- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 24, 2011

Like every other automaker, Ford strives to keep its products fresh and in the public eye. In 1972, one way to achieve that goal was to offer a “Sprint” version of the regular Mustang.

The limited edition Sprint was popular, with more than 9,000 sold, but was offered only in the hardtop and sports-roof versions of the Mustang. Ford produced 50 extraspecial Sprint Mustangs as convertibles expressly for use in the April 8, 1972, Cherry Blossom Festival parade. The 50 Mustang Sprint convertibles in the red, white and blue motif were identical.

At the conclusion of the festivities, the 50 cars were distributed to local Ford dealers, who spruced them up a bit and then offered them for sale. One of them was purchased from the Dick Herriman Tysons Ford dealership by Col. Lacy Hagood, who took the rare car home to Clifton, Va. For more than 30 years he maintained the car while driving it 93,000 miles.

Rex Turner is especially fond of the Cherry Blossom Mustangs, having owned one years ago. Several times he had approached Col. Hagood about purchasing the car. In November 2003 Mr. Turner got word that the car was available. In no time at all Mr. Turner was being driven by his wife, Maryanne, to go get the Cherry Blossom Mustang.

The car had not be been moved in quite some time but responded eagerly when the ignition key was twisted. “I managed to get to a service station to put air in the tires,” Mr. Turner says. After making the 14-inch tires round again, Mr. Turner fired up the long-dormant V-8 engine and motored home to Oakton.

The inviting interior is found only in the Cherry Blossom Mustangs.
The inviting interior is found only in the Cherry Blossom Mustangs. more >

Once he got the convertible home, he carefully inspected his prize. Records show that the Mustang was built in Dearborn, Mich., in March 1972, only a month ahead of the Cherry Blossom festivities that year.

“The seat material is unique to these 50 convertibles and the trim code is blank on the VIN decal,” Mr. Turner explains. “All 50 cars came with a 302-cubic-inch engine, automatic transmission, AM radio, deluxe interior and power disc brakes.”

Window stickers on all 50 cars were identical and listed:

• Two-door convertible … … … … . . $3,101.00

• Cruise-O-Matic … … … … . .… … . 203.73

• Special Sprint package … … … … … 169.62

• Power steering  … … … … … … . . 102.85

• Power disc brakes … … … … … … . 62.05

• AM radio … … … … .  … … … … 59.17

• White-sidewall tires … … … … … … 35.28

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