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1976 Ford Mustang II Mach I with Cobra II package



  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Thinking back on our Turbo Coupe, I realize I rarely drove the car at its optimal suspension setting in the 14 years we owned it. The suspension was adjustable and felt much more responsive in the "sport" setting, and the ride was very decent. Unfortunately my wife has a bad back and 99.9% of the time we kept the suspension set on "Buick", so it drove like it had bad shocks (and actually rode worse, at least to me).

    Is the Fox platform based on the Pinto/Mustang II? The Fox platform has some limitations but the pre-'93 Mustang 5.0 built on it was a blast. I drove several and my wife tells me they put a big grin on my face. The '93 Mustangs lost a few horses and they didn't do nearly as much for me, so obviously tire-frying torque makes up for a weak chassis--for some of us.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,599
    I'm pretty sure the Fox platform is different from the Pinto/Mustang II chassis, although they might share some common stuff like wheel bolt patterns, rear-ends, etc.

    I heard that another Fox-bodied model that was supposed to be fun was the 84-85 LTD LX sedan. It had a 302 with something like 165 hp. I think in cars like the T-bird and Crown Vic, it only put out about 140 hp at the time. Come to think of it, even though the Fox-Mustang is bigger than the Mustang II, I think it actually weighs a bit less.
  • I'm surprised so many people think the Mustang II is an ugly car. While it was clearly the low end performace-wise compared to other generations of Mustang, I think it was a nice-looking car. My favorite Mustang in terms of appearance is everybody's favorite, the original 1965 model. However, I would venture to say that the Mustang II comes in second. I like the hardtop models better than the hatchbacks. Here's a nice pic I found:

    I would guess my brother's 1977 Toyota Celica ST was prime competition for the Mustang II in its day. I wonder which one is faster? :-)

    -Andrew L

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I don't think it was so much the body design that people dislike; rather, I think most Mustang enthusiasts (or auto enthusiasts in general) object to the drastic downsizing and the weak engines. Also, what Ford (and everyone in the 70s) did to those body designs was objectionable. The landau roofs, funky color schemes, wire wheel covers, etc. haven't aged well in retrospect.
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    I used to have a co-worker with some sort of greenish Mustang II complete with 302 and (I seem to remember) some kind of cobra-ish emblem. He was pretty stoked having the same kind of car (Mustang) and engine size (302) as mine had, so we were kind of Mustang buddies I guess.

    The only real differences were that mine was a 1970 and said 'Boss' on the side.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,599
    ...the Mustang II was a return to the original roots of the car. It was originally supposed to be an inexpensive compact car with a sporty flair...a car that school teachers and secretaries could drive and still have some fun! In fact, wasn't the biggest engine iitally available only a 260 V-8?

    But over the years, the Mustangs became faster and more powerful, and added pounds and inches as well. They almost became more "muscle" car than "pony" car. Suddenly along came 1974, and the Mustang II must have looked laughable compared to the Barracuda, Challenger, Camaro, Firebird, and Javelin (I think the Jav was still around in 1974)

    Still, the Mustang II was a trend-setter. The Challenger/Barracuda were cancelled after '74, and if the Jav was still around in '74, I'm sure it was gone by '75. Only the Camaro/Firebird remained. GM responded to the Mustang II with cars like the Monza/Sunbird/Starfire/Skyhawk, and Chrysler kind of half-heartedly came out with a Mistubishi-bodied Challenger/Sapporo in the late 70's, just in time to see the Mustang go back to a more appropriate platform.

    As for attractiveness of the style, I do think the '74-78 notchback coupe is pretty attractive. Never cared too much for the hatchbacks, though. Compared to the '71-73 models, I think the Mustang II is "cuter", but just lacks that certain muscular ugliness of the earlier models, and definitely pales in comparison to the original.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    You're right, the first Mustang was really more about perception than reality. The 289 2v and base 4v felt very quick in the early Mustangs but the numbers weren't that great. I don't remember the 0-60 times but I think they were around ten seconds, with the quarter mile in the 17s(?)--I may be wrong but that's the general idea.

    The optional 289/271-hp K motor was a good performer but expensive and very few were sold, although the halo effect was strong. I think the '68 428 CJ was the first Mustang with a clear-cut advantage over its competition.

    I remember the word was that the Boss 302 put out a little more horsepower and a little less torque than the Z/28 302. Those ports and valves were huge even on the 351.
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    I'm sure I've prattled about this before.....

    Having owned two of each, I definitely give the nod to the Mustang for build quality, handling, and just general 'feel'. They definitely feel less 'peaky' and have more off the line torque than the Camaros.

    I've always liked how both cars look, but to be fair they don't feel super strong (too heavy mostly). To get the car going, you have to beat the beejeepers out of the engine in both cases, and even so they aren't 'scarey' fast in either case.

    In both cases, what I would like to own now would be to start with an engineless, cheap hull and put together a modern 400+ cubic inch, aluminum head small block with a 5 or 6 speed (Richmond, maybe) plus improved handling and braking stuff. Some of those 'pro-touring' cars a really cool, but like I've said before (somewhere, I'm sure), all you end up with is a 30 to 40 thousand dollar car that can keep up with a new Mustang Cobra or Z/28 (for 25k or under). Oh well.
  • and I recant tales of yore from my gearhead days, my sons (and other Scouts around the fire) generally shake their heads at the sad state of the automotive world I refer to as "the dark ages"--about 1974--1982 or so. When I was "serious" about Mustangs and attended a few shows a year, I always felt sorry for the Mustang II owners--excluded from the shows, or tucked away in the corner somewhere like illegitimate offspring. But, if I recall my history correct, they still outsold the Camaro/Firebirds, even in those days.
  • I remember as a youth, working at my fathers gas station, we had a special oil filter wrench just for Mustang II V8s. It was a regular band type wrench with the band cut down to half the thickness. It was so ridiculously tight in the engine bay - meant for a four cylinder.

    I was changing oil on one one day and commented (very sarcastically) that the oil filter placement was one of "Ford's better ideas", as their ad campaign with that phrase was at it's height.

    The owner looked at me and said, "There are plenty of reasons why they put that in the spot they did! I work for Ford!"

    OOPS ;-)
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    Probably the guy who designed the stripe kit.

    His next job was going to AMC to work on that Hornet based AMX.

    THAT would be a funny idea (sorry, this is West Coast specific). Do a parody of the In 'n Out Burger T-shirts with a flock of disco era muscle cars. Some guy pulling into the lot with one of those Ventura based GTOs (with envious looks from the crowd, of course), Ford Cobra and AMX/Hornet naturlich, Dodge Magnum XE, maybe a 403 powered Trans Am.
  • The Volare Roadrunner. What a sad package that was, but LOTS of nice stripes.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,599
    I don't know, it was pretty tacky, but it at least had a pretty strong 360-4bbl to back it up! I do remember there was an extra-tacky version though, with body cladding galore that made it look like it belonged on a NASCAR track!

    Still, pretty tame compared to the old '68-70 Roadrunner!
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    Oh yeah! The Volare Runner, I forgot about those. Sweeeet.

    Kind of along the same line, I got to drive, ahem, a Laguna S3 mit 454 and 4-speed once (with about 180 horsepower I think). Man oh man what a pig (it's those 'pork'upine heads, don't you know).

    Along the same lines, there's the Pontiac Can Am (circa 1977 or so, I think). That car just oozes McClaren M8B or Porsche 917.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,599
    I kinda like these...even though they still scream 70's, they do it in a cool way, kinda like comparing Deep Purple or Meat Loaf to Captain & Tenille! But I guess with the emasculated engines of the time, even though the car looked tough, it was probably the automotive equivalent of a rottweiler that's just come back from getting neutered at the vet clinic! The ones I've seen had 400's in 'em, but I'm not sure of the horsepower. I have a book that lists two numbers for the 400 that year, 180 hp and 200 hp.
  • I haven't seen one for years! I used to laugh at them back then!

    Found a picture. OOOOOOOO a hood scoop! (Non functional)

    As far as 400s go, everyone made them and they all were pathetic, performance wise. It is truly amazing to look at the HP ratings of some of the mid 70s cars. It must have taken quite a bit of effort to take a big block and get the HP down so low.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,599
    thanks for that link. The only problem is that now that ad has got me wanting one!
  • I know that "Trans Am type 'Shaker' hood scoop - THAT REALLY SHAKES" really gets me too. To bad it didn't really scoop air.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I had a 1979 Arrow 2.6 GT back in the early eighties. In addition to the big four banger it had a stiff suspension and four wheel disc brakes. Oh yeah, and T/A style hood and rocker decals. It even had fake "engine turned" interior trim as did the T/A. It was quick for the era and I had a lot of fun blowing off Mustang IIs and Monza "Spyders". There was also a Fire Arrow with even more outrageous graphics.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,240
    was the same 403 built by Olds and used in the Custom Cruiser.
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