Mustang MonthlyFeatured Vehicles
1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 - Super Sized
Living large with the 73' Mach 1
Lyndon and Marcia Saylor's '73 Mach 1 is an excellent example of the fourth-generation Mustang. It's got sexy lines, great road manners, and V-8 torque with its two-barrel 351 Cleveland. Those are the elements that inspired Lyndon to buy this Mach 1.
When Lyndon brought the car home back in 1978, he made the typical performance improvements of the time, swapping to four-barrel Cleveland heads, a high-lift cam, a 750-cfm Holley carb, and dual exhaust. Little by little, during many salvage yard visits, he upgraded to a factory Ram-Air hood, automatic seatback releases, full instrumentation, and a tilt steering column.
When Marti Auto Works began offering factory production reports, Lyndon ordered a Marti Report for his Mustang and learned that he had an unusual Mach 1 with Dark Green Metallic exterior and Avocado interior. Few were equipped with that combination and the 351 two-barrel engine. That inspired Lyndon to change course and return the car to its factory specifications. Because timing is everything to a good restoration, Lyndon decided to wait, putting the Mach 1 in storage until he had both the time and resources to get it done right.
In 1999, Lyndon hauled the Mach 1 out for a repaint. He was disappointed with the results, so he put the car away again. The following year, he delivered the Mach to a trusted auto body professional to see what could be done. To Lyndon's amazement, a good color sanding and rub-out did the trick. Feelings of euphoria led to Mustang Club of America membership, judged competition, and greater travel distances to MCA national shows around the country. In June of 2011 when we photographed his Mach 1 at the Mustangs at the Beach MCA national show, Lyndon and Marcia took a Gold for their efforts.
When we caught up with the couple in New York, they were on top of their game with their unusual Mach 1. It doesn't have a four-barrel 351 with dual exhausts like most of the '73 Mach 1s we see these days. Instead, the Saylor's SportsRoof is powered by the two-barrel version, which has open-chamber heads for reduced compression along with common-sense port sizing for improved low- to mid-range torque. For '73, Ram-Air was available only with the two-barrel 351 thanks to tougher emission standards that year.
Behind the 177hp powerplant is Ford's venerable FMX three-speed automatic transmission and a 9-inch rearend with 2.75:1 cogs for the highway. On the ground are forged aluminum wheels wrapped in Firestone Wide-Oval F70x14 bias-belted reproduction tires for authenticity.
Lyndon kept the improvements he added years ago--full instrumentation, tilt-wheel, and auto seatback release. Check out the AM eight-track and analog clock, both nice appointments for a road-going Mach 1.