Nothing seems more emblematic of Malaise Era cars than what happened to the Mustang as the 70s progressed. First Ford went into Bloat Mode, piling on gingerbread and ever-larger bodywork on the once-sleek Mustang, then ditched the platform completely and produced the Pinto-based Mustang II starting in 1974. The Mustang II was actually a more sophisticated machine than its predecessor, but it was underpowered, suffered from crappy build quality, and (perhaps worst of all) looked like a cruel killjoy parody of the once-sporty Mustang design. In a sense, the Mustang II told America that the good times were over- now get ready for 120-horse V8s, Nixon's resignation, and the Fall of Saigon, suckaz!

Note to designers: Put a huge horse emblem on the grille, so everyone knows it's not a Pinto. You hear me? Not a Pinto! Oh, wait... the Pinto had a horse emblem, too.

Also, those scoop-like indentations in front of the rear wheelwells let you know it's a Mustang. Some things never change. Actually, some of the Fox Mustangs lacked this feature.

A fair number of kit cars used Mustang II taillights (and, of course, the front suspension), which themselves were reinterpretations of the mid-60s taillight design.

Hey, isn't that a '66 Mercedes-Benz 200D parked around the corner? I wonder if the Mustang and the Mercedes share an owner.

First 100 DOTS Cars