The 1976 Mustang
The 1976 Mustang brought in the model year with a combination of old and new. Although Carroll Shelby was no longer in the picture with his incredible GT350 or GT500 Mustangs, Ford was bringing back the Cobra package, now called the Cobra II.
Styling treatments, rather than performance additions were the theme of the day
. And fuel economy was king. So Ford spent much of it's time and marketing dollars talking specifically about mpg and creating special models called the MPG, which included a 2.3 liter engine and a 3.18 rear axle.
These smaller and lighter Mustangs were no slouch in that department either, with the new Mustang 11 MPG* 3-Door 2+2 sporting a US EPA
fuel economy rating of 34 mpg highway and 24 mpg city for it's 2.3 liter inline 4 cylinder engine.
1976 Ford Mustang Cobra 11
The 1976 Cobra ll was an intersting addition to the offerings with a new, cosmetic hood scoop, Mach 1 like chin spoiler and a rear spoiler and retro racing stripes, reminding you of the early 1960's Mustangs.
White pony cars could be had with blue stripes, blue cars with white and a new very cool black painted Mustangs were equipped with gold stripes on this year's Mustang Cobra 2.
The rear quarter windows also were covered with old style louvers,reminiscent of the 60's fastback mustangs and Shelbys.
To make sure no one missed the point, Large matching COBRA II striped covered the lower sides of the car and and over sized Shelby snake was glued to the fenders ahead of the doors.
The hardtop or coupe versions as they were called in past years, drew styling cues from the 1965-1968 Mustang, adding the now required urethane clad front and rear bumpers, which unfortunately made them appear somewhat clunky.
The hardtop coupe remained a small package, with emphasis on style, quality and comfort rather than performance.
Engine and Transmission
Ford finally offered a new sports package that included a 4 speed manual transmission to go behind the new V8.
The new model's interiors continued to see evolutionary, not revolutionary change, with the Ghia being the most luxurious of the bunch.
The look was designed to have a more deluxe and European feel compared to it's other North American competitors.
Again, for the most part, very little was changed in the styling department for 1976. Ford did, however offer a T-roof, which featured removeable roof panels similar to the Chevy Corvette, which could be stowed away, creating the closest thing to a convertible that could be had at that time.
Some alloy, imitation wire wheels could be had to add a little class to your ride.
If you've always wanted a Mustang, getting a Mustang II could be your easy first way into ownership. Prices for these cars are reasonable, and many good examples are still around. Here's some potential to chew on....
Popular Hot Rodding featured a 1976 Mustang they were calling the Low Buck Bully, which runs a 13.50 ET in the quarter mile at 105 MPH and corners like a Vette, at .99G !
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