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Ford Mustang 1976 – 1978 Ford Mustang the Rebirth of the Stang

Ford Mustang 1976 the Ford Mustang II

The 1976 Ford Mustang II was almost completely unchanged from the previous year’s model. The engines were identical and nearly all of the options were kept. One striking move that Ford made, though, was to lower the base price of the Mustang. The Cobra II trim option was introduced this year and carried a price tag of $325. Consisting of brushed aluminum appliqués on the door panels and dash; simulated hood scoop; front air dam; ducktail rear spoiler; flip out rear quarter windows with louvered covers; sports steering wheel; radial tires and styled steel wheels with trim rings, it was only available on the hatchback.

1976 was the third year for the Mustang II but the changes that were made over the previous two years were minimal. In fact, the changes were so obscure that even with the trip options that were slightly modified, you could hardly tell the 1974 basic Mustang car from the 1975 basic Mustang car or the 1976 basic Mustang. It would be another year before options and add ons would be made available that would shake things up a bit and provide some interesting changes to the Ford Mustang.

1977 T-tops for the Ford Mustang

Once again, the 1977 Ford Mustang II was much like the previous year’s model but there were a few changes that did give it some distinction. Some exterior changes were made. One of the most notable was the T-tops. Some changes were made to some of the engines, mostly in regards to a reduction of horsepower. However, the smallest available motor did receive a boost in horsepower. The 302, though, took a hit, going from 140 hp to 134 hp. The 171ci engine was altered minimally going from 105 hp to 103 hp. The 140ci, though, made a sizable jump from 88 hp to 92 hp. It would be about a decade before the true horsepower would return as a mainstay for the Ford Mustang when fuel injection was introduced.

There were some options that were available, including the Stallion trim package. This too was only available on the hatchback body style. This package yielded a black body with silver body sides and rear deck. It also had styled steel wheels, Stallion fender decals and bright moldings on the lower body side. The Economy Car era was winding to a close, as Ford seemed to show little imagination or creativity in body style or even options. The selections for Mustangs during this era were quite slim; a marked departure from the cutting edge Mustang of the early years.

1978 Ford Mustang the Rebirth of the Stang

This was the end of the Economy Car era, the end of the Mustang II. It also marked the return of the original pony car that made the Mustang a household name. The horsepower of the Mustang took another hit, but this time only one engine was altered. The 171ci motor took a 13 horses hit, going from 103 hp to 90 hp. However, the 2.3L remained the same and the 302 gained a few horses, going from 134 hp to 139 hp. The Mach 1 model also saw its last year of production in 1978, as did the Cobra II option packages.

(CAFÉ) Rules and the Mustang

In 1978, the federal government introduced the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) rules. These rules required that every car sold had to meet certain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings regarding fuel economy. Any automaker that did not comply would face stiff fines. For 1978, the requirements were set at 18 mpg the increased to 19 mpg for 1979 and increased on a yearly basis until the mpg for 1985 was 27 ½. These requirements promised modifications of the size, weight and performance of a vehicle so a new Mustang era emerged in 1979.

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