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1974-1982 Ford Mustang Facts, Mustang History Lesson


1981 Ford Mustang

1981 Ford Mustang

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We are getting closer and closer to the 45th Anniversary celebration of the Mustang at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama on April 16-19th and leading up to the celebration Ford has been taking us back in their time machine with some Mustang facts from the past.  In a previous post we visited the early years of 1964-1974 and now we now we are moving to 1974-1982, a span of years most would like to forget about as it included the gas crisis and the shrinking of engines to increase fuel economy, sound familiar.

A few highlights from the era include the all-new redesigned 1974 Mustang II design, which was 19-inches shorter and a staggering 490 pounds lighter then the 1973 model.  For the first time in the Mustang's history no V-8 engine or convertible option was available.  In 1975 the V-8 returned to the Mustang as a 302 ci motor producing only 130 horsepower, about as much hp as some motorcycles produce these days.  For 1978 we saw the King Cobra model wear the famous 5.0 badge for the first time.  In 1979 the new "Fox" platform made it's debut, a platform that Ford would use on the Mustang until 1993.  Skipping ahead to 1982 we saw the return of the Mustang GT after a 12-year hiatus with a 5.0-liter V-8 producing 157 horsepower, wow.  For the whole list of facts check below.

1974-1982 Ford Mustang Facts:

  • The completely redesigned Mustang II was introduced in 1974. Compared with the 1973 model, the Mustang II was 19 inches shorter and 490 pounds lighter. It was available in a notchback, including a luxury Ghia model and a 2+2 fastback. For the first time, there was no V-8 engine and no Mustang convertible option available.
  • An orange 1973 Mustang Mach I was featured in a prominent role in the action movie Gone in 60 Seconds, which debuted in 1974.
  • In 1975, V-8 power returned to the Mustang. But the 302-cid V-8 engine produced only 130 horsepower and came only with an automatic transmission.
  • The Cobra II package joined the lineup in 1976, replete with non-functional hood scoop, racing stripes and front and rear spoilers. Available in white with blue stripes, blue with white stripes, and black with gold stripes, the Cobra II was intended to recall the looks of the famed Shelby Mustangs.
  • In an attempt to appeal to convertible fans, fastback models became available with T-Top removable glass roof panels. A new Sports Performance Package added a four-speed manual transmission to the 302-cid V-8.
  • In 1978, the new King Cobra model was the first Mustang to wear a 5.0 badge – the metric equivalent of 302 cubic inches.
  • The new “Fox” platform made its debut in 1979. The new model was longer and taller than the Mustang II, yet it was 200 pounds lighter. A sleek, “Euro” design replaced many traditional Mustang styling cues. Engine choices included a 2.3-liter four-cylinder,a 2.8-liter V-6, a 3.3-liter inline six-cylinder and a 140-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8.
  • In 1980, the 302-cid V-8 engine was dropped and replaced by an economy-minded 119-horsepower, 225-cid V-8 derivative.
  • In 1981, performance headed to the back burner, as the turbo four-cylinder was dropped from the Mustang engine lineup and new emissions controls dropped the 255-cid V-8’s power to 115 horsepower.
  • In 1982, the Mustang GT returned after a 12-year absence. The 5.0-liter V-8, which delivered 157 horsepower was also back, and optional T-Tops returned.

Source: Ford Motor Company

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