Jerry Heasley
March 28, 2011

Warren Hall had to buy this '69 Mach 1 sight unseen, trusting his friend, Lonny Shockly, to handle the deal. What is the old saying? Too many cooks spoil the broth?

"I told myself I'm going to let my friend use his influence," Warren told us. "He could get a better deal than I could."

Hall was concerned that his entrance into the negotiations would drive up the price. Lonny found the rare find, not advertised, in Mexia (pronounced Ma-hay-uh), Texas. Lonny lived between Groesback and Mexia, while Warren was on the other side of Waco.

Warren did get to see pictures. The '69 SportsRoof had been parked in a tin building for at least 14 years after the owner's planned restoration stalled during the disassembly process. From the pictures and descriptions, Warren could see that the owner had removed the engine along with the front suspension, bumper, grille, valance, and hood. The good news was that most of the parts appeared to go with the Mach 1, including a new front suspension and NOS headlight buckets.

Buying a car in pieces is more for the adventurous than the careful. Warren wasn't worried because he can do the work himself, having previously owned and restored Mustangs. He already had many of the needed parts for the '69, including the missing air cleaner and a set of exhaust manifolds.

Warren had an idea how much it would take to buy the old Mach 1 because Lonny said $3,500 was not enough. Looking at the pictures and listening to his friend's description of the car, Warren asked Lonny to ask the owner if he would take $4,000.

"I never did talk to the seller," Warren says. "Lonny did all the dealing with him. I gave Lonny the money-he signed a little contract that he was purchasing the car for this amount of money-and he went over to buy the car."

The engine on the concrete floor turned out to be a 351 Cleveland. The "M" as the fifth digit of the Mach 1's VIN coded as the 290hp 351, a Windsor in 1969. The factory four-speed was there, as was the original nine-inch rear end. The body was almost rust-free, other than a little oxidation in the A-pillar. The headliner was gone, but the black vinyl seats were in good condition.

Warren was elated with his purchase. He said, "It's better than buying stocks. I lost $80,000 in the market," referring to the 2008 meltdown.

Lonny slipped a '48 Ford rear axle under the front end to haul the Mach 40 miles to Warren's place in McGregor, Texas.

Interestingly, Lonny had purchased a rough '69 Mach 1 from Warren a couple years prior. Lonny restored the '69 and has won Best of Show trophies with it. Warren couldn't help but chuckle when he said, "Lonny said if he had found this car first he would have bought this one and forgot about the car he bought from me."

Now it's Warren's turn to build his Mach 1.