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Ford Mustang Mk II

Dark Horse Published: 13th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Ford Mustang Mk II

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Mustang II is regarded as an old nag – but does it have qualities that are overlooked as a cheap classic?

Pros & Cons

Value for money, economy, 70s style
Reputation, meek performance, image
£2000 - 5000

The second generation of this icon that was produced from 1974 through to 1978 was always going to have it tough. Following the end of the muscle car era after which Mustang had grown hugely in stature, weight and power, the Arab oil embargo and further US emission controls meant that the original was out of step with the belt tightening 1970s. Mustang II was an all new sub-compact that was a whole foot shorter than the original 1964 model and borrowed many components from the Ford Pinto family car.


Interestingly it was Lee Iacocca (daddy of the original Mustang) that oversaw the development of the second generation, the idea of which was conceived as far back as 1969 when Mustang fever was still in full swing. Mustang II couldn’t have been more different and was seen as a competitor to the large number of Euro and Jap imports such as the Toyota Celica and Datsun 280Z that had been taking an increasing foothold in the market. The Ford delivered the goods where it mattered at the time – it was smaller, more fuel effi cient, but much to the horror of most die hard enthusiasts, it didn’t have a V8 option, nor was there a convertible. The base model was powered by an 88bhp 2.3-litre four pot Pinto engine (as found in Mk3 Ford Continas!), and there was a 2.8 V6 rated at a weedy 105bhp. In spite of all this the Mustang proved to be extremely popular with around 400,000 sold in 1974, and it was even voted as Motor Trend Magazine’s Car of the Year. However, a huge amount of negative feedback concerning the disappearance of a V8 nagged away at Ford, and for 1975 a 302ci V8 rated at only 140bhp was available. The Ghia model in 1975 was offered with a fl ip-up moon roof and part of the Silver Luxury package included silver paintwork, a half vinyl roof and Cranberry crushed velour trim. In 1976 a Cobra II option was introduced which was reminiscent of the Shelby… in guise only, not performance. For 1977 there was a Corvette style T-Top removable glass panel roof, and a King Cobra option with a huge Snake decal on the bonnet, air dam, spoiler, alloy wheels, power steering and Rallye option suspension and brakes. Unfortunately it was all show, not go.


“A total departure from the fat old horse of thepast” is how Motor Trend described Mustang II, although it was never well-liked or accepted in Mustang circles. Despite numerous performancepackages and a V8, Mustang II was more about economy and 30mpg is on the cards if in good tune. Still leaf sprung at the rear, it’s no handlerand is best at cruising along.


Entry level nowadays will be £2000-£3000, excellent cars can fetch £4000-£5000 with concours examples commanding a higher premium.

What To Look For

  • Generally speaking the MKII was considered to be a reasonably well built car. However, areas to inspect for rust on the bodywork are the front footwells, the front and rear suspension damper mounts, door hinges, sills and wheel arches.
  • If fi tted with a sunroof, the drain channels can become blocked. The plastic tubes that run down inside the front screen pillars can shrink and fall off, leading to rotten pillars and A posts too.
  • The cavities either side of the box sections behind the rear wheels are a notorious spot as a mud and water trap, leading to rot. Pull back the carpet in the boot and take a good look around for rot in the fl oor too.
  • There are some replacement repair panels available such as quarter panels, lower door skins and bonnets, but little else.
  • The Pinto engines as fi tted in the EnglishCortina can suffer from premature camshaft wear. The 2.8 litre V6 and 302ci V8 engines are eminently a better option, the V8s can be bullet-proof, but only if regularly maintained and serviced.
  • The three-speed automatic is a good ‘box. Ensure that the changes are smooth, although a poor one could be something as simple as the tensioner band needing adjustment.
  • There’s not a huge aftermarket for parts on the Mustang II apart from running gear, and often new old stock is as good as it gets, so be prepared for a little refurbishment rather than replacement in certain areas, especially interior and exterior trim.
  • However seat covers are available as well as carpet sets, and it’s also possible to replace the front seats with those from a later Fox-bodied Mustang with very little modifi cation. They are reckoned to be far more comfortable too, although as with all Mustangs buy the best you can fi nd, as restorative work will not be cost effective.


The Mustang II was an interim model that kept this icon alive in the darkest days of the oil crisis and US emission controls of the 1970s. It may be one of the least liked and least collectible of its genre, but nowadays it is without doubt the cheapest way to enter Mustang ownership. Cobra II and King Cobra models with the V8 engine and heavy duty suspension offer visual pizazz, though a V8 Ghia with its plush interior trim should not be overlooked. Remember Charlie’ Angels? The lovely Farrah had one…

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