R Code: 1972 Mustang Mach 1

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Sometimes, the mere stance of a vehicle can make you stand up and pay attention. It’s hard to ignore the aggression emitted by this 1972 Ford Mustang Mach I here on eBay, which is made all the rarer thanks to being equipped from new with the “R Code” package and 351 H.O. motor. An unusual car that featured a slightly de-tuned engine setup over the previous year’s Boss 351, it’s still a rare bird and quite desirable today, especially when it retains most of its stock bits like this car does. 

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The R-Code cars came standard with a 4-speed transmission, 9-inch rear end with 3.91 gears, larger wheels and tires and a more aggressive suspension set-up. As a Mach I car, this R-Code variant is likely one of only 336 cars produced in this configuration. The “Ginger Knotted Vinyl” interior still shows exceptionally well for the age, but the 94,000 miles on the clock can’t be verified. The carpet is supposedly not original but still works well with the interior color scheme.

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The seller claims the Mustang has a functioning ram air setup that is “original” to the car, but I’ve read this particular model instead sourced fresh air via a duct under the battery that then fed air into a hose that lead into the air cleaner snorkel. I’ll leave it to our Mustang experts to confirm if this example remains as it left the factory or if it’s been modified. It could also be a case of the seller not quite understanding the nuances of this year’s fresh air induction system.

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Although the seller (rightfully) laments that the wheels are not original, I wouldn’t rush to swap them out. Other issues include some rust in the doors and difficulty maintaining a smooth idle. Overall, this R-Code Mach I remains in impressive original condition and looks to be a few weekend projects away from being a reliable, stock driver-quality restoration that you can simply enjoy. Bidders seem to agree, as it’s already over $10K with six days left.

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Comments

  1. Rick

    Wheels are the FIRST thing I’d lose

    Like 2
    • Peter

      Really–you’d “lose” the wheels?

      GREAT! Your “loss” would be the gain of others, including myself, and Randy S., who said:

      “Love the wheels. Very period!”

      I’m with Randy S–LOVE the wheels!

  2. Sunday Driver

    Is that “Eleanor”?

  3. Stephen

    Why does it say Boss 351 on the sides and rear if it’s a ’72?

    Like 1
  4. RandyS

    Love the wheels. Very period!

  5. EB

    Looks like it has the power steering cooler too.

    Like 1
  6. piper62j

    Sweet!

  7. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I’ve been in one of these…with the rake of the fastback, the view through the rear window is like looking through a mailbox slot. If it had louvres on it, it was like looking through a mailbox slot fitted with blinds. Cool ride though!

    Like 1
  8. Texaswarlord

    Have always wanted to see a Mach 1 in a flat black paint job. Would have to change to wheels most definitely and have new wheels blacked out as well.

    It would so MEAN!!

  9. BillB

    If you’re going to flip a car and take photos with the parking lights on, spend 2 bucks and replace the LF one that’s burned out. Jeez…

    Like 1
    • Tom Member

      Now that’s funny right there!!!! Larry.

  10. Jeanne Lara

    Um…sorry. This isn’t a 1972 Boss 351. It may very well be a “R” code according to the vin plate but the did not, repeat, did not, make a BOSS 351 in 1972. I ran the vin on this very car and it’s a Mach 1 R code. More rare than the Boss. Don’t know why someone put the Boss graphics on it. Please do your research before you bid on any car. This is a very nice 1972 Mach 1.

    Like 1
    • Bill Morche

      This was my father’s car, he had it back in the 80’s. He put those Boss 351 decals on it and did the paint scheme on the rear end. I would love to see it again. If you need any information on it you can contact me.

  11. Car Guy

    The wheels are American Racing “Vector’s”. Compared to the “slot dish” mags of the day these were pretty cool. I had a set on my Bucanner Red 75 Trans Am.

  12. Eddie

    The wheels are American Racing Vectors. One of my favorites from the 70s. I had a set on my Chevy pickups back then, love ’em yet today.

  13. Robert Gambrel

    Love it just the way it is wouldn’t change a thing, just fix the bad spots and drive it.

    Like 1
  14. Rob S

    There were 336 R code mach 1’s built. 30 sportroofs, 19 coupes and 13 convertibles. Rarer than hens teeth doesn’t describe how rare these mustangs are! These were the very last of the real performance mustangs for over a decade. The engines were identical to the 71 boss except for lower compression ratios and different camshaft profiles. Everything else was same as the 71 boss 351. Ram air was NOT available on 72 R code mustangs, I think the ebay add says the ram air was added using original parts. It should have a CJ style air cleaner with the vacuum operated air inlet on the side and a chrome lid.
    This one is missing the Rev limiter, carb and possibly the intake and the large diameter alternator pulley. Intake should be aluminum. Maybe they painted it blue or it has a cast iron, hard to tell from the pics. All of these are very expensive and hard to find parts. I would look very close at the engine to see if has all of its performance specific pieces, it’s what makes this mustang so desirable.
    I have the twin to this car, in the non mach 1 sportroof version. It took me 3 years to find the boss/H.O. specific parts the car was missing. These are really neat cars that live in the shadows of the ever popular BOSS 351’s. (Probably why someone put the 71 BOSS decals on it, to advertise whats under the hood)
    Lately, prices for a “regular” 351 powered mach 1 have commanded more than a R code. I think these rare mustangs have yet to be discovered. When they are, demand will definitely out weigh supply.

    Like 1
  15. piper62j

    Agreed Rob.. 71 – 73 are the only Mustangs I’m restoring now.. They’re getting more difficult to find, so I’m keeping this last project for myself.. I believe they are a very good investment..

    Like 1
  16. Sal

    Looks like a 1971 to me. Weren’t the inner grill lights vertical on the ’72?

  17. Jeff P

    Back in 1980 I owned a similar mach 1. 351 with 4 speed, badged like this one as a Boss 351. Silver with a white interior. Last seen in Rome, NY around 1985.

  18. Bill

    I have one in the same shape. Not many around so I kept it all original

    Like 1

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