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Some excerpts from a book about our cars
Some excerpts from a book about our cars:

See if you can spot the incorrect statements and pictures!
I have identified a couple using red text.  But there are MANY! 

1971 Mustang - The Biggest of the Breed!

[Image: sp07942.gif]

The front end was opened up into one wide section for the first time in Mustang history – a 
styling cue seen first on the 1969 Shelby. (Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company.)

[Image: sp07943.gif]

When restyled for 1971, the 
Mustang reached its largest 
proportions ever. The 
Mustang would live large for 
two more years before gas 
shortages and emissions 
controls took their toll.

The 1971 Mustang grew to the largest proportions ever, and it, along with its ‘72 and ‘73 
successors hold the size and weight records of the marquee. In actuality, the Ford Mustang was simply
following the same path most automotive models did at the time: every time there was a 
restyle, the car got bigger. While this was the modus operandi among the industry (and was generally
accepted by the buying public), this was one time in automotive history the trend would prove
disastrous. The 1971 Mustang, now some 250 pounds heavier and three inches wider, was 
designed to easily accept the larger 429-ci big block (which was physically larger than the 428) 
without a shoehorn. Unfortunately, government emissions standards would cause Ford to totally eliminate
the venerable 429 ci engine the very next year, negating much of the company’s efforts in the
‘71 redesign, which had been nailed down in early 1968.

The 1971 Mustang was unquestionably an attractive automobile, especially in fastback form. It can be
said that this was the first Mustang that bore very little resemblance to the original car. The previously
successful Boss and Mach 1 fastback models were carried over, as was the Grandé in coupe
form. There would, however, be no Shelby version of the car to give it that added “bounce” 
in racing image the Mustang had enjoyed since 1965.

Sales for the 1971 Mustang (151,484 units) were down over 20 percent from the year before. 
These were tumultuous times in an automotive world destined for change. It was only a matter of 
time before the muscle car would take a backseat to more economical and fuel-efficient 
automobiles. For the Mustang, this would be the last of the glory years for quite some time.

Body and Trim:
The overall dimensions of the 1971 car are best appreciated when compared to the original 1964-
1/2 Mustang. The ‘71 model is approximately 500 pounds heavier, six inches wider, and eight inches
longer. Ironically, the wheelbase grew only one inch, to 109.

Aside from its obvious proportional growth, the most noticeable change to the body of the 1971 
Mustang can be seen in the front grill. Lifting a design cue straight from the 1970 Shelby GT500, 
the front grill was totally opened up for the first time. Although standard models had a mouth-like 
inset that mocked the separate grill opening seen on previous Mustangs, there was no mistaking the
fact that the front end of the car had radically changed.

The standard grill retained the corral surround, with side spears terminating on both sides of the grill
inset. The Boss and Mach 1 models received a different grill treatment that will be covered in separate
sections under Mustang Variants below. Jutting chrome-plated front bumpers were notched
into the front fenders and joined a chrome trim ensemble that encircled the perimeter of the
grill. Turn signals were tucked into the sides of an open roll pan located underneath the front bumpers

[Image: sp07944.gif]

The rear end of the Mustang took on a new look as well. Kidney-shaped taillights and an 
inset coupe roof serve to separate the Mustang from its progenitors. (Photo courtesy of 
Ford Motor Company.)

[Image: sp07945.gif]

[Image: sp07946.gif]

These flush door handles were a nice styling 
touch for the ‘71 Mustang. They, along with 
other features such as hidden windshield 
wipers, gave the Mustang a cleaner overall 

The backlight of the SportsRoof model was 
slanted at a near-flat 14 degrees, making for 
extremely low visibility out the rearview mirror. 
But it sure looks great!

1971 Mustang at a Glance
Body Styles: Coupe, convertible, and fastback
Construction: Unibody
Engine Options: 250-ci inline six @ 145 hp, 302-ci V-8 @ 210 hp, 351-ci V-8 2V @ 240 hp, 351-ci 
4V V-8 @ 280 hp (CJ), 351-ci 4V V-8 @ 330 hp (Boss), 429-ci V-8 @ 370 hp (CJ), 429-ci V-8 @ 
375 hp (CJ-R)
Suspension: Independent w/coil springs and shocks on front; semi-elliptic leaf springs w/shocks in 
Units Sold: 149,678 total, 83,102 coupes, 6,121 convertibles, 60,455 fastbacks
Retail Price: $2,911 coupe, $3,227 convertible, $2,973 fastback

1972 Mustang - Hitting the Brakes!

[Image: sp07947.gif]

The 1972 Mustang changed very little 
from the previous year. The big news 
for the year was the Olympic Sprint 
models that were built to commemorate 
the Olympics that year. Note the dual 
hood stripes and use of the Mach 1 
grill on this hardtop version of the 

1972 would prove to be the most tumultuous, if not disheartening, year in Mustang history to the date.  

Not only would the proud 429-ci engine (for which the larger Mustang had been designed) not appear
on the 1972 options list, but the total number of powerplant options would be reduced to a 
paltry five. Other changes to the 1972 lineup would be minimal at best, as the higher-ups at Ford recognized
the fact that this was the beginning of the end for the larger pony car.

Several factors beyond Ford’s control were forcing all of the domestic manufacturers to rethink their definition
of the American automobile. The Clean Air Act, passed under the Richard Nixon 
administration, was putting heavy pressure on the automakers to clean up their act, mandating a 90 
percent decrease in harmful exhaust emissions over a six-year period. This alone was enough to punch
the life out of muscle cars that thrived on free-flowing powertrains. The second problem the manufacturers
faced was the dramatic upswing in gas prices inflicted by an obstinate group of oil barons
from the Middle East known as OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). By controlling
the production and subsequent export of their oil, the consortium was able to raise the price
of a barrel of crude more than tenfold over its original price. By doing so, the oil consortium virtually
single-handedly changed the course of the American automobile from a gas-guzzler to petrol miser

In addition to axing the big-block engine, Ford also cut the Boss Mustang program in 1972. The 
Mach 1 program continued, but with less fanfare due to restricted engine choices and the fact that 
all powerplants in the Ford stable had been demoted in horsepower by burdensome emission 
controls. On the bright side, Ford announced that it was able to eliminate more than 85 percent of 
hydrocarbon and 70 percent of carbon monoxide emissions for the year — quite a feat in itself.

Of all Mustangs to receive accolades, the 1972 Mustang, ironically, did. In early March of 1972, 
Popular Hot Rodding magazine named the Mustang the Car of the Decade, citing the car’s long-
term ability to capture and excite the attention of the automotive-buying public. Such praise, 
however, did little good. The results of all the turmoil in the industry can be seen in Mustang sales 
figures for the year. Despite the fact that the federal government had lifted the excise tax to help 
boost car sales, Mustang sales for the year were 125,093 units, approximately 25,000 fewer than 
the previous year’s sales, which were already in a slump. The bright spot for the year? Chevrolet 
only sold about 45,000 Camaros, making the Mustang’s sales numbers look awesome in 

1972 Mustang at a Glance
Body Styles: Coupe, convertible, and fastback
Construction: Unibody
Engine Options: 250-ci inline six @ 98 hp, 302-ci V-8 @ 140 hp, 351-ci 2V V-8 @ 177 hp, 351-ci 4V 
V-8 @ 266 hp (CJ), 351-ci V-8 @ 275 hp
Suspension: Independent w/coil springs and shockson front; semi-elliptic leaf springs w/shocks in 
Units Sold: 125,093 total, 75,395 coupes, 6,401 convertibles, 43,297 fastbacks
Retail Price: $2,679 coupe, $2,965 convertible, $2,736 fastback

Body and Trim
After having made major changes to the Mustang the year before, Ford saw fit to simply tweak the cosmetics
of the 1972 Mustang. In fact, the modifications to the 1972 Mustang were almost imperceptible
compared to yearly updates past. By now, execs at Ford had seen the handwriting on the
wall and were no doubt pouring most of their design efforts into a notably smaller Mustang that would
represent the next generation.

The front grill with corral surround and side spears was carried over from the year before and was standard
on all coupe and convertible models. SportsRoof models all got the racier Mach 1 grill 
(with integrated fog lamps) introduced on the 1971 model, and the body-color urethane bumper was
also standard. Coupe and Convertible models could upgrade to the Mach 1 honeycomb grill with
the Exterior Décor Group option. Also included in this package were a lower body panel paint treatment,
body-color hood and fender caps, and hub cap/trim ring wheel styling — all derived from 
the Mach 1. The bumper on the rear was chrome, as before.

[Image: sp07948.gif]

The front grill on the ‘72 model was a 
direct carryover from the previous year 
– a first in Mustang history. The 
company had always provided some 
type of revision to the grill, even in 
years when there wasn’t a restyle.

The easiest way to tell a 1972 Mustang from its sibling from the previous year is by looking at the 
rear deck. A “Mustang” script was placed on the right side panel in place of the “MUSTANG” block 
lettering used the year before. On the side flanks, all 1972 Mustangs received chrome rocker panel 
and wheel lip moldings, and as before, a “Mustang” script graced the front quarter panels. The 
NACA dual-ducted non-functional Ram-Air hood was standard on the Mach 1 but could be ordered 
separate with the 351-ci 4-barrel engine option and was a no-cost option on cars with the 302 
engine. The functional Ram-Air hood was available for 351-ci 4-barrel engines only. A double-
striped Tu-tone hood option (similar to that on the Sprint) was available for all models without the 

[Image: sp07949.gif]

[Image: sp07950.gif]

This beautiful convertible is optioned to the 
nines – including a fully functional 351 Ram-Air 
powerplant under the hood – yet it still doesn’t 
carry the Mach 1 label.

The two-tone hood option could be had on all 
hoods with the ram-air scoops, whether 
non-functional or functional (like the one shown 
here). A dual striped hood option, similar to that 
on Sprint models, was available on plain hoods.

[Image: sp07951.gif]

[Image: sp07952.gif]

Like the front grill, the taillights did not change 
in 1972. The same kidney-shaped three-lens 
units were simply carried over.

Twist-open hood locks were part of the Ram-Air 
hood option. This style first appeared in 1970, 
replacing the cotter-pin type used before.

[Image: sp07953.gif]

Here’s a wider view of the 
rear deck lid with the telltale 
Mustang script. A rear deck 
spoiler, optional on all ‘72 
, has been added.  INCORRECT

Paint options changed to a new alphanumeric code system in 1972. The options (with Ford code 
numbers in parentheses) for the 1972 Mustang were as follows: Wimbledon White (9A), Bright Red 
(2B), Maroon (2J) Grabber Blue (3A), Light Blue (3B), Bright Blue Metallic (3J), Ivy Glow (4C), Bright 
Lime (4E), Medium Lime Metallic (4F), Medium Green Metallic (4P), Dark Green Metallic (4Q), Light 
Pewter Metallic (5A), Medium Brown Metallic (5H), Medium Yellow Gold (6C), Medium Bright Yellow 
(6E), and Gold Glow (6F).

1973 Mustang - The End of an Era

[Image: sp07954.gif]

The ‘73 Mustang brought the 
first chapter of the Mustang to 
a close. It was the end of a 
a colorful era in which one car, 
the Ford Mustang, made an 
entire populace rethink its 
definition of the term “sports 

In a bit of a surprise, and contrary to the previous year, the 1973 Mustang took on noticeable 
exterior changes. This was an intriguing move made, most likely, to increase the flagging sales from 
the year before, which were down 25,000 units from 1971. For 1973, the Mustang did see a slight 
increase in sales of approximately 10,000 units. This may, however, have come from the fear of 
what was to come. By now, word was out that a newer, smaller Mustang would be revealed the 
following year, and not all Mustang enthusiasts were looking forward to the downsizing.

These were strange times in the automotive industry. The 1973 Mustang represents the end of the 
pony car era as it had originally been defined. What would follow would be a radical change in the 
way the car was made and perceived. This was the end of the first-generation Mustang and, to 
many, the end of a legend.

1973 Mustang at a Glance
Body Styles: Coupe, convertible, and fastback
Construction: Unibody
Engine Options: 250-ci inline six @ 99 hp, 302-ci V-8 @ 141 hp, 351-ci 2V V-8 @ 177 hp, 351-ci 4V 
V-8 @ 266 hp (CJ)
Suspension: Independent w/coil springs and shocks in front; semi-elliptic leaf springs w/shocks in 
Units Sold: 134,867 total, 76,754 coupes, 11,853 convertibles, 46,260 fastbacks
Retail Price: $2,760 coupe, $3,102 convertible, $2,820 fastback

Body and Trim
The most noticeable changes to the ‘73 exterior were in the front grill. The corral surround was 
retained but had vertical bars emanating from it (as opposed to horizontal the year before), this 
over a large rectangular mesh field. The “mouth” of the grill had a chrome perimeter, and a vertical 
turn signal was housed just inside each end. The headlights now had a rectangular chromed bezel. 
The body-color urethane front bumper, now standard on all models, jutted out a full inch longer 
than that of the ‘72 model to meet new federal safety standards. The depth of the chrome rear 
bumpers was increased for the same reason. A “Mustang” script continued to grace n the front 
fenders. Bumper guards were available as a single option or part of the Deluxe Bumper Group, 
which included the pair of rear guards with rubber bumper faces.

[Image: sp07955.gif]

After getting no changes 
the previous year, the ‘73 
Mustang received cosmetic 
changes. Vertical turn 
signals, a wide mesh grill, 
and protruding bumpers 
were key modifications

[Image: sp07956.gif]

[Image: sp07957.gif]

The Mach 1 grill got a mild revamp in 1973. 
Vertical turn signals and an expanded honeycomb
mesh grill were used inside a black fascia
with chrome trim accenting the opening. 
The headlight bezels were changed to a 
rectangular shape and were all bright metal as you
can see here. You can also see the fascia surround
the grill.

The Mustang script, now well entrenched in 
Mustang design continued to be placed on the front
fenders of the car. The silver paint on the lower
side panels was part of the Décor Group option
that included the hockey-stick side stripe. PARTIALLY INCORRECT

The “hockey stick” tape stripe continued as part of the Exterior Décor Group,  PARTIALLY INCORRECT/INCOMPLETE
but the Mach 1 got its own
look. See the section on the Mach 1 under 1973 Mustang variants below.

New for 1973 were fully chromed taillight bezels complementing those used on the headlights. On 
the rear inset panel, a black-grained appliqué was used on standard coupes, convertibles, and 
SportsRoof models, while Grandé and Mach 1 models got a honeycomb treatment.

The non-functional NASA Ram-Air hood was still available — standard equipment on the Mach 1 
with 351-ci 4-barrel powerplants, and as a no-cost option on those with the 302-ci 2-barrel engine. 
The fully functional Ram-Air hood was available with 4-barrel versions of the 351. A double-striped 
two-tone hood option was available for all models without the dual ram induction.

[Image: sp07958.gif]

[Image: sp07959.gif]

The Ram-Air hood was available in both 
functional and non-functional (as seen here) 
form. The two-tone hood option was standard 
on Mach 1 but available as an option on other 

This is the underside of the non-functional 
Ram-Air hood. Note the blocked scoop intakes 
and U-shaped area. This is where the plenum 
on the functional Ram-Air unit goes.

[Image: sp07960.gif]

Paint options (with Ford code numbers in 
parentheses) for the 1973 Mustang were as follows: 
Wimbledon White (9A), Bright Red (2B), Maroon 
(2J), Light Blue (3B), Medium Blue Metallic (3D), 
Blue Glow (3K), Ivy Glow (4C), Medium Aqua (4N), 
Medium Green Metallic (4P), Dark Green Metallic 
(4Q), Medium Brown Metallic (5H), Medium Copper 
Metallic (5M), Saddle Bronze Metallic (5T), Medium 
Yellow Gold (6C), Medium Bright Yellow (6E), and 
Gold Glow (6F).

[Image: spo7961.gif]

The 1973 interior changed 
little for the year. This 
Mustang is optioned with 
extras like a console (a 
mini-console was standard on 
like models with automatics) 
and an electric clock.

The interior of the 1973 Mustang saw only minor revisions. The dash, gauges, door panels, and 
seat patterns were identical to the 1971 model. The two-spoke steering wheel (deluxe on the ‘71 
model, standard on the ‘72) with galloping Mustang center badge was standard. A leather-wrapped 
version of the two-spoke steering wheel was a new option for the year, and the three-spoke Rim-
Blow wheel was offered once again.

The Instrumentation Group was once again offered with the same package of gauge revisions seen 
on the ‘71 and ‘72 models. The Décor Group included the Instrumentation Group, special vinyl or 
cloth seat inserts, a deluxe two-spoke steering wheel, molded door panels, a black dash panel and 
instrument faces, a wood-grain center dash appliqué, a rear ashtray, an electric clock, color-keyed 
floor mats, bright trim foot pedals, and dual remote racing mirrors. The Mach 1 Sports Interior 
(which was available on other SportsRoof models) included the two-spoke deluxe steering wheel, 
knitted vinyl seats, the Instrumentation Group, molded door panels, black and wood-grain dash 
accents, an electric clock, a rear ashtray, bright foot pedal trim, and integrated color-keyed rubber 
mats in the front. A Hurst shifter was used on all four-speed models, but the ‘73 had a round shift 
knob instead of the T-shifter used in the previous two years.

The interior color lineup remained unchanged with the exception of the commemorative Sprint 
models, which got their own separate look. For more on this see the section below on 1973 
Mustang Sprint. Standard vinyl interior colors for 1973 were as follows: Medium Blue, Black, White, 
Avocado, and Medium Ginger. Knitted vinyl and combination cloth/vinyl inserts were available 
(Décor Group) to match each of the vinyl colors.

This has been some sample pages from

Ford Mustang 1964 1/2 to 1973 Ford Mustang 1964-1/2 - 1973
by Pat Covert


1971 Boss 351  
1972 Q code 4 speed convertible 
1971 Mustang Sportsroof  351-2V FMX 
1971 Hardtop (parts car)
1973 Mach 1 (parts car)
Geez, where do you start?

This is one of those writers that I'd like to give a bloody nose to. They were so smitten with the "original" that they sold the 71-73 down the tubes. He was completely hung up on how much larger it was than the 65, while completely ignoring the fact it was virtually the same size as the 70, all the while being a much more solid and capable chassis.

I just took a quick look at this and the first thing I noticed was some of the photos are just plain wrong. Look at the blue one with the incorrect hood tu-tone. It never came all the way to the front of the hood.
Agree - the article is a mess. I thought about trying to re-write it and note all the issues with corrections. I was kinda hoping some of you guys were more up to the challenge!


1971 Boss 351  
1972 Q code 4 speed convertible 
1971 Mustang Sportsroof  351-2V FMX 
1971 Hardtop (parts car)
1973 Mach 1 (parts car)
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