Jim Smart
August 19, 2016

Photos By: Jerry Heasley

I remember the 1972 Summer Olympics for the exploits of legendary swimmer Mark Spitz. Competing in the Games of the XX Olympiad hosted by Munich, Germany, Spitz set a world record for each of his gold medals, adding up to a whopping total of nine during his lifetime. His swimming record held ground for 36 years, until Michael Phelps exceeded it in 2008 with a stunning eight gold medals. And during Men’s Basketball, the United States lost to the Soviet Union (Russia) by one point in what is easily the most controversial basketball game in Olympic history.

An all-American Olympic red-white-and-blue Sprint package was perfectly timed for release between March and June of 1972 right before the Summer Olympics and all its excitement. Edsel B. Ford II, Merchandising Marketing Manager at Ford at the time, can be credited for the Olympic Sprint campaign. He saw sales gold in the package, which was available on select Ford Division Mustang, Maverick, and Pinto vehicles.

The Sprint Décor Group option was conceived to jumpstart sagging sales during one of the Mustang’s worst sales years. The package was one of the most striking in the marque’s history, which made it a popular seller. By the end of the model year, 9,383 units were sold in all three Mustang body styles. That accounts for 7.5 percent of Mustang sales, according to the 1972 Mustang Sprint Registry.

All 1972 Sprint Mustangs, including the United States and Canada, were produced at the Dearborn, Michigan, assembly plant and shipped to virtually every North American Ford sales district. The plant ever produced a Canadian Mustang Sprint bearing a maple-leaf insignia, though very few. One of them, owned by Eric Shink of Quebec, was featured here in Mustang Monthly in April 2009, making it one of the most unusual Mustangs ever bucked at Dearborn.

Ford insiders were stunned by the announcement from Henry Ford II (far left) that GM’s Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudsen (center) was named Ford President in early 1968. Knudsen would be at Ford long enough to change Mustang’s direction for the early ’70s. Despite all the hype about larger V-8s coming for the redesigned 1971 Mustang, the cubes never came and Bunkie was out little more than a year later. On the lighter side, he and stylist Larry Shinoda birthed the 1969-1971 Boss Mustangs.

1972 Mustang Sprint Quick Facts