1973 Ford Mustang: Ultimate In-Depth Guide (2023)

Table of Contents

  • 1973 Ford Mustang Overview
    • Grande
    • Mach 1
    • Eleanor
    • Production Numbers
    • Options and Pricing
    • Engine Specs
    • Performance
    • VIN Information

1973 Ford Mustang Overview

For historical context, by the time 1973 rolled around the Maverick was outselling the Mustang and the Mustang had become a big, boring and not at all exciting car that was far removed from its original mid-60s style and mission. The fuel crisis had also moved buyers’ preferences from large, gas-guzzling muscle cars to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. It is no surprise then that Ford needed a change and thus the 1973 Mustang marked the end of the first generation. Due to government regulations, the 1973 Mustang would be the last Mustang convertible until 1983 and it would be the last year for Mustang Grande also. In its final year, there were a total of 134,867 Mustangs produced.

Model:1973 Ford Mustang
Generation:1st Generation Mustang
Type:2 Door
Body Styles:Coupe, Convertible, Fastback
Engines:250ci six, 302ci 2bbl V8, 351ci 2bbl V8, 351ci 4bbl V8, 351ci CJ 4bbl V8
Original Price:$2,760 (Basic Coupe), $3,102 (Convertible), $2,820 (Fastback)
Units Produced:134,867

Additional 1973 Mustang Research: 1973 Research Center / Colors Details / Production Numbers / / Sales Brochures / Owner Manuals / Maintenance/ Pictures / Videos / VIN Decoder / Special Editions

Background & Details

1973 brought the last year of the “big” Mustang, the last of the first generation Mustangs. It was going to be replaced by a smaller, lighter Mustang and Ford was focused on getting that ready, therefore, most of the changes for 1973 were purely cosmetic. A large, square, chrome headlamp bezel appeared, as did chrome trim around the tail lights. A color keyed Urethane front bumper replaced the chrome units of the previous years. The front parking lights were now placed vertically in the front grille.

A new, grained, black applique with bright trim was placed on the rear body panel between the tail lights. This was replaced with a honeycomb style on the Mach 1 and Grande models. The 1973 Mustang convertible was to become the last Mustang convertible for many years.

(Video) 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 for sale with test drive, driving sounds, and walk through video

This was also a year of first for MustangIt was the first year where FORD did not restyle the mustang after 2 model years, it was the first of many years to come where horsepower and performance steadily declined. It was the first to start engine cubic inches in a decline. The next generation of Mustangs known as Mustang II’s would become smaller and “broken” to use a horse term. The next performance car Ford will make will be in 20 years in 1983 when they make a GT with a Holley 4bbl carburetor. I had a 1968 coupe 302 2bbl, 1966 289 GT fastback and 1967 289 4bbl, 4-speed dark green convertible. These would remain my only mustangs until 1983 I vowed not to step backwards and buy an under performing Mustang no matter how much repair work needed to be done to keep the old ones running!

The 1973 Mustang resembled the 1971 and 1972 Mustangs very closely. In most respects, they were unchanged. The most obvious change was the redesigned grille. The egg crate mesh was larger and the turn signal lamps were located within the grille opening. Headlight location remained unchanged, however, the headlight bezels were chromed and similarly, the taillight bezels were finished in bright metal. The front bumpers were different (modified to meet the new federal crash standards), front fenders are different, grille is different. However, if you look casually at the cars, the average person will not distinguish one year from another. The grill had the turn signals mounted in the outside part of the grille.

Headlight bezels and taillight bezels were bright metal, not color coordinated or flat black. The chrome lip on the front of the hood was color keyed as were the front fender extensions, in previous years, they were mostly chrome. The standard running horse in the grille is enclosed in a a corral and has a vertical bar going up and down like the ’65 Mustang. The whole grille assembly is surrounded in a shiny chrome colored metal rectangular corral as well. The Mustang script on the front fenders remains unchanged from previous years.

Bumpers and bumper mountings were modified and the urethane front bumper became standard, and was enlarged in accordance with new NHTSA standards. The bumperwas color-keyed to the car’s paint as were the hood and fender moldings. The rear bumper, similar to the 1971-72 unit, was mounted further away from the rear of the car in order to comply with the 2-1/2 mph rear standards.

Engine availability was largely unchanged from 1972. The main change was Ford no longer offering the 351 HO engine. You could get the 351 4bbl and 351 2bbl as an upgrade to the 302. Even though it was the last year for the big Mustang, some mechanical improvements did appear. Suspension travel was increased by a 1/4 inch and the standard drum brakes were larger. And all convertibles came with power front disc brakes.

The Lee Iacocca Mustang II will make its debut in “74 and thereafter for the next 4 years. Goodbye to the first generation Mustangs.

(Video) Best suspension MOD for your vintage Mustang

Special Edition Models & Variants

It is hard to call this list of models “special” but they technically count so we technically talk about them. The most exciting of the specials was a movie car used in the 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds. Known as “Eleanor” the car was actually a 1971 Mustang in 1973 Mach 1 trim.

1973 Ford Mustang: Ultimate In-Depth Guide (1)


The last of the Mustang Grande models was much like the Grande cars from 1969 onward in that it was the “luxurious” Mustang. The Grande was unchanged, save for colors and vinyl roof treatments. Noticeably absent from the option list were the 15×7″ chrome Magnum 500 wheels. The 1973 Mustang Grande option was only for the hardtop and consisted of a vinyl roof, plush interior with deluxe cloth high bucket seats, electric clock, interior trim panels with molded pull handles and arm rests, deluxe two-spoke steering wheel, color-keyed racing mirrors, full wheel covers, metal rocker panel moldings, metal wheel lip trim, and dual exterior paint stripes.

Learn more about the 1973 Ford Mustang Grande

1973 Ford Mustang: Ultimate In-Depth Guide (2)

Mach 1

While there were no major differences in the ’71 and ’72 Mach 1s externally, the 1973 Mach 1 did receive some significant appearance updates. The lower body accent paint and bright trim were gone and the entire car was one color top to bottom. All ’73 Mach 1s received a wide body-side tape stripe in either black or argent, that featured a “MACH 1” cutout on the front of the quarter panel, and a standard “MUSTANG” script emblem on the fender. Those favoring the vinyl roof look, could order a 3/4 vinyl roof on the Mach 1 and all other SportsRoof models.

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Learn more about the 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1

1973 Ford Mustang: Ultimate In-Depth Guide (3)


The 1973 Eleanor was a movie car from the independent filmmaker H.B. “Toby” Halicki’s 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds. It was actually a 1971 Mustang in 1973 Mach 1 trim. Two Eleanor cars were used in the movie, a “beauty” version for close-up shots, and a stunt version used for the high speed chase scene. The high speed chase scene is considered one of the best movie car-chase scenes of all time. Another is the the movie “Bullitt” which featured a 1968 Mustang!

Learn more about the 1973 Eleanor

Specifications, Options & Detailed Stats

Production Numbers

A total of 134,867 Mustangs were sold in 1973, up a modest 7% for the final year of the first generation. As usual, all three Mustangs body styles were available but it was the last year for the factory built convertible. This helped to account for the slight resurgence of the convertible production numbers in 1973. To dive into the model and body splits as well as see charts and percentages, check out our

Options and Pricing

Options included a partial vinyl roof on the SportsRoof model. The Mach1 received a non-functional NASA hood which was also available at no cost with the 302 engine. If you opted for the 352 2 barrel engine, you got the functional version of the hood scoop. Both a Mach 1 and base grille were offered, with differing insert patterns. For more detailed options and pricing, please check out our 1973 pricing and options research.

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Exterior & Interior Colors

A total of 16 exterior colors were offered for the 1973 Mustang model year. There weren’t many special colors this year so total exterior color options came in at a total of 18 colors. For detailed colors, color palettes, codes and interior colors please check out our in depth 1973 colors information post.

Dimensions & Weight

The 1973 Mustang resembled the 1971 and 1972 Mustangs very closely. The 1973 Mustang had grown up, out and heavy since its birth in 1964. Wheelbase increased by 1 inch, it was 12.2 inches longer and 5.9 inches wider. In height it grew .4 inches and total weight increased by 575 pounds. Although 575 pounds does not seem to be much, since the original car only weighed 2562 pounds, this was about 22% increase.

Engine Specs

Engine availability changed in 1973 because they no longer offered the 351 HO engine. You could get the 351 4bbl and 351 2bbl as an upgrade to the 302. For more information on engines for 1973, you can find the information here.


Below is the performance data for the 1973 Mustangs that we could find. We have included 0-60 mph times, 0-100 mph times as well as quarter mile times and top speed.

VIN Information

1973 Ford Mustang: Ultimate In-Depth Guide (4)

This link will take you to a page which contains theVIN tag information for all years of Mustangs. Previously this information appeared on each Mustang’s year page, but consolidating it has significantly reduced page loading times. To decode the build sheet, check out our .

(Video) 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Cobra Jet for sale with test drive, driving sounds, and walk through video

Videos & Picture Galleries

We managed to find some great video reviews of the 1973 Mustang so definitely check those out. We also have a picture 1973 Ford Mustang Picture Gallery and photos of real Mustangs in each color that was available.


What is a 1973 Mustang worth? ›

Prices rose slightly, with the Hardtop costing from $2,760; Fastback at $2,820; Convertible at $3,102, Grande at $2,964, and Mach 1 at $3,088.

How do you tell if a 1973 Mustang is a Mach 1? ›

All 1973 Mach 1s received a wide body-side tape stripe in either black or argent, that featured a "MACH 1" cutout on the front of the quarter panel, and a standard "MUSTANG" script emblem on the fender.

What is a 1973 Q code Mustang? ›

While most of us apply the term to the tire-smoking big-blocks of the '68-'71 era, under the hood of Mike's Mach is the Q-code 351 four-barrel, commonly called the 351 Cobra Jet, which took over the reigns as the hottest engine in the Mustang stable for '73.

Where is the data plate on a 1973 Mustang? ›

1973 Ford Mustang VIN Decoder

The 1973 Mustang VIN number can be found on top edge of the dash on the driver's side visible through the windshield.

How much horsepower does a 1973 Mach 1 have? ›

The 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is one of the cars that got the worst of it. Despite having a 351 Cleveland under the hood, the most powerful version of the 1973 Mustang Mach 1 made 285 horsepower.

How much did the first Mustang car cost? ›

The first Mustang rolled off the assembly line March 9, 1964, and it made its national debut on April 17. With a list price of $2,368, by the weekend, 22,000 cars were ordered and some 303,408 were built that first year. Through 1966, Ford sold more than 1.4 million of them. There were up to 70 options available.

What engine is in a 1973 Mach 1? ›

This extremely rare 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is a number matching pony car and features a 351 cubic-inch Windsor V8 engine bolted to a three-speed FMX automatic transmission.

How much is a Mustang Mach 1 worth? ›

TrueCar has 159 new Ford Mustang Mach 1 models for sale nationwide, including a Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback. Prices for a new Ford Mustang Mach 1 currently range from $55,270 to $74,305.

What is special about a Mach 1 Mustang? ›

At its core is a 5.0-litre V8-engined Mustang GT, but the Mach 1 gets stiffer front and rear suspension sway bars, a Torsen limited-slip differential, extra bracing, six-piston Brembo brakes and a high-flow radiator.

What does Q-code Mustang mean? ›

The engine code in a VIN, which is the fifth digit of that number usually, tells us that this “Q” decoding means this Mustang is powered by a non-Ram Air 428 cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine.

What does a code Mustang mean? ›

The A and C Code engines were the default V8 option for early Mustangs, both sporting 289 cubic-inch displacements. The two 4.7-liter engines differ mainly because of their carburetors. The A Code engine had a four-barrel carburetor while the C Code had a two-barrel unit.

What is a 351 Q-code? ›

Q-code (351 Cobra-Jet)

The Q-code 351 "Cobra-Jet" (also called 351-CJ, 351-4V) was produced from May 1971 through the 1974 model year. It was a lower-compression design that included open-chamber 4V heads.

How many digits is a 1973 VIN? ›

The most common VIN format is the 17-digit VIN, which became standard for all vehicles manufactured since January 1981. Vehicles manufactured prior to 1981 may have as few as 5 digits to as many as 13 digits.

Where can I get a Mustang data plate? ›

In general, up until the 1970 model year, for most vehicles the data plate mounted on the driver's door near the door latch as seen on this 1969 Mustang. For 1970 and later model cars, a mylar tag was used, generally mounted on the door above the striker plate as seen on this 1970 tag of a Mustang.

What is a Ford FMX transmission? ›

The FMX is a standalone cast-iron three-speed automatic that was in production in various forms beginning in 1950. There was the large-case MX Ford-O-Matic and the small-case FX transmissions prior to '66.

How much horsepower did a 1973 351 Cleveland have? ›

the following year, 1973, was the 4 barrel Cleveland 351's last year. The two barrel version was rated at 160 horsepower. The pistons were dish topped. The four barrel was rated at 266 horsepower.

How much HP does a 289 V8 have? ›

Ford's 289 High Performance V-8 introduced in 1963 and first available as a Mustang option in 1964 is a high-revving, peppy Ford V-8 with a factory rating of 271 horsepower.

Who owns the very first Ford Mustang? ›

Interestingly, this all started nearly 58 years ago when Gail Wise became the first person ever to purchase a Ford Mustang.

What was the first v8 used in a Mustang? ›

On March 9, 1964, the first Mustang, a Wimbledon White convertible with a 260-cubic inch V-8 engine, rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan. A month later on April 17th, 1964, the Ford Mustang made its world debut at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York.

How long is a 1973 Mustang? ›

Dimensions & Weight
Body Length189.5 inches
Body Width74.1 inches
Body Height Hardtop50.8 inches
Body Height Fastback50.1 inches
8 more rows

What is a restored 65 Mustang worth? ›

The average price for the classic Ford Mustang 1965 is currently 30,000 - 40,000 USD. Of course, the price can be higher or lower depending on which model it is, the mileage, and overall condition.

What engine did the 64 1/2 Mustang have? ›

The 64 1/2 convertibles had a 289cid engine, and the hardtops came with the less powerful 260 V-8. Thirty five convertibles were sold to dealerships and 195 hardtops were given out in dealer contests held in April of 1964.

What is a 1967 Mustang worth? ›

Vehicle Valuation Analysis
BodystylesMedian Sale
Fastback Coupe$45,722
HardTop Coupe$17,000


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