Eric English
July 1, 2007
The presence of a Super Cobra Jet 428 is unrelated to whether the car in question came with ram air. In fact, CJs and SCJs could come with or without the cold-air induction. Instead, the SCJ was an automatic installation at the factory when either a 3.91 or 4.30 gear was specified. From the outside, the SCJ is nearly indistinguishable from the CJ, though a tip-off is the presence of the factory engine oil cooler. Experts also note some differences in the area of the harmonic balancer.

When one normally thinks of muscle Mustangs, visions of Shelbys, Bosses, and Mach 1s are as apt to fill the head as anything else. That's a truth we've covered many times in the past, yet it's far less often that we have opportunity to feature a car such as the Candyapple Red '69 before you. For many fellow enthusiasts, this high-powered coupe is a classic example of what makes vintage cars so special, illustrating the near limitless combinations that were available to buyers of yesterday. Then and now, the results of such choices are cars of distinction and character, all of which make for lasting interest.

To describe Cheryl Martin-Hazenberg's Mustang as distinctive would be a considerable understatement, as it's so much more. The black Shaker scoop poking through the hood gives a solid clue as to what's hidden from view, yet is seemingly out of place when paired with the pedestrian '69 coupe body style. We're programmed to think of this shape as a teacher or secretary's car-conservative, yet vaguely trendy. The truth is, it took the right combination of options for the coupe to morph into a fearless competitor, yet we know that precious few were built in such manner. In this case, the hard-core goods include not only a 428 Cobra Jet, but a Super Cobra Jet-the choice of a 3.91 gearset triggering the extra engine beef. Add to this a close-ratio four-speed and ram-air induction, and you have a truly rare combination.

After a thorough overview of Cheryl's '69, we were curious as to why and how such a car came to be. Of course, nearly 40 years after the fact, such incidentals are often lost. We imagined the order was sourced from a hard-core drag racer who wanted the strongest performance package in the lightest body available. A prior owner told Cheryl that the '69 had been ordered by West Coast Motors in Haney, British Columbia, to generate showroom traffic. You'd have thought the dealer would've chosen the route of most high-performance junkies, packaging the big-block and four-speed in a racy Sportsroof-but it is what it is, built on July 17, 1969, according to the production report from Marti Autoworks. With an AM radio, color-keyed racing mirrors, and competition suspension as the only listed options beyond the 428 powertrain, Cheryl's car qualifies as a stripper, though certainly no sleeper. With the bright red paint and Shaker, it has never been bashful about its intent, no matter the sheetmetal.

While information about the original purchaser is currently unknown, we do know the story from the time Cheryl and her boyfriend, Doug, first got involved at the end of 2004. After Doug purchased a Harley for his own enjoyment, it was Cheryl's turn. Yearning for a Mustang musclecar, the two spotted the '69 advertised in a local newspaper. The owner knew what he had, and had progressed in a restoration effort to the point of finishing the body and paint. The trouble was, everything else was in boxes and in need of restoration. With their friend Terry Bethany, Cheryl and Doug determined that the original equipment was largely present and accounted for, and a deal was struck. It seemed the seller was impressed by Cheryl's interest in building a car that would be driven.

Cheryl is uncertain if these snake-logo valve covers were original on her coupe. With a late '69 build date, it's possible. Ford was random in installation of these or the more common plain finned covers, but one thing is certain: The snakes are among the best looking of the era.

Efforts to complete the project commenced almost as soon as the '69 landed in Cheryl's garage, ironically, in the same Canadian town as the car was originally sold. R&L Automotive and Performance was a major player in the resurrection, with Rick Leginus rebuilding the stout SCJ to stock specs. He acquired a multitude of miscellaneous bits and pieces and led much of the final assembly. Terry and Doug were instrumental as well.

The end result is nothing short of fantastic, and it doesn't take much conversation with Cheryl to see her level of satisfaction. Understandably, the coupe has been well received whatever the venue, and each show has taught Cheryl how to tune up on the minutia that's so important in Mustang Club of America judging. When we photographed the car, it was rolling on modern street rubber, but show duty is done on proper F70-14 Polyglas repops. The Hurst shifter is incorrect for '69, but it exists because Cheryl feels the satisfaction that comes from precision gear banging is far more important than a show trophy.

Regardless, the car has done well in static competition-among other accolades-taking Best of Show at the '06 International Mustang Meet in Edmonton, Alberta. In the end, we're in locked step with Cheryl's high-performance attitude, finding far more enjoyment in hearing and seeing this musclecar boil its hides than surveying its brilliance through the lens of a concours judge.

Hey Cheryl, is the rubber cleaned off the rear-quarters yet?

Everyone wants to know how manyYears ago, a Cobra Jet coupe was apt to be snubbed at a car show for lacking either the go-fast looks of a Sportsroof or the top-down allure of a convertible. Owner Cheryl Martin-Hazenberg tells us she finds things different these days, with the under-appreciated body style now finding a broad audience due to remarkable rarity. Wanting to investigate further, we took a gander at Kevin Marti's book, Mustang...by the Numbers. After realizing the 428CJ material included Shelby production, we asked Kevin to break out the numbers without the GT500s. They are as follows for '69:

The cabin of Cheryl's '69 powerhouse can only be described as spartan. OK, the red upholstery livens it up, as does the in-dash tach. Incidentally, this is the first year headrests were standard issue in Mustangs.
{{{Coupe}}} 243
Fastback 12,896
Convertible 122
Total '69 SCJ coupes: 52
Q-code (non ram-air) four-speeds: 8
R-code (ram-air) four-speeds: 34
Q-code (non ram-air) automatics: 1
R-code (ram-air) automatics: 9

While a great resource, Kevin's book can't possibly address every production number on its own, which is one of the reasons his company, Marti Auto Works (www.marti-auto.com), exists. He specializes in answering a wide array of production questions for '67-'73 Ford cars, related to broader categories or specific cars, similar to the information we're seeking, i.e., data on '69 Super Cobra Jet coupe combinations. Kevin came to our rescue, and we're grateful for his efforts. All quoted statistics are copyrighted to Ford Motor Company and Marti Auto Works and used with permission.