Wednesday, May 2, 2012

1974 Ford Mustang II - I Understand Them Now

For many years I disliked the Mustang II. I, like many other folks I know, considered it a Pinto with a Mustang-esque body. I also had the privilege (ahem) of driving one within the last 10 years. It wasn't a good experience.

I dated a woman who, in 2002, still owned one. (It was her first car. It was her "dream car." She didn't get her license until 1990, when she was in her mid-twenties. She didn't buy her first car - the Mustang - until the late 1990s.) It confirmed my dislike of the car. It was one of the scariest cars I have ever driven.

I haven't driven a Mustang II since "M" got rid of hers. (In 2003, she sold it to a couple who just immigrated to the US from Romania. They wanted a cheap classic American car. Sadly, they chose "M's" Mustang II. They paid the full asking price of $500.00. I went with "M" when she signed the car over to them. They were very excited. They cooked us dinner. While I was eating my dinner - and eating "M's" dinner too, as she is a vegetation and the couple basically made a dinner of meat with side dishes of more meat - I kept thinking about how much they were going to miss the Dacia they left in Romania after owning the Mustang for a week or two.)

Over the years however, I've come to realize that it wasn't completely the car's fault that it was scary to drive. It hadn't been well maintained. Some new ball joints, tie rods, shocks, brakes and bushings may have made it a respectable, if not great, ride.

I've also come to realize that the Mustang II was a product of the times. Gas prices had doubled. Big, inefficient cars were not selling. The original Mustang had, over the years, gone from sporty muscle car, to - with the exception of a few models - big, bloated boulevard cruiser. The Mustang II was an attempt by Ford to bring the Mustang back to it's original size and mission. They succeeded. In 1974, its first year, Mustang II sales were over twice that of the previous year's big Mustang.

Even though it sold very well, there are very few Mustang IIs left. This one is a remarkable survivor.

The seller says this car has just 51,563 miles on it. It is being sold by a dealer and he gives no explanation for the low mileage. (Documentation, given that it has a 5 digit odometer, would be important here. ) It's obviously been buffed and puffed for the sale, but other than some normal (actually less than normal, given the year) wear, it looks to be in good overall condition. The downside is, it's a 4 cylinder with an automatic. Don't try to drag race anything other than pedal powered vehicles with this car.

Even with my new found semi-respect for the Mustang II, I have no desire to own one. It's just not my type of car. However, if you're looking for a car that will take you back to the good old days / bad old days of the mid-1970s, this car is worth checking out.

Located in Plainview, NY, click here to see the eBay listing.

Adendum- "M's" Mustang II had a V8 in it. It was fairly quick, but the 8 seemed like a lot of engine for the chassis. That added to the scariness of it. After she sold it, she bought another of her "dream cars," a GMC Jimmy. In 2005, she bought a new Nissan Pathfinder. While we still speak on occasion (including tonight, when I asked if it was OK to write about her and her car), we haven't really dated in 5 or 6 years. The differences in "dream cars" were irreconcilable ;-)

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