Chris Richardson
April 1, 2004

You simply don't come across too many Mustangs like this. The years take their toll on most; the deformed and rusted bodies relegating them to the restoration phase or, worse, the junkyard. But this '73 Grande was spared the indignities of the world's bumps, bruises, and rusty blisters. Does it look original? Appear to have that patina of factory freshness? It should, since this hardtop has galloped a scant total of 199 miles in its lifetime.

When George Bauman went looking for something different at noted collector and Mustang Monthly columnist Bob Perkins' shop, he spotted the Grande and something about it piqued an interest. Perhaps it was that George is no stranger to the last of the big Mustangs, since past ownership included a '73 convertible. By chance, during a return trip from Niagara Falls through Canada in 1972, he passed through Dearborn and stopped by the Rouge Assembly Plant to catch the first of the '73 Mustangs coming down the line.

Here's the story: Seems the owner of the Ford dealership that took delivery of the Grande would keep certain vehicles he couldn't trade or for which he couldn't get a top price. Upon his passing, his daughter put the estate up for auction and the Grande was sold as part of the collection of as-new vehicles. The Grande remains an unprepped example, with factory inspection decals gracing the windshield and driver's door glass. Even the chalk marks on the tires remain unscathed. It was obviously going to be someone's nice ride back in the day, being equipped with a 351, a Select-Shift automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, and whitewalls.

Yes, this original wonder does well at shows, wowing all who view it. At the Stampede to Dearborn II and Central Illinois MCA events last summer, it took Firsts. Doing the same in AACA's Jr. and Sr. classes means it will go to that organization's Grand National event this year.

George fully intends to keep the '73 in its preserved state, taking it to shows so everyone can see how things were done at the Dearborn Assembly Plant three decades ago. All Mustangers will appreciate that this is one of the breed that will remain a colt for years to come.