Richard A. Lentinello
July 1, 2001

Seeing how much her husband Don enjoyed restoring, showing, and driving his Candyapple Red '69 Mach 1, Martha Lent, a secretary who resides in the rolling countryside of Gloversville, New York, decided she wanted to experience the same Blue Oval fun.

Through word of mouth, Martha and Don located a twin of their restored thoroughbred that sat in their garage. A college student owned the four-speed- equipped '69 Mach 1, which had been stored in a barn in nearby Fulton County. The car needed some repairs due to some light front-end damage. Painted a trashy shade of lime green, the once-proud Mustang had a cracked windshield, ripped interior, and cheap side pipes. In short, it was your typical no-budget student sports machine.

The plus side about this disheveled ride was its low price-the Lents paid only $1,750 for ownership rights. None too troubled by all the painstaking work that lay ahead, Martha saw the Mustang as a family project. Along with their son, Frank, they all participated in working on restoring the Mustang to match the beauty of Don's '69. It took them four years to complete the project.

First, they listed all the missing parts, which included the original air cleaner, the shifter, the louvers, the ignition wires and coil, and the often discarded "S" tube. Then the damaged front fenders and rear quarters, the doors, the front and rear bumpers, the dash, the steering wheel, and the windshield were removed. With the body mostly disassembled, the remaining body structure was hand-stripped to bare metal using Aircraft Klean Strip.

After locating the necessary body parts, the car was dropped off at Dal Hollow's Auto Body in Johnstown, New York. While there, the entire body structure was sprayed in Deltron Raven Black basecoat, then covered with three coats of clear, each of which was wet-sanded using 1500-grade paper. While all of this sanding between coats may seem a little excessive, the results speak for themselves with a finish that appears as smooth and shiny as an oil slick.

To ensure the Mach 1's mechanical specifications matched its stock appearance, everything was rebuilt to factory standards. The 335hp 428 CJ engine was rebuilt to stock specs and includes all OEM internals, such as the clutch, the pressure plate, the ignition wires, the Autolite BF 32 spark plugs, the cast-iron manifold, the appropriate Holley C9AF-M 4V carburetor, and the replacement 211/44-inch transverse dual exhaust system.

Shifting the Ford Top Loader's four internal gears via a Hurst Competition Plus shifter provides loads of endless at-speed thrills, especially with low limited-slip 3.91 gears spinning stock Goodyears. Behind those sharp-looking, factory chrome-styled wheels resides the factory disc drum brake setup, which has been completely rebuilt to make sure the muscular-looking Pony stops as quickly as it accelerates.

With the mechanicals rebuilt and ready to tear up the tarmac, the interior needed some redecorating. New carpeting, a new headliner, new door panels, and new Comfortweave knitted vinyl upholstery on the high-back buckets were installed by Martha and Don. A Rim-Blow, three-spoke steering wheel completes the cabin.

The result of all of this hard work is a living room full of trophies, most of which are engraved with the words First Place. The Mach has participated in about a dozen car shows throughout the lower Adirondack region. The odometer advances approximately 2,000 miles a year, since the Lents drive their Mustang everywhere.

What Martha likes most about her beloved Mach 1 is its aerodynamic fast-back design and power. "The car handles beautifully on turns and has excellent pickup and passing power, thanks to the 428 CJ engine," Martha told us with great enthusiasm. "But best of all, driving the car is an exciting experience as you go through all four gears."

With this Raven Black beauty finished and residing next to its Candyapple Red sibling, the restoration of Mustang No. 3 recently began. You guessed it, another '69 Mach 1. If ever there's a family of Mustang lovers, the Lents are it.