1974 Automotive History



1974 Ford Overview

With the exception of a totally restyled Mustang, 1974 Fords were basically 1973 models with refinements and slight trim updating. Emphasis continued to be placed on a luxury look and the addition of safety equipment. More Federally mandated safety requirements were initiated, primarily in the form of massive rear 'safety' bumpers designed to withstand direct impact, at five miles per hour, without damage. When combined with the front safety bumpers adopted in 1973, the weight of a typical car was up nearly 350 pounds! Pollution standards were also further tightened, which, combined with the weight increases, made 1974 models generally more sluggish than any available in the recent past. Pintos and Mavericks saw little technical innovation and all other lines were now limited to just V8s under the hood. Torinos could be had with a 302, 351, 400 and 460 engines. The bigger cars came with a base 351 cubic inch V8 or one of three options. They were a higher output 351, the 400 or the 460. The latter engine was the only one offered in Thunderbirds, as the powerful 429 was gone for all time.

Pinto Series

This was the year that energy absorbing bumpers were added to the Pinto, too. This brought an obvious change to the front of the car, as the air slot opening in the gravel pan could no longer be seen. Also eliminated was the center mounted license plate holder. It didn't look right with the massive new bumper, but then, hardly anything else did either. The bumper was plain on the base trim models, but came with rubber faced, vertical guards and a black vinyl impact strip on models with the DeLuxe Decor package. Pinto wagons could be had with optional trim packages that included simulated wood grain exterior paneling and rooftop luggage racks.


General Motors offers the first air bags in its 1974-1976 model year Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs.

Traffic deaths are reduced by the new 55 m.p.h. speed limit in the United States.

Emission controls lower fuel economy.

Peugeot takes over control of CitroŽn's management.

Hyundai introduces their Pony subcompact car model, Korea's first independently designed and manufactured model, at the 55th Torino International Motor Fair.

Kia introduces their compact passenger car, the first of its type in Korea.

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