A Knowledge Base of the "First" Limited Edition Mustang

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's a Sprint 200?

Sprint 200 is the name given to Ford’s “first” limited production Mustang. I say first because while the 1964-1/2 Pace Cars might constitute a limited production run, they were only offered to dealers. The Sprint was the first offered to the buying public.

Midway through the 1966 model year, Ford was fast approaching Mustang sales of one million. An overwhelming percentage of these were V8’s, and Ford was running short of them. The limited-edition Sprint 200 package began to be promoted to help ease the situation. Ford had plenty of the newly re-designed 200 c.i.d. 6-cylinder engines from the Falcon; a direct result of the dismal sales of that model for 1966 (which also used the inline six as its standard engine). Thus, the Mustang Sprint 200 was a Ford promotion that would avoid a production slowdown in which the readily-available 200 six would be dressed up with a chrome air cleaner and special decal. 

The Sprint 200 was also known as the Spring or Springtime Sprint. But the “Sprint” name was rarely used in Ford advertising; the package was advertised as the "Millionth Mustang" or "Limited Edition" Mustang Sale. Ford announced the “Limited Edition” in the spring of 1966, right around the time the millionth Mustang rolled off the Dearborn assembly line on March 2, 1966. The program was part of a celebration of the Millionth Mustang milestone: The Millionth Mustang Success Sale. Although Ford advertising of this event peaked in March/April, Sprint 200 production began much earlier. It’s generally believed that Sprint production began around the beginning of January, although some unconfirmed vehicles might have begun appearing as early as November/December. Production occurred at all three Mustang plants: Dearborn, San Jose, and Metuchen.

The stock 200 ci (120 horse) six was dressed up with a chrome air cleaner with a special Sprint decal. No other extra cost enhancements would be made in either the interior or exterior. The balance of the package combined some regular production options. Two transmission packages were offered. "Package A" cars had a manual transmission and listed for $39.63 over the base price. "Package B" cars had C4 automatics and listed for $163.40 more. It’s estimated that of the total number of "Sprint 200" Mustangs built during the 1966 model year that 75% of them were package "B". Besides the chrome air cleaner, the balance of the package included a center floor console, painted side accent stripes (in one of three colors: black, white, or red), deletion of the 3-finger chrome rear quarter ornaments and a set of deluxe 48 spoke, stainless steel Blue center wire-style wheel covers. These were sporty options that cost a lot more if purchased separately.

Sprint 200s (as well as all 1966 Mustangs) came equipped with the Safety Equipment Group: padded instrument panel and sunvisors, an outside rearview mirror, seatbelts for four, backup lights, an emergency flasher, and a windshield washer. While the Safety Equipment Group sounds like a generous option package from Ford, most of it was federally mandated standard equipment for 1966 anyway. 

The Sprint 200 was available as a hardtop, fastback, or convertible. The most rare and difficult to confirm without supporting documentation is the fastback. This is because all fastback models were made with No Quarter ornamentation. 

Customers that ordered Sprints didn’t have to stop with the package contents. They could order other deluxe options such as: the Interior Decor Group, AM/FM radio or AM/eight-track, and more, which surely makes them unusual and rare today.

The name “Sprint” wasn’t first used on the 1966 Mustangs. It was used on the Falcons before this. And Sprints were also produced in 1967-1968 and 1972, although production in these model years wasn’t limited to the 6-cylinder.

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