Automotive Tek

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1973 – The Last Year of the Cool Mustang?

Certainly many people thought so at the time but now that 2005 has come and gone most will agree that we haven’t seen the last of the “cool” Mustang. But in 1973 many Mustang enthusiasts were disappointed that Ford at put the Mustang II on the drawing table for 1974.

So, one last year to live in the classic Mustang muscle car. Ford still had at least one trick up its sleeve for the 1973 Mustang. The high performance 351 Cobra Jet would make its only appearance in 1973, available in the Mach 1 Sportsroof. Surprisingly, the 351 4V was not the engine of choice to be paired with the popular ram air hood. The 351 2V had that honor at the time.

For the most part the 1973 Mustang remained unchanged from 1972 to 1973. Aside from some minor changes in the interior the only noticeable changes were the front grill and the rear tail light panel. You easily notice on the 1973 Mustang that the lights in the grill are still a rectangle but are moved from a horizontal position to a vertical position and the grill pattern is much larger in 73. Now looking back it is easy to see that Ford generally would change the grill and the dash even in years that there was no body style change but low and behold they would break that tradition in 1973 by leaving the dash cluster the same from 1972 to 1973. Very important at the time was the Convertible Mustang. In 1973 Ford announced that it would stop making convertibles all together and the 1973 Mustang would be the last to roll of assembly line. It was in fact but we all know now that wouldn’t last (thank goodness).

The 1973 Mustang still came with the 6 cylinder as standard equipment, of course it had increased in size from the original 170 ci to the 250 ci. The other engines that were available were the 302 2V, 351 2V, 351 2V with the ram air and the 351 4V Cobra Jet.

It is a distant memory now but in 1973 gas prices and “gas shortage” were the buzz words in the automotive world. The government was putting pressure on all the car companies to improve gas mileage and decrease engine size and horsepower. Even though I was barely driving at the time, I remember driving by my local gas station as they were changing the price on the sign to.99 cents and thinking that’s ridiculous! Wouldn’t you love to have .99 cent gas now.