Jerry Heasley
January 1, 2000

Step By Step

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P45925_large 1971_Ford_Mustang_Mach_1 Front_Passenger_SideP45926_large 1971_Ford_Mustang_Mach_1 Rear_Driver_SideP45927_large 1971_Ford_Mustang_Mach_1 EmblemP45929_large 1971_Ford_Mustang_Mach_1 InteriorP45931_large 1971_Ford_Mustang_Mach_1 Engine

Here's an unusual 1971 Mach 1. It came from Dearborn Assembly with Dual Ram Induction and the 351 2V Cleveland motor. This 1971 Mach 1 also came stock with a three-speed manual transmission, unusual since mostly automatics came through the dealers' doors. The current owner, Tom Burger, works for Ford's World Wide Direct Market Operations. The story on this Mach goes back to Tom's father, who retired after 42 years in Ford's stamping plant in Monroe, Michigan. As Tom explains, "My Dad was a Mustang enthusiast from the time they first came out.

When the 1965-1966s first got hot as collector cars, he bought and sold them. That's how I got turned on to them. In 1989, when he couldn't fix them up anymore, he picked out a nice one he could keep and this is what he ended up with."

What a gem Tom's father found. The 1971 Mach 1 had 20,500 one-owner miles and zero rust, thanks to liberal doses of undercoating and 18 years of TLC from the original owner. The car was handed down to Tom in 1993 and the restoration began, which was mainly detailing the undercarriage and engine bay.

He stripped the undercoating from the bottom of the car, the floorpans, and the metal under the hood. The paint was so nice, it needed no more than a touch-up.

It's 80 percent original and the interior is completely unrestored.

The original owner was an elementary schoolteacher in Dearborn who drove the car about 1 1/2 miles to work each day. Her husband worked for Ford Glass and bought the car on a company discount. She ordered the car exactly the way she wanted it, which explains the odd assortment of options and accessories. First, she chose the radically new 1971 SportsRoof in the striped and spoilered Mach 1 in Medium Yellow Gold. She added the optional side stripe, which boosted the Mach's hot looks a notch higher. Apparently, the rear deck spoiler was a bit too much for the lady schoolteacher--she didn’t order it. She paid extra for the 15x7 Magnum 500 rims and raised white letter Goodyear Polyglas tires.

Inside, the lady went first class. Ginger seats and trim are accented with the Mach 1 Sports Interior, the Instrumentation Group (tachometer, trip odometer, OIL, AMP, and TEMP gauges), fold-down rear seat, air conditioning, rear window defroster, and AM/FM stereo. She also ordered the optional 351 Cleveland 2V and kept the standard three-speed manual gearbox. Tom was looking for more in the get away department, so he replaced the three-speed with a period-correct Hurst shifted four-speed and swapped the 3.00:1 gears for a set of 3.25:1 cogs.

The two-barrel, H code 351 2V actually makes some performance sense, considering it had 355 lb-ft of torque at 2,600 rpm. It even had more than the Q code 351 4V with 345 lb-ft at 3,800 rpm. For get-around-town cars, torque is more important than high-rpm horsepower. It's also highly interesting that we can find no rating for the ram-air inducted two-barrel 351 of 1971.

Tom finished the restoration in July 1996. Mileage is currently 22,500. The car is stock except for the transmission/rearend swap. Even though the four-speed and rear axle are 1971 Mach 1 options, the car takes a considerable point hit in concours judging because the certification label specifies a three-speed.

Maybe the lady schoolteacher did her homework and bought the best combination of performance features for an around-town Mach 1 in 1971. Whatever the case, Tom now has the best of both worlds for driving 'round town.