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Q Code 351! 1972 Ford Mustang Mach I

Ford’s Mustang took a leave of absence for me between 1971 and 1978. First, it grew too large (1971-1973) and then it shrank too small (1974-1978). For 1979, it found its Goldilocks moment and it seemed to get just right. But when you encounter what I refer to as a “large” variant like this very nice ’72 Mach I, it’s hard to not take notice and appreciate it for what it is, especially considering its condition. This resident of Terre Haute, Indiana is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $13,200 with 46 bids tendered so far.

Old biases are hard to drop. When I was in high school, a classmate of mine, who I would refer to using a term that my editors have told me is unacceptable, got a brand new 1971 Mach I – his father owned a very large Ford dealership in our hometown. The classmate became a bit of a jerk about it and he had a foolish knack for taking on other classmates in clandestine drag races and getting thoroughly pummeled by stronger iron. That entire set of circumstances caused me to develop a dislike for the large Mustang era. Unwarranted bias? Absolutely, so I’m trying to be more objective about Mustangs from the ’71-’73 era. And this ’72 Mach I is a great starting point.

This Mach I is powered by a Q Code, 351 CI “Cleveland” V8 that appears to be a 266 net HP version. Some sources list it as a 248 net HP version so any clarification that can be offered on that front would be appreciated. The engine is equipped with aftermarket valve covers, an open-element air cleaner, and what looks like a new Holley carburetor. The seller claims, that this Mach I “runs very nice with a lot of power… shifts good and drives good!”  The reported mileage is 102K miles but there is no mention if this mileage is original, accurate or if any additional engine work has been performed or is needed.  The seller mentions that he has the original air cleaner assembly and I gather that this Mach I was not equipped with Dual Ram Induction. Note the “351C HO” designation on the passenger side tower strut. Ford did offer a 275 HP H.O. version of the 351 engine for 1972. Known as the R Code, there were only 398  built according to, so this added on designation is probably wishful thinking. Gear changes are courtesy of a three-speed automatic unit transmission.

The 6C yellow gold exterior is a very typical for the ’70s hue. The seller states, “I would say this car is mostly factory paint and a ten-footer, has thin paint on some upper panels… ” Nevertheless, it shows well and I prefer the non-blacked out hood on this example. He also claims this Mach I to be solid with only a nickel-sized rust spot on the lower passenger side fender. The body panels appear to be well aligned, there is no visible evidence of any crash damage. Rounding out the exterior are the Magnum 500 road wheels – Ford’s interpretation of this popular style wheel is one of the best.

The interior of this Mustang is in excellent condition. The seller mentions something about removing the front seat covers so I’m not sure if he is referencing the existing upholstery or if the seats had add on seat covers. If they did, that would explain the existing upholstery’s freshness, the seats look like new. I like the aftermarket steering wheel but the original is included in the sale if that’s your thing. The original gear selector is available too if the new owner doesn’t care for the B&M-styled racing shifter. Apparently, the headliner needs help – no images included, but a new one goes with the car. While this Mustang is not equipped with a fold-down rear seat, one of those comes with the deal – lots of extra parts are available with this car!

I’m going to give this Mach I a big ole thumbs up. It is a very nice representative of the big Mustang era. The color, rear window louvers, and rear spoiler are not my favorite items but the rest of the car presents so well, not to mention the inclusion of the Q Code engine, makes this a ’72 Mach I to consider, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    While these will never be the most popular collector Mustang, there’s plenty to like about this example. It appears the mechanicals are generally sorted out. Would offer decent performance, plenty good for cruising the back roads with your friends. Period-correct colors give it eye-catching looks. Not so pristine you would be reluctant to drive it. Won’t see yourself coming and going. And finally, not very expensive. So I’m with Jim, I’ll give it a thumbs-up.

    Like 11
  2. Beyfon

    Funny how early memories can influence one’s views. Back in Sweden when I was 10 years old my dad had a -70 Opel Rekord Hardtop Coupe and was looking to get a new car. Back then he always kept his cars for 3 years and 50,000 kms before getting a new car.

    I doubt that it really was a serious alternative but one of the few cars I remember us taking on a test drive was a blue metallic Mustang fastback of this type. And since then they’ve been my favorite Mustang.

    My dad eventually came home with a -73 Opel Rekord 2-door sedan and I was so disappointed that I cried. I had to be bribed with 10 Sek (about $1) to get over it. But I never liked that generation of Opel Rekord.

    Like 4
  3. Jerry Member

    I had a 72 White Mach 1wherw I grew up in Detroit back in 1983 or so, had the 351C auto. Had a lot of fun with that car cruising Telegraph and Woodward and Gratiot ave.

    Like 5
  4. 6speed

    Jim, your first sentence aligns EXACTLY with my thoughts on Mustang! Big Mustang fan, but I am not interested in any of them from ’71-’78. Might be in part because the ’70 is my absolute favorite?
    I understand many do & that is great for them, just not my cup of tea.

    Like 3
  5. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    When Ford came out with the Mustang II, I couldn’t even acknowledge it as an actual Mustang. Now Ford has done it again with the Mustang Mach-E.

    Like 9
    • Kevin

      Agreed, could they not have come up with another name? Falcon-E perhaps? They could have dusted off many other names. Did they forget that at one time they wanted to morph the venerable Mustang name into a Mazda, i.e. Probe?

      Like 7
  6. z28th1s

    266 HP was the rating for the 351-4V Q code in the Mustang.

    248 HP was the rating for the 351-4V Q code in the Torino.

    Like 4
  7. z28th1s

    266 HP was the rating on the Q code in the Mustang, 248 HP was the rating for the Q code in the Torino.

    Like 1
  8. rextreme Member

    You’d be hard put to find a 65-70 coup as nice as this for this price.

    Like 2
  9. Troy s

    All Fords seemed to get “bigger” or overweight, maybe pudgy is the word in the early seventies. Even the cool swoopy ’70-71 Torino was kind of large for a mid sized car.
    My favorite Mustangs are the ’69-70 Boss 429/302—the Mach 1’s right along with them, those were a tough act to follow, at least visually. I think this a great looking car, with a souped 351 Cleveland, just can’t imagine driving it with all the wako drivers on the road these days with practically no rearward visibility. None but the little sport mirrors,,,I gave up on a nice Mach 1 for that reason alone.
    Aftermarket intake manifold and dress up items, wonder what other enhancements that Cleveland has, different cam maybe?

    Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      I heard the reason for this bigger stang was for the 429 to fit in easier.
      You wouldn’t be alone driving the car for sale here today – have u sat in new “cars”? – ridiculously big tall forward bent headrests, tiny glass, & rear end sheet metal sloping up way too high in the air – that’s why they got backup cameras – another distraction.
      How bout the rear view out of the new vette? – note the tapered inward sail panels …

      Like 1
      • Troy s

        Yeah Joe, it was in 1985 when I drooled over a Mach 1 just like this one but with a set of Cragars, 351 4 speed car. Hopped inside, liked the view out front. One look up in the rear view mirror and my jaw dropped. I made a double take.
        What visibility?
        No, no thank you and I walked.
        Price was under four grand on a “classic” car lot. Sharp as could be too.
        These ’71-73 Mustangs were the only ones Bunkie Knudsen had a hand in designing, with the idea of being able to fit any Ford V8 engine without the radical modifications that happened with the Boss 429 Stangs. Design started in ’68, a different world for Ford compared to post 1970, I’m no expert at all but the timing was all wrong…Bunkie himself was fired and then Ford pulled out of racing…the strict clean air bill, insurance rates through the roof, on and on. In retrospect, the ’69-70 Mustang may have faired better thru 1973 but Lee Iacoca would have killed it with the Mustang II anyways, his car his baby.

  10. KID

    I’m pretty familiar with the 72s, and the 73s. I had a 73 Cougar XR7, but my dad tried to get me to get a 72 Mustang convertible. I know those front bumpers, and this one is a 73. Unless of course it is an add on, or an end of production. Maybe someone didn’t look at the title closely. I am not trying to be critical. I liked the Mach one in the late 60s, that big clock, and all of the 70s.

    Care to comment ??

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell Staff


      VIN sez it’s a ’72.


      Like 1
    • Gene

      Urethane front bumpers were part of the Mach 1 package in 72

    • Roger

      That is definitely a 71-72 front bumper, not the 73 diving board bumper.

      Like 1
  11. Jerry Member

    Yep…price isnt bad in this one if its pretty cancer free…….

  12. Kevin

    Had a roommate in college with one of these. Felt like you were sitting on the ground and visibility out that back window was terrible. The snow in those Midwest winters collected quickly on that nearly flat rear window.

    Like 2
  13. Dave

    Is it me? But is that a GM distributor with the coil in the cap?

    Like 4
  14. Jerry Member

    Nope…its a 72.
    73s turnsignals were up and down….72s were across the grill like this one…..I had a 72 Mach 1

    Like 1
  15. chuck

    This is a nice one.
    Far better than the usual rusted hulks we see here.

    Like 3
  16. Steve

    I’ve owned two Mustangs. A 68 vert and a 95 vert. To the comments below, HTF do you make beautiful cars like the 67-70 model years, and then create this monstrosity. There must be a great story of how the design was sold and then how someone got fired.

    Like 1
    • Jerry Member

      Wht did u leave out the 65 and 66 original years??

      • Steve

        Because only the fastbacks from that era are attractive IMHO. The verts and coupes suffer from a certain wimpiness in the sheetmetal design that the 67-70 don’t.

  17. Mike

    That car has after market items, 102k Mike’s, thin paint in spots, etc etc. it may have been in a barn but it’s not rare nor mint

  18. Trygve Bey

    I had a 1972 Gran Torino Sport with a 351 Cleveland 4 bbl. that all info I saw said it had 285 Hp.

  19. JoeNYWF64

    I know some post ’71 torinos got quadrajets for emissions & possibly cafe reasons. But did any mustangs or big fords get the q-jet?
    I am assuming, tho, the Q in Q-code HERE does NOT stand for quadrajet. lol
    The ’71 boss 351 would be THE car to have of this gen, winning plenty of races, & faster than many prior mustangs!
    Did that optional rear spoiler aid in judging the rear of the car when parking?

  20. Jerry Member

    Whats with all the whining about rear visibility?? Drive faster and don’t worry whats behind u ya Chuckleheads!
    The 71-73 Stangs had unique fastback styling and while its not my fav Mustang, I like it better than the 74-78 too small and 129 hp 302 (or close to that sad hp)

    Like 3
  21. Chris


    Like 1
  22. AlaninTn

    I own a ‘71 Mach 1. 429, 4 speed factory car. I’ve had 2 with the 351C. Between ‘71 and ‘72 they changed the cam timing on the 351C gears. If you own a ‘72 or 73, order ‘71 timing gears. It will wake them up. Personally, I have no problem backing mine into the garage every time I drive it. The “Clydesdales” are my personal favorites. Not everybody’s cup of tea, but they are mine.

    Like 1

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