I'll start off by apologizing if I tick anyone off by saying this, but the 1970s sucked. And for a number of reasons.
Disco Leisure suits Disco Malaise Disco Platform shoes Disco The Love Boat Disco The 1974 Mustang II Disco The ’74 Mustang was built on the same platform as the Pinto, and it went downhill from there. Part of the problem can be blamed on Uncle Sam. Detroit was trying to figure out how to comply with new emissions and safety regulations. Then there was the 1973-74 Oil Crisis, during which gas soared to an obscene 55 cents a gallon. All of this had the Big Three trying to offer the public performance, economy, and style all at the same time. They failed. The ’74 Mustang II is widely regarded as an all-around horrible car, with anemic acceleration and below-average ride quality. Its default engine was a 140 cubic inch (2.3 L) four-cylinder engine, with a 6-cylinder 171 cubic inch (2.8 L) the only other option. For the first time in Mustang history there was no V-8 available.
But the ‘74’s biggest defect is that it was just plain ugly. Its looks earned it the # 2 position on a recent list of the 10 worst cars of all time. The designers of the ’74 tried to build a car that would appeal to everyone while offending nobody. The idea is in itself offensive. Amazingly, the ’74 was a commercial success. This is a testament to the standards of the time, which produced cars with orange shag carpet, faux-wood side panels, and car stereos that played 8-tracks of the “Village People.”
But perhaps the most telling comment on the 1974 Mustang was written by the editors of Consumer Reports. They said that Americans would be better off buying the AMC Gremlin, which, in their judgment, was “superior to the Mustang II in its seating, noise level, handling, and acceleration.” 1974: the year that a Mustang made the Gremlin look good. Let’s not go there again. Ever.