Mustang MonthlyFeatured Vehicles
Factory Purple 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Purple Haze: The performance was outrageous, so why not the color? And what was more outrageous than a purple Mustang?
The answer to this story’s subtitle is a purple Mach 1 with a Drag Pack 428, i.e. a Ram Air Shaker-hood Super Cobra Jet, backed by a four-speed, no less, and a set of 3.91:1 gears in a Traction-Lok differential. But wait; there is no 1969 Mustang code for the color purple. And stamped under COLOR on this car’s trim tag is the number 5 for black—Ford left trim tags blank for COLOR on special order paint cars. What’s going on? Marcus Anghel (Anghel Restorations, Scottsdale, Arizona) who restored this 1969, explains.
“Had this ’69 been a regular Mustang, not a Mach 1, the color code would have been left blank for special order paint. But, the black code of 5 is for the black-out paint on the hood.” In other words, the trim tag is blank for the code of the regular exterior paint.”
How did Anghel document and match the original purple color? The Marti Report revealed special-order paint but did not reveal the color of that special-order paint. A new car buyer in 1969 could specify any Ford fleet color, meaning from Ford color charts of Mercury, Lincoln, and other brands. Luckily a previous owner found the original, weathered build sheet under the back seat of this Mach 1. And this original build sheet revealed that the special-order paint was Midnight Orchid, a color available on a few different models, including 1969 Thunderbirds.
Anghel restores Mustangs in his shop in Scottsdale, Arizona (www.anghelrestorations.com), and he accepts certain high-performance and specialty Mustangs, usually of the 1969-’70 model years, though he does get requests to do other Mustang models and recently finished a 1968 Shelby. This Mach 1 piqued his interest to a high degree and he dove into this restoration with great fervor. Like Bob Perkins, Marcus Anghel is a national MCA judge and is much more than a restorer. He has a high level of enthusiasm for 1969-’70 Mustangs and enjoys researching the particular car he is restoring. Factory procedure is his mantra, from the color-striped suspension to numbers and date code–matching parts throughout.
For the past year or more, Anghel (who also writes technical articles in this magazine) has been relaying to us his findings on this Mach 1. He and his compatriots in the hobby know of two other 1969-’70 purple Mustangs: one Mach 1 owned by Kelly Schultz in Texas, and one Shelby G.T. 500 owned by Ed Meyer of Indiana. Meyer, in fact, tipped off the current owner, Tony King, about this purple 1969 Mach 1 for sale in Florida on eBay in 2007. From Butte, Montana, King (a Ford aficionado since he was a kid) has an impressive collection of cars and parts, including the first 1968 Shelby G.T. 500 KR ever made, and an early restored Boss 429 that Ford used at their display at SEMA last year. He recently purchased a black 1969 Shelby G.T. 500 prototype.
The seller advertised the Mach 1 as originally purple, so there was no surprise or barn find here. The condition was decent and the 428 SCJ engine stamping matched the VIN, but the car needed a complete restoration. Likewise, the Top Loader four-speed and 9-inch rearend checked out as factory original for this chassis.
After bouncing around several restoration shops, the car ended up in the very capable hands of Anghel a few years ago. Anghel restored the car like he owned it, even to the extent of taking over the history search. In other words, Anghel has a passion for these cars. Actual ownership became a moot point. We arrived in Scottsdale en route to the first big MCA show of the year in Tucson, Arizona, in late March of 2015 and Anghel was loading the Mach 1 onto his trailer, allowing us to see the finished car for the first time. We were a bit surprised how subdued the purple was. Chrysler promoted High Impact colors like Plum Crazy for the Dodge Challenger and In-Violet for the Plymouth ’Cuda that were in-your-face purple. Perhaps the original owner liked what Mopar was doing but the closest thing he could find in a Ford enamel was Midnight Orchid Metallic in the Thunderbird lineup, that car being a luxury car dictated more of a high-class paint and name. Orchids, of course, are definitely purple. This hue of purple is dark—in direct sunlight the purple is visible but at other times it can appear dark maroon or nearly black. To make sure we captured the color correctly, Anghel towed the car in an enclosed trailer to a location in the mountains where the sun brought out the original dark shade of purple.
At the show in Tucson, MCA attendees were curious since they had never seen a purple Mustang, and this car was in the concours trailered class for original Mustangs, where the color had to be factory. One lady surprised Anghel when she correctly asked if the paint was a Thunderbird color, but like everybody else she was seeing a purple Mustang for the first time. The car’s unveiling reminded us of one of the most famous lyrics of all time, written in 1895 by writer/poet Gelett Burgess: “I never saw a Purple Cow, I never hope to see one; but I can tell you anyhow, I’d rather see than be one.”
In the case of the purple Mach 1, the color definitely was not popular in 1969. But today, the outrageous color goes right with the outrageous performance. Now, if I could only make up such good lyrics as Burgess.