The Mustang II: THE Most Disappointing Car Model Redesign Ever?

Posted by on August 31, 2011 - more
1977 Ford Mustang Fastback

Our friends over at Jalopnik have named the Mustang II as The Most Disappointing Car Model Redesign Ever. Now we know there are a lot of people out there that love their Mustang IIs and would get their back hairs all ruffled with this article. But, to be fair, the Mustang II has been the step child in the Mustang family for a long time.

While Ford sold tons of them in the ’70s, there was a huge sigh of relief when they went away. It is not always a successful venture when a car design gets a total reboot, which is what happened in 1974. The previous generation of pony cars had grown large and heavy and then got slapped with regulations that killed performance. So smaller and lighter made a lot of sense back then. A return to the small, fun, exciting car of 1964 was aimed at and missed however, as the Mustang II was cheaply build, performed poorly and looked, well, perfect for the ’70s.

Ford has once again designed a winner with the current Mustang, but a reboot is going to happen pretty soon. From all indications, the right lessons have been learned and the chances of a repeat of the Mustang II are very slim. In the meantime, enjoy our gallery of the most disappointing car model redesign ever in the gallery.

  • Anonymous

    The car really didn’t look too bad, it just was never exciting enough to make up for the sudden change in direction. If there had been a high performance, hardcore version of this car I am sure they would be remembered more fondly. I’ll never forget the graphic mess that was the King Cobra. My eyes!

    • Steven R Valline

      Yeah, compared to everything else of its time, the Mustang II was legit. It is just compared to all other times for Mustangs, it doesn’t compare so well. But the Corvette sucked those years too.

  • Robert Herring

    nothing disappointing about the Mustang II, I wish I still had my 77 & 78

  • Anonymous

    Just think without the Mustang II we might not have the Mustang today. It was the wright car for the time.

  • Mark Schaeffer

    This just annoys me. The mustang II isn’t a “red headed stepchild” of a mustang. It is a mustang! Its the best selling mustang of all time, it was chock full of first time technology, and , as has been stated already, without it, there would not be a mustang today. Everyone that bashes the mustang II has the same arguments. It looks nothing like a “real” mustang is usually the first one. Ummm, hello have you seen the fox body mustangs that are so loved by so many people? Do they look remotely like an original? The 2nd argument is usually that its a pinto, or some crap like that. The original mustang had more falcon in it, than the mustang II had pinto. Performance wise, yes they were lacking compared to the previously released models, but the original (65) was no race car either.

    • Steven R Valline

      Mark, you make valid points. I think the bad rap the Mustang Ii gets is based on the time period it was from. It was the 10 year anniversary of the original, it was a complete redesign and a “back to basics” pattern – ditching the HUGE boats from ’71-’73. The concept was great, the design had lots of original queues, but like disco, it was the ’70s man. And like most things from the ’70s, it is made fun of. The quality was period, the design was period, the colors were period, the content was period. But there is no time in American culture that is more made fun of than the ’70s. In reality, the ’80s were not much better, but there you go. It usually follows that anyone that defends something from the ’70s – that was their glory days – their coming of age time. Is that true of you Mark? Just curious.

      • Mark Schaeffer

        Nope, born in 80. I may be a bit biased, my first car was a mustang II. And first cars are like first women, always a great memory :) However I try to be as objective as possible with most things in life. I just really enjoy the cars for everything they were/are. Of course when I find another it will be modified (mechanically) but thats more because of the nature of me and modifiying stuff. But I do agree with you about the 70’s.

  • Michael Ashby

    My first Mustang was a 1974 Fastback with the V-6 and a 4-Speed Stick.  I loved driving it, and even topped the 100mph on a stretch of road on the back side of Death Valley before joining the Air Force.  I drove that Mustang through city, mountain snow, and the dirt roads of Death Valley and only got stuck twice.  Once when the fan blade sheared off and went through the radiator, and one night when the clutch pedal bolt broke.  My friend and I machined a new bolt for the pedal and it was still in the car when I sold it a few years later.  The Mustang II was a far better looking Mustang than the ones that followed in the 1980’s.

  • Benjamin Buchanan

    I liked the Mustang II and it was better that the alternative. Ford almost killed the Mustang but the Mustang II saved the day so it has a place in the Mustang history books as well.

  • Brandon Hughes

    Its ugly, cant get around it… doesnt matter what it did or what tech it had, looks are what people see and thats why its the least popular. I am glad it did what it did for the Mustang but… at the end of the day the reason its not popular is looks and lack of performance.

    • Michael Ashby

        I disagree.  If you want to know what an ugly Mustang looks like, look at the Mustang of the 80’s.  They got boxy with nothing on the outside besides the Pony that resembled the Mustangs of the 60’s.  When Ford started going retro in the mid-90’s, bringing back some of the styling cues, until the 2005 model when we got the current breed of Mustang. 

      My 74 at least had the V-6 with a 4-speed stick, and I made the most of those 105 horses under the hood.  It was a fun car to drive.