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1972 Mustang Sprint - Muscle Cars & 70's Superstangs

American Muscle Cars

The term muscle car generally describes a mid-size 2-door car with a large, powerful engine (typically a V8 engine) and special trim, intended for maximum acceleration on the street. Another factor used in defining a classic muscle cars is age and country of origin. A classic muscle car is usually made in the US between 1964 and 1975.

Mustang Muscle

The Ford Mustang grew larger and heavier with each passing year culminating with the 1971-73 Superstang years, designed under the supervision of Ford's new product design manager, Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen, originally of General Motors. Knudsen's turn at the helm would see the last high-performance big-block Mustang, 1971's 375 hp (280 kW) 429 Super Cobra Jet.

Unfortunately the 1972-73 body style that was designed for the sole purpose of big-block installations, was limited to a maximum of 351 in³ (5.8 L) in 1972 and 1973.  The power reduction by Ford was due to extremely strict U.S. emission control regulations and high insurance premiums on big block muscle cars.  Two more high-performance engines were introduced in 1972, the 351 "HO" and 351 Cobra Jet. Both cars were excellent performers, but at nowhere near the level of the Boss cars and original Cobra Jets.

70's Superstang Mustangs ( 1971-73 Large Body )

1971
For the first time since the Mustang's inception, the wheelbase was extended one inch to 109". The 200 cid 6 cylinder was dropped along with the 428, the Boss 302, and the Boss 429. New engines for '71 were the Boss 351, the 429, and the Ram Air 429. The Boss 351 produced 330 horsepower, while both 429 engines produced 370 horsepower. On the exterior, the famous Mustang corral returned. A new wide chrome strip on the edge of the front fenders and hood was borrowed from the 1969 Shelby's. The long hood now turned up at the windshield to cover the hidden wipers. Large, bold, triple lens tail lights appeared on the rear of the new larger Superstang styling. Flush mounted door handles replaced the earlier surface mounted units. The interior featured standard high-back buckets, a mini console, and an all new instrumentation layout. Power windows were offered for the first time. The Mach 1 continued to be offered for '71. It was available with any of the V8 engines. A special honeycomb grille and color keyed front bumper were unique to the Mach 1 model. The chrome hood and fender moldings were replaced with color keyed trim. "Mach 1" decals were placed on the fenders and deck lid and a special black or argent lower body side paint was used. New for 1971 was the Boss 351 which replaced the Boss 302 and Boss 429. The Boss 351 featured a special 330 horsepower 351-4V Cleveland engine. The Boss 351 featured a blacked out NASA scooped hood with twist type locks and special body side stripes. The Boss 351 included a competition suspension with staggered rear shocks, a four speed transmission with a Hurst shifter, power front disc brakes, dual exhaust, and 3.91:1 traction lock rear end. There were a total of 149,678 Superstang Mustangs built in 1971.

1972
Inside and out, the '72s were the same as the 1971s. For the first time in its history, the Mustang's front grille remained unchanged. Probably due to increasing governmental fuel economy regulations, all of the Boss cars were dropped from the 1972 lineup. The Boss 351 and both versions of the 429 engine were dropped. During the early part of '72, a special 351HO model was offered. It featured a low compression version of the Boss 351 engine, with a special high-lift cam, mechanical lifters, forged aluminum pistons and a special 4-barrel manifold. The only "performance" model that remained for the entire '72 model year was the Mach 1. The Mach 1, like all other '72 models, were virtually unchanged. Production for 1972 Superstang Mustang topped out at 125,093.

1973
1973 brought the last year of the "Superstang" Mustang. It was to be replaced by a smaller, lighter breed, therefore, most of the changes for '73 were merely cosmetic. A large, square, chrome headlamp bezel appeared, as did chrome trim around the tail lights. A color keyed Urethane front bumper replaced the chrome units of the previous years. The front parking lights were now placed vertically in the front grille. A new, grained, black appliqué with bright trim was placed on the rear body panel between the tail lights. This was replaced with a honeycomb style on the Mach 1 and Grande models. The 1973 Mustang convertible was to become the last Mustang convertible for many years. The last year for the Superstang Mustang total 134,867 production in 1973.

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