Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 1, 2009

Eric stumbled across his H.O. Mach 1 when he decided to stop at Spring Carlisle during a trip to Kentucky to purchase a 60,000-mile Boss 351. "A guy was selling the car along the fence," Eric says. "When I came through the gate, I ran right over because the car was red on red. I quickly noticed that it wasn't a Boss, then realized it was a '72. Then I spotted the sign that said '17,000 original miles.' I looked at the VIN and saw it was an R-code, same as the '71 Boss 351. At first I was confused, then I remembered the H.O."

The seller was actually selling the car for the original owner in North Carolina. He had been trying to unload the Mach 1 for more than a year, having brought it to Carlisle the year before with no luck. "Nobody wanted to buy it because it wasn't a Boss," Eric relates.

Although traditional ram air wasn't part of the H.O. package, fresh air was delivered to the air cleaner through this plastic duct located under the battery.

A quick call to Bob Perkins revealed that the H.O. was really a Boss for 1972, with less than 400 built. With low production and low miles, deemed correct due to the state inspection receipts with the car, Eric made the deal for the '72 Mach 1 and returned home to Fish Kill, New York. "It saved me a trip to Kentucky," Eric says.

The car's paperwork included the original certificate of title, issued April 5, 1972, to Ernest Wicker. According to the seller, Ernest drove the car sparingly, mainly keeping it stored in his garage. Eric quickly ordered a Marti Report, which revealed that the Mach 1 was ordered on October 4, 1971, but not built until March 8, 1972. Factory options included the body-side tape stripes, rear spoiler, power steering, Rim-Blow steering wheel, Sport Deck rear seat, AM/8-track radio, console, Mach 1 Sports interior, tinted glass, and Magnum 500 wheels.

The red and black Mach 1 Sports interior is a great match for the Mach's red exterior. The shifter is a Hurst unit with a black ball.

Rarity and options aside, Eric remains impressed with the Mach 1's originality, noting that it still has its factory-installed belts, hoses, spark plug wires, and battery cables. From underneath, Eric points out the shocks with "D2" casting numbers, the paper tag on the rear axle, orange paint daubs on the back of the wheels, driveshaft markings, and the factory-installed safety wiring on the front suspension. Eric has documented everything, including the engine and carburetor tag numbers, paint daubs, and date codes. It's interesting that parts include "D1" and "D2" casting numbers.

Eric notes that the fuel pump has apparently been changed, and he's looking for an N.O.S. replacement. Also, the original mufflers had been replaced; Eric has already swapped them out with a set of N.O.S. mufflers, noting that the H.O. came with regular four-barrel exhaust manifolds, a unique H-pipe, and Boss 351-style mufflers.

Thanks to his low-mileage find at Spring Carlisle, Eric has become somewhat of an expert on '72 R-code Mustangs. He's also started a '72 H.O. registry in an effort to learn even more about these rare muscle Mustangs. If you're lucky enough to own one and would like to participate, drop Eric an email at boss302cat@yahoo.com.