V8 Survivor: 1975 Ford Mustang II

The Mustang was reinvented (somewhat) in 1974, with Ford trying to recapture the magic of the original product a decade earlier. The car had gotten bigger and more expensive over the years and the introduction of the smaller Mustang II in 1974 was perfectly timed given the OPEC Oil Embargo. This second-year edition from 1975 looks to be a nice survivor and has a V8 engine, which had taken a year off in production. Located in Redding, California, the car is available here on craigslist for $5,000.

The second generation of the Ford Mustang was a new car. Instead of its original roots dating back to the Falcon compact, the “new” Mustang II would now be a derivative of the Pinto sub-compact. The idea was to start over with a car that was smaller, more nimble and more economical than it had grown to be by 1973. The changes in digits were dramatic. The Mustang II was 14.5 inches shorter, nearly four inches narrower, the wheelbase was 12.8 inches less and the car had shed 970 lbs. As such, it could run on an I-4 engine, which proved unpopular with purists, so the 302 cubic inch V8 made a comeback in 1975.

Aided by the movement of consumers to more fuel-efficient cars, the ’74 Mustang II saw production of 386,000 units vs. 135,000 the year before but retreated in ’75 to 187,000 units. That was still more than a third higher than when the first-generation Mustang was winding down. The seller’s 1975 edition is a two-owner car that looks to be in overall decent shape. We’re told that there is no rust and the body is solid, yet it will need some work. Given the dark shadows in the photos provided, it’s hard to assess exactly where the troubles are that the seller mentions. The Green Glow paint, if original, looks to have held up.

Perhaps the selling point of this car is that it doesn’t have an I-4 or V6 engine, which were the choices the year before. Ford brought back the 302 in the Mustang; it wasn’t quite the performer of earlier days but given the lighter weight of the car vs. a couple of years before, it probably did okay. The engine now ran on unleaded fuel and the horsepower rating was down to 122 hp (SAE net) due to other new things like catalytic converters. If you wanted a V8 that year, you also had to choose the automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes.

We’re told the Mustang II runs really well and has had some recent work done to it. It now has an aluminum high-volume radiator, new rack & pinion steering, new GT 500 mini starter, and tires with just 100 miles on them. The original owner rebuilt the engine about 10,000 miles back (the overall mileage of the car is not mentioned). At that time, the owner went with an aftermarket chrome air cleaner and valve covers (one of which looks dented, but it could be the lighting). The car has A/C, but the belt looks to be off the compressor. It apparently no longer has the smog apparatus that was required of California cars back in the day. If the car stays in Cali, will that be a problem for inspection?

The seller indicates that the interior is good, but the only photo provided is from inside the car looking out, not the other way around. Resale values of the Mustang II are far below what the original 1965-66 models command, with Hagerty estimating one in good condition to be worth just $3,600. But for someone looking to have a Cars & Coffee entrant that may need little work, the price of entry is not high. Thanks, Pat L., for bringing this tip to light!

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Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Looks like a decent Mustang II survivor. The V8 is good to see. Period-correct green paint. Typical poor Craigslist pics; one shows little of the interior and more of the tree-trimming (?) crew out the window.

    We get it; this isn’t the most popular Mustang. But friends of the Mustang II will see this as some inexpensive fun.

    Like 16
  2. Popawfox

    I had a 1976 Mustang Cobra II. Only problem I had out of it was the C4 transmission. It just wasn’t up to handling downshifts and spinning the tire takeoffs. Ha!
    I thought it was a really sharp looking car. Blue with white stripes, hood scoop, and rear spoiler. It was quick, but not FAST. I only got 95mph out of it once. Downhill, and wideyass open. Ha!

    Like 5
    • Terry

      There was nothing wrong with that Cobra II that a factory crate 302 wouldn’t solve! Lose the emissions!

      Like 8
      • Jim

        Emissions equipment is there for a reason.

        Like 5
    • Keith

      I had the black and gold version of the Cobra II in 1977. Manual transmission. Amazing I didn’t kill myself in it. Broke up with my girlfriend and use the engagement ring to the Cobra….never regretted a second of that decision.

      Like 3
  3. Scott

    That’s a pretty good example. Nice color, the “right” motor, etc. Shame the photos aren’t great. I’d go with the white one from a week ago before this one, the lack of details in the ad of a car like this is… concerning. Especially for that price.

    Like 3
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    1975 & older is smog exempt – no smog check required.

    Like 5
  5. Jcs

    Green 5.0 with factory A/C, seems hard to go rowng on this one.

    Like 6
  6. Moparman Member

    WOW!! TWO 351 Mustang II’s on the same day. Blue or green, my two favorite colors! If only they were the fastback! *SIGH* GLWTS!! :-)

    • Howard Kerr

      This one has the 302, and in stock/tired(?) condition while the blue one has a 351 with somewhat more power.
      It would be tempting to buy this green one, duplicate the mechanical “bits” of the blue one, but keep the exterior as is.

      Like 1
  7. Jeff

    Hated these when they first came out! I’ve owned a ’67 and a ’91, I was also a member of a large Mustang club that refused to acknowledge the Mustang II even existed! That said, I like them now, wouldn’t mind having one. Maybe I’m just getting old, LOL.

    Like 1
  8. John

    This is a great way to get involved with the Mustang hobby. These cars are much less expensive than the first gen cars and they drive more like a modern car.

    • JCA

      I disagree. Because there is nothing performance about this car then or now and it’s not a great design The color is terrible, it’s had a dent on every panel, slush box with no AC. Needs too much investment. It’s an undesirable car that I don’t think is going to appreciate much from here. For someone young who wants to get into the mustang hobby I would recommend a 2002 New edge GT mustang with a five-speed and a 4.6. it’s an attractive design and you can buy them for less than this turd. Hold on to that one for 20 years and you’ll be glad you did.

      Like 1
  9. MarveH

    My wife loves the Mustang II and I like it as well. I would love to surprise her with one. I have a built 331 V8 on an engine stand waiting to go into something. The auto-box is a complete no sale, though for both my wife and I. A manual swap is, of course, possible but I think I’ll just hold out for a proper three pedal car.

    • Blake Green

      Why do people hate on the mustang 2? I was a teen then and lusted after a ghia notchback in black with the orange landau top, wheels, and a luggage rack on the tiny trunklid. Yes, im a bit weird

      Like 1
      • JCA

        Why do people like you love the mustang 2? Because you were a teen then and lusted after it. It was new and different and due to nostalgia, now you think it should be collectable. But the market says otherwise. You are free to collect it and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just don’t expect price appreciation if that is a factor in your car collecting hobby.

        Like 2
      • Blake Green

        I also lusted after a 78 t-bird with the sports decor package, with t-tops, in navy and chamois (aka orange) guess what, the best selling and previously ignored t-birds have grown a lot in value. They’re out my pocket change now! Hindsight, should have grabbed one in the late ou 90s. Hs, 20/20!

      • JCA

        Good news, there are still plenty of ’78 T birds out there to satisfy yours or anyone else’s demand for one. You can take your pick for only $3k-8k if you look hard enough. A few stimulus checks and it’s yours. They cost $10k new so maybe your hindsight was right not to hang onto one. Now, if you had hung onto your 60’s muscle car or 80’s performance car you would be feeling pretty good about your decision.

  10. Jeff

    I forgot to mention, girlfriend (then wife, now ex-wife) had one, a ’77 with the 4 cylinder-it made a stock VW Beetle look like a Ferrari. It was the s-l-o-w-e-s-t car I ever drove.

    Like 1
  11. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. I remember the Mustang II. I was way too young at the time to drive a car, but I’ve known people who drove the Mustang II, and they actually enjoyed driving it. If cared for, not driven reckless, or neglected, it can still be enjoyed. I’d drive a Mustang II if I knew someone who owned one.

  12. JCA

    Hard pass for me. Some things in life just can’t be fixed. No amount of money is going to improve this car to justify the investment. Better off starting with a ’75 Maverick or Comet if you want something that looks good and performs in the end

    Like 4
  13. Timothy Youngberg

    Emissions equipment is just a waste, they are only to satisfy the druid. it’s amazing what people will believe if they are told it over and over and over again.

    Like 5
    • AlanBob

      1960’s Los Angeles may beg to differ.

      Like 3
    • martinsane

      Agreed. My newer cars require it but hit 20 years old in Washington State and you get exempt.
      Illogical.
      Stop your internal dialog its Just a cash grab.

      Like 1
  14. Frank

    Cramped pos brought one back from n.c. auction years ago. They were down on power.
    Why waste money on a crate engine? Mild cam, 4 barrel and some trick-flow heads and you could bury a crate engine, plus save about half the money.

  15. Kevin

    Malaise era turd,based on the death trap pinto,that ford could of fixed,and chose the law suit option,instead.due to this and other reasons,I want nothing to do with Ford, look up the Ford massacre from the late 20s,Ford was a dictator!

    Like 4
    • JCA

      Agree that this car is a Malaise era turd but the exploding Pinto hysteria was vintage fake news. Any similar 70’s econobox will explode if you hit it hard enough from the back. Now the Chevy Cobalt faulty ignition switch was real, 6 people died and GM bet it would be cheaper to pay damages in court than to recall the cars.

      Like 4
      • Kevin

        Its documented fact,not fake news,but I don’t disagree with the gm problem,their were several models that was a problem on,not to mention the takara airbags on tons of stuff,at the end of the day I personally have owned 75 + vehicles, and ford has given me the most grief.

        Like 2
    • chuck

      Henry Ford was given an award by Nazi Germany.

      Like 9
    • Ray

      The first generation Mustang and Cougar had the gas tank that doubled as the floor of the teunk. Just a thin rubber mat over it. Seems just as dangerous as the Mustang II, but you don’t hear the negative publicity about those years.

      Like 1
      • DON

        So were the Falcon and Comets My first car was a 67 Falcon and the gas tank was barely hanging on as the trunk floor surrounding it was all rusted away. Some real estate signs, pop rivits and roofing tar fixed it, at least until it hit the junkyard

  16. man ' war

    Wow. Some interesting Ford history being slung around here. You just never know what kind of people are running these companies.

    This 75 Mustang II looks like it has the original carburetor still. That could be problematic depending if it has been rebuild and the build quality.

    I spotted a yellow 77 Mustang II coupe with half black vinyl top that has surfaced for sale. It has a 302 with 20k miles, odometer reading of 107,000 miles, and asking price of $6500! Seller claims “New 302 cubic inch motor with a jeggs high-rise intake and a 4 barrel edelbrock electric choke carburetor”.

  17. Alan C Hubbard

    What people forget is 71-73 Mustang was actually based off Ford’s Mid-size platform, and wasn’t really people wanted anymore. The 74 Mustang was a
    popular selling car. ALL cars of the Mid to Late 70’s and early 80’s really were not that good. My Aunt bought a ’75 Mustang 4 cylinder 4 speed, and Father bought a ’79 Mustang, the first of the fox body Mustangs that everybody loves
    , with a 4 cylinder & automatic, I thought the car was garbage.

    Like 1
    • JCA

      A 79 4cyl auto was garbage. It wasn’t until the mid 80’s that there was a rebirth of the HP and ponycar wars that made it interesting again. I’d put it at 86 when you had reliable fuel injection and turbocharging. The market demand was there and the car companies responded accordingly. We had a fuel injected Mustang GT, affordable customizable factory sleeper LX 5.0, IROC Z, GTA, Turbo Z and Starion, and then Buick GN came in to up the ante. We had huge aftermarket bolt on availability. These were significant cars and time period that are more valuable today because of it.

      Like 1

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