1976 Ford Mustang

Illustration for article titled 1976 Ford Mustang

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!

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Illustration for article titled 1976 Ford Mustang


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.

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Illustration for article titled 1976 Ford Mustang


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.

Illustration for article titled 1976 Ford Mustang


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.

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Illustration for article titled 1976 Ford Mustang


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



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DISCUSSION

I remember the Mustang II well, and it was a hit when it came out. I lived during this time period (Grad HS in 1974, College in 1979, Service until 1981) and you have to know what pressure the car companies were under during this time period. They had to clean up the emmissions, add 5 mph bumpers on all their cars, make warning buzzers for 3 point seat belts (and during 1974, you had to buckle your seat belt BEFORE YOU COULD START THE ENGINE), unleaded fuel became manditory, and inflation rates were in double digits.

Ford did the best they could do at the time, and basically took a Pinto, and updated it as a Mustang II, right at the same time as the first Arab Oil Embargo. People traded in their old (Large) Mustangs, and full size Fords for these (rather) stylish sub-compacts. You took what was available.

On this particular car, it's nice to see it's still running, and in decent shape.