How many of us can actually say that we still have our very first car? Not many of the people in our crowd can say that. Those of us old enough to remember the Total Performance years were sometimes lucky enough to acquire some very interesting iron from that period-bought at a very affordable price. Indeed, we can remember the era of $1,200 used Mustangs very well. Do we wish we still had our first cars? You bet. Thanks to the wisdom and insight of his father, Bruce Wilcox of Rio Vista, California, is one of those rare Ford enthusiasts who still has his first car from when he was just a kid. When he graduated from high school in 1974 the hunt began for a car to take away to college with him. Forget about a Pinto or a Vega as a first car, because Bruce wanted a bigger and more powerful collegiate chariot. Later that same year he bought this '71 Mustang Mach I. A shining example from the twilight of the Total Performance Years, the big bodied beauty was loaded for bear with a 351 4V Cleveland engine, Top Loader four-speed transmission, and luxury features like air conditioning, power steering, and power brakes.
Back in 1974 a '71 model was just about a new car and, aside from the wheels and tires, it looked pretty much the same then as you see here. The car has been a faithful friend to Bruce and his family for 36 years since his high school senior year. After driving the car for a while Bruce's eye began to wander as he became intrigued by, and had dubious dalliances with, Corvettes. However, Bruce's father, who "bleeds Ford blue" wouldn't stand for it when the idea came up to sell the Mach I in order to pay for said Corvette. Bruce bought the Corvette anyway and his dad took over the Mach I and let his other four sons "drive the wheels off it" to the point where the Mustang was finally parked, with more than 170,000 miles on the odometer in 1988.
As the years went by Bruce became interested in the Mustang again and approached his father about getting the car back so the he could perform a complete restoration. Dad agreed, and in 2001 the long restoration process began. Bruce had a lad of his own by this time and he wanted the Mustang for his son to use. As you can see, the extensive restoration project has turned out to be a resounding success and Bruce's son now has a fantastic car to drive and enjoy. It's an arrangement where they both win because Bruce now has the comfort of knowing that his son will enjoy the same great Mach I memories that he does.
'71 Mustang SportsRoof Mach I