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A Perfect 1969 Mustang Mach 1
Thoroughbred Gold: Wes Alford spent 10 years hunting N.O.S. parts for a concours restoration that culminated in a Mustang Club of America Thoroughbred Gold award
“We’d go to Hot Springs, Arkansas, every Fourth of July. In 1982, I was looking for a Mach 1 or a 1969-70 Mustang. In the paper, I found a 1969 Mach 1 428 Cobra Jet with air and automatic in Sheridan, Arkansas, about an hour away,” Wes Alford says.
The smog equipment was gone but the rest of the car hadn’t been touched. Wes was delighted to find the original exhaust manifolds, air cleaner, and the rest of the smog parts. Best of all, the Mach 1 was rust-free and had not been abused. He was drawn to the color combination—blue with gold side stripes and a white interior—and couldn't resist buying it.
As the years passed, Wes showed his Mach 1, and got many of the same reactions from other admirers of the color scheme. First, the blue on this 1969 is Winter Blue, a one-year color, that was replaced by Medium Blue in 1970 that had a lighter blue with a tint of silver to it. Since he bought the car all those years ago, Wes rarely sees a Mach 1 with the white interior.
When he was 28 years old in 1982, Alford bought the Mach 1. He soon began driving this big-block Mustang to local car shows within about a 100-mile radius of his home base in Germantown, Tennessee. At first, he didn’t load up for bear with a killer restoration. “It needed a paint job and the transmission didn’t shift right,” Wes says. “I had another Mach 1, a 351 Windsor in Black Jade, and I traded that car for a really good paint job. That’s not the kind of paint that’s on it now.”
But when the ’90s arrived, Wes began to get serious with his Mustangs. He decided to go whole hog with the Mach 1 after he began showing his Boss 302 at Mustang Club of America events. “The Mach 1 was the perfect car to put in for a Thoroughbred,” he says. That’s because this Mustang was super-clean and rust-free. Any parts Wes replaced would be N.O.S.—tires, belts, hoses, battery cables, air conditioning lines, exhaust. Today, original parts are extremely difficult to find and expensive, but the ’90s was a different time.
“They didn’t make reproduction parts for 1969-70 models, so I had to find used or N.O.S. parts at shows. There was also a big Lincoln-Mercury dealer near here with a humongous Ford parts warehouse—not as big as Atlanta—but all the dealers in this Tri-State area would call them to get parts.”
Wes had begun collecting N.O.S. parts in the mid-’80s and spent 10 years tracking parts for his Mach 1. “You never knew what you would find at a car show,” Wes says. “Maybe a vendor would set up and have an N.O.S. battery cable or some smog equipment or belts that you might walk up on for 10 to 15 bucks.”
Wes also made a trek to Bob Perkins Restoration in Wisconsin. Whatever he didn’t have, he could probably buy from Bob, such as an N.O.S. assembly line Group 24 battery, N.O.S. tires, and another real bugaboo to find: N.O.S. exhaust.
“My steering wheel is N.O.S.,” Wes says. Not that his original rim-blow, three-spoke wheel looked bad, but it did show a little bit of wear. There was no need to replace the wiring harness, but Alford had found one N.O.S. from the firewall forward. Original carpet from Ford is another big deal on this car. Getting the correct carpet was no small task because Mach 1s with white seats do not have the red vinyl inserts in the carpet.
Thoroughbred cars require rigorous attention to originality, if they are to achieve an MCA Gold award, which Alford snagged in 1998. Since then, he has kept the car in a dehumidified, heated, and air-conditioned detached garage with a sealed concrete floor.
“Every year, at least once a year, I would pull it in my other garage and re-oil all those natural metal parts and just do a good cleaning,” Wes says. “I always wanted the car to look clean and fresh.” The ’69 Mach 1 remains a time capsule since its complete restoration to MCA Thoroughbred Gold.