Ford returned the Mustang to its roots— an affordable, sporty-looking commuter based on a huge-selling economy car— for the 1974 model year when the Pinto-based Mustang II made its debut. While many now claim that the Mustang II has finally attained true respectability among American car freaks, I still see plenty of Mustang IIs en route to the cold steel jaws of The Crusher. Here’s a heavily-optioned ’78 Mustang II Ghia, complete with V8 engine and screaming orange Stirling cloth interior, found in a Denver self-service yard a couple of weeks ago.
After the first-generation Mustang went from frisky lightweight to bloated monstrosity, Ford transferred the name over to an economy car based on the Pinto. This proved to be a wise move, in light of certain geopolitical events that took place right around the time the first Mustang IIs began rolling into showrooms, but most of the old Mustang magic was lost during the Pinto-ization process.
Ford created a bunch of flashy trim packages for the car, and I spotted one of the more unusual ones in a Denver self-serve yard a couple of weeks back: the Stallion.
All right, Mustang II experts, I’m going to start right off by saying that this [s]Pinto[/s] 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.
The first one that I bought was a Mustang #2
Nobody kept ’em any longer than they kept a pair of shoes
They started showing up at every used car lot in town
A V-8 on a go-cart, easy terms, no money down
– Daddy’s Cup, Drive By Truckers
Props to Ford for including the Mustang II in its 50th anniversary celebration, featuring the much maligned little pony car in this video with Ford Racing’s John Clor and his pristine 1977 Cobra II. The Dearborn automaker also issued a press release with the almost apologetic title “The Right Car At The Time: The 1974 Ford Mustang II”. The Mustang II is the one Mustang people love to hate. Even Mustang enthusiasts will turn their noses up at a Mustang II. At the recent Mustang Memories show put on by the Mustang Owners Club of Southeast Michigan, with about 800 Mustangs and another 200 Ford powered cars in attendance, I was only able to find a single Mustang II, a ’78 Cobra II that was immaculate. Said to be a glorified Pinto, and indeed originating with the Pinto platform, the Mustang II had the misfortune of being made during the so-called Malaise Era, when cars featured emissions control choked engines, battering ram 5 mph bumpers, tacky ’70s interiors, and loud and large exterior tape and decal treatments. The truth is that the Mustang II wasn’t a failure and that it was indeed the right car for the time.
After sharing this beater Torino wagon I photographed back in the early 1990s, I ran across a series of shots of an even Malaise-ier machine. Just as silver miners often find lead mixed in with their metal of choice (or maybe it’s the other way around), I keep discovering long-forgotten car photos as I scan the negatives for the 1965 Impala Hell Project series. Here’s a car that I believe has a 0.00043% chance of having avoided The Crusher during the 18 years that have passed since these photos were taken.
Powered By Ford. There’s something special about those words, something iconic, something that evokes nightmares of an uniquely American scope, from our first family cross-country trips in a 1954 Ford that perpetually overheated and stalled from vapor lock (when it actually started) to the last one, Mother’s craptastic 1981 Escort (replaced by a Civic) that could barely do seventy wheezing unsteadily along the rain-soaked I-70 straight. Powered by Ford. It’s the peeling logo hastily slapped onto the valve covers of this five-liter Mustang II, but you won’t need to raise the hood to understand what it means. The first time this pathetic lump of an engine tries to suck air through its tiny two-barrel carburetor and wheezes its feeble exhaust through soda-straw sized tailpipes, it will be more than crystal clear.
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- ChristianWimmer The 240D was frigging FAST……compared to the base 200D and 220D models which we had in Europe. The 200D had 55-horsepower and the 220D had 60-horsepower. Later the 200D got a power boost to 60-horsepower which resulted in Mercedes axing the 220D. It was a 60-horsepower 200D which I once got to drive. The car belonged to a friend and had the manual transmission. 0-100 km/h according to Mercedes was 33 seconds. Ok, it was surprisingly agile - from 0 to 80 km/h (could keep up with modern traffic), BUT 80 to 100 km/h took forever! At 80 km/h and in the proper gear you could be flooring the pedal and the needle barely moved upwards. So I guess for a city vehicle or roads limited to 80 km/h it’ll do fine - and we have many such roads in Germany.
- Tassos staying within the same family, I'd much prefer the 300. However, a 2006 recently sold also quite unjustifiably pricey, Not when you can get an Awesome Mercedes S550, of a far more recent vintage (2013) for almost the same price!!!!https://carsandbids.com/auctions/9Q1d4Vk9/2006-chrysler-300c-srt8
- Tassos https://carsandbids.com/auctions/r4e4R4mA/2013-mercedes-benz-s550-4maticWhy don't you try this? It's four times the car the unreliable little red wagon is, it's 1000 times more luxurious, it's far more powerful than you'll ever need, it's a FOREVER car, susprisingly economical to run, AND fit for a KING, not a JANITOR. Oh, and you save over $5000, which can buy you a really Ruling Class Bottle of wine... or several cases thereof.
- Tassos Holding cellphones in one hand while driving and being distracted by them is the idiot's recipe for disaster.And there are millions and millions of such morons. As Mark Twain said, the average American is not very smart, and half of all Americans are even dumber than that. I believe this is true of most other nations as well.
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