After years of developing sporty pony cars, Ford found the need to create a model to attract younger buyers. They found this as a way to keep up with Chevrolet and their Camaro as well as Pontiac and their Firebird. To accommodate for the larger engine blocks in this sporty model, Mustang redesigned their platform and engine bay. Ford began to introduce the larger 428 cu inch Cobra Jet engine in a small batch of their “GT” models. However, they needed a name to match the high-performance feature of their new street performance model which is how the Mach 1 title came about.
The Beginning of the Mach 1
The Mach 1 was so successful its first year that the GT models were discontinued after 1969. The “SportsRoof” fastback body style was the only package that the Mach 1 was available in. The first- generation Mach 1 could be distinguished by the 63C body style code on the door data plate. Several visual and performance enhancing items were added to the “SportsRoof” body style including, a matte black hood treatment with hood pins, hood scoop, competition suspension, a chrome pop-open gas cap, revised wheels with Goodyear Polyglas tires, chrome exhaust tips, and several others. With these enhancements, Ford thought for sure they were on track for making this model a hit.
1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Some of the standard features on the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 model included:
- “SportsRoof” body style and “63R” body code on the door tag
- Base Mustang vinyl interior
- Argent or black “Mach-1 MUSTANG” decals on the fenders
- Argent or black stripes and a “Mach 1” decal on the trunklid
- Argent or black lower body accent paint
- Color-keyed dual racing mirrors with a driver side remote
- A unique pop open gas cap
- Honeycomb grille in black with sportlamps
- E70-14 white sidewall tires with hub caps and trim rings on 7” wide steel wheels
- F-code 302-2V engine with 3 speed manual transmission
Three 351 Cleveland engines were available for 1971. The H-code, 2-V, the M-code 4-V, and in May of 1971 the Q-code 351 CJ (Cobra Jet) was introduced. For the 1971-1973 Mach 1 the most noticeable feature is the hood design with dual scoops. On 302 cars the dual scoop was an option for no added cost however it was standard on all others. The exterior of the 1971 Mach 1 was carried over to the 1972 with little to no changes.
Muscle Car of the Week
Since the launch of the Mustang in 1964 was so successful, Ford figured many of the buyers of those models would be older by the time the Mach 1 was created and ready for a car that could fit a family. When creating the Ford Mustang Mach 1, Ford made sure to keep that in mind in hopes that the buyers of the 1964 would want to buy another Mustang. In the video, Muscle Car of the Week explains that the changed look of the Mustang was to go for a “sporty personal car with European flair”. However, Mustang fans did not feel the same. They felt it was too big. It became known as a car you either love or hate.
If you’re a collector on the love side of this car, you would be proud to own one. They only made 554 with the J code 429 Super Cobra Jet like the one in the video and only 167 Mach 1s with the automatic. It’s not easy to find one of these. The question still stands today, do you love this car or hate it?