Tom Shaw
August 25, 2016

How well do you know your Mustangs? Most Mustang fans probably believe they have a pretty good handle on the facts about their favorite car. But suppose we put that knowledge to the test?

That’s exactly what we’re going to do. Following are 25 tough questions—no softball stuff here—about one of everybody’s favorite Mustangs, the 1969 Mach 1. Questions are broken down into categories: 1. General Knowledge, 2. Engine, Chassis, and 3. Options. Are you up for it?

The information came only from Ford sources: the 1969 Ford Car Facts dealer album, Ford price lists, and official 1969 AMA Specifications with any exceptions noted. Don’t feel too bad if you struggle. This is tough Ph.D.-level stuff. Keep track of your correct answers. There’s a scoring evaluator at the end. Good luck.

Section 1: General Knowledge

1. Base Price

Q. Let’s get started with a fairly easy question, okay? How much did a base, no-option 1969 Mach 1 cost?

A. MSRP of the 1969 Mach 1 was $3,122, making it the most expensive of the five Mustang models (Hardtop, Convertible, SportsRoof, Grande, and Mach 1) offered that year. After the beginning of the 1969 model year in September 1968, two revised price lists were issued, the first on February 1, 1969, following the introduction of the Boss 302, and another April 17 of that same year to include the new Maverick. But the Mach 1 price remained unchanged at $3,122 through the entire model year.

2. Mustang Classification

Q. The auto industry classified cars by size. For example, a Galaxie was full-size, Torino was intermediate, and a Pinto was a subcompact. What was Ford’s classification for the Mustang?

Clue: It was not any of the aforementioned categories.

A. Ford considered it a sport compact. The oft-used term “pony car,” was more of an enthusiast’s term.

3. Mach 1 Definition

Q. What did the name Mach 1 mean?

A. Literally, Mach 1 refers to the speed of sound. Mach .5 is half the speed of sound, Mach 2 is twice the speed of sound, and so on. Because the actual speed of sound varies depending on the temperature and atmospheric pressure, the number is not constant. However, it’s around 761mph at sea level.

4. Years of Production

Q. What years was the Mach 1 produced?

A. The Mach 1 was produced without interruption from 1969 to 1978, and it made a brief comeback in 2003-2004.

5. Mach 1 Production

Q. What year was peak Mach 1 production?

A. 1969. Typically, that’s how the pony car market works—the newest design makes the biggest splash, then production declines during succeeding years. In 1978, the Mach 1’s final year, production had fallen to about one-tenth what it was in its debut, and peak, year of 1969.

1969: 72,458
1970: 40,970
1971: 36,499
1972: 27,675
1973: 35,440
1974: 44,046
1975: 21,062
1976: 9,232
1977: 6,719
1978: 7,968


Section 2: Engine

6. Base Driveline

Q. What was the base Mach 1 driveline—engine, transmission, and axle ratio?

A. Engine, 351W 2V; three-speed manual transmission; and 3.00:1 axle ratio.

7. Optional Engines

Q. We’ve given you the base engine. Name the engines available optionally.

Engine Code HP @ RPM
351W 4V M 290 @ 4,800
390 4V S 320 @ 4,600
428 Cobra Jet Q 335 @ 5,200
428 Cobra Jet Ram Air R 335 @ 5,200

8. Compression Ratio

Q. Which of the engines available in the 1969 Mach 1 had the highest compression ratio?

A. Surprisingly, it’s the 351W 4V. Its compression ratio was 10.7:1, higher than the 390 4V and higher even than the mighty 428 Cobra Jet. No wonder the 1969 351W heads are desired by vintage engine builders. Check out these specs:

Compression Ratios For 1969 Mach 1 Engines
Engine Code Compression Ratio
351W 2V H 9.5:1
351W 4V M 10.7:1
390 4V S 10.5:1
428 Cobra Jet Q 10.6:1
428 Cobra Jet R 10.6:1

9. Regular or Premium?

Q. Of the five engines available in the 1969 Mach 1, how many were recommended to run on premium fuel?

A. Three. For the base 351 Windsor 2V, regular fuel was recommended. For the other three, the 351W 4V, 390 4V, and 428 Cobra Jet (both Ram Air and non–Ram Air), premium fuel was recommended. Compression ratios tell the story. Above 10.0:1, premium fuel was advised. Below that, regular would do.

10. Four Bolts or Two?

Q. Four-bolt main bearing caps are an engineering feature of high-revving, high-performance engines. How many 1969 Mach 1 engines came with four-bolt mains?

A. None. All 1969 Mach 1 engines used two-bolt mains. For the record, the first engine with four-bolt mains used in a Mach 1 was the 1971 429 Super Cobra Jet, followed by the 1971 351 Cobra Jet that arrived mid-year). Also for the record, the 429 Cobra Jet (non-Super Cobra Jet) had two-bolt mains.

11. Pistons: Forged vs. Cast

Q. Forged-aluminum pistons are stronger than garden-variety cast pistons, and are another key upgrade made to premium performance engines. Which Mach 1 engines used forged pistons?

A. Same answer as the four-bolt mains question: none. All used cast pistons because they were engineered as street engines. Race-derived engines—the Boss 302, an offshoot of Trans Am road racing, and the NASCAR-developed Boss 429—that would see lots of sustained high-rpm used forged pistons, but they were not available on the Mach 1. It may come as some consolation that all Mustang engines for 1969 did use forged connecting rods made from SAE 1041-H forged steel, even the humble six-cylinders.

12. The Refactoring Factor

Q. After the 428 Cobra Jet Mustangs dominated the 1968 Winternationals, NHRA rejected the engine’s 335hp rating and adjusted it upwards. What was the revised hp rating that NHRA used for the 428 Cobra Jet?

A. 340hp for Q-code 428 CJ non-Ram Air, and 360hp for R-code 428 CJ Ram Air.

13. Ribs

Q. You’re looking closely at a 1969 428 CJ Mach 1 and sizing it up as a potential purchase. The car is unrestored and the engine is out, sitting in a corner of the seller’s shop. As you examine the engine in search of its ID numbers, you notice ribs are cast into the sides of the block. Immediately, you know that this engine is:

A. A rare NASCAR racing engine
B. A remanufactured engine
C. An over-the-counter service block
D. May or may not be original, but ribs make delicious BBQ

A. The correct answer is C. Ribs on the side of the block mean the block is a service casting. But we’ll consider D a correct answer, too.

14. Shakers on Non-428 Engines?

Q. Could you order a Shaker hood scoop on any Mach 1 engine, such as the 390 or 351W? What about the 351W 2V?

A. Yes, you could get a Shaker hood scoop on any Mach 1 engine, even the base 351W 2V.

15. FE Engine Production

Q. Everybody knows the 351W was manufactured in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and the 351C that replaced it was manufactured at the Ford plant in Cleveland, Ohio. So where were the 390-428 engines manufactured?

A. Rouge Plant, Dearborn, Michigan. The enormous Rouge Plant complex, opened in 1918, eventually had 16-million square feet of manufacturing space (holy crap!). Part of the complex included an operation called DEP, Dearborn Engine Plant where Automobile FE engines were made.


Section 3: Chassis

16. Can You “Handle” It?

Q. Mach 1s with 351 or 390 engines got an upgraded suspension, but not Competition Suspension. What suspension did 351 and 390 Mach 1s get?

A. 1969 Mach 1s with engines other than the 428 Cobra Jet got what was called “Handling Suspension.” Handling suspension included:

• Extra-heavy-duty front and rear springs • Extra-heavy-duty front and rear shocks • Extra-heavy-duty front sway bar

Handling Suspension was standard on Mach 1 and GT, and is sometimes called GT Suspension.

17. The Shocking Truth

Q. Competition Suspension was a key feature of the Mach 1s when you ordered the 428 Cobra Jet. With the 428 CJ and four-speed, the Competition Suspension package included staggered shocks, designed to eliminate axle hop under the CJ’s powerful torque load. The right-side shock was mounted in front of the axle, the left side shock behind it. Which shock was relocated, the one in front or behind the axle?

A. The left shock was relocated behind the axle with the 428CJ/four-speed’s Competition Suspension. The right one remained in its usual position forward of the axle.

18. What’s The Diff?

Q. Speaking of axles, Ford was well known for using open, peg-leg-style differentials where a limited-slip made much more sense. We can only assume they wanted to sell optional limited-slip differentials. For example, the standard axle on a 1969 Mach 1 with the 428 CJ was a 3.25:1, and on that ratio, Traction-Lok was not an option. If you upgraded to the 3.50:1, Traction-Lok was optional. On the 3.91:1 and 4.30:1 axles, Traction-Lok was required.

Besides the standard open differential and limited-slip Traction-Lok, one other differential was available only on Mustangs (not the Mach 1) equipped with either the 250 six-cylinder or 302 2V and 3.00:1 ratio. What was it?

A. Equa-Lock, an earlier, pre-Traction-Lok limited slip.

Bonus Question for Advanced Mustangers Only: A more aggressive, race-oriented differential was added as an option on the 4.30:1 axle in 1970, and may have been available in late 1969 production. What was it?

A. Bonus Question Answer: Detroit Locker, which had a choppy cornering action that made you wonder if your rear end was malfunctioning.

19. Put a Ring (And Pinion) on it

Q. Steeper gears translate to greater acceleration, and Mustang offered some strong options, including the 3.91 Traction-Lok and 4.30. But there were even steeper dealer-installed ratios for competition. Can you name any?

A. From Ford’s 1969 Wild Wheels 69 Super Tuning Tips, here is the complete list of dealer-installed ratios for the 9-inch axle:

Ratio Ford Part Number
3.00:1 COAZ 4209 E
3.10:1 C4AZ 4209 L
3.25:1 B8AZ 4209 C
3.40:1 C4AZ 4209 M
3.50:1 B7AZ 4209 L
3.89:1 B7AZ 4209 N
3.91:1 C8OZ 4209 A
4.11:1 B7AZ 4209 K
4.30:1 C8OZ 4209 B
4.33:1 C4AZ 4209 N
4.44:1 C3AZ 4209 H
4.57:1 C3UZ 4209 B
4.71:1 C4AZ 4209 P
4.86:1 C4AZ 4209 AB
5.14:1 C4AZ 4209 AC
5.43:1 C4AZ 4209 AD
5.67:1 C4AZ 4209 AE

20. Wheel Deal

Q. The great-looking 15x7-inch Magnum 500 wheels are very popular on Fords of all types and years, even those that never came with them originally. They also bring extra width and diameter to the Mustang chassis, but Magnum 500s were not available on any 1969 Mustang except the Boss 302 and Boss 429. What was the biggest wheel available for the 1969 Mach 1?

A. We gave you a big clue in the question. The largest factory-installed wheel for any 1969 Mach 1, regardless of engine, was the 14x6-inch styled steel wheels, commonly referred to today “GT wheels” or “12-slots.”

21. What a Gas

Q. How many gallons did the 1969 Mach 1 fuel tank hold?

A. 20.


Section 4: Options

22. How Heavy?

Q. Using a SportsRoof with the 302 V-8 as the baseline, how much weight did the Mach 1 option add?

A. 266 pounds.

23. Weight, I Think I Know This

Q. The Mach 1 came with what was called the NVH Sound Package (NVH stands for Noise, Vibration, and Harshness.) that added 55 pounds of sound deadeners and insulation. But it was standard with the Mach 1.

What extra-cost options added the most weight to the 1969 Mach 1?

A. From the 1969 AMA Specifications, here are the 10 heaviest options. We didn’t list those that are optional on other Mustangs but come standard on the Mach 1, and therefore, are not options.

Option Added Weight
1 428 Cobra Jet/automatic transmission 372
2 390/automatic transmission 253
3 351 4V 149
4 Air conditioning 75
5 Power steering 28
6 Styled steel wheels 25
7 85 Amp battery, trunk mounted 25
8 80 Amp per hour battery 20
9 Power disc brakes 17
10 Full console 12

24. Tach-y, Very Tach-y

Q. Speaking of options, $54.45 would buy you a factory, in-dash tachometer. And here’s a bit of trivia: The factory tach was included if you selected the optional four-speed manual transmission and either the 390 or 428 engine.

It was common practice for factory tachs to have a redline, an RPM above which it was not safe to operate the engine. Often, factory tachs also had a yellow zone warning the driver that engine speed is almost too fast. The question is: Where was the redline on the 1969 Mach 1’s optional tach gauge?

A. It had no redline; strange but true. It had a sweep from 0 to 8,000rpm, but there was no redline.

25. Last Question—Delete Options

Q. The 1969 Mach 1 offered plenty of popular options. Two of them were delete options, allowing buyers to omit things. What two delete options were listed for the 1969 Mach 1?

A. From the Mustang section of the April 17, 1969, price list, a Delete Heater and Defroster was “available only on models sold in Hawaii,” but “not available with Boss 302 CID 4V engine.” Skipping the heater and defroster would trim your sticker by $31.52.

A second delete option was Delete Exposed Hood Lock Pins, which was “available only with GT equipment group or Mach 1 models.” You could delete the hood pins if you’d rather not operate three separate latches every time you opened the hood, but there was no price credit for this one.

Scoring
10 or more questions right Salute! You, sir, are a Mustang genius!
5 questions right Pretty good given the degree of difficulty
3 questions right Your paint needs buffing
2 questions right Tsk, tsk, better enroll in Mustang summer school
1 questions right Must be a Mopar guy
0 questions right Must be a Chevy guy