Through all of the iterations of the iconic Ford Mustang, the Mach 1 holds a special place in the hearts of any classic car and Mustang enthusiasts. The Mach 1 marked a turning point for the Ford Mustang in terms of its aggressive styling, target drivers, and bevy of affordable performance options and engines.
Released in 1969, the Mach 1 was first upgraded and re-released in 1971. The Mustang Mach 1 truly set a standard for performance, and with the recent announcement of a much-anticipated 2021 re-release of the Mach 1, it’s a great time to look back at this legendary automobile.
We wrote before about Mach 1’s history and early years, in this article we take a closer look at the overall performance.
New Mustang for a new generation
Ford’s original Mustang was renowned for its combination of power, sport, style, and affordability. But Ford needed to produce a performance model popular with younger drivers. More “pony cars” began to be introduced, and the slick aesthetics and performance engines of Chevy’s Camaro and Pontiac’s Firebird wooed younger drivers.
After several years of experimenting with Mustang design and features, Ford released the Mach 1 in 1969. The car quickly became a roaring success! After only two years, the Mach 1’s design and features were refreshed for 1971.
And what’s in a name? For the Mustang Mach 1, its name evoked the supersonic Concorde Jet, which was recently introduced at the time. By taking on the technical term for the speed of sound, the new Mustang’s name spoke to its cutting-edge capabilities and performance.
As for aesthetics, the 1971 Mach 1 featured a honeycomb grille in black with sport lamps, Mach 1 Mustang decals on the fenders, and color-keyed dual racing mirrors with a driver-side remote, among other standout features. For the 1971 Mach 1, probably the most noticeable feature was the iconic hood design with dual scoops.
While the 1969 Mach 1 Mustang was slightly bigger and heavier than earlier Mustang models, its bolder and more muscular look was backed by an array of performance engines and features. Buyers looking for top performance could opt for Ford’s FE big-block 428 cubic-inch Cobra Jet (CJ) and Super CobraJet (SCJ) V8s, which gave the Mach 1 some real street performance credentials.
In terms of performance and added features, the 1969 Mach 1 offered options for customization and boosting performance. The base Mach 1 contained a 351 Windsor engine with a two-barrel carburetor and a single exhaust that put out 250-gross horsepower.
For only $26 more, Mach 1 buyers could opt for the 290-horsepower M-code 351 engine, which had a four-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts. It was available in a three- or four-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic transmission.
Mach 1s also came with upgraded suspension dependent on powertrain choices. Big block cars contained front shock tower reinforcement, thicker sway bars, and heavier springs and shocks.
For the 1971 Mach 1, three 351 Cleveland engines were available. The H-code 2-V, the M-code 4-V, and, in May of 1971, the Q-code 351 CJ (Cobra Jet) became available.
The 428 CJ engine was an even more powerful Mach 1 engine. This Super Cobra Jet engine was outfitted with strengthened hardware to accommodate quicker revving. In fact, a Mustang Mach 1 equipped with the 428 CJ or SCJ went from 0–60 mph in 5.5 seconds and completed a quarter-mile in 13.9 seconds at around 103 mph — impressive stats indeed.
For the average buyer looking for performance at realistic pricing, it would be a very long time (some four decades) before another Mustang could offer such balance in performance and price.
Classic Auto Insurance understands collectors
Owning a 1971 Mustang Mach 1, or any classic Mustang for that matter, means owning a piece of American history. So when it comes to insuring such an important automobile, don’t go to just any old insurance company. If you own a Mach 1, you need the right insurance policy to match.
Classic Auto Insurance specializes in auto insurance policies that can be tailored to the unique cars that we insure. We’ll customize a policy to fit your needs while keeping things affordable. Plus, we love talking cars; our staff and experts are automobile enthusiasts, too, and we’d love to hear the story behind your Mustang or whatever’s kept in your garage.
Call us at (888) 901-1338 or get an online quote to learn more about how we can cover your Mach 1 and other classic cars.