Shelby Cox
December 1, 2002
Contributers: Shelby Cox

Think back to your first auto shop class in high school-if you were lucky enough to take one. What was that first project the teacher made you do? What car did you have in mind for your project? Was it a Ford? Let's narrow it down even more: Was it a Mustang?

Bill Neely, of Las Vegas, Nevada, had such a project in school. While others might build a carburetor or tune an engine, he chose to build a tachometer from a kit. The really neat thing about the kit that Bill built was that it was called Mach 1. That same tachometer assembled in high school now resides in this '70 Mach 1. He didn't know it then, but he had the fever.

Bill grew up around cars, and to be more exact, Fords. His father was an avid Ford lover. Bill started out with a '66 Ranchero in Northridge, California, where he grew up. Cruisin' and drag racing were big things for Bill, and when a Mach 1 pulled up to the line, he would watch it intently.

"My friend used to have a Grabber Green '70 Mach 1," Bill says," and I'd go with him to the boulevard. Also, there was a well-known and respected Grabber Blue '70 Boss 302. I rarely took my eyes off that car. At the meeting spot behind a bank where the illegal drags used to start, no one would ever choose the Boss!" At the young age of 19, Bill decided Mustangs were where the action was and started looking to trade in his Ranchero on a Mach 1 of his own.

What you see today is what caught Bill's eye in 1975. This '70 Wimbledon White Mach 1 had been at a local Ford dealership's used car lot but didn't stay there very long. When Bill drove by one day, the beefy Ford was gone. Luckily, it was back a few days later, and he jumped on the opportunity that nearly slipped through his hands a couple days before. "I am the second and final owner, as I wish to be buried in my car when it's over," Bill proudly states.

These days he drives the car to shows and on occasional jaunts around town. He has been the president of The Mustang Club of Las Vegas since 1995, which has enticed him to do a few little modifications to his Blue Oval steed.

The list of options and add-ons reads more like a Christmas wish list for a Ford lover. A functional ram-air Shaker feeds cold air to the 351 Cleveland 4V. Down low is a four-bolt main block mounting closed chamber heads, a period Ford aluminum square-bore 4V intake manifold, a Holley 650 carburetor with a vacuum secondary, and a Pertronix II igniter. All this is backed up by a wide-ratio Top Loader four-speed transmission with a Hurst shifter, transferring power to the 3.50 limited-slip 9-inch "N" case 31 spline rearend. We can't think of a better finishing touch to that lineup than Magnum 500 wheels with meaty P215/70R 14 tires laying rubber all up and down the Las Vegas strip.

The Mustang has received a few visual modifications along the way as well. With the rear spoiler and rear window slats, the Mach looks as if it's in motion while standing still. The interior came stock with the Mach 1's standard Comfortweave black seats with black stripes, woodgrain appliqus housing the standard instrument panel (no tach!), the functional clock, and a few personal touches of Bill's, including the Mach 1 tachometer he built in high school. Sitting in that auto shop class, We bet he never dreamed he would be driving a Mach 1 of this caliber. Yep, Bill definitely got the fever, and watch out: It is contagious.