By on January 30, 2014

02 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAll right, Mustang II experts, I’m going to start right off by saying that this Pinto Mustang might not be a numbers-matching real Mach 1. Maybe it’s a FrankenMustang with what appears to be the correct collection of Mach 1 options. Either way, this fine Malaise Era machine— which I found at a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard a few weeks back— is a fascinating museum of the diminished automotive expectations faced by car shoppers in a grim period in American history.
20 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mach 1 for ’74 came with a mighty 105 horsepower. No, really.
11 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThanks to Ford’s European operations, a very compact 2.8 liter pushrod V6 was available for the Mustang II. If a Ford dealership also sold Mercury cars, Cologne-powered Capris could be found in the same showroom.
16 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car received a thick coat of what appears to be gray latex house paint, probably just before it took that final tow-truck ride to the Parking Lot of Automotive Doom.
06 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAutomatic transmission with factory tachometer! Yes, that’s a 5,000 RPM redline on an allegedly sporty V6.
09 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRemote passenger-side mirror!
07 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinTruly amazing vinyl-on-vinyl-on-pleather PetroPolstery™ seats!
05 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEither the original buyer of this car cheaped out and got the $61 AM radio instead of the $346 8-track player (that’s $1,634 in today’s dollars, for those of you who scream that your Bluetooth-enabled head unit cost too much), or this is an aftermarket Philco that replaced a stereo ripped off by Seconal-crazed junkie thieves in 1976.
14 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou’d never see a pre-1974 Mach 1 in one of these low-buck self-serve wrecking yards, because such a car would be snapped up at the auction for much more than the junkyard chain’s buyer would ever pay. Poor unloved Mustang II!

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117 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1974 Ford Mustang Mach 1...”


  • avatar
    IHateCars

    “Hello Angels…”

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    I can understand the “hate” of the Mustang guys w/ respect to the underpowered engines of this generation. IMO, this to me, was style wise one of the best looking Mustangs. People had been complaining about how big/porky/bloated, etc etc the 73′s had become. The ’74 looked liked a “gone to seed” beauty queen emerging from a intensive diet and beauty makeover, and it had all of the signature Mustang cues. A friend owned a notch back 4spd/4cylinder; it was a sharp car, and a good driver. This is still one of my favorite Mustangs, and I’d love to have this one (this from a die-hard Mopar guy!) :-)

    • 0 avatar

      I have to agree–there’s something about the Mustang II that’s appealing. I realize it was made at a low point in the Malaise Era, but it would be cool to have a restored Mach I or Cobra with a built 5.0 (Coyote or 302) or even a turbo 2.3 or Ecoboost.

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        A lot of that hate has disapated with the years. It’s part of the history of Mustang’s and what was happening in the 1970s Let’s just hope we don’t have to repeat it.

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          My mom had a ’76 LX Fastback. Beautiful metallic Kelly Green with white Pleather-Seating, mach 14~15″ wheels and white-wall radials. Loved looking at her in the sun, such a great summer car and at that time, there were very few cars on the American road that looked as good. Add to it, my mother swears to this day that it was the most reliable car she had owned for 30 years.

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            I don’t think LX trim was offered in the Mustang II. IIRC there was base (both models), Ghia (coupe only) and Mach I (Fastback only) Chances are your mom’s was just a loaded fastback.

            LX trim was offered in the 80′s-93 Fox body.

      • 0 avatar
        and003

        If this particular Mach 1 was fitted with an Art Morrison or Roadster Shop Chassis, I could see a Mod Motor (4.6 or 5.4) being installed in the engine bay and exterior modifications to make it look like the Cobra II.

    • 0 avatar
      pbr

      Styling? too much overhang. Too much … 1970s Ford whateveryoucallit. Never wanted one of these.

      The radio looks like the one in the ’74 Gran Torino I learned to drive in. Speaking of too much overhang, that Torino had it too. At least it had a 351C-2V, it would go a lot faster than was good for me …. Get offa my lawn!

  • avatar
    Eric the Red

    I had a ’78 Stang. Always liked the smaller sportier car. YES it was underpowered (by a lot) but the handling was good and the brakes were unbelievable. To this day I have not driven a car with better brakes. My High School friends with the Camaros, Trans Ams, and even Grand Prixs all knew they had more power.
    A lot to dislike about this generation but it was probably truer to the original Mustang idea than any others since. Based on a cheaper car (Pinto) smaller and sportier. The prior generation and all generations since then have not been based on cheaper/smaller cars and the trend has been more expensive. The Mustang II was a cheaper smaller sporty car.
    Not very collectable though. I don’t have any secret dreams of finding a II and restoring it and making a garage queen. Everyone would think I was crazy for investing in such an un-loved car.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      IIRC, the first gen was based on the Falcon – their mid 60′s economy car.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Yup. It was a different body on a Falcon chassis and drivetrain. The Falcon was Ford’s answer to the VW bug and other less popular foreign “economy car.” As was the Corvair, from GM and the Dodge Dart/Plymouth Volare from Chrysler.

        By far the most interesting and ambitious car was the Corvair. The Falcon was as crude as it gets. Unfortunately, the Corvair failed in execution in certain significant ways, such as the swing axle rear suspension design, which, will appropriate for the lighter VW just didn’t work with the heavier 6-cylinder engine in the Corvair.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Yeah, the Falcon was Robert McNamara’s answer to George Romney of AMC complaining of “gas guzzling dinosaurs”, and was intended to compete with the Rambler. He thought of the Falcon as a return to Ford’s roots as a modern version of the Model T.

          Lee Iacocca hated the push for no-frills basic transportation, and had the Mustang built on the Falcon chassis to keep costs down, hoping styling on the same basic underpinnings would make the Mustang top the Falcon’s initial massive sales. He succeeded in beating the Falcon’s sales record, and re-establishing styling as a major factor at Ford.

          • 0 avatar
            fincar1

            I’ve always considered the first generation Mustangs to be overrated, overpriced Falcons. So from that standpoint, the Mustang II is no different.

            I’ve been getting my ducks in a row to buy a newer Mustang GT, but lordy, those things are big – they make a 73 Mach I look kind of puny.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          The Volare was a ’70′s abomination – they took what was one of the best compact car platforms (the A body) and turned it into an unreliable pile-o-crap. I think you mean the Plymouth Valiant…

  • avatar
    Mr. Bill

    One of a few (countable on one hand) Mustang II models I have seen with cruise control (notice steering wheel controls).

    Mr. Bill

  • avatar
    dswilly

    I had a ’77 Capri II with that 2.8 and 4 speed in it. It was actually a fairly sporty drive, especially after I put a Holley two barrel on it. The problem was the transmission which would grenade quickly with any aggressive driving. I fleeced every junkyard in NE Iowa for transmissions until they were gone then dumped the car.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      I don’t have much love for the Mustang II, except to say that for a while, it was generally popular, and Ford sold a lot of them, so good for Ford. I’m sorry that dswilly had bad luck with his ’77 Capri II. I owned three German Capri’s (1600cc with AC, 2000cc, and to me the ultimate, a ’77 Capri II with V6 package), and I would pull one of those from a junkyard and put it on the road again if the right one came along. I drove several Pinto four cylinder models as rentals, and neither those or the look of the Mustang II pleased me near as much as the lowliest Capri. I applaud Fords decision lately to take European models like Focus and Fiesta and build them locally to make them inexpensive. Too bad they couldn’t have thought about this forty years earlier and offered a North American Capri II/III instead of the Mustang II. Who knows how that would have influenced the post-1978 Mustangs we received.

      People used to rave about the Mustang II ‘Cobra’ with V8. I never drove one, but did spend several thousand miles driving its California-market competitor, the Chevrolet Monza 350 V8/ TurboHydramatic. A fine straight line ride for chewing up hundreds of miles at a stretch, but no match for a Camaro nor substitute for a real Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        dswilly

        I only had issues with the transmission. The car was really cool being the European import it was. It had factory duel exhaust, hood bulge, really great interior with full gauge set, great seats, cool map lights etc. I vaguely remember the transmission problem, it was the same transmission used with the earlier 4 cyl. Capri’s and wasn’t really strong enough to use behind the V6. In Europe they still made that car well in to the 90’s I think.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_Capri_Mk_III_280.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Shipwright

        In the mid 80′s I also owned a V-8 Monza, only mine had a 4 spd manual transmission. I loved that car up until my sister wrote it off.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          I had a Olds Starfire with a 350/T350 in it, That thing was a blast with the exception of the Cragar SST wheels and base model brakes. Brake Fade was a very real issue. The Monza and its derivatives are among my favorite GM cars.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        Ford has made several attempts at world cars over the years. There was the Festivia, which Murilee featured on here fairly recently. The Escort was supposed to be world car, but like the Capri ended up being a different car for the North American market. Same story for the Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique; it was supposed to be the same car as the Mondero; but by the time it was rolled out; I think it only had the doors and windshield in common. Ford had much better luck with the Focus starting in 1998; though a decade later it was once again a different car from the European one before replaced by the current generation.

        I mentioned the Ford Contour recently because of talk about how small the back seat is in the Buick Regal GS; that topic also showed up today with the Volvo V60. The Ford Contour/Mondero is a mid-size car to the rest of the world; but it was considered too small for a market that also had the Taurus/Sable and larger cars; yet the Contour was priced the same. And that was always the problem with marketing world cars in North America before now; Americans always wanted a bigger car with a bigger motor than the rest of world; it is only recently thanks to decades of CAFE and Japanese and Korean cars that American’s taste in cars has become more aligned with the rest of the world.

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          We’re being forced to align because that’s all that’s available new.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            I agree and disagree with this. Take a look at a Contour parked next to a new Fusion now. The Fusion is nearly direct from EUR as was the original ’95 Contour; yet the size difference is immense. A Civic from that similar era or earlier is dwarfed by the machine that rolls with the same name now. The KIA Soul, considered a mid-sizer by some, makes my Saturn (Opel) Astra very plebian, mid-sizer in EUR look tiny side by side. Hell, if you put this Mustang II up against the new Mustang VII (?; has Ford fanboys come up with a nominclature yet?) you’d see just how small that car is in comparison. We may think we want smaller cares but they’re not smaller cars compared to what we drove earlier.

          • 0 avatar
            jhefner

            Dolorean; I agree and disagree with that. :)

            I have parked my ’95 Taurus next to a new Fusion, and also checked the dimensions on wikipedia; sure enough, they are within a couple of inches of each other.

            BUT, my Taurus can seat three across on the front and back bench seats. I think the Mondeo MkII/Contour only sat four across; and it was most cramped when it came to shoulder room.

            By then, side impact beams in the doors were required starting in around 1996; which made the doors thicker. Later, you have side airbags and/or curtains; and thicker pillars for better rollover protection. Add a thick center console, and you are down to four people, even in today’s larger Taurus.

            Finally, the Taurus was not the largest Ford car of it’s day; that would be the Crown Victoria. They replaced it with the Five Hundred, which became the Taurus we have today. The Fusion is actually the replacement for the Taurus.

            So, we have gotten squeezed from both ends; and the insides are more cramped with the side and rollover impact protection, headrests for everyone, wide center consoles, and the neccessary cupholders and other stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          I believe you mean Fiesta. Much better car (dynamically, anyway) than the Mazda-designed KIA sourced Festiva.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        It would be fun to take a Capri II and put a fuel-injected 2.9L from a Merkur or a 4.0L from a Ranger/Explorer in it. I’m sure somebody must have done this by now.

        • 0 avatar
          econobiker

          There was an early 1980s engine swap magazine/book that had a California based Capri II with Chevy 350 and narrowed Ford 9″ rear end swapped into the car along with lowering it significantly.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    In high school in the early 80’s a friend had that car in the Cobra II trim with the 302. He did some performance work to the engine and it soon became the car to beat due to its lightweight. Many Chevelle/Camaro/Firebird drivers, some with serious engines got blown off by that crappy little Mustang. It was pretty funny.

    • 0 avatar

      Same story here. Don’t know what year his car was but a guy at my school had a brown Mustang II hatch with T-tops and a not-so-stock 302. Fun stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      agent534

      Same story here. I had a 78 Mustang II that I got for free from a family friend that came with T-Tops and that is about it. No power steering, and a 4cyl manual that I think I got up to 90 one time downhill.
      I swapped a mild 302 4-speed into it and it was nothing but fun. Even left the manual rack and pinion in place for more better fun!
      It was an easy swap, just needed to change the motor mounts and radiator, and it bolted in.
      I didn’t even need to change the duraspark module, it plugged right into the V8 distributor. IIRC even the tach worked fine and read correctly. Because the V8 was added in ’75 and wasn’t planned for, the radiator cap is inline in the middle of the top hose, there was no room for it on top of the radiator.
      I did blow the rear end once, but I got a free one from someone else junking one and was good.
      I still look around occasionally for a similar setup on craigslist, but there isn’t much left in New England. I actually see decent cars advertised for fairly good money if they are a Cobra.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    In the auto industry, timing is everything, and, man, did Ford hit the target dead center with the ’74 Pintostang. If it had been released at any other time, it likely would have been a dismal failure, possibly even attaining Deadly Sin status.

    But in the throes of the first gas crisis, fuel mileage was everything, and the Mustang II was one of Ford’s top sellers, ever, and just another success for Iacocca. In its inaugural year, I think the only Fords that bested the Mustang II in annual sales were the iconic ’64 Mustang and ’60 Falcon (someone can correct if wrong).

    Of course, as the oil situation stabilized, sales tapered off rather quickly and, after five years, the much better Fairmont-based, Fox-chassis Mustang would replace the II and start its very long run.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And the other factor to consider was that by 1974, muscle cars were dead. The hot market segment was “personal luxury cars.” We also had a recession going on in conjunction with the gas crisis, so cheaper cars were also very much in demand.

      So, Ford brings out the Mustang II as a small, cheaper, fuel efficient personal luxury car, and voila! It was exactly the right product at the right time.

      People deride this series of Mustangs for good reason, but the Mustang II probably saved the model from extinction.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        As much as enthusiasts like to hate on the Mustang II, it was the right car for the times, just like K-cars were the right cars for the times in the 1980′s. It’s easy to look back now and proclaim that these cars were all crap if you don’t put them in context.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The amusing part is that the original Mustang was supposed to be a “poor man’s Thunderbird,” not a muscle car. So the Mustang II Ghia was probably closer to the spirit and intent of the original Mustang than most people want to admit.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        Iacocca called it “a little jewel”.

        We forget that there were many people that lamented the growth of the original Mustang into the Torino-sized 1971-73. They weren’t pony cars by then.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          But then the Torino got a lot bigger in ’72, so the bloated ’71-’73Mustang seemed smaller side-by-side in the showroom.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            The ’71-’73 was horrific. Ford had lost their way with the Mustang by then. The II was “right place, right time” with a smaller, more manageable car. And they sold a ton of them.

          • 0 avatar
            namesakeone

            The 1971-3 Mustang wasn’t all that bad (though it was probably better as a Mercury Cougar, without as much of the sporting pretensions). I doubt that the 1970-81 Camaro/Firebird or the 1970-4 Barracuda/Challenger were that much (if at all) smaller.

  • avatar
    philipbarrett

    I imagine this isn’t just any old grey latex housepaint but is in fact the ultra-bargain mix of left over colors mixed up, hence the color. No high end Earl Shreib spray job for this old girl!

  • avatar
    gkhize

    First car I bought with my own money was a ’76 Mustang II Mach 1 with a pavement shredding 2.3 4 banger. The II gets a lot of flack for its styling but like others here I think it looks good. Build quality and performance weren’t that great, but show me a car from this era that was good. The thing that hurt this car as much as anything was the association with the Pinto that remains to this day apparently. I bought my ’76 used and they were getting rid of it because they were worried it would blow up like the Pinto. In fact, the only piece of Pinto that was used in the II was a piece of subframe. The rest was all unique. Overall a good car for it’s time and it’s unfortunate it doesn’t get more respect. I’d love to find a decent one to tinker with and park next to my ’65.

  • avatar
    boomhauer

    Good lord, 105hp, slushbox, AND it weighed 3600lbs.

    Poor little thing didn’t have a chance.

  • avatar
    teasers

    Do ford guys buy these and dump massive motors in them to race like the chevy guys do with the mid 70′s nova? Or did they just skip over to the fox body 5.0s?

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      If it were my money, I’d go right to the Fox body. There were a few who modded the MII, but not a lot.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        A reason you dont see too many Mustang II’s is the aerodynamics and weight displacement is all wrong. However, Ford is and always has been, brilliant with doing more with less, putting some of the stoutest rear wheel drive differentials on these. The later models to make the most of their measily 150~180 HP output received a 9″ locking diff that utilized nearly all the prodigious torques and shot these off the line like a boss. Most of the LX 5.0s of later years did not have this rear end; subsequently when a V8 II ended its years in a junk pile, the rear diff was the first to go to the highest bidder.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          I’m pretty sure that the MII along with it’s Pinto cousin had the 7.5″ rear end. The 9″ rear was on the Maverick/Granada/and other Falcon derivatives.

          I don’t really see that as doing more with less, it’s just what those cars had. Now, if the 7.5″ had been stout enough to take serious V8 torque, THAT would be something.

          Alas, it wasn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            @geo, you’re correct unless you went for the 302 V8 and manual or the Mach 1 of the later II models. One of the guys of my Mustang club was crazy for one of those II diffs because his ’04 Cobra IRS couldn’t handle the modifications he made to the engine. He claimed the 9″ on the II could.

        • 0 avatar
          Shipwright

          Followed by the rack and pinion steering for transplantation into early gen 1 mustangs.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          The 9″ axle was never used in the Fox body cars – the largest axle used in a Fox car was the ubiquitous 8.8″ axle. In fact, with the redesign of the full size F-L-M products in the late ’70′s, the only thing left that you could get a 9″ in was the F-150 and Bronco. I believe the last year for a 9″ in a Truck/Bronco was 1986, when it was replaced by the 8.8″ axle.

  • avatar
    tced2

    Philco was owned by Ford in the 60′s until the mid-70′s. The Philco radio could have been standard equipment.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    The one-year only V6 Mach I Mustang II is actually one of the only MII’s I would want, just due to it’s rarity. Other than that, I’m not a huge fan of these cars. This one appears to have a grille and turn signals from a 1977 later model Mustang. The Mach I grilles were different.

    I had a roommate in college who had a 1976 Mustang II hatchback (not a Mach I or Cobra) with the 2.8 V6 and four speed combo. I helped put on a 390 cfm 2 barrel and headers on the car. It made the car peppier, but not by a whole lot. There was plenty of other hardware out there that could smoke that car, even in the early 1980′s.

    Yes, when the Fox body versions came out, the Mustang started it’s ascent to glory once again.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      It really wasnt until the “5.0 HiPo” motor introduced in ’82 that put the Mustang back into the American lexicon. Finally I could get a real American sports car with 220 HP and nearly 300 torques and a gear box and diff that could handle all that pow-AH! Not to mention the cool styling cues like louvered hatch covers and T-tops! The Fox bodies until then were not selling as well as the II’s had (’74 is still the second most sold model year for the Stang).

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        As much as I love the Fox-bodies (I had three of them at different times), I don’t know that I would classify it as a sports car. Sporty car, ponycar, muscle car, yes. Sports car, not so much. The 5.0 didn’t start producing 220 HP until well into the later 80′s (88 or 89, IIRC), the original 1982 GT still had a 2 barrel carb and only output 157 HP, not a huge amount more than the 1979 version!

        The early Fox bodies were not inexpensive, and by 1979 there were lots of alternatives that weren’t available back in 1974. Lido hit it extremely lucky as others have noted. If fuel hadn’t gone up when it did, this may have killed the Mustang model.

        But, now that we have the 2015 model to look forward to, I’m glad they survived.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          I am pretty sure that the 85 models had 215 HP.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          Regarding horsepower available in the 1980s Mustangs with the 302 V8, don’t forget that for the ’94 model year (jelly bean styling on the Fox platform), Ford advertized 215hp for that engine. This made a lot of Mustang fanbois get quite butthurt, because along with that number came an admission that the previous model year’s 225hp was very, ahem, optimistic and the revised 215 number was more realistic. The 225 figure was based on a sampling of engines that were cherry-picked, and that in reality, the average engine from a dealer lot or showroom put out quite a bit less.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        The 1982 Mustang GT 302 produced 157 Hp with a 2 BBL carb. It went up to 175 horses with a 4 BBL in 1983. 225 HP didn’t come until 1987 with SFI.

    • 0 avatar
      gkhize

      ’74 turn signals were the only ones with the little bar across the middle.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the 2.8 eventually morphed into the 4.0 used in…Mustangs from 2005-2011. And trucks too.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      I think you’re right. They’re both referred to as the “Cologne V6″ in rags.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Correct, allthough not many parts will interchange. Fun fact; the Cologne v6 was based on the german V4, which was also in the first Mustang I protoype. So these engines had an on/off relationship with the Mustang for nearly 40 years.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          Fun fact to add on to your fun fact about the Cologne V6′s origins as a V4:

          The original V4 had a balance shaft mounted alongside the crankshaft, so that necessitated extra material on one side of the crankcase to support the load. Rather than redesign the block when it became a V6 (and no longer needed the balance shaft) to save the extra metal, Ford chose to just leave it be, so it almost makes the crankshaft look like it is offset to one side if you look at the engine from underneath with the oil pan off. Of course it is an illusion due to the extra material, but odd nonetheless.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Correct. The 2.8 Cologne V6 was used in 1983-86 Rangers and Bronco IIs and 86 Aerostars, while the 2.9 variant was used for 1986-90 Rangers and Bronco IIs and the 4.0 (in both pushrod and SOHC forms) was used in 1990-97 Aerostars, 1990-2012 Rangers, and 1990-2010 Explorers.

        I’ve seen a lot more trucks with Colognes than cars, but the Vulcan and Essex engines were naturally far more common in cars than in trucks.

  • avatar

    Out here in L.A. we do occasionally get first generation Mustangs in the yards, but parts go fast. And you have to go to the right yards.

    Looking at how small the Capri 2.8 is I have to wonder if its the secret sweet spot to a good handling Mustang II, or even a Fox Body. Its got to take at least 100lbs off the front wheels, if not 200lbs, compared to the 302, while delivering more power than the little 2.3 Pinto motor

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Didn’t the 2005ish Mustangs get the 210HP SOHC derivative of the Cologne 4.0 V6 that made like 210 HP? Not sure if the Explorers had the same specs but the car version may be more hood line friendly. One of those could be fun in a Mustang II and should be pretty straightforward in a car that came with a 2.8. I know in Rangers the Cologne motors all swapped pretty easy.

      I still think the hot ticket for a Mustang II or a Pinto is a built 2.3 Turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        The problem with the SOHC motor is the width, plus it was a hasty redesign to what started life as a OHV engine. I think the easier swap would be an OHV 4.0L out of a mid 90′s Explorer/Ranger. I think the block deck height is a bit taller, therefore making the engine a bit wider with the heads installed, but I should think it would fit rather easily.

  • avatar
    rpm773

    It will be crushed.

    Crushed – like the hopes and dreams of those of us who have been patiently waiting for Ford to do a faithful redux of the Mustang II, when images of the 2015 model were released a few weeks back.

    Crushed.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So I’m starting to conclude that malaise era car seats were made of armor, woven together to appear like pleather. It amazes me how good so many of these vinyl interiors from the 70s and 80s are regardless of maker. The trashed interior seems to be the outlier.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    In 1974 my GF’s dad rented her one of these while her / my ’62 Country Sedan Wagon was in the garage , the Mustang II had the 4 banger and slushbox and less horsepower than a 1950′s Fiat ~ she worked at the bottom of a long , steel driveway and couldn’t get up it to leave work ~

    She’d have to wait until everyone else had gone then back it to the far side of the parking lot and pin the throttle to _barely_ reach the street .

    I thought they looked okay too at the time .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    71charger_fan

    I’m ashamed to admit I liked these fast backs as a young teenager until I finally got to drive one. My boss had a fast back V8 and he sent me to pick up coffee in it. One short drive and I was cured for life. Probably the hardest car to see out of the front I’ve ever driven.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I love the style of the Mustang II fastback. The 2.3 was rough but durable; the 2.8 was probably the best engine for the car. The 5.0 was too nose-heavy.

    I think much of the hate for these cars is due to their Pinto underpinnings. But many of these items carried over into the Fox body, I think, but since it was cuter, it got more love.

  • avatar

    I put 1978 Mustang seats shoe-horned into my 94 stang because I like the old style vinyl seats. No bolstering but sexy anyhow.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I looked at the body up on wheels and started imagining this design to be more pleasing to the eye than it is. STOP IT. I know how clunky those bumpers were, how the huge area of fender above the front wheel opening gave an early A4 a run for the money, and the way any crispness of the original’s side strakes were dull as a worn nickel. Time doesn’t heal everything.
    I’m usually drawn to smaller cars. My brother’s old ’72 faded Ivy Green model was horrendously huge. A V-16 could fit under that hood. I remember it pulling into my parent’s driveway and thinking: really? He and his hot first ex-wife got out. I looked in and saw the an acre of matching green vinyl with a T-shape automatic handle and didn’t even care about the engine. I’d hoped for something magical since it still had those fake slotted full wheel covers. Maybe it was a sleeper. But no.
    So, when the new design came out, I expected an improvement. But it was like a caricature of what could have been, replete with those little chrome bars over the turn signals and other Ford styling oddities I never liked.
    My friend, Scott, was a drunken screw-up, but his family continued to purchase him new cars, ’81 Z-28 that had a burned out rear seat since the roach blew back into the window and went unnoticed. We went off roading in it as he unsuccessfully tried to mow down a possum. Because the missing air dam was ugly, he needed a new Datsun 4X4, which (when I checked on it abandoned in a ditch looked fine on the driver’s side) but he had totaled it against a post. Etc. So when he drove up in one of these–I laughed and laughed. His parents punished him by getting him a used, but pristine, coupe 4 cyl, 4-speed in a rust color.
    Like a shrunken Torino with the grace of a Matador, 40 years have helped none. It doesn’t matter how well it sold. L Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics sold over 80,000,000 copies, but that didn’t make it a good book. Crush it.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    The Cologne V6 always makes me think of Ford Rangers, Explorers, and Bronco IIs. For whatever reason the truck versions have a distinctive roar, like they have no mufflers whatsoever.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      When I think of Cologne V-6s, my mind goes immediately to Capri 2.8 injection specials, Sierra XR4s and Scorpios, but that’s just me. It’s probably because I own a Scorpio….

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I suppose it depends on where you live. In America, the Cologne V6 was almost exclusively a truck engine, while in Europe (unless Ford tried to sell the Ranger, Bronco II, and Explorer there) it was strictly a car engine.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          I live in the US, but I’ve always had an affinity for Euro Fords. I’ve owned several Fiestas and Scorpios over the years. I also had a Mystique 5-speed as a company car. Never did own a Cortina, Capri or an XR4Ti though.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I think when the design came out Ford expected the fastback to greatly outsell the unfortunate-looking notchback.

    The opposite happened. To me the notch looks dumpy.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    It’s a shame they didn’t have modern engine tech back then – this thing would have probably DECIMATED other cars of that era if it had about 175-200 HP and a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Indeed. Light weight, RWD, decent handling…put a modern 4 banger in there and you have a fun ride. I hated these back in the day, but kind of have a soft spot for them now.

  • avatar
    Garak

    It’s sad to see any Mustang headed for a crusher. Perhaps it was in too bad a shape to export it to Europe – malaise era American cars sell here for good money.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Interior is in surprisingly nice condition.

  • avatar
    srogers

    As a kid, I remember being astounded that our next-door neighbour’s navy blue, 4 cylinder Mustang II with padded caramel landau roof cost as much as my mother’s 2002 did.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Remember, though, that the mid-1970s were when we coined the term “sticker shock.” Car prices began escalating greatly in 1974. If the BMW 2002 was a few years older than the Mustang II, then the latter did probably cost as much as the former.

      The comparable 1974 or later BMW, however, was still MORE expensive than a Mustang II, thanks to escalating car prices and currency fluctuations that greatly increased the price of German cars during those years.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I was never a fan of the idea of selling the Pinto under the disgiuse of a Mustang when the Falcon platform was still around under the Maverick, but I will admit that at least the styling kept a few of the Mustangs cues, and if this examples anything to go off, the interiors surprisingly not all that dated along with being fairly durable.

    I’ll certainly take it over the old Fox Notch I used to own.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    I sold these new in 74, 75 and 76 and they were an ok car that fit the times with 4 cylinder 2.3 Pinto engines and a German 2.8 V6 that was nothing special. One thing I recall was the 75′s were the first Fords offering a rebate. It was $500.00 and the dealer contributed $100.00 of it. It really helped push up sales. When Ford stuck the 302 in it performed good for the times of emission chocked engines.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Those seats need to be saved for something, office chairs, love seat, man cave, SOMETHING!

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    A GF had a new 1975 Mustang Ghia notchback with the V-6 and 4-speed , in that weird Ford color scheme of pale yellow with an olive drab vinyl top and interior . At the time I really didn’t find it all that awful : hers was loaded with a moonroof , A.C. and tape deck .Compared to the crappy used econocars I was driving then it seemed quite luxurious . Like all cars it must be considered in the context of the times . Back then we really thought we were eminently running out of oil . People forget that we really thought that performance would be downhill forever at that point . Recall an uncle wanting to trade his nearly new Pontiac Grand Ville on a Vega- a demo for chrissake and the dealer wouldn’t give him any decent trade-in . Truly a malaise era where diminished expectations were a new reality . Actually I still don’t find the Mustang ll styling all that bad – particularly the fastback- I thought the early Fox Mustangs were uglier and their interiors were much cheesier .

  • avatar
    luvmyv8

    Not really fan of these, but these cars were necessary for the Mustang’s survival.

    However, I remember seeing a ’78 Mustang II King Cobra that I really did like, it was a dark midnight blue with the orange and red King Cobra decals and snake on the hood, had the silver basket weave wheels with either a orange or red inlay, and had a tan interior. That looked sharp and I would rock that one…. I’d just either wake up the 302 some or Coyote….. and a modern manual transmission. That’d be quite nice.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    One of the terrible cars that started the Malaise era with the Pinto and Vega being the first offenders. The idea was sound with a much smaller and lighter chassis that offers improved mileage right around the corner of the terrible oil Embargo.

    But it was execution that failed these cars. The interiors were very cramped and tight and not very comfortable owing to the fact that these cars were basically on the Pinto chassis. The 2.3 was a noisy slug that barely got the job done and the top 105 horse 2.8 Cologne was one of the single worst pieces of garbage ever in the Ford arsenal followed later by the 2.9. It featured the same 60 block as the very first 1965 design of Ford Germany but in 2.8 form featured a cylinder head with 2 Siamesed exhaust passages instead of the customary 3 which was okay for compactness but poor for performance. Carburetor problems were numerous. Cylinder head cracking and valve seals were a given as was hot spots in the heads causing valve wear in addition to the previously mentioned problems. The oiling system also was poor and religious maintenance was essential to keeping one of these engines alive. Head gasket were also a common failure. These engines were also crude sounding in the truck applications which forced Ford to eventually replace this unit with the superior and quieter 3.0 liter Vulcan engine in 1993 on the Ranger but the 4.0 liter is related to the old 2.8/2.9 engine but is considerably more reliable. The 1974 2.8 Mustang places it’self among the slowest pony cars ever built fame and Ford promptly reversed there thinking in 1975 and brought back the 302 V8 in 140 HP 2 BBl form.

    Note that a V8 wasn’t offered for the 1974 model year except for Mexico.

    This was an era when mileage replaced power. When vinyl tops replaced styling. When chrome stood for luxury and when pleather replaced sportiness. Whenever I see one of these (and that is a super rare occasion indeed) all I can think of is a puny slow luxury stuffed caricature of a Mustang that somehow seemed right for the times.

  • avatar
    hifi

    A neighbor bought one of these used when I was about 7 years old. She was so excited about it, and I just remembered thinking “why?” I dug my fingernails into the gooey vinyl/plastic fake stitching whenever I was in it. But I had no idea it was supposed to resemble stitching, rather I thought that it was supposed to resemble the dashes on a two lane road. I never understood why the scalding hot seats burned my legs, while the seats I usually sat in didn’t. It was later explained that that was the difference between vinyl and leather. I didn’t understand why she called it a “sports car” when it didn’t resemble anything like the other neighbors Corvette, which I loved and was clearly a sports car. At seven years old, I didn’t understand why she turned off the A/C in the middle of summer when she the stoplight turned green. Or why they would design the convex cup holders built into the inside of the metal glovbox lid when they could never possibly work in any situation.

    Now that I’m older, I know that all of the things I didn’t understand about this car were precisely the reasons that this car was a total piece of crap.

  • avatar
    CarOli

    I remember one of these Mustang IIs being advertised in Auto Trader as a “Mock 1″. I would.

    Gotta love the single chrome dub. Wonder if it once had a full set of playa donk rimz.

  • avatar
    guy922

    A Mary Tyler Moore kinda Mustang lol.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Heh heh, I was into ’66 bugs. and was too busy wrenching to sneer very hard. Then I got into faux wood wagons when the goons came.

  • avatar
    dannew02

    THe one car my Dad’s mother ever drove was a notchback like this. (Possibly a 75 though) She got her license, in her late 50′s, just to be able to drive her Mustang. IT was a silver GHia, 4-cyl auto (with no power steering or brakes, but it did have power windows and a sunroof.) She LOVED that car and drove it proudly. SHe had seen it in the dealer’s showroom when my Grandpa was there getting one of his work trucks for his business and she just had to have it. SHe had never driven, or had interest in driving before that, but once she saw that Mustang she did what she had to do to get it. ONce it got about 10 years old, both she and the Stang started getting to old. She never drove any other car, that I ever heard about. Grandpa had a string of Oldses, LIncolns and Caddies but Gran only ever rode in those. THe Mustang was still in the back of his business garage when he sold out in the late 80′s/early 90′s. Even when she was in a care home, one of the grandkids got her a plastic model of the Mustang and she’d get all smiles and recall some of the trips she made in it. SO rag on all you want, P/M-II haters, I’ll never have anything bad to say about this genration of Mustangs because I’ll remember how happy it made my Gran.


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