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1972 represents a turning point for the era of the muscle-car. No longer a small and nimble personal car the public adored, they had evolved to be those brute force overweight torque-monsters. Gas prices began to increase in small increments. I still recall service stations on every major street corner having their ''gas wars'' to stimulate business with the lowest price in town.

Gas prices fluctuated throughout this period from about 32 to 37 cents per gallon. Service Stations became gas stations which meant patrons were forced to learn how to pump their own fuel, check oil, and other fluids and belts inspection, even wash their own windows.

Stupid looking japanese miniature econoboxs with their weird-o styling slowly began to infest the American market. They could be seen occasionally putting around town or crawling along on our highways with a whisp of blue smoke trickling out of their pathetic pencil sized exhaust pipe. Volkswagon sensed that their competition was about to explode.

Between the government's safety and smog regulations, horsepower ratings dropped. Advertised rating was changed from gross h.p. to net. in an effort to pacify the insurance company's concerns for the runaway horsepower wars. Compression ratios dropped and camshaft timing was altered in an effort to please the newly imposed smog regulations.

There was one last high performance 351 Cleveland 4V. Named ''351 H.O.'', or High Output, this engine was a slightly de-tuned version of the previous years infamous ''Boss 351''. The H.O. was a rare option with all three body styles.

1972 was the only year Mustang that looked exactly as the previous year and sales were lagging for all the manufacturers as the nations economy and interests changed.

Planning at FoMoCo had already begun drawing up a new downsized version with a fuel saving PINTO engine to compete with the pathetic mini-imports.

America's romance with the ''Great American Muscle-Car'' was speeding to an abrupt ending.

How sad.

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