(Image/Ford Heritage Vault)

As America readied itself for its 200th birthday in 1976, the familiar red-white-blue paint scheme was applied liberally to everything from teapots to trains.

So it’s probably no surprise that Detroit got into the action too.

While we covered Chevrolet’s awesome 1974 Spirit of America cars a few years back, it’s totally worth pointing out that Ford’s Sprint editions actually beat them to the market by a few years.

This patriotic decal was emblazoned on the rear quarter of each American-market Sprint edition. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Conspicuously (but not officially) released to coincide with the 1972 Olympic year, Ford’s Sprint package was available on the Mustang, Maverick, and Pinto.

Selecting the Sprint Décor Option got you that aforementioned red-white-blue paint scheme, along with a color-matching interior. And if that wasn’t patriotic enough, Sprint editions also received an American Flag-inspired crest on the rear quarter (or a Maple Leaf, which we’ll talk about in a sec).

We came across this particular 1972 Ford Mustang Sprint at last year’s Goodguys Summit Racing Nationals. While it’s wearing a slightly different hood and stripe, the presence of a seemingly original interior and rear fender decals, makes us think the bonnet was a later retrofit—if you know for sure, tell us in the comment section below. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

As alluded to above, the Sprint option was little more than an appearance package on the Mustang, Maverick, and Pinto models.

But the Mustang did take things a little bit further, as you could get the Sprint package on either the SportsRoof, coupe, or convertible, with your choice of engines offered for the Ford Mustang in 1972. Mag wheels were optional. You could also opt for a modest Sprint Performance trim on top of that, which added a sport suspension and Ford’s Magnum 500 wheels.

Also spotted at the same Goodguys show was this 1972 Maverick with the Sprint Décor Group. It’s optioned with the available 302 Windsor V8 and sports a slick set of aftermarket wheels. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Ford also applied the Sprint treatment to the Pinto and Maverick too, again it was basically an appearance package that included the signature paint scheme and matching interior.

This 1972 Ford Maverick Sprint was destined for the Canadian market, as evidenced by its small Maple Leaf decal on the rear quarter. (Image/Ford Heritage Vault)

And now’s a good time to mention that these Sprint editions weren’t exclusively made for the United States. Canadian buyers could tick the Sprint box too—and though the red/white/blue paint remained, the U.S.A. shield on the rear quarter was replaced with a unique Maple Leaf crest.

While it was never directly mentioned in sales literature, it probably wasn’t a coincidence that the Sprint package launched during an Olympic year. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Sprint Editions also got color-keyed side mirrors, along with oh-so-subtle upholstery that carried the patriotic color palette inside, featuring white seats with blue inserts accented by red piping.

We don’t even want to ask how much work went into keeping these white seats clean for 50+ years. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

In addition to the blue accent on the hood, the Sprint Décor Package gave you a blue rocker treatment set apart with a red pinstripe.

This specific Mustang is wearing Ford’s optional Magnum 500 wheels. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

As far as production totals, from what we found, Ford made about 10,000 Sprint Mustangs, 15,000 Sprint Mavericks, and 20,000 Sprint Pintos. But considering that, outside of the Goodguys show last year, we’ve never seen another one (of any model) in real life, it leads us to think that these Sprint editions are pretty darn rare nowadays.

…So fingers crossed Ford decides to make another run of Sprint models for the 45th Olympiad in 2072.

Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.