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|The 1974 Mustang II was a total departure from previous Mustangs. Downsized, it was available only in two body styles - a two-door hardtop and a three-door hatchback. There were no convertibles. It did incorporate many of the first generation Mustang's styling cues such as the long hood/short deck configuration, the side sculpturing and the front grille.|
Mechanically, the Mustang II differed in many ways from the first generation Mustangs. The front suspension was redesigned. The front springs were now located between the control arms rather than above the upper A arm. A front subframe was designed to isolate the engine from the rest of the chassis mostly due to the inherent vibration of the standard 2.3L four-cylinder engine. Rack and pinion replaced the recirculating ball steering, and front disc brakes were standard, as were staggered rear shocks. Also standard equipment was a four-speed manual transmission.
In the interior, a more informative dash was used. Tachometer, fuel, alternator and temperature gauges were standard as were non-reclining bucket seats.
Two engines were available. The base 140 ci 2.3L four-cylinder was the first metric American engine. It featured a cross-flow single overhead cam cyliner head, but it pumped out a meager 88 hp - not really enough for a Mustang weighing close to 3,000 pounds.
The only optional engine for 1974 was the German-built 171 ci 2.8L V-6 rated at 105 hp. It was a nice little engine, but again the Mustang II was too heavy for any sort of performance that was reminiscent of the first generation Mustangs.
The Mustang II was available in three models, base in either hardtop or three-door 2+2, the luxury-oriented two-door hardtop Ghia and the performance looking Mach 1 three-door 2+2.
The Ghia moniker replaced the Grande and was the luxury Mustang. Ghia was the name of the Italian desing studios that Ford had acquired. Using the Ghia name was intended to lend an air of European exclusivity. The Ghia came with the expected upgrades: deluxe seatbelts, digital quartz clock, the luxury interior group (vinyl seats and door trim, door courtesy lights, 25-oz carpeting, rear ashtray, parking brake boot and sound package), outside color-keyed remote control mirrors, pin stripes, vinyl roof, Picardy velour cloth and the styled steel wheels were a no-cost option.
The Mach 1 came with the larger engine, the 2.8L V-6, and a unique lower bodyside treatment with Mach 1 lettering. However, the Rallye package was required to give the Mach 1 the maximum performance potential. The package consisted of the Traction-Lok differential, CR70x13 wide oval radial B/WL tires, extra cooling package, digital quartz clock, the Competition Suspension(heavy-duty front and rear springs, rear stabilizer bar and adjustable shocks), outside color-keyed remote control mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel and styled steel wheels/trim rings.
Other interesting options were a manual sunroof, forged aluminum wheels and an anti-theft alarm system.