The 1973 energy crisis prompted Ford US to make some drastic changes as the Blue Oval — along with other US carmakers — rushed to the market with new offerings designed to meet the stringent fuel economy and emissions regulations that came into force at the time.
One of Ford’s knee-jerk reactions to the crisis was to shelve the larger, brawnier 1973 ’Stang in favour of the lighter, daintier Mk II iteration. It looked a pale shadow of its predecessors — thanks to a tall, narrow stance and staid styling. But the real shocker was that Ford ditched V8 engines in the process, with the line-up now including only a V6 and a weedy four-cylinder model powered by the same 2.3-litre motor as the cheap-and-cheerless Pinto.
It’s the latter version that must do the walk of shame on this page as it’s undoubtedly the worst, slowest Mustang to have ever blighted this planet. The 2.3-litre motor was a single-overhead cam unit with two valves per cylinder and a Holley-Weber two-barrel carburettor. The four-pot displaced 140 cubic inches, but Ford called it a “2.3-liter” and from this point onwards it expressed all Mustang engine sizes metrically.
For 1974, the four-pot eked out an anaemic 88bhp and 157Nm (read those numbers again for full effect). The Mustang II 2.3 was available with either a four-speed manual or three-speed auto, but they were both abysmally slow. The manual version, which was a bit lighter, needed a yawning 13.6 seconds to hit 60mph (96kph) and topped out at a laughable 159kph. The auto was even more of an embarrassment, taking a snore-inducing 15.1sec to hit 96kph. It got even worse in 1975, as the four-cylinder’s outputs decreased to 87bhp horsepower and 154Nm. Needless to say, this meant both manual and automatic models were even more slug-like than before.
A certified dud. Ford will never live that one down.
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