Auto Round-Up

1981 Ford Mustang

10/26/2019
Tad Burness
As most readers know, Ford's popular Mustang was introduced in April 1964 as a 1965 model (though many owners of early Mustangs prefer to call them 1964s or 1964 1/2s).
 
The Mustang became an immediate hit and was a great personal triumph for its promoter, Lee Iacocca, who was then a Ford executive.
 
But after a few years passed and Mustangs grew bigger and heavier, some of the early appeal faded. Ford Motor Company tried to remedy the situation with a shrunken Mustang II (replacing the original Mustang rather than joining it), but the II was considered a junior edition and not taken very seriously by the public during its 1974 to 1978 run, except for a few late-in-the-game Cobra editions.
 
For 1979, Mustang was restyled again, this time as a fraternal twin to Mercury's restyled Capri.
 
 
Convertibles did not comply with government safety standards and had been "out of production" since the mid-1970s, but Mustang offered an optional T-bar roof (or "T-roof," as the catalog called it) in 1981 as a compromise. Various brands of convertibles would begin to return in 1982.
 
As the 1981 catalog exclaimed, Mustang had a "fun to drive" attitude. "Exhilarating like the rush of the downhill (on skis). Sleek with clean lines that slice through the wind."
 
Standard features included Modified MacPherson strut front suspension and rear coils, halogen headlamps, disc brakes in front, steering column stock controls (but floorshift for manual transmission), full instrumentation including tach and trip odometer and much more. The list of optional extras was long indeed!

 
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