Thursday, December 9, 2010

How'd That Car of the Year Thing Work Out?

Sales-Wise, Pretty Darn Well!

This is my large format poster, approximately 34 x 24 inches, for Motor Trend's 1974 Car of the Year, the Pinto-based Mustang II. In the intervening 30+ years it has become de rigueur to diss the '74-'78 Mustang II, but this series of 'Stang sold more than 1,000,000 units in its four years on the market. It was the right car at the right time for buyers, and really, that's what counts. 

I remember absolutely LOVING this car when it first came out, so much so I sent away for this poster. It was styled well, it was "just right" for the time, with inline 4 cylinder and V6 engines at first, and a V8 later in the series, it came in notchback and hatchback versions, and the interior varied from nicely-equipped to pretty darn plush. A friend of mine at Vassar, who sadly became one of the first of more than 25 friends that have succumbed to AIDS, drove a brand new bright-red Mustang II Mach 1 all during college. It had been given to him by his Creole grandmother in New Orleans. A tomato sauce I make to this day is from one of her recipes, and it includes rosemary, red pepper flakes, lavender and cinnamon!

• The Wiki on the Mustang II.



  2. I've had two mustangs, both bought used, and I loved them both so much. Would love to have it today. Was it the 64 1/2 or 65 1/2, the first year it came out? One of those, in a neat dark blue. Later in the 70's I bought a 1966 or 1967, in yellow, the first year the dash board had that bump on it, paid $400 for it, such a deal. I didn't really like the bumped dash so much, liked the earlier one. And that engine was so simple, hardly taking up any room at all under the hood.

    This must make you crazy that I can't remember the year of my cars. lol

  3. I had a 74 Mustang notchback that I bought used in the summer of 78. It was equipped with a manual crank style sunroof, which I loved, and a 4 cylinder, 4 spd, which I didn't! Ford 4 bangers back then were buzzy and anemic. I should qualify my opinion on power by stating that the car I had preceding this one was a 429 Thunderbird! Well, it wasn't fast enough for me and I sold it 3 months after I bought it and got a 70 Mustang Mach I with a 351C. Listen, I was 18 at the time - and it was all about speed and image. I never really hated the Mustang II, but I would have loved it with a bigger engine, like the 302!

  4. At least you remember the cars!

    if you had the first one, it would be a 64 1/2, although many people, and magazines, call if a '65.

    I remember Hoohoo test drove a new '66 Mustang to replace her Thunderbird. There must have been something wrong with the car though, it kept stalling out on the test drive. At first she got mad, then we just started laughing because it stalled EVERY time we came to a stop. I remember that most about her, she could turn any situation into a laugh—a very admirable trait I don't really have. I'm must more fatalistic. We got back into her 2 year old Tbird and sailed smoothly home!

  5. I had no idea that Ford sold more than a million Mustang IIs until I wrote this post! If you just read the "enthusiast press" nowadays, you'd think that it was Ford's second Edsel.

    PX: Think how much Middle Eastern Oil you'd have saved for the country if you had kept the 4 cylinder Mustang! : ) But that's OK, I was driving a 390V8 and a 472V8. The Caddy only got 6-8 mpg doing downhill with a tailwind!

  6. lol, at least I remember the cars for now... I don't remember those early Mustangs being fast at all, which was probably a good thing for me, remember what I did with my '68 Porsche...... ouch!!!!

  7. It looks great in white.

    People who dis these cars tend to think the whole industry runs like a giant Hot Wheels factory !


  8. While I'm sensitive to imported oil consumption and high gas prices - I honestly wouldn't have changed a thing. I LOVE cars with some power behind them - it's up to the engineers to make them fuel efficient also!

  9. Last year someone in the neighborhood (UWS) was selling a first year Mustang II -- it was the very base model -- red with a white interior (the dashboard and steering wheel and carpeting was red). It was in very good condition and I was surprised at how big it looked -- a lot of front overhang! They sold it fairly fast which is good because cars parked on the street don't stay pristine for long! I remember the later ones with the half vinyl roof -- I particularly liked whatever trim package included navy blue paint and tan padded vinyl roof and tan interior. I'll take mine with a V8! A very nice small luxury car. A lot of enthusiasts diss cars that they didn't like even if they were sales successes. Look at how people talk about the GM "X" cars and the Chrysler "K" cars. They all sold well and fulfilled a need though perhaps not for enthusiasts. I'd love to know exactly what percentage of car buyers are really enthusiasts. To read the car blogs, it would seem like about 95 percent!! I would have loved to see the Mustang II as a convertible!

    Annie -- I had to laugh at your not being sure what year your cars were -- it reminded me of my Mom, who if she went out with someone in their car I'd ask what kind of car it was and she'd say "blue." Later on, she'd tell people that her son wanted to know what kind of car she was riding in and then she'd report that to me!

    Paul, NYC

  10. I remember that dark blue and chamois trim combination on those Mustangs. I think the 1/2 vinyl roof was the Ghia series. I'm positive I have a brochure with one in like that. I sense a followup post!

  11. How were you able to scan such a large poster?

    Wow! 25 people are a lot to have succumbed to such a "disease". It kind of bother's me that nobody talks about it anymore, except from twisted people living in their own little country sounded by Italy, but they just blame and don't help.

  12. I actually took a photo of that big poster rather than scan it. Then I had to work on it a bit to get rid of the flash bright spots. I try to shoot photos like that outside during the day so I don't have to use the flash.

    those 25 people I mentioned are only the ones I considered friends. I've probably known more than 100 people that have died from AIDS, casual acquaintances from work or clubs. it's truly a modern plague to say the least.

  13. Paul, "blue" I can relate to that. I do enjoy listening to you guys chat about the cars though, I've owned a lot of blue cars...

  14. Well, I'm your friend thought this site or not and whatever I can do, the pleasure would be mine.

    I've on'y met a 2 people with HIV and I felt extremely helpless and angry at the sometime that nothing can be done. I know that Israeli scientists have been pushing ahead when it comes to cures with stem cells
    and with this particular pandemic, but I am not sure where my U.S. tax dollars are going with our scientists.

  15. Thanks, Woody. The worst part is that there are groups in the United States that STILL to this day, describe AIDS as the "gay" disease, which lets the stupid people that agree with their other ideas, feel they can't spread this BLOOD disease. The groups are the vile Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, the Westboro "Church" among other "religious" groups now labeled as official Hate Groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They are literally killing people by not telling the truth.

  16. S. American countries also turn a blind eye about protection-prevention regarding this issue.

    GRID was AIDS earlier name and I remember hearing people say, "oh don't worry about that "disease", it is a result of gay sex. But what about people with multiple partners and IV drug users?

    When I had my first blood test, I had nobody to turn to so I would listen to song's like Being Boring which made me feel not alone.

    I think Tom Hank's, one of the most lovable people
    in Hollywood changed "mainstream" America's perspective to a more favorable/tolerable view about this disease. Bruce Springstein and Neil Young have also contribute their part as well.

    This is a remake of Neil Young's song, which I love so much:

  17. Do you as a rule serve as an author for this website or you do this for other online or offline networks?