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  1. #1
    General Administrator Cool Rides Online's Avatar
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    Question The Mustang II: A sad time for a beloved brand

    The Mustang II: A sad time for a beloved brand

    Posted on October 24, 2012 by PeteRizzo


    Bringing back a beloved nameplate for a reboot is one of the riskiest moves a car company can make. Just like with movies and music, more often than not, the remake is usually just cashing in on the success of the original without giving it any due respect.

    In the '70s and '80s, many car companies got lazy about how much energy they really needed to put into rebooting a beloved nameplate. as fanbases finally started maturing around certain marques, automakers relied on brand recognition too heavily to sell a model. One nameplate that has perhaps suffered most from this sad habit of the auto industry is the beloved Mustang.

    When Ford unveiled the Mustang II in 1974, it was initially advertised as the lightest, best-handling Mustang to ever roll off the line. Returning to the proportions of the classic 1964 original, the makers even fooled Car and Driver magazine into naming it the car of the year.

    However, some journalists at the time saw that a return to smaller proportions wasn't necessarily the boon needed to bring the increasingly bloated pony car back to its glorious roots as a taut street machine. Road & Track noted that first year that several other cars on the market were not only faster, but better handlers than the Mustang II, including the much less popular Datsun Z and Gremlin.

    The car was a relative sales success simply because it had more in common with a mainstream Ford Pinto than the racing legend it shared its name with. The most offensive thing about the Mustang II was the King Cobra variant that came about in 1978, which was no more than an appearance package that dragged the elegant looks associated with the Cobra badge through the mud. As far as performance, the pitiful 130 hp, 302-ci V8 underneath the hideously painted hood didn't even feature a four-barrel carburetor.

    The Mustang II certainly wasn't the worst pony car Ford tried pushing on the public, but it was the first massive dip in quality that fans of the brand had to endure. What do you think was the worst Mustang ever made? Leave your comments below:

  2. #2
    CRO Senior Moderator Justa6's Avatar
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    Always liked the look, and with all the gov/reg's put into place @ the time. All car manufacturer's were in the same boat. Sell a platform N let the gearheads make em fast.
    Always keep em smokin,,,,then let er drift!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Straight8's&Aces's Avatar
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    I kind of like the Mustang IIs, I think it's biggest problem was they called it a Mustang. I'm sure if it had a different name people would hate it less.
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    I'll come out and admit it, I dig them. The fastbacks anyway. Small light car, V-8, stick, t-tops great combination for a fun ride. You can pick them up cheap and have a blast with it. Dare to be different!!! I'd be proud to drive that one pictured in the above post.

  5. #5
    Administrator colin_d's Avatar
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    I agree, nothing better than driving a stick v8 with no top.

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    Looks to me like whoever had that mustang wanted to make a firebird out of it. Or is that just me?

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    I'm guessing you're referring to the hood art? That's the factory psychedelic Cobra decal that was only available in 1978 on the King Cobra model.

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    CRO Senior Moderator Gtdhw's Avatar
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    I would gladly rock a nice King Cobra
    If winning was easy, then the losers would be winners.
    I wish I was the man my dog thinks I am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrodhogie View Post
    I'm guessing you're referring to the hood art? That's the factory psychedelic Cobra decal that was only available in 1978 on the King Cobra model.
    Yes, thanks for clarifying. Further, the wheels even look like they're trying to be the snowflake pattern. The firebird/TA wasn't the king cobras main competition that year was it?

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    CRO Senior Moderator Gtdhw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller View Post
    Yes, thanks for clarifying. Further, the wheels even look like they're trying to be the snowflake pattern. The firebird/TA wasn't the king cobras main competition that year was it?
    The Black/Gold combo debuted in '76 on the Trans Am L/E, made to commemorate Pontiac’s 50th year in business. In '77, the release of Smokey and the Bandit made the sales of the S/E (renamed from L/E to separate it from the 50th Anniversary model) explode (both the Y-81 and the Y-82). The sales carried over into the '78 model year. So, to answer your question, while two different car sizes/segments, Yes, IMO, I believe there was major "copy catting" going on.
    Last edited by Gtdhw; 12-18-2012 at 07:51 PM.
    If winning was easy, then the losers would be winners.
    I wish I was the man my dog thinks I am.


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