Since 1964, the Ford Mustang has been punishing the pavement and dominating drag strips the world over. During this period of time, Ford has produced a number of Mustangs that stand out above the rest, for their historic significance and superior performance acuity. This includes such famed pony cars as the 1965 Shelby GT500 and the 1969 Boss 429.
However, there is a flip side to this coin as well. There have also been a fair number of production Mustangs that most enthusiasts simply prefer to forget. For whatever reason, these less than memorable pony cars have missed their mark, even becoming the butt of a joke or two along the way.
The following are the five worst Mustangs ever made.
#5 Worst Mustang Ever: 1969 Ford Mustang E
When most consumers purchase a Mustang, they do so with the intent of having a blast behind the wheel. Therefore, it stands to reason that many were mystified by Ford’s 1969 decision to produce a Mustang so underwhelming that most have forgotten it existed. Nonetheless, the 1969 Ford Mustang Mach E did see the light of day, much to our despair.
This underpowered pony car came equipped with a 4.1-liter inline-six, capable of producing no more than 155 horsepower. The reasoning behind the Mach E’s existence was simple: Ford’s fuel-sipping Mustang was intended for use in the MobilGas Economy run. During this annual race, production vehicles traversed 1,900 miles between Los Angeles and Kansas City, in a bid for fuel-efficient supremacy.
Luckily, only 50 of the 1969 Ford Mustang E were ever produced, leading to hope that few remain to tarnish the Mustang’s legacy.
1974 Ford Mustang Mach 1
In the world of Ford Mustangs, the Mach 1 namesake carries substantial weight. After all, Mach 1 Mustangs of the late 1960s and early 70s were never short on power and came standard with the formidable 351CI V8.
Perhaps this is why so many consumers were appalled at the 1974 Mustang Mach 1’s release. With less power than many modern compact sedans, this version of the famed Mach 1 simply fell flat.
The 1974 Mustang Mach 1 came equipped with a 2.8-liter V6, which was capable of mustering little more than 105 horsepower. For most consumers, there was little to love, leading to less than outstanding sales.
In an attempt to right the ship, Ford offered the 1975 Mach 1 with an available 305 cubic-inch Windsor V8, which truly was of little actual improvement.
Ford Mustang II
The Ford Mustang II is all too easy to hate. The lackluster pony car looked like a rehashed sedan, and performed like your grandma’s grocery-getter, much to the disdain of Mustang purists.
Produced from 1974-1978, the Mustang II was initially offered without an available V8, leaving consumers to choose between an abysmal 84 horsepower four-banger, or an undeniably anemic inline-six.
Finally, in 1975, the Mustang was once again offered with an available V8, though it too was grossly underpowered. Nonetheless, the Mustang II sold and sold quite well at that. In fact, MotorTrend even named the Mustang II “Car Of The Year” for 1974.
However, this initial success, like the Mustang II itself, has not aged well. Most now remember the Mustang II as a reimagined Ford Pinto.
1999 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
The 1999 Mustang SVT Cobra would almost certainly have avoided a place on this list, had Ford ensured that it was capable of performing as advertised. In fact, it was the SVT Cobra’s inability to live up to its manufacturer’s promises that drew bad press.
Original sales literature from the data advertised the 1999 SVT Cobra’s total output at 320 horsepower. However, studious consumers (and a host of dyno tests) soon proved this claim to be false.
In reality, the 1999 SVT Cobra produced little more than 280 horsepower, falling approximately 40 horsepower shy of that which was advertised. Ford was soon forced to admit their mistake, ultimately recalling all 1999 SVT Cobras for further upgrade.
Recalled units were fitted with new intake manifolds and exhaust systems, in a bid to achieve true output ratings in excess of 320 horsepower.
Any V6 Mustang
The Mustang is, and should always be, a performance-oriented vehicle. Therefore, it is only natural that the Mustang comes equipped with a V8 beneath its hood. Nonetheless, Ford still tends to offer their famed pony car with an optional V6.
This is seen by many Mustang enthusiasts as nothing short of an abomination of sorts. To most, a Mustang is simply not a Mustang without a V8 thundering beneath its hood.
Because of this, all V6 Mustangs earn a rightful spot on this list. No matter the generation of production, a 6-cylinder Mustang is simply not as collectible—nor anywhere near as powerful in most cases—as its V8-equipped counterparts.
While a V6 Mustang is certainly still a Mustang, there is definitely something to be said for having two additional cylinders at the ready. If you’re interested in reading about the engines we’d rather see under the hoods of these cars, check out our article on the 5 best mustang engines.