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, 255-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