CC Video: Ford’s Attempt At Rehabilitating the Mustang II Has More Shortcomings Than The Actual Car

I don’t know how I missed this back in 2013, when Ford produced it as part of the Mustang 50th Anniversary celebrations. It’s a conscious effort to ameliorate the “black eye”that the host acknowledges the MII got, but the way he goes around it is pretty shockingly inaccurate considering it was produced by Ford. It’s almost wall-to-wall fibs. Let’s take each one on.

1. “The Mustang II sold so well in its first year…with over 600 thousand sold.”

The first year 1974 MII sales were actually 384k cars. And several other cars sold as well or better than the first year Mustang II, or even the 1965 Mustang. The 1980 Citation comes to mind (800k), as well as Ford’s own Maverick.

And those first year sales were a result of the energy crisis, when everyone rushed to small cars. Subsequent year MII sales averaged under 200k per year; reasonably good, but not spectacular.

2. “When something’s small and light and you put some horsepower in it, there’s nothing better to drive

Admittedly, that’s somewhat subjective, but the MII was roundly panned by the magazines for being too heavy (more than the original Mustang as well as all of its competition), which along with its weak-chested engines resulted in disappointing performance. Never mind the poor handling.

3. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that the Mustang II and the Pinto are as far divorced as just about any of Ford’s family of vehicles.”

Right; the MII is much closer to the LTD than the Pinto. Or is it the Thunderbird?

4. “They call it the ‘Pintostang’ as if it were based on the Pinto….they don’t share the same platform.  You can’t bolt any sheet metal off of a Pinto on to a Mustang II, or vice versa….nothing is the same”

That’s because the definition of “platform” is the underlying aspects of the car, primarily the floor structure and possible some other body hard points and suspension design, and specifically not the exterior sheet metal. The MII was definitely based on the Pinto; that was its starting point. Of course changes were made, given the early Pinto’s rather notorious weak body structure. And many of the MII’s changes were then adopted on the later Pintos. The two cars are very much interrelated, in many ways, regardless of exterior sheet metal.

5. “All these typical long-hood, short deck, kickup, spoilers, fastback design…was all integral to the original Mustang design“.

The original Mustang came only in a notch-back coupe; the fastback came later, and spoilers didn’t appear until some years later.

6. ” The first car to ever wear this metric badge, for nomenclature of its engine, was the 1978 Mustang II King Cobra. On its hood, instead of saying ‘302’, it said ‘5.0’“.

I guess Ford has forgotten about its own 1966 Galaxie 7 Litre, or the 1967 Cougar 6.5.  Ironically, the ‘5.0’ was of course incorrect, as the 302 had 4.9 liters. I wouldn’t brag about that.

7. “Even though this car got the black eye…it really re-energized people to see…how can we get back the horsepower. It took several years for the Ford engineers to do it.

Yes, it was quite a job stuffing the 302 into the MII; unfortunately, they forgot to stuff in any real horsepower itself. The 302 was initially rated at 122 hp (1975), then 134 hp (1976), and then topping out at 139 hp (1977 and 1978). So it took several years for the Ford engineers to boost hp from 122 to 139. Jeez; I wouldn’t brag about that either. Meanwhile, the 1974 Camaro Z-28 was making 245 hp, and the Camaro was consistently cheaper than the Mustang II. But I’ve covered all of that already here already.

Yes, the Mustang II was a sales success. But then so was the Vega. And the Maverick. And the Citation. And the Pinto. Sales success alone does not make a superior car. Nor does a video full of misinformation.