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The 1970s were undoubtedly a nadir for automotive enthusiasts

One example of a car from the era that most people would prefer to forget is the 1973 Mustang II. In the linked article, the writer argues that the Mustang II very nearly killed the iconic franchise. I would argue otherwise.

The early 1970s hit automotive engineers with a perfect storm of new safety, emissions and fuel economy standards at the same time as the first of two oil supply/price shocks. A combination of a trying to meet all of these new rules and low point in style yielded some atrociously bad rides. 

All of this happened before electronics had advanced to a degree that would eventually bring us the automotive golden age of performance and efficiency we live in today. Engineers were aware of the coming regulations and had to make product decisions. 

At +Ford Motor Company they opted to move the Mustang to the smaller, lighter Pinto platform for the 1974 model year. While the performance sucked and the styling was unimpressive, Ford managed to sell a lot of them. As uninspired as Mustang II was, it was in fact enough to keep the nameplate alive through a very bad period in automotive history.

With Mustang II sustaining the brand, Jack Telnack's design team went to work on a whole new direction while the engineers developed the Fox-platform car for 1979.

Without the Mustang II, the original pony car probably would have been extinguished after 1974 and probably never revived.  
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