CC Capsule: 1971-73 Ford Mustang Hardtop – More Clydesdale Than Pony

I seem to be stumbling upon 1971-73 Mustangs lately, and found this one Sunday afternoon, not ten feet from the ’78 Town Coupe. While this particular Mustang needs just about everything, it does show off the cool tunneled rear window that was a feature of the 2-door hardtops.

When the new, larger 1971 Mustang came out, the Hardtop, Fastback and Convertible returned, as had been the case with the prior two generations.

The Fastback traded sportiness for limited rear visibility. Yes, it had a large backlight, but when backing up in one of these, the area you could see out of was about the same as looking out of a mail slot. My uncle can testify to that rear window’s uselessness, as his first car was a base-model blue ’71 Fastback. A classic case of form over function.

The hardtop came in standard trim and a luxury Grande version, complete with whitewalls, vinyl roof, fancier interior and extra sound insulation. That cool rear window recalled the 1968 Charger and 1966-67 GM A-body two-door hardtops, and with the Grande package, you basically had a 3/4 scale Thunderbird. Quite a departure from the high-octane Boss 351 that was available the same year.

Ford’s pony car was considerably different from its original compact 1965-66 iteration during the 1971-73 period, and in 1974, Mustang fans would have to deal with the Mustang II for a while. But all was not lost, for the Fox-body Mustang was waiting in the wings. It would be worth the wait.