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Cheap V6 Project: 1974 Ford Mustang II

With sales falling and girth increasing, Ford reinvented the once-popular Mustang pony car in 1974. The Mustang II would now be a subcompact and was 500 lbs. lighter than the year before, just in time to save money at the gas pump (thanks to the OPEC oil embargo). This ’74 Mustang II coupe last ran in 2014 and needs some tinkering, but the seller has cleaned it up some. Located in Stephenville, Texas, this project Ford is available here on craigslist for $3,000. Kudos to Pat L. for another discovery!

Ford no doubt accomplished its financial goals with the ’74 Mustang II as sales did an almost immediate turnabout. As such, Ford executive Lee Iacocca would strike gold twice with the pony car, which sold more than a million copies over the next five years. Because of the downsizing that took place, a 4-cylinder engine could now do the work of an I-6 and a 2.8-liter V6 would take over for the 302 V8 (which would come back later). The “new” car would borrow a lot from the Pinto in its design and for that reason, it’s probably the least sought-after iteration of the Mustang today with collectors,

The seller has owned this Ford for at least a decade and had it running the last time that far back. The fuel pump may have done it in, but if you pour gasoline directly into the carburetor, you can get the engine to show signs of like. The Mustang has an automatic transmission, and we don’t know if the downtime has hurt it any (other than it will need a change of fluids). We’re told that everything is there except for the fan shroud and the lower front valance.

Photos provided by the seller show the Ford before and after it received a bath. It seems to clean up well enough and the body looks okay, but there’s no discussion of any rust or anything else relative to the physical car. The seller goes out of his/her way to make sure you know what you’d be getting into with this Mustang as a project. Reading between the lines, at 70,000 miles and wearing “II” badging, this Mustang won’t be worth a small fortune regardless of how much you might put into it.


  1. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    Russ has it right: here’s a cheap project. Cleaned up, this Mustang II isn’t too bad. Obviously it needs work, but finding any Mustang II in reasonable shape isn’t easy.

    The seller sounds a bit edgy, but I get it… he knows he has a car which isn’t particularly popular, but why should he listen to people call to criticize or berate it.

    I hope someone gets it and spends some energy improving it. Sure would be good to see more of them out and about, given their importance in the nearly 60 uninterrupted years of the Mustang.

    Like 22
    • Avatar photo Neil R Norris

      Ford should have spent the energy improving it … junk

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo Mike Teske

      That was my first used car I bought in 81 and it looks identical. I wish I still had it

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Buffstang

    Russ, only 10% of 1973 Pinto parts are used in 1974 Mustang. Other parts developed for 1974 Mustangs were retro fitted to 1974 Pintos where possible. #FactsNotFiction

    Like 16
    • Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

      Buffstang, you are correct.

      I recently had a conversation with a person who is considered an expert on the Mustang II. He stated there are only three “body” parts which are common (I don’t remember them for sure, might have been the trunk pan and rear inner wheel pieces). That of course does not include all the items which were common to all Fords, things like wiring harnesses, steering wheels, etc. He quickly made the comment “there is way more 1960 Falcon in a 1965 Mustang, and 1978 Fairmont in a 1979 Mustang, than there is 1971 Pinto in a 1974 Mustang II.”

      Like 21
      • Avatar photo bowmade

        I seem to remember hearing that you could put a Mustang II front clip on a Pinto w/o much difficulty. I always thought a MII front clip on a P Cruise Wagon would look really cool!

        Like 3
  3. Avatar photo BillB

    The cologne V6 isn’t even broken in. If it gets parked for a long period of time with the fuel pump push rod fully depressed into the pump, the diaphragm will go bad. It’s the luck of the draw as to when in the pumping cycle it gets shut down. I have a ’75 cologne stick. I would love to have those OEM forged aluminum wheels.

    Like 10
  4. Avatar photo Amilesholley

    Had a 77 hatch with T tops . German V6 was really a fun . It had more pep than most assumed . Even more when tweeked. With a differnt front end and all red tail loghts it would have been popular like the Aussy Falcon of the same era. We now have a 77 with orginal fact. 302. Some parts like headers & the extra little v8 gas tank can be hard to find . They grows on you I guess. Still a fan.

    Like 10
    • Avatar photo edward kas

      A lot better deal than a lot of the trash posted on this website.

      Like 13
  5. Avatar photo Chevylubber

    I do like these, my brother had a clean black on black automatic ’76 hatchback
    Good looking car.

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo John

      I can’t believe nobody said LS SWAP IT yet

      Like 5
  6. Avatar photo Rick cunningham

    Buyers beware of the 2.8 v6. The mustang 2 and pinto shared this motor. Might want to buy you some extra water pumps because this motor eats them up. Also timing gear also comes apart after 45,ooo miles too. It phonalic gear on steal just comes apart. High labor job. I has 2 pinto wagons and changed 11 water pumps. They are good on gas mileage for that time. 26 mpg.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Richard

      Yes, the water pump had a short life. Mine was an oil burner. It had an unusual 60 degree configuration for the cylinder banks.

      Like 4
  7. Avatar photo Richard

    I had a ’77 Mustang 2 coupe with the Cologne V-6 and AT. It was a truly awful car. The body rattled and it burned oil from day one.
    When I got rid of it in 1981, it had already started to rust. It was from Ford’s “malaise” era.

    Like 2
  8. Avatar photo Mike

    Paint color looks very similar to my 74 Gran Torino – medium copper metallic.

    Like 5
  9. Avatar photo Troy

    I will be one of the first to admit that I always thought that it was a glorified pinto mostly because the one’s with the 4cyl looked like a pinto Under the hood and the high drive shaft tunnel running through the car along with the circle gauge cluster. At the same time I have always wanted one because of all the haters of these years of mustang. I wish it was closer to me to check it out in person and see if I could get it just to cruise hot August nights coming up.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Greg Schrecengost Member

      Hey Troy, this is Greg. I got a 77 two-door with a six cylinder four-speed would like 40,000 miles sitting in my backyard. No rust on it needs a clutch. Welcome to it if you want it the wife wants it out of the backyard.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Buffstang

        I’m interested, shoot me a yahoo email at my username, thanks

        Like 0
  10. Avatar photo George Member

    The initial plan was to have the fastback model only, but Iacocca felt that a notchback version would add a lot to sales. To have two roofs added a lot of weight. The designer, Dick Nesbit, wanted to lengthen the wheelbase by a couple of inches to improve the proportions of the notchback, which does look a little heavy. It also would have improved passenger space in the rear and given a better ride. The original plan was a more sweeping, integrated roofline, but Lido said he wanted something more T-bird like. He also nixed the longer wheelbase. I love it when car designers talk about their work in Facebook groups.

    Like 5
  11. Avatar photo guy wind

    My fiance had a 74. Drove surprisingly well. Absolutely no power whatsoever. We got rid of it.

    Like 4
  12. Avatar photo Buck

    I still have a 1978 King Cobra with T-tops, was only produced in 78′ and has a low production numbers, a little less than 4,000 units. So since I graduated in 79′ this was my dream car, and I thought it would be worth a lot, later on, like other rare Mustangs,
    but it turned out to be a “Mis-Fit Mustang” that nobody wants, not worth much, Dam ! What was I thinking, maybe I’ll fix it up. Again !

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo George Member

      It’s the best looking Mustang II, which is actually a pretty good looking car, especially when you consider some of the cheesy stuff coming out of Detroit at the time

      so you’ve enjoyed it for 45 years? You got your money’s worth and more

      Like 8
    • Avatar photo Buffstang

      Concours restorations and low mileage pristine examples are selling in the low to mid 30’s :-)

      Like 3
  13. Avatar photo George Member

    I often (not that often) wonder if the well of ire directed against the Mustang II would be as virulent had Ford offered a V-8

    The performance image of the mustang was entirely based on V8 power, and with that option gone, a lot of people didn’t feel the magic

    of course, a lot of the V8s at that time got about 4 miles per gallon and generated 60 hp, but they still had eight cylinders

    Like 5
  14. Avatar photo Timothy R Herrod

    took my drivers test in a 74 mustang hatchback. it was a lot easier to drive than the old pickups I learned to drive in.

    Like 3
  15. Avatar photo CCFisher

    A brown, 1974 Mustang II V6/auto coupe. The only things separating this from the worst Mustang ever built are two cylinders.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Buck

      I.D.K about that, I think that my moms 74 hatchback, 4-banger was a better motor, easier to work on , than her 75 hatchback with that stupid metric German V-6,

      Like 1
  16. Avatar photo Lothar... of the Hill People

    $3K for an old Mustang II w/:
    -an engine that spins and
    -no rust and
    -a clear title?
    I think that’s a good deal, folks.
    People can gripe about the Mustang II model all they want but these cars have their fans. If you don’t like them, don’t buy one.

    PS- I like the seller’s brick floor!

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. I’ve heard so many people complain about the Mustang II’s supposed Pinto components. I say “Dilligaf!”. As long as it runs and drives like the car should, why should I care? And assuming the body is solid and there’s no structural problems with the car, I’d be willing to pay around the $3,000 asking price. This would make a great resto project.

      Like 6

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