Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
October 1, 2003

First of all, George Munsterman's fastback is a low-mileage example of the '72 Mach 1. Other than a repaint in the original Bright Lime, it's all original. On top of that, it's powered by the R-code version of the 351 Cleveland, a Boss 351-like powerplant that was installed in only 398 Mustangs in 1972, per Kevin Marti's production data from Ford. Munsterman, from Fishkill, New York, hit the jackpot when he spotted the car for sale in Oregon on a Web site and took delivery this past April.

But at this year's Carlisle All-Ford Nationals, George received yet another treat. "While I was cleaning the car, a man and his adult son walked up to me and began describing a car exactly like mine, a car he had purchased brand new," George tells us. "Turns out, it was Francois Boudreau, the original owner who had special-ordered this Mach 1 from Bob Carr Ford in Victor, New York. Francois was visiting his son, who lives near Carlisle, and they decided to drop by the show. When his son was born, he rode home from the hospital in this very car."

Coincidentally, George purchased the car on April 12, 2003-exactly 31 years to the day since Boudreau took delivery on April 12, 1972. In addition to that, both men are in the construction business in the state of New York.

The R-code 351 H.O. Mustangs from 1972 are truly the last of the first-generation muscle Mustangs. With both the Boss 351 Mustang and the 429 Cobra Jet engine falling off the Mustang order sheet after 1971, the top performance engine at the beginning of the model year was the 266hp (net, at the rear wheels) 351 Cleveland 4V, also known as the Q-code 351 Cobra Jet. Later, the 275hp R-code 351 H.O. was added to the option list for all Mustang body styles, not just the Mach 1. Basically a '71 Boss 351 with open chamber heads (as opposed to the closed chamber Boss heads) and flat-top pistons for lower compression, the 351 H.O., like the Boss 351, came with a four-bolt main bearing block, a nodular iron crankshaft, forged rods, a solid-lifter camshaft, aluminum valve covers, a dual-point distributor, aluminum intake, rev limiter, and an Autolite 4300D spreadbore four-barrel carburetor.

Also like the Boss 351, the 351 H.O.-equipped '72 Mustangs received the Hurst-shifted four-speed, 9-inch rearend with locking 3.91 gears and 31-spline axles, Competition Suspension with staggered rear shocks, and dual exhausts. Another Boss trait is that air conditioning was not available with the H.O. So, except for the lower compression ratio, which is actually more streetable with today's low-octane fuel, and the lack of Boss 351 decals and hood blackout, the 351 H.O.-equipped '72 is a Boss 351.

But unlike 1971, when the Boss 351 engine was available only in the Boss 351 SportsRoof, the 351 H.O. was offered in all '72 Mustang body styles. According to Marti's database from Ford, the H.O. was installed into 366 SportsRoofs (presumably, most were Mach 1s), 19 hardtops, and 13 convertibles.

Francois Boudreau was one of the 398 lucky few to obtain one of the 351 H.O. Mustangs in 1972 after ordering his Mach 1 with a console, fold-down rear seat, and AM/FM/eight-track. He drove the car sparingly, then traded it in four years later at the same dealership where it was purchased.

Over the years, the car changed hands three or four times, eventually migrating cross-country to Oregon, where it ended up for sale online and, eventually, on George Munsterman's computer screen.