Ford Mustang II coupe: dark blue. Made in 1975

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 until 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.

Developed under Lee Iacocca, it was an “entirely new kind of pony car.” Ford “decided to call it Mustang II, since it was a new type of pony car designed for an era of high gas prices and fuel shortages.”

It was 490 lb (222 kg) lighter and almost 19 in (483 mm) shorter than the 1973 Mustang, the second generation was derived from the subcompact Pinto platform using a unique unibody with an isolated front suspension and engine mount subframe which the Pinto did not use 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.

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 body styles 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.

Weight distribution was front-heavy, with a 1974 V6-equipped car having 58 percent of its weight over the front wheels. The Mustang II was also the first American car to have power-assisted rack and pinion steering.


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