Jim Smart
June 1, 1998

When we talk about unusual, we often don't mean this far out. One look at this rig, and you know we're into uncharted territory. With as many engines as a B-17 bomber, we have to wonder, does this dragster fly?

It certainly has enough power to escape the bonds of the earth. Look closely and you'll see that, yes, there really are four Ford Windsor mills loaded onto what resembles a '69 Mustang chassis. With a total displacement of 1,404 ci, you don't need to be an Oppenheimer to realize that those are 351s, any one of which could get you down the quarter in a dandy fashion.

Clearly a labor of love, the '69 Mustang "Mach IV" has been owned by Gary and Jill Weckesser from Delavan, Wisconsin, for the last 29 years. This ultracool dragster was on the show circuit from 1969–-1975, and we remember seeing the car when we were little people. The dragster went into storage for many moons when the Weckessers were distracted by raising four kids. We remember the car as a fixture on the custom-exhibition scene for some time in Illinois.

Starting on the project back in 1969, the year in which the 351 was first introduced, Gary did much of the original machine work himself. The car is so loaded with innovative features, we can't include them all here. Suffice it to say that this is the only multi-engined car in the world to run four engines with power to all four wheels through a single clutch.

Originally created for use on the show circuit, the Mach IV did run in the 7-second range at 180–190 mph, with at least one pass over 200 mph. The 351s have a compression ratio of 12:1, and Gary said that was no problem back in the days of Sunoco 260 gasoline. On the show circuit, sometimes noise and smoke are part of the objective. Because of this, Gary told us that all four engines were timed to bang on number-one at the same time. This helped make lotsa noise. When timed to fire independently, the car was a smooth runner.

The chassis is formed out of 4130 chrome-moly tubing and covered with a radically altered '69 Mustang Funny Car fiberglass shell. The engines face back to back, and the forward engines feature reverse-grind cams. The mills feature Hunt magnetos and Kent Enderle injectors.

When the oil crisis hit in 1973, Gary told us sponsorships began to dry up. This also had a lot to do with the Mustang dragster's retirement. But we're glad Gary held on to the beast so that it could be featured here. We were amazed when he told us that the whole project took only eight months to complete.

We would love to take this one out for a spin, but our insurance company couldn't find the car in its listings. We were disappointed, but then we had to realize, as much as we'd love to take it out, we'd never make it through the drive-thru anyway.

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