Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
June 1, 2013
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

As the owner of 10 vintage Mustangs, Johnny Johnson qualifies for the "collector" category of Mustang ownership. That is certified when he admits preferring certain types of Mustangs, specifically performance models, which can be narrowed down even further by Johnny’s admiration for 1968-1970 models with the 428 Cobra Jet engine. Indeed, half of his stable is powered by Ford’s famous big-block, including the ultra-rare 1968 High Country Special hardtop featured in our October 2012 issue.

While most of Johnny’s CJ Mustangs can be classified as "special" by their HCS, Shaker-scoop, SCJ, or Shelby status, he confesses that he was actually looking for one of the more mundane—if you can call any Cobra Jet mundane—non-Ram Air versions when he located an unrestored Q-Code ’69 Mach 1, a car that was sold to its first owner by Lyons and Ryans Ford Sales in Antioch, Illinois. "It was in very rough shape and needed a complete rotisserie restoration with replacement of the rear quarters and floors," Johnny says. "But because it was a special order paint car, I bought it."

As documented by the factory invoice, Marti Report, and data plate with simply a "5" as the color code (for the black-out hood paint used on all 1969 Mach 1s), the Mach was special ordered in a bright shade of orangy-red. Also confirmed on the invoice, it was originally equipped with a "left-hand remote control mirror substituted for color keyed racing mirrors," a mandatory assembly line replacement for special paint Machs and Bosses because the dual racing mirrors were painted by the supplier to match available factory colors.

Of course, Mustangs can be considered "special" by what they don’t have just as much for what they do have. In the case of the Q-Code Cobra Jet Mach 1s, they did not have the Shaker scoop sticking through the hood like the coveted R-Code versions. Instead, they came with the standard non-functional bolt-on scoop and a regular air cleaner with a chrome lid. According to Kevin Marti’s Mustang…By the Numbers book, buyers were just as intrigued by the Shaker hoodscoop in 1969 as collectors are today. Of the 15,133 CJ-powered Mach 1s built for ’69, nearly 75 percent (12,212) were equipped with the R-Code Ram-Air engine as opposed to just 2,921 with the Q-Code. Perhaps Johnny was going for the rarity factor.

According to the Marti statistics, only 17 Q-Code/automatic 1969 Mustang SportsRoofs were ordered with special paint. With such a rare, unique, and colorful Mach 1, Johnny sprung for a restoration to Mustang Club of America Concours Trailered specifications. Since the specific color is listed as "unknown" on the Marti Report, Johnny matched the original paint to Ford’s Fleet Red, WT-4040. He also installed the dual racing mirrors, which were otherwise standard on 1969 Mach 1s.

Two MCA competitions have resulted in two Gold awards, making this special paint, non-Ram Air Mach a special Q-Code indeed.

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