By the fifth year of the Mustang II, Ford's ads for the Pinto-esque pony were taking a different approach than those from '74. In 1978, you could pick up a new base Mustang Ghia (i.e., the one with the Malaise-o-riffic 88-horse four-cylinder) for less than the 1977 price. Sign us up!
In this months edition of Collectible Car Magazine, there is an article on the 74 - 77 Mustang II. It was actually one of Fords Better Ideas back then. You see, the 71 - 73 Mustang was really a boat, and so the brass at Ford was thinking of what to do for the 74 Model Year. remember, back then it took about 3 to 4 years to bring out a new model (unlike GM of Today, in which it's going on 5 years for the Camaro?)
Anyway, there was also a lot of legislation coming to bear as far as cars go. Emissions, Bumpers, Unleaded Fuel, all teaming up at the exact time that the first OPEC Oil Boycott started. So, Ford stretched a Pinto Chassis, dropped in a 4 Cyl, and the German built V-6, and in 1974, sold something like 400,000 of these things at the exact time they were needed in 1974.
Demand cooled for the next 4 years, with almost 200,000 of them being sold for the last year of the II, because of the price drop.
They are what they are, and they sold at that time. I would still like a Mustang II Ghia with the 302V-8.