Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Car Of The Day: April 25, 2012

Today's car of the day is Johnny Lightning's 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1.

The first-generation Ford Mustang is the original pony car, manufactured by Ford Motor Company from 1964 until 1973.

It was initially introduced as a hardtop and convertible with the fastback version put on sale the following year. At the time of its introduction, the Mustang, sharing its underpinnings with the Falcon, was slotted into a compact car segment.

With each revision, the Mustang saw an increase in overall dimensions and in engine power. After an initial surge, sales were steadily declining and Ford began working on a new generation Mustang. With the onset of the 1973 oil crisis, Ford was prepared, having already designed the smaller Mustang II for the 1974 model year. This new car had no common components with preceding models.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Ford Mustang

I'm surprised by just how many scrapes and dings this car has.  I purchased it specifically for gravity racing (one of the better choices but there are faster cars out there).  It hasn't seen nearly enough track time to be this scuffed up.  I'm almost wondering if it got sent down the banger track a few times at some point.

The Mustang became larger and heavier with each revision, culminating with the 1971 to 1973 models designed under the supervision of Ford's new product design manager, Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen, originally of General Motors. Introduced in September 1970 Mustang MY 1971 saw the last high-performance big-block Mustang, 375 hp (280 kW) 429 Super Cobra Jet. The body style designed for the purpose of big-block installation versions was limited to a maximum of 351 cu in (5.8 L) in 1972 and 1973 due to stricter U.S. emission control regulation, as well as the low demand for big block muscle cars because of high insurance premiums. Two more high-performance engines were introduced in 1972; the 351 "HO" and the 351 Cobra Jet. Both versions were high performers for their era, but nowhere near the level of the Boss cars and original Cobra Jet. Automakers in the U.S. switched from "gross" to "net" power and torque ratings in 1972, which coincided with the introduction of low-compression engines with different, far more restrictive induction systems. Thus, it is difficult to compare power and torque ratings.

As before there were three body styles; hardtop, sportsroof and convertible. On hardtops there was 'Grande' trim offered, it was meant as a luxury version. Sportsroof models were performance oriented, as it was only body version with 'Mach 1' option available, which was distinguishable by decals, hood with scoops (nonfunctional in most models), color keyed; side mirrors, strip on the edge of the front fenders and hood, urethane front bumper and grille with 'sportlights'. Cars equipped with 'Boss' engine had appearance of Mach 1 package, excluding front bumper, which was chrome. Convertible was equipped with a power top, a glass rear window, and tinted windshield standard. It was last Mustang available as a convertible until 1983.

There were no significant changes in appearance during 1971–1973 model years, 1973 however brought some mild restyling. Front bumpers in 'Base' and 'Grande' and Urethane in 'Mach 1' were all replaced by new Urethane one of new design to comply with new regulations. Thus turn signals were moved from underneath it to inside of the grille next to the headlights. Because of those changes horizontal grille 'sportlights' seen in 1971–1972 'Mach 1' were discontinued as new vertical blinkers took they place. New rear bumpers were introduced too. Also in 1973 new design of decals for the 'Mach 1' has been introduced, 'hockey stick' side stripes of 1971–1972 were still available on the 'Exterior Decor Group'. Magnum 500 wheels has been discontinued for 1973 and replaced with forged aluminum wheels.
1971–1973 Mach 1 has become famous thanks to the appearances in the films Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Gone in 60 Seconds (1974).

For 1972 Ford prepared special model called 'Sprint' it was meant to commemorate USA participation in 1972 Olympic Games. It consisted of special decals, color keyed front bumper, mirrors and grille taken from Mach 1. Performance suspension and wheels were also available.

There was no Shelby version of 1971–1973 Mustangs, save for the 'Shelby de Mexico GT-351', by Mexican dealer and very limited edition 'Shelby Europa', sold in Europe by private importer request to Shelby Motors.

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