The second generation Mustang was introduced in response to a growing demand for smaller, less extravagant cars during the embargo-induced fuel crisis of the 1970s. It was indeed the “right car at the right time” for the Blue Oval, selling more than a million units during its four-year run and being named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in its 1974 debut.
The focus on fuel efficiency meant there was no option for a V-8 engine in ’74 Mustangs, but by 1975 a very modest 140-hp V-8 was again optional. Midway through its sophomore season, the II gained a 2.3L four-cylinder “MPG” model that was capable of a claimed 34 highway mpg. In 1976, special appearance packages like the Cobra II offered various aesthetic items such as a simulated hood scoop, front and rear spoilers and cobra-themed graphics. For 1978, the last year for second generation Mustangs, Ford offered the II in a V-8-only King Cobra performance package in an attempt to reinforce the Mustang’s high-performance roots.