Want one of the last-of-the-first generation Mustangs, and a convertible to boot? This is your chance to score one, as this 1971 Mustang Convertible Spring Sports Edition is available for sale here on eBay for a current bid over $12,000 in an auction that goes on until the Thursday after Labor Day. You’ll find it residing in Brooklyn, NY should you end up winning the auction.
The first generation of Mustang is defined as cars sold from 1964 (as 1965 models) to 1973. However, by the last three years of that run, 1971-73 model years, the previously svelte Ponycar had gained in size and heft. The styling, too, had taken a turn. The look was “Mod,” appropriate for the era, but not sporty and cute the way the original Mustang was upon its April 17, 1964 official introduction. But that didn’t stop this generation from selling well. In fact, the numbers were still strong at about 150,000 units produced for the year of this particular car. Part of the appeal was that any car save the Boss 351 could be optioned with a 429-CID monster engine.
This car has a 302-cubic-inch displacement engine and an automatic transmission. That engine is the smallest available V8 for the year, but it was at least some bonus over the standard 145 horsepower six-cylinder. What’s not certain is how this one came by Ram Air, which was an Option on the 351-CID and larger V8s, but not, from my research, on the 302 (but see discussion of the Spring Sports package below). Still, the powertrain apparently has only around 57,000 miles on it, and the engine, in photos, shows as relatively clean, if not show-detailed. The current owner reports that it runs well. Overall, a good deal of basic mechanical refurbishment is reported by the owner, including new convertible top cylinders. Oddly, the current owner says that the convertible top switch is a bit temperamental, but that it can be fixed and that the part is $12. Seriously? You wouldn’t do that before selling after doing so many other things from brakes to AC service to newer exhaust to a carb rebuild?
Let’s not forget to call out the AC in this car—which is much nicer and more necessary to have on a convertible than people sometimes think. (Can you tell this is being written when it’s 103 degrees outside?) Finally, there’s one more potential bonus with this car: it’s listed as a Spring Sports Edition. However, the documentation I can find on the 1971s mentions a Sports Hardtop edition, which includes a Mach 1 grille, NACA hood scoops (did that imply the addition of Ram Air, which this car seems to have? Doubtful, but a possible explanation for the Ram Air setup), color-keyed front bumper, Boss 351 side stripes, lower body paint, and color-keyed mirrors. This car has all of these, but in the three authoritative Mustang books I consulted, none says anything about this package being available on a convertible, so some further work to document might be worthwhile. The Marti Report would likely be the key here. If it’s something that a prior owner installed, no harm done, as it looks good. If it’s a dealer or factory package, then it’s super rare being that this is a convertible. If authentic, you’ve got at worst a cool curiosity and at best a piece of Mustang history that, as the ad suggests, you might be alone in preserving.