Tom Shaw
August 1, 2004

Maybe you don't think of Kentucky as a hotbed of horsepower. May we remind you that many racehorses have distinguished themselves at Churchill Downs in Louisville?

Another distinguished purebred is Gary Woodruff's amazing '69 Mach 1, a near-perfect, unmolested example of what is probably the all-time top performance Mustang. In fact, you could make the case this is the best possible example of the best possible Mustang.

Originating at Alton Blakley Ford in Somerset, Kentucky, this heavily armed Mach 1 was driven sparingly on the street and track by its original owner. Many Mustangs had the speed-shop catalog thrown at them, suffering fateful transformations into garish street machines with air shocks, giant hoodscoops, side pipes, and lots of irreversible holes chopped into the sheetmetal. This fortunate Mach 1 was kept largely unmodified except for a set of headers. Pollution systems were untouched, and all the factory paperwork was preserved. It was never crashed, driven daily, disassembled, or left out in the weather.

In 1983, the Mach 1 was traded back to the dealership and put on display in the showroom. There, it soon came to the attention of an enthusiast who bought it and promptly sold it to a local collector. It stayed in his carefully stored collection until his death in 2002. At the estate sale, it was purchased by an enthusiast who later sold the car to Gary.

Amazingly, all owners resisted the temptation to "freshen up" the engine compartment. All hardware, hoses, clamps, belts, and such remain just as they left the Dearborn Assembly Plant. Paint patterns, wire and hose routing, installation angles-everything is a treasure chest of originality for a factory-correct restoration.

The plug wires are original Autolite Radio Resistance cables with all terminals, sheaths, and looms in place. Radiator hoses are original with the double-wire clamps stapled to the hose with miniature staples to ensure the clamp was in the best position for easy tightening during assembly. Preheater tubes and brackets are present, as are the battery inspection sticker, remote oil cooler (part of the Drag Pack package), yellow-top coil, and OEM vacuum hose.

Underneath, the chassis has its assembly line color codes on springs, shocks, driveshaft, and axle housing.

Outside, the body still sports its original coat of Champagne Gold enamel, a fairly uncommon color that's shown in some of the promotional literature. Also present are the inspection tags and stickers normally removed during dealer prep. An example is the paper tag in the rear license-plate area, instructing the dealer's service staff on the removal of the vehicle tie-down brackets, which helped secure the Mustang during transport. The tag reads, "Remove vehicle tie-down plates before releasing this car to the customer." Neither the tag nor the plates were removed from this car.

In the trunk, the original Goodyear Polyglas GT spare tire is in place with the OEM scissors jack, along with the fabric pad, which sits atop the chrome Styled Steel wheel to prevent the jack from scratching it.

Gary hasn't made a big effort to attend shows and display his prize, so it isn't well known outside his local region. We found him at the Pure Stock Drags in Stanton, Michigan, last September. Needless to say, it attracted quite a crowd.

It seems the low-mile cars usually discovered in this condition are ho-hum, six-banger grocery-getters. To find a loaded, top-option Drag Pack Mach 1 with the full collection of paperwork has to rank among the best Mustang finds ever.

Now if we could just figure out a way to breed 'em like they do with Kentucky race horses.

Full DocumentationGary Woodruff's amazing Mach 1 has a full complement of factory documentation:Window Sticker. Shows vehicle identification number (VIN), selling dealership, base price, optional equipment and pricing, total price, assembly plant, financial info, transportation method (rail, truck, and so on).