. An estimated 5,000 units were produced.

1978 King Cobra Mustang

The King Cobra had a distinctive exterior style, featuring a prominent air dam and a Cobra decal on the hood. Other than this release, the Mustang lineup remained mostly unchanged.

1978 King Cobra Rear Lettering

King Cobra lettering was prominently featured on the right rear end of the car.

1978 King Cobra Mustang Engine

Here's the special edition King Cobra Mustang engine compartment.

1978 King Cobra Mustang

The special edition King Cobra Mustang wasn't renowned for its storage space, but there was still ample room behind the front bucket seats.

Sours: https://www.liveabout.com/second-generation-mustang-photo-gallery-4123130

Interior 1974 mustang

Ford Mustang (second generation)

This article is about the Ford Mustang II. For the experimental aircraft, see Mustang Aeronautics Mustang II. For the 1963 concept car, see Ford Mustang II (concept car).

Motor vehicle

Second generation
Ford Mustang II - Flickr - Alexandre Prévot (5).jpg

Ford Mustang II coupe

Also calledFord Mustang II
Ford T5 [1]
Model years1974–1978
DesignerDick Nesbitt (1971)[2]
Body style
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel-drive
  • 140 cu in (2.3 L) LimaI4
  • 171 cu in (2.8 L) CologneV6
  • 302 cu in (4.9 L) WindsorV8
Wheelbase96.2 in (2,443 mm)
Length175.0 in (4,445 mm)[3]
Width70.2 in (1,783 mm)
Height2-door: 50.3 in (1,278 mm)
3-door: 50.0 in (1,270 mm)
PredecessorFord Mustang (first generation)
SuccessorFord Mustang (third generation)
Ford Mustang II 2+2 hatchback

Main article: Ford Mustang

The second-generation Ford Mustang, marketed as the Ford Mustang II, is a two- or three-door, four passenger, front-engine/rear-drive pony car manufactured and marketed by Ford from 1973 to 1978. Introduced in September 1973 for model year 1974, the Mustang II arrived roughly coincident with the oil embargo of 1973 and subsequent fuel shortages.[4]

490 pounds lighter and almost 19 inches shorter than the 1973 Mustang, the second generation was derived from the subcompactPintoplatform using a unique unibody with an isolated front suspension and engine mount subframe while sharing a limited number of chassis and driveline components. The steering was improved from the previous generation by using a rack-and-pinion design.

Named Motor Trend's 1974 Car of the Year and reaching over 1.1 million sales over four years of production, the Mustang II is noted simultaneously for both its marketing prescience and strong sales — while regarded by certain enthusiasts as having abandoned essential aspects of the Mustang heritage and in a retrospective after 40 years since its introduction described as embodying the Malaise era.[5]


The first-generation Mustangs grew in size; the 1973 model had become markedly larger than the original model. The pony car market segment saw decreasing sales in the early-1970s "with many buyers turning to lower-priced, fuel-efficient compacts like Ford's own Ford Maverick – a huge first-year success itself."[6] The Mustang was growing to become an intermediate-sized sedan, which "[was] too big and alienated many in its customer base."[7] The allure of the original Mustang was its trim size and concept. The automakers in Detroit had "begun to receive vibrations from the only source it really listens to — new-car buyers… The message: Build smaller cars" as customers stopped buying and the inventory of unsold new cars climbed during the summer of 1973, and there were already positive market expectations for the new downsized Mustang.[8] Automakers were "scrambling" by December 1973 as "the trend toward smaller, less extravagant cars to surge ahead faster than anyone had expected."[9]

After becoming president of Ford Motor Company on December 10, 1970,[10]Lee Iacocca ordered the development of a smaller Mustang for 1974 introduction. Initial plans called for a downsized Mustang based on the compact Ford Maverick, similar in size and power to the Falcon, the basis for the original Mustang.[11] Those plans were later scrapped in favor of an even smaller Mustang based on the subcompact Ford Pinto.[11] The original pony car was based on the compact Falcon and for its second-generation, the Mustang evolved from an even smaller platform, the Pinto that was rolled out in 1971.[12]

Rather than replicating the unchanged designs of the GM pony cars, Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird, the Mustang II now competed against sporty subcompact models that included GM's Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Starfire, Pontiac Sunbird, and Chevrolet Monza.[13] The new model would also better compete with 2+2 import coupes such as the Toyota Celica, Datsun 240Z, Mazda RX-3, and the European Ford Capri — which itself was inspired by the original Mustang but built by Ford of Europe, and marketed since April 1970 in the U.S. by Mercury as a captive import.[6] It saw a new competitor from Germany in 1974 with the Volkswagen Scirocco, and the BMW 2002 introduced earlier in the late 1960s. The new design featured rack and pinion steering and a separate engine sub-frame that decreased noise, vibration, and harshness.

According to Ford's Chief Engineer Stuart M. Frey (younger brother of Donald N. Frey) Iacocca expected a high level of fit and finish, wanting the car to be "a little jewel".[15] The Mustang II production was 385,993 units the first year.[16] The big 1973 Mustang total reached 134,867,[7] but the 1974 version was within "10 percent of the original Mustang's 12-month production record of 418,812."[6] Over five years the Mustang II recorded four of the ten top model year Mustang sales. A 2009 report confirmed Iacocca's vision for the 1974–1978 Mustang II, saying it "was the right car at the right time, selling more than 1 million units in four years."[17]

The introduction of the Mustang II on September 21, 1973, coincided with the Arab oil embargo.[18] The marketplace was adjusting to the fuel crisis, increasing insurance rates, United States emission standards, safety regulations, and downturns in the economy, as well as the waning consumer demand in the pony car segment. GM had considered discontinuing the Camaro and Firebird after 1972, and in 1974 Chrysler discontinued the Barracuda and Dodge Challenger, American Motors discontinued the Javelin, and lighter, more economical imported cars became increasingly popular — "in effect, filling the segment the Mustang had created, then abandoned."[19] Ultimately, the Mustang II would be an early example of downsizing that would take place among Detroit's Big Three later in the decade. Conversely, the Mustang's former corporate twin the Mercury Cougar was upsized to the intermediate Ford Torino platform to better compete in the growing mid-size personal luxury car segment.

A Mercury version of the Mustang II badged as a Capri (as evidenced by a proposal using the Mustang II's 2+2 body with a rounded quarter window style) was briefly considered, but the strong sales of the Ford Capri (Mk1) as a captive import through Lincoln-Mercury dealerships shelved plans for a corporate twin.[20] Lincoln-Mercury continued to import the Capri in the updated MkII version until 1978. The Mercury Capri for 1979 became Mustang's American built corporate twin, sharing the new Fox platform.


Based on the Ford Pinto, the final Mustang II production design was set in 1971 by Dick Nesbitt. The new model, however, was "less of a Pinto than the '64½ had been a Falcon." Two bodystyles were available; a two-door notchback coupe and a sportier three-door "2+2" hatchback (also referred to as a "liftback"). A folding rear seat was optional on the notchback coupe and was standard on all hatchback models. "2+2" also accurately described the rear seat capacity according to period commentators.[22] Weight distribution was front heavy, with a 1974 V6-equipped car having 58 percent of its weight over the front wheels.[23] The Mustang II was also the first American car to have power assisted rack and pinion steering.[23]

Year-by-year changes[edit]


1974 Mustang II hardtop coupe

Designers and engineers worked feverishly on a "reinvented" Mustang, mimicking the first version, by the traditional new model year introduction during the fall of 1973.[24] The new Mustang II returned to a size closer to the 1965 model, ultimately winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year.[25] The economical Mustang II became popular for consumers almost concurrently with their experience with gasoline rationing that was part of the 1973 oil crisis.[26]

"Just as the original Mustang had been based on mundane Falcon components, Iacocca and company decided to use some of the parts from the new-for-1971 subcompact Ford Pinto as the basis for the Mustang."[19] The new Mustang was viewed as a "fun-to-drive economy" car, but "in reality it shared its underpinnings with the ... Pinto."[26] The Mustang II carried handling and engineering improvements, its performance was comparable to contemporary Detroit products.

Competitors also included the Toyota Celica and the Datsun 240Z. Sales of such imports attracted fewer than 100,000 customers in 1965, but by 1972 demand had increased; therefore, the "Mustang II's mission was to capture a big slice of this sizable new pie."[6]

Available as a coupe or three-door hatchback, the new car's base engine was a 140 cu in (2.3 L) SOHC I4, the first fully metric-dimensioned engine built in the U.S.[15][27] A 171 cu in (2.8 L) V6 was the sole optional engine. Mustang II packages ranged from the base "Hardtop," 2+2 hatchback, a "Ghia" luxury group with vinyl roof, and a top of the line V6-powered Mach 1. A V8 engine option would not be available in a Mustang for the only time for the 1974 model year (except in Mexico).

"The Mustang II's attractive all-new styling was influenced by coachbuilder Ghia of Italy, which had recently been acquired by Ford. It carried through the long-hood, short-deck theme of the original, and as Iacocca requested it came as a notchback and hatch-equipped fastback."[19] Mustangs lost their pillarless body style; all models now had fixed rear windows and a chrome-covered "B" pillar that resembled a hardtop, but in fact was a coupe. In Mustang advertisements, however, Ford promoted the notchback coupe as a "Hardtop". Ford brochures also suggested that the luxury-trim Ghia model, with its formal roofline, fashionable exterior, and plush interior, be thought of as resembling the popular personal luxury category of the time.[28]

Almost replicating the initial 1965 Mustang's sales rush, "even without any real performance appeal, the '74 Mustang II brought buyers running into Ford dealerships."[29] Sales for the Mustang II increased in 1974, making it the 6th best selling Mustang of all time with 296,041 units produced.


1975–1978 Mustang II Ghia

"With oil crisis memories starting to fade" Ford needed a V8 in the Mustang II to return "performance to respectable levels."[19] The engine bay was re-engineered to accept the 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 option for the 1975 model year, with revised hood and header panel. The engine was limited to a two-barrel carburetor and "net" 140 hp (104 kW; 142 PS). Since Ford's Mexican division never lost the V8, they assisted in the modifications.[citation needed]

Testing by Road & Track "recorded zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 10.5 seconds, and a top speed of 106 mph (171 km/h)."[19]The Mustang II's 302 cu in (4.9 L) engine became Ford's first officially designated metric V8 Mustang;[citation needed] it was called the "5.0 L" even though its capacity was 4,942 cc (4.9 L; 301.6 cu in).

Other than the optional V8 engine, the car underwent minor changes in 1975. The Ghia received opera windows and a padded vinyl half-top, as well as a plush Silver Luxury Group option.[30] Ford sales literature continued to emphasize the car's potential similarity to the era's personal luxury models, with the cover of its main dealership brochure calling the Mustang II Ford's "small, sporty personal car."[31] In mid-year, a 2.3 L "MPG" model was added, featuring a catalytic converter and a 3.18:1 rear-axle ratio (standard was 3.40:1) to claim EPA-version economy estimates of 23 mpg‑US (10 L/100 km; 28 mpg‑imp) in the city and 34 mpg‑US (6.9 L/100 km; 41 mpg‑imp) on the highway.[32] To underscore fuel efficiency, all base 2.3 L Mustang IIs were called MPG after 1975.

The Mustang II achieved record sales for 1975, making it the 9th best selling Mustang of all time, with 199,199 sold.[citation needed]


In 1976, Ford offered the "Stallion" appearance group including styled wheels, blacked-out grille, bumpers, and body moldings as well as black two-toned accent paint offered with silver, red, white, and yellow body colors. New also was the "Cobra II" appearance package with a black grille, simulated hood scoop, front and rear spoilers, quarter window louvers, dual over-the-top racing stripes with matching lower rocker stripes and cobra emblems on the front fenders — available with all engine choices. Automotive historian Gary Witzenburg observed that properly equipped, the thing actually performed pretty well by 1976 standards."[33] Full instrumentation was standard.[3] The era's emphasis on luxury saw 1975's Silver Luxury Group Ghia replaced by a broader Ghia Luxury Group option, with more colors available in its plush velour interiors, exterior accents, and landau roofs.[34] A manual moon roof was optional.[3] Sales literature continued to refer to the Mustang II as Ford's "small, sporty personal car."[35]


1977½ Cobra II with revised graphics.

The 1977 model year introduced a "Sports Appearance Group" for the Ghia model that was color-matched to either black or tan paint, as well as several minor styling changes and expanded color options for the Cobra II. Also new was a T-top option for the fastback featuring twin removable tinted glass panels. Midway through the 1977 model year, changes for the 1978 model year were pulled ahead to sell early. It is most notable on the Cobra II models where the hood scoop was turned around to seem more aerodynamic and the graphics were revised. For the decals, the over-the-top dual stripes running the length of the car were replaced with a single stripe and on the sides of the car, the snake and "COBRA II" decals were replaced with large stripes raised to the middle of the body sides with large "COBRA" lettering in the middle. Louvers were added to the hatch and the side panel louvers only came in black. All of the glass moldings were painted black.


1978 Mustang II King Cobra

In 1978, the "King Cobra" became available. This was a limited edition version with 4,313 units produced.[36] It featured a deep air-dam, stripes, and a "Pontiac Trans Am style" cobra snake decal on the hood. The King Cobra was available only with the V8 to help bolster the car's performance image.

On the momentum of the Mustang II's successful sales, a totally new Mustang was introduced for the 1979 model year.



The Mustang II was named Motor Trend's Car of the Year, in 1974, the last Mustang to achieve that honor until 1994. Nevertheless, there were also mixed contemporary reviews including Consumer Reports reporting that "there are better subcompacts on the market than the Mustang II" and recommended the AMC Gremlin as a car that was at least as good, and in some respects superior, in terms of seating, noise level, normal and emergency handling, and acceleration;[37] and Road & Track was of the opinion that the Ford was neither fast nor particularly good handling.[38]

Consumer reaction to the Mustang II was enthusiastic with a combined total production of the 1974–1978 models exceeding 1.1 million. "As the smallest, lightest Mustang since the original, it was a fresh start for Ford's pony car and a refreshing return to rationality. And it couldn't have been better timed, introduced just two months before the first "Energy Crisis" upended America. People came in droves to see the Mustang II—and to buy."[6] "Not only did gasoline prices spike up, but its very supply looked to be in jeopardy. Economy immediately became a hot item, and this helped boost the smaller Mustang's first calendar year sales to 385,993."[19]

According to automotive historian Patrick Foster, "Ford executives decided to call the car 'Mustang II', since it was a new type of pony car designed for an era of high gas prices and fuel shortages".[39] "Many people have never warmed up to the Mustang II, some even complaining it reminds them of the Pinto. But in its day, the public and the press sang praises for the little Mustang II. After all, a car with excellent fuel efficiency, sporty looks and a low price tag will always find acceptance. Mustang II was a success, simply because it was the right car at the right time."[39]

Automotive journalist, Michael Lamm, described Ford's Mustang II as "the best idea of the year" with the new model arriving to the market just in time "in the real world of shrinking space, limited energy, and precious little clean air, dreamboat cars are out" ... this car "proves that the new breed of small cars can still be exciting!"[40]

Modern day[edit]

Writers of the past few years tend to ignore the sales success of the Mustang II, pointing out flaws in the design compared to cars that came before and after, symbolizing the very start of the Malaise era in American auto design.[41][42]

Opinions include noting in 2003 that "[i]f there were any steps forward in technology with the Pinto chassis, it was that it had a rack-and-pinion steering gear rather than the Falcon's recirculating ball, and front disc brakes were standard," Edmunds Inside Line wrote of the Mustang II: "It was too small, underpowered, handled poorly, terribly put together, ill-proportioned, chintzy in its details and altogether subpar.[43]

According to Edmunds, the 1974 base engine's 88 hp (66 kW; 89 PS) was "truly pathetic" and the optional V6's 105 hp (78 kW; 106 PS) was "underwhelming." (With the addition of mandatory catalytic converters in 1975 these outputs fell to 83 and 97 hp (72 kW) respectively.)[43] In 1976 the "standard four [-cylinder] swelled to a heady 92 hp (69 kW; 93 PS), the V6 increased to 102 hp (76 kW), and [sales were] a surprisingly stable 187,567 units—a mere 1,019 less than in '75." In 1977 the engines’ power outputs dropped again, to 89 and 93 hp (69 kW; 94 PS) respectively, and production dropped "about 18 percent to 153,117 cars."[43]

Writers of today ignore the rave reviews of 1974–1978 models, and one even describes the Mustang II as "lamentable." The New York Times said in 2006 that defective steering, together with a fuel tank of the same design as in the Pinto, a car "forever infamous for exploding when struck in the rear," caused owners anxiety that was "heightened by the fact that some Mustang IIs had Firestone 500 tires, notorious in the 70's for widespread failures." It continued: "Ford, not content to drag the revered Mustang name through the mud...added badges from Ghia, the venerable Italian studio that it had bought, to versions of the Mustang II with partial vinyl roofs and tacky opera windows."[38]

A 1995 book on the history of the Mustang refers to the introduction of "a lukewarm optional 302 V8 in 1975" and says that "the token revival of the Cobra name—appearing as the taped-and-striped Cobra II—the following year did little to stem the tide as customers grew less enchanted with the Mustang II's cramped quarters and weak performance." There was "a steady slide in 1976 and '77." Despite the 25-percent rise in sales for 1978, "not even the high-profile Cobra with its flashy decals and snazzy spats and spoilers could save the day for the second-generation Mustang."[44]

According to a 2003 retrospective by Edmunds Inside Line, the 1978 King Cobra "wasn't much more than a Cobra II with revised graphics and the hood scoop turned around backward..." This model was "visually about as nutty a Mustang as has ever been built" but "[m]ysteriously, production climbed to 192,410 units."[43]

The automotive editor of Mustang Monthly magazine describes "The Mustang II was the right car at the right time to keep the legend going into the future."[4] The automaker noted that Mustang II has been "maligned by hardcore pony-car fans as the black sheep of the family almost since it went on sale," but "without the new direction forged by Mustang II, Ford almost certainly wouldn't be celebrating 50 years of Mustang today."[5]

Ford hosted the first "National Mustang II Reunion" in 2016 at the company's offices where the pony car re-invented "for an all-new era when build quality and fuel efficiency were more important to buyers than no-frill options and high-horsepower."[45]


  1. ^Patrick Ral, October 16 2013, Ford Details the German Ford Mustang That Never Wore the Mustang Name, www.torquenews.com Retrieved 29 July 2021
  2. ^"1974 Mustang II: New exclusive images from Ford designer Dick Nesbitt". www.carbodydesign.com. Car Body Design. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  3. ^ abc"1976 Ford Mustang II Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. December 1975. p. 6. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  4. ^ abFarr, Donald (16 April 2014). "Best Mustangs of 1974-1978: Generation of IIs". Mustang 360. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  5. ^ ab"Mustang II Forty Years Later" (Press release). Ford Media Center. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  6. ^ abcdeAuto Editors of Consumer Guide (15 February 2007). "1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 Ford Mustang". Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  7. ^ abSessler, Peter; Sessler C., Nilda (2006). Ford Mustang Buyer's And Restoration Guide. Sams Technical Publishing. p. 83. ISBN . Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  8. ^Smith, William D. (24 June 1973). "Detroit's Dilemma: Gas Pigs or Fuel Savers; Sales Show Influence Of Energy Situation". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  9. ^Stevens, William K. (3 December 1973). "Rush to Smaller Cars Spurs Detroit to Alter Assembly Lines; Conversion Costs Big 3 Estimated $500-Million". The New York Times. p. 48. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  10. ^"Ford Motor Company chronology". The Henry Ford Museum. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  11. ^ abLeffingwell, Randy (2002). Mustang: The Original Muscle Car. MBI Publishing. p. 135. ISBN .
  12. ^Mueller, Mike (2015). The complete book of Ford Mustang: every model since 1964 1/2. Motorbooks. p. 131. ISBN . Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  13. ^Sessler, Peter C.; Sessler, Nilda (2006). Ford Mustang Buyer's and Restoration Guide. Sams Technical Publishing. pp. 112–13. ISBN . Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  14. ^ abWitzenburg, Gary L. (1979). Mustang!: the complete history of America's pioneer pony car. Automobile Quarterly Publications. p. 139. ISBN .
  15. ^Sessler, p. 111.
  16. ^Smart, Jim (February 2009). "1964 Ford Mustang Convertible – Iacocca's Mustang". Mustang Monthly. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  17. ^Leffingwell, p. 141.
  18. ^ abcdefVance, Bill (14 July 2006). "Motoring Memories: Ford Mustang II, 1974–1978". Autos. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  19. ^Lewis, McCarville & Sorensen (1983). Ford 1903 To 1984. Publications International Ltd. p. 300. ISBN .
  20. ^Wakefield, Ron, ed. (January 1974). "Road Test: Ford Mustang II". Road & Track. Vol. 25 no. 5. CBS Consumer Publishing Division. p. 46.
  21. ^ abWakefield, p. 48
  22. ^Coulter, Bill (2002). Mustang Collectibles. Motorbooks. p. 56. ISBN . Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  23. ^"Car of the Year Winners, 1949-Present". Motor Trend. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  24. ^ abHeasley, Jerry (August 2004). "40 Wild Horses". Popular Mechanics. 181 (8): 66–67. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  25. ^Wilcke, Gerd (24 June 1973). "Here Comes the Metric System, America; Big Switch Seems Just A Matter Of Time". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  26. ^Ford Motor Company, Ford Division (1973-07-01). "Ford Mustang II Ghia: A New Word for Small Car Luxury". '74 Ford Mustang II. U.S.A.: Ford Motor Company: 7. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  27. ^Mueller, Mike (2003). Ford Mustang. Lowe & B. Hould Publishers. p. 168. ISBN . Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  28. ^Ford Motor Company, Ford Division (1974-08-01). "Mustang II presents the Silver Ghia". 1975 Ford Mustang II. U.S.A.: Ford Motor Company: 2. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  29. ^Ford Motor Company, Ford Division (1974-08-01). 1975 Ford Mustang II. U.S.A.: Ford Motor Company. p. 1. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
  30. ^Leffingwell, Randy (2003). Mustang: Forty Years. MotorBooks/MBI. p. 253. ISBN . Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  31. ^Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (15 February 2007). "The 1976 Ford Mustang". howstuffworks com. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  32. ^Ford Motor Company, Ford Division (1975-12-01). "Mustang II MPG Ghia". 76 Ford Mustang II. U.S.A.: Ford Motor Company: 5. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  33. ^Ford Motor Company, Ford Division (1975-12-01). 76 Ford Mustang II. U.S.A.: Ford Motor Company. p. 1. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  34. ^Bowling, Brad; Heasley, Jerry (2002). Mustang Special Editions. Krause Publications. p. 118. ISBN . Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  35. ^"Road Test: Mustang II". Consumer Reports. 39 (4): 323–325. April 1974.
  36. ^ abSass, Rob (26 May 2006). "Rust in Peace Ford Mustang II 1974–1978". New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  37. ^ abFoster, Patrick (21 December 2007). "1974 — 1978 Ford Mustang: A Horse of a Different Color". Old Cars Weekly. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  38. ^Lamm, Michael (October 1973). "Ford's Mustang II, the best idea of the year". Popular Mechanics. 140 (4): 118–119, 206. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  39. ^Stewart, Ben (10 September 2012). "Performance Pretenders: 10 Malaise-Era Muscle Cars". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  40. ^Sass, Rob (1 August 2013). "Heavier. Slower. Safer". The Hagerty Group. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  41. ^ abcdHuffman, John Pearley (6 May 2003). "Ford Mustang Generations: Fifth Generation 1974–1978". Edmunds Inside Line. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  42. ^Mueller, Mike (1995). Ford Mustang. MotorBooks/MBI. p. 72. ISBN . Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  43. ^Clor, John M. (1 September 2016). "Record number of Mustang II owners celebrate 1st ever reunion in Dearborn". performance.ford.com (Press release). Retrieved 29 January 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to Ford Mustang II at Wikimedia Commons

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Mustang_(second_generation)
1974 Ford Mustang II Ghia


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