Ford Mustang: second generation
The second generation spanned from 1974 to 1978. For almost ten years, buyers had known that the Mustang was a performance car, with upgraded components added every year. However, in 1974, Ford decided to take a different approach. Instead of adding a bigger engine, they made it smaller. That year, the much smaller Mustang II was released, coming in either a 2.3 4-cylinder or a 2.8 liter V6. Neither engine had much power, much to the disappointment of Mustang purists. Along with the smaller engine, the car itself was 19" shorter and almost 500 lbs. lighter. Despite the disappointment of some buyers, sales were robust.
The 1975 Mustang was the result of consumer input. That year, the V8 engine was once again an option, but the 302ci was not like the V8s of the past. It produced a relatively anemic 130 hp, and only came mated to an automatic gearbox. Ford called this engine the 5.0, a name which would stay through the 1990s.
The Mustang Cobra II was introduced in 1976, featuring a nonfunctional hood scoop, front and rear spoiler, and racing stripes in either blue/white or black/gold. It looked and felt like the Shelby, but had almost none of the original's power. The King Cobra debuted in 1978, being the first 5.0 badged Mustang. 5,000 of these were produced; the King Cobra had different exterior styling with a bigger air dam and Cobra badging. Other than the King Cobra, the lineup remained the same for that year.