CC loves to hate the Mustang II. Over a dozen posts dissected this little piglet of a Malaise mobile in various ways, so much so that there is little left, if anything, to uncover or analyse. The Cobra was comprehensively de-fanged (with venom), the Mach 1 supersonically skewered, the Ghia gored, gutted and goulashed to oblivion. Surely there is some bile left for one more?
Given how many times this car has graced (if that’s the word I’m looking for) these pages, we will probably skip the usual spiel about the model’s particulars and shrink it all into about three sentences, starting, strangely enough, at the beginning: These Pinto-based Mustangs appeared in 1974.
They were much smaller than their immediate predecessors, but still were mighty heavy and underpowered – not just the 83-92hp (depending on the year) 4-cyl. ones, but also the German-sourced V6 and the so-called “5.0” Windsor V8, which arrived in 1975 with all of 122hp.
They were mercifully replaced by the Fox Mustang in 1979, but still managed to sell an impressive 1.1m units in five model years. There, that’s all we really need, I guess. I’m sure the overwhelming majority of you have far more knowledge about these than I do anyway.
I’m not sure what happened to this particular one, nor why it landed here. I found it in a completely white rice area of north Tokyo, far from the places where one can usually run into interesting foreign-made classics. It should have been a ‘70s Nissan or Mazda, but there was a glitch in the matrix and this batshit crazy Ford materialized instead.
Compounding the oddity of this particular car’s presence in that location was its general demeanor. This Stang was pimped out to the nines and it has one axle in the junkyard. Nearly all the cars seen on Japanese streets are near pristine. These folks are obsessive about automotive cleanliness (and tidiness in general, of course), so much so that finding a rusty, dirty or otherwise imperfect automobile takes some doing. And this one is an impressive mix of sun-faded patina and grime, in the purest Detroit tradition, one might say.
The condition is one thing, but this particular Mustang is all about the accessories. Too numerous to enumerate, they decorate every panel of this portly porcine profile in a vain attempt at beautification. So much lipstick, fake eyelashes and tattoos… That grille ornament (using the loosest meaning of the word) is pretty unique, but those headlight dinguses (term copyrighted by Daniel Stern) take the cake by putting not one but eight cherries on top.
I’m not sure whether the situation is the same inside. For one thing, the window was not the clearest, despite my best efforts. For another, I’m really not well-versed in these Mustangs, so I have no idea whether that faux wood handle on the handbrake is legit or not. The colour of the seat fabric certainly seems out of place, but it was the mid-‘70s, a time when anything was possible.
The biggest source of bemusement, as far as I’m concerned, is that B-pillar vinyl comb-over. I did have a look at period Ford literature to check if this was part of some limited edition Ghia package or whatever, but I cannot find anything like it anyplace.
Given the look of the license plate, as well as the car’s general appearance, I’d guess this Mustang was sold new in Japan. And given how the tyres are slowly deflating and the lichen has started to grow under it, we’re witnessing its demise here, too. Kind of touching, really. Will anyone shed a tear for a Mustang II? No?
CC is a harsh place.
Curbside Classic: 1974 Mustang Mach 1 – The Soul Survivor, by Dave Skinner
Curbside Classic: 1978 Mustang Cobra II — The Winter of My Discontent, by Ed Stembridge
CC Cinema Outtake: Ford Mustang II Photobomb, by Robert Kim