Mustang MonthlyFeatured Vehicles
The Japanese Cobra Jet Mustang
Mark Wilson wasn’t looking for a Japanese Mustang, but while browsing eBay one day, he ran across a 1971 Mach 1 with a 429 Cobra Jet. “The picture showed orange lights on the front fender, which I had never seen before,” Mark says. “That’s what caught my eye. Then I read more about it, and the ad said the Mustang was a Japanese export.”
A Mustang Monthly subscriber since 1986 and a collector since 1987, Mark didn’t even know these Asian-bound Mustangs existed. But Mark does work for Ford in Shanghai, China’s largest city. He is responsible for creating special packages for the Asia Pacific market, similar to California Specials, and Pony or MCA packages sold in the United States.
Wilson called a coworker in Japan, who verified that Ford has sold Mustangs in Japan since the early ’70s. The Mach 1 Wilson had found was for sale in California, apparently having been shipped from Japan back to the States, still with special Japanese features. He bought the Mach 1 and has been researching the history of Japanese Mustangs, including a Marti Report that verifies the car’s export status. He believes Mustang exports had occurred for the 1971-’72 through ’73 model years. One person in Japan told him the 1974 Mustang II was very popular there, too.
So far Mark has located roughly 15 1971-1973 Japanese Mustangs, all of which exhibit similar modifications. They are all high-end cars as far as options and accessories go. Most of those 15 Japanese Mustangs that Wilson found are still located in Japan, but three are in Australia, and one in California. Each Japanese Mustang went through a conversion process to comply with that country’s laws when it was shipped.
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