Ben Mandell's '72 Mustang Sprint Convertible

This is 7 pictures of my 1972 Mustang Sprint convertible.
It is also "Miss October" on the Mustangs 2000 calender.

There's a story behind every Mustang and mine is no exception.
The first time that I saw one of these cars was in 1973 when I was in high school.
It was a red, white and blue convertible Mustang. It was one of those cars that when you see it--you never forget it. For many years I actually thought these were 1973 models.

Sometime about 1994 I decided that I would like to have one of these red white and blue cars. For several years I looked for this type of car. I found fastbacks in this color scheme but I couldn't find a convertible. I would later find out there was a very good reason for this.

Still thinking this was a 1973, I continued my search. With the internet getting going in a big way around 1997, I started searching for the car there. I still could not find the car. When I got married in 1996 my wife knew of my interest in the car and she tried to find one.

My wife surprised me by being able to identify year, makes and models of old cars. I asked her how she knew how to do this and she told me that her dad taught her. That might be the reason that I get along so well with my father in law!

For the next several years, my wife and I would go to car shows looking for this car. Many folks told us that they never made this car in a convertible. But, I knew that I had seen one even though it had been many years earlier. I was almost convinced that it might have been a dream and they really didn't exist.

In 1999, the national MCA show was held in Charlotte. I told my wife that I was going to the show to look for the car. She could not go that day as we had a new 4 month old baby. So I asked my friend Kevin and Mike to go to the show with me. Mike had restored a 69 Mustang and knew something about them.

We walked that show for 5 hours not finding the car. Mike and Kevin were convinced I had just made the whole thing up.

We walked into a vendor tent that was selling old Mustang and Ford advertisments and printed materials. I picked up an ad for the 1972 Sprints that showed a Mustang fastback, Pinto and Maverick in the red, white and blue combination. (this is when I realized it was a 1972--not a 1973) I asked the vendor if he had an ad showing the Mustang convertible. He told me that didn't make Mustang Sprints as a convertible. Mike and Kevin both shook their head as we left the tent.

We must have walked about 500 feet and directly in front of us sat the 1972 Mustang Sprint Convertible. What didn't exist a minute ago had appeared before our very eyes.

As Mike and Kevin starred in disbelief, I walked over the the car. A guy named Bill S appeared within a couple of minutes. He proceeded to explain that this was a very rare car. (no kidding) Ford had made 50 of these cars for the Cherry Blossom Festival parade in April, 1972 in Washington, DC. (one for each state) It now made sense why I was having a devil of a time trying to find one!

Was the car for sale? No it was not. But, Bill told us the owner was in the Cobra area and did have her eye on a Saleen Mustang over there. Bill let me sit in the car. I never started it and never got to drive it.

We walked over to meet the owner. She quoted a price that would knock your socks off. It was just out of my price range. Mike tried to talk her down (by telling her the tires were old and had dry rot) and all that did was make her mad. There wasn't anything wrong with the tires and we all knew it.

I gave the lady my card and told her that if she was interested in a different price that I would be willing to purchase the car.

I came home and told my wife that I had found the car. She looked out of the kitchen window and didn't see it. I told her that I didn't get it.

She then did something pretty amazing. She got mad at me and asked why I didn't buy it? I told her it was a lot of money and I just didn't think the car was worth that kind of money. She then said that I should have gotten the car since I had been talking about it for the past 5 years.

A couple of hours later, my wife decided that she wanted the see the car the following day (Sunday).

So the next day, we got up and went out to the show and paid for parking and bought tickets to get back in again.

We walked over to where the car was parked the day before and it was not there.

We then walked over to where the owner had been and we were able to find her and husband. I asked what happened to the car and she told me she sent it back to New York.

Then the lady started talking to me. She thought Mike was going to buy the car and he had made her mad with the dry rot tire deal. I told her that I was the one that really wanted the car and that he was just trying to help me.

She told me she was really interested in the Saleen and that she would sell the car for the right price in order to have money to purchase the Saleen.

We came to an agreement and they trailered the car back down to North Carolina the following weekend where it has been ever since.

Wherever my wife gets mad at me she says I spent too much money on the Mustang. Some things never change....

Here's Ben's e-mail address.

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