The Ford Mustang hit the streets in 1964
and was an instant success. The Mustang GT, G.T. 350, G.T 500, Mach 1,
Boss 302 and Boss 429 cemented the Ford Mustang name in the history
books of American motoring. But by the early 1970s, new horsepower
rating systems combined with emission concerns, a looming fuel crisis,
and rapidly increasing fuel prices, people were shying away from the
throaty gas guzzling V8s. Ford Motor Company was facing another
problem, the growing popularity of Japanese imports and their tiny cars
with highly efficient engines. All of these variables combined to
gradually decrease the sales of Ford Mustangs over the first few years
of the 1970’s.
When the 1974 redesign of the Ford Mustang came about,
the change was quite a shock to the performance car enthusiast market.
While the horsepower ratings had technically not decreased over the few
years prior to 1974, the reporting methods had caused an apparent drop
in power. Ford Motor Company had spent the early 1970’s dropping the
big block, and several smaller, V8’s. Sales for 1972 and 1973 dipped as
low as the partial year numbers from 1964, and Ford knew that something
had to be done. Ford decided on a new car redesign Mustang fans had
never seen without any physical or mechanical likeness to the
original. Even the name was changed, as it was no longer the Ford
Mustang; it was now the Ford Mustang II.