With an oil embargo looming, and new federal emissions standards being implemented, Ford's designers went back to the drawing board with the Mustang, resulting in most of the 1974 Ford Mustangs being redesigned. In fact, this change shortened the Mustang by 19 inches and made it lighter by 490 pounds. The car's platform was based on the smaller Pinto and the all new 1974 Mustang utilized many aspects of European automotive design, resulting in much greater refinement and more cutting edge technology.
After unveiling a completely new model the year before, few parts were changed for the new year. However, with many customers clamoring for better performance, Ford responded, adding the 302 V8 as an optional engine once again. These Mustangs were initially tuned for 122 horsepower, but quickly got bumped up to 139. This engine was only available with a 3-speed automatic transmission.
Ford made very few changes to the 1976 Ford Mustang. In fact, the only parts that were changed involved the addition of two new, popular option packages and other minor cosmetic changes throughout the lineup. The two new option packages featured numerous special changes, though both were only appearance packages, and offered no performance benefits.
As has been the pattern for the last few model years, the 1977 Ford Mustang was left unchanged. However, a Ghia Sports Appearance package was introduced with several revised options. This package color-keyed many parts inside the car and outside of it to match black or tan paint. These matching 1977 Ford Mustang parts included the console, a special 3-spoke sports steering wheel, cast aluminum wheels with chamois colored spokes, and a trunk luggage rack.
The 1978 Ford Mustang was left unchanged. As many looked ahead to the new model coming the following year. A few modest changes were made to this Mustang included, a standard electronic voltage regulator and variable ratio gearing (for models with the optional power steering). A new Fashion Accessory package upgrade in the standard notchback was added to appeal to women buyers.