Jerry Heasley
June 26, 2014

Dan Bailey had been stalking his dream car, a ’69 Mach 1 Mustang, for ten years. No matter his diligence, Dan almost completely lost out. “I had just lost interest in it. I thought the owner was never going to let it go. I figured he was just going to let the old Mustang rust into the ground.” Luckily, Dan did not give up. He inquired about the muscle Mustang one more time. “I asked Raymond [the father] if he remembered me.”

Now in his 80s, Raymond could not forget Dan. Ten years earlier, in 2004, Raymond, who was in the heating and air conditioning business, had made a service call to Dan’s home. “He saw my ’73 [Mach 1] sitting in my shop and said his son had one of those, but not the same model year.” Dan got a pretty good idea the Mach1 might be a ’69, exactly what he wanted to “get back.”

“I had one in the 1980s, but sold it and wish I never did.” Dan could see his chance to get his favorite Mach 1 back. So, he embarked on what he calls his “mission” to find and purchase this Mach 1. I wondered what Dan meant by a “mission.” Apparently, the car was stored in an obscure location in an old barn in the “bluffs” of the Missouri River. Heating and air conditioning junk hid the car from prying eyes. “I asked him if I could go look for it. Raymond said yes and gave me directions on how to get there. Within the next two or three days I found it,” Dan added.

The owner wanted to keep the Mach 1 a secret. An assortment of junk obscured the rear end of the car, which was slightly visible from outside the barn.

Dan carved out of Missouri woods a ’69 Mach 1, Champagne Gold with black bucket seats. The car came from the factory with an M-code 351 4V backed by a four-speed manual transmission. The Mach 1 had been sitting in this same spot since the mid-’80s.

The body was “rusty but straight,” needing floor pans and quarter panels. Somebody had wrinkled the hood and front bumper. The 351 V-8 engine was gone, but the rest of the car appeared to be there. The slotted chrome wheels with beauty rings and dog dish center caps appeared original.

The black interior had the stock steering wheel, seats and four-speed poking up through the console.

At least a couple times per year for ten years, Dan had inquired about purchasing the old Mustang. Raymond’s son, Shawn, no longer lived in the area. However, the old Mach 1 was Shawn’s first car. He had intended to restore the vehicle. The closest Dan ever got to a purchase was Shawn’s offer to be a partner for a split of the profit once the car was restored and sold. Dan showed his true interest in the old Mach 1 when he explained he did not want to make six or seven thousand dollars. Instead, he wanted a ’69 Mach 1 of his own again.

Now, finally after ten years Shawn consented to sell. A man in Kansas City had agreed to buy the Mach 1, but proved a no-show. Raymond explained he had trouble locating Dan. Luckily, Dan inquired one last time. Dan asked for permission to go see the car again. He took the pictures seen here. Then, Dan sat down with Raymond and his daughter, who was visiting from Kansas City.

Although the original 351 was missing, as of this writing Dan emailed us that he got a call from a friend in town. This friend got a call from the owner of the original numbers matching 351 engine for the Mach 1 and will deliver the engine to Dan’s shop!

“I told them. I know what it’s going to take. We just built my ’67 Shelby convertible clone. I said I’ve got 39-grand in that car. And it was a restored car when I bought it. I said I know what it’s going to take to do this car. I’m going to have 40-some-thousand dollars in it and end up with a $30,000 car. So Raymond knew what it’s going to cost and I said I don’t want to insult you, but all I can afford to offer you is $500. Raymond forwarded that offer to his son, and his son called me last Wednesday and said okay let’s do it,” Dan stated.

Dan explained he was not going to flip the car for a profit. He would restore the ’69 and Shawn had first option to buy the car back, if Dan ever did decide to sell the Mach. Dan is still amazed he managed to buy the old Mach 1. He is also stunned a ’69 Mach 1 sat in a barn for almost 30 years just three miles from his house. Researching the car’s history, he has a strong lead on the original 351 engine block that came with the car new. His first task when retrieving the Mach 1 will be to remove piles of junk, including a dishwasher perched precariously on the body.