The 1969 428CJ Mustang Mach 1 was a hero for Ford during the classic era of muscle, and by any standard, these cars are still bad-to-the-bone machines. This Mach 1, purchased new from a Gainesville dealership on May 5, 1969 sat abandoned in a basement for 28 years before recently seeing the light of day. With only 41,525 actual miles on the clock, even the exterior dust is original and correct!
The car's new owner, Tommy Higgins, operates a Mustang performance facility near Atlanta and has been looking after this car like a godfather since 1988. Early on, he offered the second owner techniques and preservation tricks such as keeping an open box of charcoal inside the car to absorb unwanted moisture. He even made sure the correct Polyglas replacement tires were ordered in time from Goodyear and mounted on the car before its production was discontinued. Naturally, the originals were, well, tired out.
The trunk carries the actual Goodyear spare tire (and jack) that came with the car. You can see that the raised white letters on the spare were smaller than those on the newer versions. The instruction sticker for the jack on the inside the trunk lid remains in perfect condition.
Even with a coat of dust that dates back almost 30 years, the Mustang's smooth lines still shine through. You can tell by the front fender there is some good paint remaining underneath nature's version of a car cover, aka dust.
All factory labels and many coding marks are visible and easily identifiable, and the accessory drive belts are as delivered and still operational.
The trunk housed a plastic bag of factory supplied Headlight Aim Adapters. that are still sealed in the bag and have never been used. Higgins has already been offered $2,500 for these rare items, but. he declined.
At some point in this car's life it had an issue with the stock battery which accounts for the few rusty-looking surfaces around that area of the engine bay.
This is why 1969 Mustang Mach 1's are still so popular. The aggressive look with hood scoop and pins made a convincing statement back then. Under close inspection the car looks straight and true everywhere. But we'll know for sure once it gets its first bath. An unveiling like that should be videotaped and broadcast so everyone can witness the moment of discovery.
So far, the accumulation of dust from its 25 years of seclusion has been left intact. Higgins can't bring himself to wipe it away just yet. It's probably some sort of archaeology syndrome. Still, there are areas with far less dust where you can spy some nice paint right below the surface. No door dings or dents of any kind are noticeable on the body, although some minor pitting can be seen on a few chrome pieces.
Apparently, the charcoal trick does work as the interior fabric and carpet are still in great condition, considering they have gone 2-1/2 decades without cleaning. The simulated wood panels inside look freshly detailed, and even the headliner appears new. There is nothing really out of place inside except dirty floor mats up front. The interior/exterior lights and gauges work properly, and all of the outside lenses are perfect and original.
The car's paper trail leads back to the original bill of sale, the build sheet, and a confirming Marti Report. Soon, this Mach 1 Mustang will be washed and detailed for the first time this century. It will be like opening the door to King Tut's tomb: full of wonder and curiosity?)
As much as we wanted to, no one ran their fingers over the dust, or tried to rub a spot clean to see the paint more clearly. Fear of bruising the actual black finish made us cringe at the thought. The last sticker on the license plate is dated 1985.
Those tailpipe tips are original, as are the tailpipes themselves. Up close the chrome trim looks excellent. All the exterior lenses are perfect and operational. The tag number reads DYZ 248 because 428 was already taken per the DMV.
The headlights appear new and show traces of a factory shipping decal that was never removed. Notice the undisturbed cobwebs on the left side.
The original resonators were rusted out, as was the muffler. Higgins replaced these dead parts with aftermarket, original style components.
Here's a good look at the last of the Goodyear Polyglas tires. They were installed years ago and show nice, even wear. Note the condition of the original tailpipe compared to the new muffler. The Mustang's wheels still looked stylish, even contemporary. A wet, soapy sponge could detail all four with a single swipe.
All Higgins has done to the brakes was pull the pads and rear shoes, scuff them up a bit, then reassemble. No, that network of cobwebs is not holding anything together.
Here are some pieces that most of us would have trash-canned on day two of ownership. This 428CJ has all its emission plumbing still in place. In fact, it has just about everything still in place except for fresh spark plugs.
This is what frozen in time looks like. The engine has been started and runs thanks to a few fresh additions like a correct replacement gas tank and fuel pump. The factory aluminum finned valve covers and chrome air cleaner top look as cool dirty as they would clean.
This particular Mach 1 was ordered without the rear deck wing or chin spoilerAs there are no holes drilled for them. Naturally, a new filter was installed with fresh oil. You can see how dry the oil pan remains. The hood pins have just been tucked out of the way.
No rips, no tears, no runs. The interior has fared well over the years but has not been cleaned once during that time. There are no cracks in the dash or anywhere else inside. The headliner is perfect. All the gauges and interior lights work as new. Without those nasty red floor mats inside it would look twice as good.
This is how good almost everything looks inside. Yet, you have to wonder how plastic can age as well, or better than actual wood.
These headlight alignment rings hidden in the trunk have never been out of the plastic bag. They remain authentic and original as the day they left the Ford factory.