Tracey Ellis
November 1, 2000

Step By Step

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P60450_large 1973_Ford_Mustang_Mach_1 Driver_SideP60451_large 1973_Ford_Mustang_Mach_1 Rear_Driver_SideP60452_large 1973_Ford_Mustang_Mach_1 EngineP60453_large 1973_Ford_Mustang_Mach_1 Interior

If you're looking for an original, low-mileage Mustang, with around 41,000 miles, and you've had no luck, maybe you're looking in all the wrong places. Steve Hebert was looking for such a Mustang when a helpful friend called about a '73 Gold Glow Mach 1 he saw at a Chevy show in Omaha. Steve and his wife, Rhonda, were living in Rapid City, South Dakota, at the time, where Steve was stationed with the Air Force. The couple practically flew down from Rapid City to snatch up their dream Mustang and have been the proud owners ever since.

Unlike many Mustangs which have passed through numerous hands, this Mach 1 had only one previous owner who had ordered and purchased the Mustang from H.P. Smith in Omaha. With only 41,065 miles showing on the odometer, the Heberts were amazed to find the Mach still sporting the original belts and hoses as well as the factory wheels, complete with Sport wheel covers and steel-belted radial tires. The only items that had been changed were the battery, the oil, and the air filters. The Heberts were handed complete documentation, including the window sticker, the buildsheet, and an arm chair estimator used by the original owner to select the factory options. The owner's maintenance log showed all maintenance on the 351 2V Cleveland Mach, as far back as 2,860 miles.

Air conditioning, tinted windows, a full-length console, and an AM/eight-track stereo were all factory equipment. The exterior featured the dual ram-air induction NASA-scooped hood, available only with the 351 2V engine. This package came with functional scoops, two-tone hood paint, twist-type hood locks, and "351 Ram Air" decals. The exterior featured the Mach 1 package as well as front and rear spoilers. Performance options included an FMX automatic transmission, backed by a 3.25 Traction-Lok differential.

Unlike cars sporting more miles and abuse, no touch-ups were needed, and since the paint was in excellent condition, the Heberts only had to do some minor detailing. Then the Mach was ready to show. After winning numerous awards in unrestored driven classes, the Heberts made the difficult decision to increase the car's performance without compromising the factory appearance after Steve was transferred to Colorado.

All-original factory parts were carefully packed away for the future. Boosting high-altitude performance was accomplished by adding an Edelbrock manifold, a Holley 600-cfm carburetor, a Pertronix ignition system, an MSD coil, wires, a cap and spark box, and a Flow Kooler water pump. Ford Motorsport (now Ford Racing Performance Parts) polished aluminum valve covers were added to dress up the engine. The Heberts added a rear sway bar a la the competition suspension and a larger-than-stock front bar for better handling. Along with these items, they pitched in KYB gas shocks to bring the Mach up to speed with their new plan.

Only 3,000 carefully driven miles have been put on the Mach in 11 years of ownership. The Heberts did all the work and the maintenance in their garage. The Mach also has special meaning because Steve jokes that the car was a "late" high school graduation present, since he couldn't afford a Mach in 1973, the year he graduated. The Heberts also own a '66 Mustang hardtop, which Steve purchased in 1971. They enjoy driving the Mach occasionally, attending shows and participating in autocross and bracket racing whenever possible. Steve was recently transferred to yet another state, but he and Rhonda are confident that the Mach will help pave the way to making new friends and having yet more Mustang adventures. So you see, dreams of finding a low-mileage, original Mustang can come true if you start your search in the most unlikely places.