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May 2011 COTM! 72 sprint convertible
#1
Here's a car I stalked for a very long time and was able to purchase seven years ago.

Rex Turner

Like many owners, I have a special fondness for a particular Mustang body style. My first ponycar was a medium bright yellow 1972 Mach1 that I purchased in 1976 and my second Mustang was also a Mach1 the same year and color. One day I read an article in Mustang Monthly Magazine about the 1972 Olympic Sprint convertibles that I had never actually seen in person. I also regularly perused the classified ads for Mustangs for sale so when I saw a white 1972 Mustang convertible for sale in Washington I called immediately to get more details. Once I saw the car I knew immediately it was one of the fifty Sprints. Although the car had been repainted all white the interior was the original blue and white. Soon after I purchased the convertible, a Mr. Dick Smither contacted me who said he also owned one. He had taken it upon himself to track down all the owners. With his list I contacted many other owners and met some of them in person or exchanged pictures with them. I met one of the owners, Col. Hagood who lived very close by. His sprint was in excellent condition and I took pictures of our cars side by side.

My first Sprint had suffered the fate of many daily driver cars of the 1970's and had a fair amount of rust when I purchased it in 1985. I was able to cosmetically turn it back into what it looked like when it rolled off the Dearborn Michigan assembly line in March 1972. However, I did not have a garage to store it so regrettably I sold the convertible after only a year to a fellow Virginian who kept the car for several years. I kept in touch with Mr. Smither and told him of the sale and said I would someday own another one that was perhaps in better condition. I did not think 18 years would pass between the first and second one but it was worth the long wait.

With a renewed interest in the fifty cars, I visited Col. Hagood to see if his car was still in excellent condition as I remembered it was in 1985. The Col. was a WWII pilot and he was no longer able to drive so the car was stored in his garage and had not been started in ten years. After visiting with him several times he decided it was time to sell the car in the fall of 2003. He had very fond memories of going for drives with his wife who had since passed away. His daughter did not have any interest in the car and they were both very pleased they were selling it to someone who appreciated the cars' unique history. After I got the Sprint running again, I drove it home and over the next year I replaced such items as the radiator, heater core, brakes, water pump and other mechanical parts. The carpet had faded so it was taken out and replaced which brightened up the interior. Despite having over 90,000 miles on the car it was in remarkably excellent original condition. Since buying the car in late 2003 I have put over 10,000 miles on it.

When I informed the other owners of my new purchase they were delighted. I used to write them once a year but since most of them had e-mail we began to communicate more frequently. I was able to tell them of the shows I had attended in numerous states and all the parades in Virginia, DC and Maryland I had driven in. I continued visiting Col. Hagood and gave him pictures of my travels and a Johnny Lightning diecast car that was made to resemble Howard Ducharme’s Sprint. He and his daughter enjoyed my visits until 2005 when the Col. took one last flight into the heavens. I have participated in the DC Memorial day parades and I'm sure he is looking down with pride as my family waves to all the parade goers watching and honoring our veterans.

Col. Hagood purchased his Sprint from Dick Herriman Ford in Vienna, Virginia. He drove the car only on sunny days and it was always garaged. Any owner of a classic Mustang knows the cars are very prone to rusting, especially convertibles. I was amazed this car had zero rust in any of the typical places. All it took was some cosmetic freshening up and some minor bodywork to repair a small dent in the rear fender lip. The car took first place in its first Carlisle All Ford show. Since the car is in basically unrestored condition it is quite remarkable that it can compete with restored cars. It made the eleven hour trip to Nashville Tennessee and back for the Mustang 40th Anniversary just fine. I spent the better part of one day on the track in my 1972 Mach1 and the other days I got to know three of the other convertible owners that had come from Georgia, Ohio and Kansas. We took many pictures of our four cars and we remarked that we did not see one other Sprint Mustang at the show, even though Ford had made over 9,300 Sprint fastback and coupes. The other owners added the Magnum 500 wheels on their cars and mine retains the original dog dish type aluminum hubcaps and trim rings. One owner added air conditioning so he could be cool when it got too hot for even the top to be down. The weekend went by all too quickly and we headed back to our homes with great memories of this mini reunion of our special Mustangs.

All of the sales literature from early 1972 shows Sprint Mustang fastbacks and coupes, Mavericks and Pintos. The Mustang convertible was not part of the original production plans until the Washington DC area Ford dealers petitioned Ford to provide special Mustang convertibles to be used in the annual Cherry Blossom parade held in early April. In March of 1972 the Dearborn assembly line produced fifty identical convertibles with consecutive serial numbers for shipment to Washington. The Mustangs accompanied Cherry Blossom princesses from the fifty states. Olympic sprinter great Jess Owens was the Grand Marshall. After the parade the cars were distributed to the local Ford dealers for sale to the public.

The annual Washington DC Cherry Blossom festival has taken place every spring since 1927. The event has become a two-week celebration of the blooming of the cherry trees ending with the parade down Constitution Avenue. The first festival queen was crowned in 1935 and is selected at random from the ladies representing the fifty states, Washington DC and other US territories. Special souvenirs were made available including a commemorative festival license plate. These plates were used on the Mustangs driven in the parade and are prized by memorabilia enthusiasts. I was actually able to find one of these license plates from a local collector.

According to articles in the Washington Post and Evening Star newspapers, the parade in 1972 was unusually cold with temperatures only in the 40's. Headlines like "A Stalwart few Brave the Cold" appeared the next day but those hardy tourists and Washingtonians got to see the festival princesses ride in the fifty Mustangs among the many bands, floats, and entertainers.

As the years passed by, many of the cars made their way around the country from one owner to another. A few are still owned by the original owners that live in the DC area. One car is in Sweden and another is in Norway. I drove to Youngstown OH for a MCA National show in 2005 where I saw the sprint convertible Bill Johnson had bought. His car is undergoing a complete restoration. My goal is to get as many Sprints together at the 45th and 50th Mustang anniversary shows as even diehard Mustang enthusiasts do not get to see these very often.

All the Sprint convertible Mustangs are powered by the 302 cubic inch engine with a two barrel carburetor. The cars all had three speed FMX transmissions, front power disc brakes, a power top and AM radio. Although offered on other Mustangs, air conditioning, power windows, an FM radio, or Magnum 500 wheels were not available for the convertibles. Many owners have added these options with the chrome Magnum 500 wheels being especially popular as those were an option for the package B on the sprint sportsroofs and hardtops. The sticker price for the convertibles was $3,272 although rumor has it that many were sold for a hefty premium over the dealer invoice due to their limited availability.

The seat material used in the interior of the fifty Sprint convertibles was different than the fabric used in the sportsroof and coupe versions. A vinyl comfortweave dark and light blue pattern differed from the blue cloth used in the hardtops. This has presented a problem when trying to restore the seats as an exact match for the unique convertible interior has not been located.

The easiest way to tell a real sprint from perhaps a replica is from the trim code on the door label. If the code is HB it has the Sprint option package. However, in the case of the convertibles, the code was left blank, probably due to the unique seat material. While this may seem to leave the door open for someone to replicate a Sprint convertible, the serial numbers of the fifty cars were consecutive, so an original car can be easily authenticated. Other features of a Sprint are the Mach1 style body color front bumper and grille with amber sportlamps. The hood was the standard non-scoop version to distinguish it from the Boss and Mach1 twin scoop ram-air type

So what are the chances of seeing one of these special Mustangs in person other than a MCA National show. That would depend on where you live. While I am the only known owner in Virginia, there are several of the cars in Maryland. The rest are spread out in other mainly Eastern states plus the four in Europe. The whereabouts of thirteen of the fifty cars is not known which is a pretty low number given the number of times most of the cars have changed hands. There is a new owner of one of these rare Mustangs as of January 2008 where one was sold at the famous Barrett Jackson auction. In 2010 the same Ms. Vermont that rode in one of the cars in the parade in 1972 rode in my sprint in the parade.

More 1972 Sprint Mustang convertible pictures can be found on www.ncrmc.org and www.1972mustangsprint.com. There is also a book available at www.blurb.com that I wrote in 2007. Although only a few of the original owners remain, every owner knows his or her car is special and will always be a collectible worthy of keeping in the family for many years. I plan to do just that and not let this one get away.



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#2
Cool COOL
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#3
Very cool!thumb
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#4
GREAT write-up and post!

THANKS for sharing as your post definitely increased my knowledge of the Sprints.

BT

Do the RIGHT thing.
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#5
WOW ! I love stories like this..Awsome Vamach ! Thanks for sharing a piece of history with us.

LOVE OF BEAUTY IS TASTE..THE CREATION OF BEAUTY IS ART
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#6
awesome story and carrun_horse

in loving memory of my son ..Jason
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#7
Great story Rex!
You´re a good history teller and this particular car deserves it... I was a little aware of sprint mustangs as some friends thought my car could be a sportsroof sprint, before i did my marti report... My car is a I6 with mach 1 grille, rubber bumper and standard hood so... thinking about a sprint was an option...
Turned to be a 1 of 1 special order from the US embassy in my country, not only for the cosmethic options but the engine (a low compression I6, coded "3" in the vin)

So... no sprint for me but my car made me learn something about this story which you... knows as it were yours...

ENJOY YOUR BEAUTIFUL CAR! Wink



Damián Cool

[Image: 120x45bk1ani.gif]
Vote For 7173Mustangs.Com Every Day!
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#8
Great submission, vamach1!

Everyone else, don't forget to click the LIKE button under the original post, if you like it!! (I know there is only one submission so far, but consider it practice! LOL)

[Image: 1gq8uo.png]
1971 Mach 1 - 306cid/C4 Bright Yellow
"Just relax, I've got a friend named Felix who can fix anything!" ~James Bond
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#9
I hate to say it but I scarped a 72 sprint fast back about 10 years ago. I know of a sprint coupe in Poway CA. thats all their and is a driver. I drive by now and then to check on it. I still have the hood and trunk lid from the sprint fast back.
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#10
I'm pretty sure there is one here locally that is no longer painted with the Sprint colors. Its now school bus yellow. I know this because the one who painted my car called and needed tail light gaskets for one he was working on. Since I did not need mine at the time, I took him mine. We got to talking about the car, which was already painted at the time, he was telling me that it was white and blue with some kinda flag sticker on the quarter panel. O'well my 2 cent sprint story.
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