Mileage Master: 1976 Ford Mustang II MPG

Orange you glad to see another Mustang II? Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jason for sending in the tip for this 1976 Ford Mustang II! This is the MPG edition which came out in mid-1975 and included lower gearing for higher MPG ratings. This one is posted on Craigslist with an asking price of $1,500 or best offer?! Now that’s a price most of us can live with! This mileage master is in Carbondale, Colorado.

This is one unusual color. I can’t tell if it’s orange or gold, or an orange’ish gold. Gold’ish orange? I think this color is actually “medium yellow gold / goldenrod” but it wasn’t offered in 1976 that I know of? 1974 seems to be the last year for this color. Mustang II colors really stood out in what has to be one of the earliest uses of color-keyed bumpers. My pick would be a black 2+2 hatchback with a 4-speed, but that’s just me. As much as I love bright colors, there’s something cool about that black hatchback. This is a hardtop and they also offered a fancy Ghia edition.

You can see that although the exterior looks great you’ll have some work to do on the interior. The dash is probably cracked, being hidden by that faded, carpeted dash pad. The carpets on the floor and everything else will need a good cleaning and maybe some re-dying, if you wanted to go that far. Or, as the seller has been doing, just drive it as an interesting and good commuter car. This one even has new tires and a new battery. And, you can see that this car has an automatic transmission. For a car being touted as an MPG leader that just seems odd to me. With the automatic it got 31 highway and 22 city, from the EPA’s rating system in that era. The 4-speed car’s MPG figures were 34 highway and 24 city.

Here’s part of the dealio with the MPG moniker, Ford’s base 2.3L, 140 cubic-inch inline-four with 93 hp. The MPG models came with a a 3.18:1 rear-axle ratio whereas the standard was 3.40:1. Starting in 1976, Ford called all base-model 2.3L four-cylinder cars with this gear ratio MPG models to highlight the fact that they had a high-MPG car available in that era of rising gas prices and gas shortages. Ford also offered a Pinto version. I see a mini-MPG-collection in your future! Have any of you heard of the Mustang II MPG?

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Comments

  1. Skloon

    Had a frind who’s parents had all their cars this colour even haVing an a3 jetta repainted they felt it was a safe colour

    • Andrew

      Did he worked for the Coast Guard perhaps?

  2. Andy

    I almost died in a hatchback Mustang II on the Parks Highway in Alaska in 1985. This car looks like it sums up the ’70s perfectly, in a way that makes me glad it’s 2017. Nice condition though.

  3. Dairymen

    The color is hurting my eyes!
    65-70 are the nicest mustangs, after that it goes downhill quick. This is a nice 2 door model car that doesn’t deserve the name “Mustang “.

    • Dean

      That’s your opinion….. I certainly think it deserves the Mustang name! Mustang II brought the car back to it’s original roots, & for what purpose & reason it was designed. Obviously there are countless ppl who seem to overlook that. They do not realize that the models of 70-73 had brought the mustang WAY AWAY from what it was designed to be…..

      Like 3
    • ponyman1

      Dairymen……”A nice 2 door model car” ??? ALL mustangs are 2 doors. And YES they do deserve the mustang name. Mustang 55 years strong consecutively and counting.

      Like 1
  4. David Miraglia

    Being a Mustang fan. I never cared for the Mustang 2. Too econobox, not enough muscle.

    • grant

      Lol, it’s a Mustang, too!

    • Dairymen

      That’s exactly what I mean!

  5. Cubs win

    it could be cool resto mod.

  6. Brakeservo

    Having had one, I think MPG means More Problematic Garbage.

  7. Robert

    I bought one new in October ’75. It was a Ghia. I wanted triple black. Wife wanted silver. After the divorce I had it painted black. Put on 186,000 miles. Gave it to my godson in ’91. He drove it awhile and gave it to his cousin.

    Like 2
  8. Flmikey

    As I have said in the past, we need to start buying these up before they become super collectable…and I doubt that’s an original color….

    Like 1
    • karu

      So true. Many cars today won’t be collectible in the future. They are more disposable.

  9. Jason

    I had never heard of the MPG edition until sending in this tip!

    It seemed like an add-on decal, but apparently was legit:

    http://mustangattitude.com/cgi-bin/showcar.cgi?pic=/1976/1976_00028_01

  10. Jeffro

    I’m noticing a strange resemblance. Colors look kinda close.

    Like 1
    • Dairymen

      I bet that fish is a lot faster!

    • Andrew

      It most likely resembles the odor too under the seats.

  11. Jason

    Although not very desirable among car collectors, I’ve always liked the Mustang II.

    Like 2
  12. MDW66

    Does anybody remember the old slogan Mustang II boredom 0? Not a fan really however looks like it is not in too bad of shape.

  13. Dan
  14. ccrvtt

    I had a friend who owned a Ghia with what she called a “Thunderbird color” – sort of a pale metallic turquoise with a cream vinyl top with a raised insert in the C pillar that had the Ghia emblem. It was actually an elegant little car. Ford got that concept right, in my opinion. GM got it wrong with the Cadillac Cimarron.

    The Big 3 always looked at subcompacts as cheap, throwaway cars. Had they made them high-content, quality items I think they would have had buyers who would plunk down bigger bucks for a smaller edition of a Fleetwood or an Imperial.

    Even today a 3-series BMW smacks more of econobox (albeit way overpriced) than of luxury or substance.

    So I give Ford a lot of credit for the Mustang II, especially the Ghia. Too bad the bumpers were so boxy and awkward, but overall it was a clean, unique design that I find far more attractive than many of its ’80’s successors.

    Like 1
  15. Loco Mikado

    There was also a Pinto MPG in ’76. Seems like Ford had MPG of the brain that year. To be fair Plymouth had a similar model with the Feather Duster with an aluminum inner hood and trunk-lid panels and aluminum front and rear bumper mounts.The crash-resistant bumper mounts and the transmission casing are also aluminum and a fiberboard headliner and pop-out windows also trimmed off weight. The shipping weight for these cars was around 2,700 pounds.

    • Delmar

      It was the height of the Fuel Crisis, that’s why. The Mustang II MPG was the right car at the right time, but memory and history was unkind to it.

      Like 2
  16. JW

    I like orange but this color on that Mustang looks odd. Now as for the car if it’s rust free then it screams I want to be highly modified on power and looks, since most don’t care for the Mustang II you won’t have anyone bashing you for doing it.

  17. Vernon Kuncze

    I had a 74 with the 4 banger for my first car. Beat the he’ll out of it TRYING to go fast. Probably the reason I’m alive today because I couldn’t.

    • Jason

      Words to live by. Literally.

  18. Delmar

    The color is ‘Keetorange’. I actually have this same car, but it’s a black Ghia model. If anyone’s interested in this one, I recommend it; it’s a very unique car to have on the road. I love mine.

  19. Rocket

    They built 58 of these per hour in 1974. There was a tremendous push to build them right and I believe it was the Motor Trend car of the year in 1974. To sit in one on the showroom floor was special….the high end cars were quite plush. I had a plain Jane 1974 model, which still took leaded gas. Put 119,000 miles on it and sold it for about 1/3 what I paid for it. The stereo was way better than most cars on the road at that time….

  20. Pete

    Yeah I didn’t like them Mustang II’s when they came out and I don’t like them now. I had an 1981 Capri Black and Silver with the same drive train. It would do 55 MPH top speed, up hill down hill and off a cliff. It just would go any faster and I hated that. But it did beat walking.

    • Vernon Kuncze

      Had my m2 pinned at 92 mph only took 4 minutes

    • Rob

      Had a 76 Capri II with the 2.3. The best it would do was 90, downhill, with a tailwind pushing. It was pooh brown, learned a lot on that car.

  21. Rich

    Higher gearing surely, not lower gearing? Lower number diff = higher gearing.

    Like 1
  22. pursang

    Wow. I could have had a V8.

    Like 1
  23. Mercuryman

    It is interesting to compare different manufacturers methods for achieving better fuel economy. BMW did it with the tractor like e series cars. Better low end torque so you didn’t have to work the engine as hard. Honda chose lightness with a small, efficient 4 cylinder. When Ford introduced the Mustang II it was more as a personal luxury car than a pony car. They even redesigned the running horse emblem. I wonder if they could have achieved better numbers with the 2.8 V6 if it was tuned better than with the changes they did make. I had a V6 Mustang II that I modified. Offy intake with a 390 4bbl, mild cam, higher compression and headers. With a 4 speed my Cobra II could get 36mpg on the highway. I only had that car for 6 months, lots of people wanted to buy it and I gave in too early I think. I should have finished modifying it before making that decision. Live and learn.

    Like 1
  24. ken k

    I bought this car

    Like 1
  25. Mad dog

    I have a pinto mpg and mustang ii mpg

    • Dean C

      Love MII & Pintos

      Like 1

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