1976 Ford Mustang: Ultimate In-Depth Guide

History, Specs, Options, Performance & More

1976 Ford Mustang II 2+2

1976 Ford Mustang

1976 Ford Mustang Overview

Not many changes were made for the 1976 Mustang model year but Ford did release several new special edition packages that got pundits excited. All the variations from the 1975 model year followed along with the addition of a new ‘Stallion’ appearance package as well as the Cobra II package that was also introduced this year and added a large rear spoiler, a fake hood scoop and blue stripes across white paint to a V8-powered fastback. It certainly looked impressive, though the Cobra II wasn’t any faster than other similarly powered Mustang IIs.

Model: 1976 Ford Mustang
Generation: 2nd Generation Mustang
Type: 2 Door
Body Styles: Coupe, Fastback
Engines: 140ci 2V 4 cyl, 171ci 2V V6, 302ci 2V V8
Original Price: $3,791 (Basic Coupe), $4,047 (Fastback)
Units Produced: 187,567

Additional 1976 Mustang Research: 1976 Research Center / Colors Details / Production Numbers / Prices & Options / Sales Brochures / Owner Manuals / Maintenance / Pictures / Videos / VIN Decoder / Special Editions

Background & Details

Changes for 1976 were mainly visual. These cosmetic body changes for 1976 included paint color changes trim changes. New black w/white trim bumper inserts were standard on all II’s, replacing the chrome ones. Ford offered two cosmetic option packages, which was popular in the ’70’s, the Mach 1 and the Cobra II. Wheel and tire combinations were pretty boring choices as well.

There were three engine options for 1976. There was a four-cylinder engine from the prior year, a 140 cubic inch (2.3 liter) 4 cylinder with 88 horsepower. These 4 cylinder Mustangs were dubbed “MPGs” to emphasize their great fuel economy. There was also an option 2.8 liter Cologne V6, the German-built V6 derived from the European Capri’s 2.6L V6 now up to 102 horsepower. The was also a V8 with only one transmission change in mid-year now made available with the 4-speed. The V8, increased to 140 hp.

Performance wise, the 1976 Mustang sucked. Economy wise, it wasn’t very good either. But the inclusion of the V8 engine let the door open for gearheads to use aftermarket parts and modify the ‘Stang to get a pretty good performance vehicle.

Special Edition Models & Variants

In 1976 the economy was in a slump so Ford added special packages to attract buyers. Shortly after the new cars were introduced, Ford revamped the line-up, making every four-cylinder Mustang II an MPG model. The 2+2 became the MPG 2+2, the hardtop became the MPG Hardtop and the Ghia became the MPG Ghia. To get a non-MPG model, customers either ordered a Mach I (with a standard V6 it couldn’t be a MPG), or they ordered a regular Mustang II with an optional V6 or V8 engine.

First was the well-known Cobra II, a realistic attempt to recapture the Shelby GT350 look and feel. The “Cobra II” package had fake hood scoop, front and rear spoilers, some stripes and snake emblems in 1976. The second package was the subtler, lesser-known Stallion. The Stallion Group, coinciding with similar offerings on the Maverick and Pinto lines, was strictly a cosmetic package.

1976 Ford Mustang Ghia


Mustang II for 1976. The Ghia trim was still very popular among buyers. Performance had become secondary to luxury. The 1976 Mustang Ghia optioned coupe included a half vinyl roof, hood striping, bodyside moldings, velour cloth interior color-keyed sun visors and headliner, and center console. The Ghia Luxury Group was offered between 1974 to 1981. In 1976 the Ghia package added $334 to the standard notchback coupe (or two-door sedan). Ghia was a group of Italian designers which Ford acquired a controlling interest in 1970.

Learn more about the 1976 Ford Mustang Ghia Luxury

1976 Mustang Mach 1

Mach 1

The Mach 1 remained mostly unchanged in 1976. It like the Cobra II package and Stallion packages was simply cosmetic. To get any performance you had to order the V8 engine. The 1976 Mustang Mach 1 included an engine, wheels, and interior upgrade as well as all the Mach 1 badging.  The 1976 Mustang Mach 1 came with the larger engine from the prior year; the Rallye Package which includes Traction-Lok differential and other add ons.

Learn more about the 1976 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Cobra II

Cobra II

The other “appearance” package was the Cobra II, simulating the early Shelbys. The package was installed by Motortown Corporation, and consisted of wide-length stripes running on top of the car, stripes along the lower body, with “COBRA II” in the center section, front and rear spoilers, rear quarter window louvers with chrome snake emblem, simulated hood scoop, snake decals on each fender, a chrome snake emblem in the blacked-out grille, brushed aluminum instrument and door panels, and styled steel wheels. The Cobra II package was only available on hatchbacks, and came in White w/Blue stripes, Blue w/White stripes, or Black w/Gold stripes, and was limited to Blue, White/Blue, or Black interiors.

Learn more about the 1976 Ford Mustang Cobra II

1976 mustang Stallion


The 1976 Stallion Option Group was appearance-only package for the Mustang. You got you stuff like a black grille, black rocker panels, and these snazzy fender decals. Known as the Stallion Group, it was available only for 1976 on either the coupe or hatchback, and also available on Pintos and Mavericks.

Learn more about the 1976 Ford Mustang Stallion package

1976 Mustang The Shadow

The Shadow

This model looked badass. In 1976 Ford introduced an optional all-black sports group for the Mach 1 and it was appropriately called “The Shadow”. Its features include: the Mach 1 options, black exterior, black or bright red interior, brushed aluminum instrument panel applique, black grille/window molding/windshield wiper arms, competition suspension, Traction-Lok differential axle, and extra cooling package. On an invoice, we see this listed as a Black Midnight option.

Learn more about the 1976 Ford Mustang “The Shadow”

1976 Ford Mustang MPG


The MPG edition Mustang came out in mid-1975 and included lower gearing for higher MPG ratings. It wasn’t until the 1976 model year that these models got their own fancy name. All MPG cars were equipped with the 2.3 liter engine and 3.18:1 rear-axle ratio whereas the standard was 3.40:1. This resulted in 34 mpg highway and 24 mpg city for the manual transmission; and 31 mpg highway, 22 mpg city for the automatic transmission.

Learn more about the 1976 Ford Mustang MPG

Limited Edition Special Value Package

Limited Edition Special Value Package

There was also a Mustang II Limited Edition that gave buyers $137 worth of extras, including special two-tone paint, accent stripes, styled steel wheels, unique upholstery and a brushed-aluminum instrument panel applique, all at no charge.

Learn more about the 1976 Ford Mustang Limited Edition Special Value Package

Specifications, Options & Detailed Stats

Production Numbers

A total of 187,567 Mustangs were sold in 1976, basically flat with the prior year. To dive into the model and body splits as well as see charts and percentages, check out our 1976 Ford Mustang Production & Sales Numbers deep dive.

Options and Pricing

For more detailed options and pricing, please check out our 1976 pricing and options research.

Exterior & Interior Colors

A total of 15 exterior colors were offered for the 1976 Mustang model year. For detailed colors, color palettes, codes and interior colors please check out our in depth 1975 colors information post.

Dimensions & Weight

Body changes for 1976 included cosmetic changes only so the size and weight of the car basically remained the same as the prior year model.

Engine Specs

For more information on engines for 1976, you can find the information here.


Below is the performance data for the 1976 Mustangs that we could find. We have included 0-60 mph times, 0-100 mph times as well as quarter mile times and top speed where available.

Data Coming Soon

VIN Information

Vin Decoder Mustang 1976

This link will take you to a page which contains the VIN tag information for all years of Mustangs. Previously this information appeared on each Mustang’s year page, but consolidating it has significantly reduced page loading times. To decode the build sheet, check out our 1976 VIN & Data Plate Decoder sheet.

Videos & Picture Galleries

We managed to find some great video reviews of the 1976 Mustang so definitely check those out. We also have a picture 1976 Ford Mustang Picture Gallery and photos of real Mustangs in each color that was available.