Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
February 22, 2011
Photos By: Justin Cesler

With a name like Mach 1, you'd think a vehicle would be pretty fast, but we recently found out this was not the case. In looking for a vintage Mustang to perform some budget performance modifications to, we came across Robin Cardinal's '72 Mach 1, which is equipped with a 351 Cleveland and three-speed automatic transmission. Though it looks the part with its sleek bodylines and racy red and black paint scheme, the Mach 1's overall driving experience was pretty lackluster.

We're going to change that though, starting with this issue, as we'll head to restomod central for some upgrades. Mustangs Plus offers everything you might need to get your Mustang to turn faster, stop shorter, and accelerate harder. In this issue, we show you how to perform basic suspension upgrades using Mustang Plus' Super Starter kit, which is a great way to ditch all of those crusty factory suspension parts that lead to lame handling performance.

The Mustangs Plus Super Starter kit is offered for all '65-'73 Mustangs and while each kit contains basically the same parts, Mustangs Plus custom tailors the selection to each vehicle and owner's needs. The Super Starter combines three subsystems into one big package. Included are a spring and handling package, a suspension rebuild package, and a steering upgrade package.

When it's all said and done, your Mustang is filled with new components from top to bottom, and the revised spring rates and mounting options should tighten up handling dynamics, and lower the car about an inch for a lower center of gravity and a more modern and aerodynamic look.

Prices start at $799.95 for the Super Starter kit, and every component is backed by a lifetime guarantee. This list is long, too. Coil springs, leaf springs, shocks, antisway bar, endlinks, upper and lower control arms, inner and outer tie rods, adjustment sleeves, strut rod bushings, and much more.

We enlisted the help of Robin's husband, Rob, to help us swap out the parts, and taking our time, we were looking at about eight hours for installation, though someone who turns wrenches for a living could probably cut that in half. With the older cars, though, you often find yourself cleaning and painting things before everything goes back together.

To document the changes that we will be making to the Mach 1, we took it to Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, where we took advantage of the dragstrip and road course offerings. We'll get to the 'strip numbers at a later date (they were unimpressive as well), but on the road course, the '72 Mach 1 offered lap times of 1:22.05, 1:19.82, and 1:17.42. We also recorded skidpad numbers on the track's 300-foot skidpad. Clockwise, we logged 16.27 seconds and 15.81 seconds, while counterclockwise we saw a 15.86, a 15.31, a 17.82, and a 15.0.

As you can see from the included images, the Mach 1 rolled over like a Mustang scratching its back, not one looking to win the triple crown. Check out the photos below to see how we plan to remedy that problem, and be sure to check back next month as we finish up the rear suspension and wring the Mach 1 out one more time.

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