Most of us old enough to remember the Mustang's ninth year recall the unwelcome news about no more V-8s and an end to convertibles, something we saw as a disappointing conclusion for the sporty Mustang we'd always known. Word on the street predicted a Pinto-based Mustang for '74 with only four- and six-cylinder power. Although we didn't know it at the time, '73 was not the end at all; instead, it was just the beginning of a 10-year hiatus before we would see a new Mustang convertible packing V-8 power again.
Mike and Marianne Reents from Eastern Washington understand the hysteria of 1973. They had to have one, although it was a few years later before they acquired this Gold Glo '73 convertible.
"We purchased this car in March of 2001," Marianne tells us. "Mike already had a '72 convertible but it needed a lot of work."
That's when Mike visited the Vintage Mustang Forum (www.vintage-mustang.com) and found this gold '73 convertible in the hands of Tom Spiers in New Orleans, where it had been since new. Tom had purchased the car from the original owner, someone who lived in his neighborhood, in 1991. He'd known about the car for most of his life and could vouch for its condition and history. Cash and title changed hands and the deal was done. However, this was where the real work began, and it would take years.
Although Tom had performed a lot of restoration work, there was still much to be done. The first order of business for the Reents was convertible top replacement. Later, the front end was stripped in order to detail the engine compartment. During their detailing efforts, Mike and Marianne were surprised to find many factory pieces, like the original Motorcraft alternator and starter. The EGR valve had never been replaced.
Once the engine compartment was up to par, attentions were turned to the Ginger Comfortweave interior, which needed a full-scale restoration. Because '71-'73 interior parts aren't always plentiful, those restoration efforts were challenging.
Beneath the long hood is the two-barrel version of Ford's 351 Cleveland V-8 backed by a C6 Select-Shift transmission and a 9-inch rearend with 2.75:1 gears. Although the two-barrel carburetion and open-chamber heads weren't the most optimum for performance in 1973, the 351C offers plenty of pep for crisp freeway acceleration whenever it's time to blast down Interstate 90 for a day of fun under Washington's mild summer sun.
Although it seemed like the Mustang's twilight in the summer of 1973, great Mustangs were yet to come. The Reents will tell you they're not concerned with what happened to the Mustang after '73 because it's Ground Hog Day for them year round. MM
Mustang Convertible Production Numbers*
'65: 101,945 (18-month model year)
* Does not include Shelby convertibles