Jeff Ford
September 1, 2002
Contributers: Jeff Ford, Mustang Monthly Archives Photos By: Mustang Monthly Archives

Ram air has a certain mystique. If you are in the 1969-'73 performance set of Mustangers, then you are almost required to have ram air. At least that is how it seems to us. Several folks have told us we need to put ram air on Lazarus, our former '72 Mach 1 project car. Why? "Because it's cool; it helps performance. And besides, it's cool." Valid reasons, but the car didn't come that way. Still, in a deep, dark recess of our mind, we drool over the idea.

Many may assume that the 428 Cobra Jet came no other way in 1969 and '70 because most of the cars on the show field are ram air-equipped. Still, ram air does actually drive cold air into the engine. Heck, Ford has even reinvented the shaker scoop for the '03 Mach 1.

That said, what makes up the ram air system? How many different versions of the shaker are there? Who has them? Who has the parts for them? Hopefully, we can shed some light on this subject. The parts we have below were provided by three sets of folks: Scott Halseth of National Parts Depot gave us all the repop photos; Kent Hatchett pulled out many items from his inventory for the Shaker parts; and Douglas Herr of Factory Muscle Parts helped with the 390 and 351 Windsor shaker stuff.

Anatomy 101

Below are diagrams of the three styles of ram air Ford used on the Mustang (does not include the Shelby stuff). The first is the one used on the '6811/42 428, the second is a shaker used from 1969-'70, and the last is the ram air from the '71-'73 Mustang.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Important codes

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) includes the all-important code for ram air on some cars. We say "some" because beginning in 1969, Ford would slap a ram air unit on a GT or Mach 1 with anything from a 351 2V out to the vaulted 428 Cobra Jet. Below are the VIN numbers that denote a "packaged deal" on ram air. The engine code is always at the fifth place (from left to right) in the VIN.

VIN break down

8 F 02 R 000000
  • 8 = Last Digit of Model Year
  • F = Assembly Plant
  • 02 = Body Serial (Sales) Code
  • R = Engine Code
  • 000000 = Consecutive Unit Number
1968
R 428 Cobra Jet
1969
R 428 Cobra Jet
Z 429 Boss
1970
R 428 Cobra Jet
Z 429 Boss
1971
J 429 Cobra Jet
Q 351 Cobra Jet
R 351 Boss

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Hoods And Their Uses

Below are all the Mustangs that could get ram air back in the day. We won't say that this is a concrete setup but it was pulled from the sales brochures and the Mustang Recognition Guide.

1968 428 Cobra Jet
Convertible Standard
Hardtop Standard
Fastback Standard

Note: All 428 Cobra Jets were GT models except the 50 race cars.

1969 GT 428 CJ* 428 4V 390 4V 351 2V/4V
Convertible Standard No Option Option
Hardtop Standard No Option Option
SportsRoof Standard No Option Option

* Denoted by an R code in the VIN

1969 428 CJ* 428 4V 390 4V 351 2V/4V
Convertible Standard No No No
Hardtop Standard No No No
SportsRoof Standard No No No

* Denoted by an R code in the VIN

1969 Mach 1 428 CJ* 428 4V 390 4V 351 2V/4V
SportsRoof Standard No Option Option

* Denoted by an R code in the VIN

1969/'70 Boss 429 429
SportsRoof Standard

1970 Mach 1 428 CJ* 428 4V 351 2V/4V
SportsRoof Standard No Option

* Denoted by an R code in the VIN

1970 428 CJ* 428 4V# 351 2V/4V
Convertible Standard No Option
Hardtop Standard No Option
SportsRoof Standard No Option

* Denoted by an R code in the VIN

# Although the book does not say you can't do this, it seems unlikely anyone would have ordered the optional ram without the R code.

1970 Boss 302 302
SportsRoof Option

1971 429 CJ* 429 4V 351 4V# 351 4V 351 2V
Convertible Standard Option Standard Option Option
Hardtop Standard Option Standard Option Option
SportsRoof Standard Option Standard Option Option

* Denoted by a J code in the VIN
# Q code


1971 Boss 351 351
SportsRoof Standard

1972-'73 351 2V
Convertible Option
Hardtop Option
SportsRoof Option


Parts We'd like to see:
Aluminum shaker top (rumor is it's on the way).
Seals for the nonshaker ram air applications.

What is available?

Below is a list of what is available reproduction for the ram air cars. National Parts Depot was kind enough to supply the information as well as the photos.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

What Shaker Do I Have?

The highly desirable shaker option was available on Mustangs for only 2 years: 1969 and 1970. Boss 302 Mustangs only had the shaker available for the '70 model year. Shakers were available for the following engines: 351W, 351C, 390-4V, 428 Cobra Jet, and the Boss 302. Mustangs that came with the shaker option used the same hoods. The difference in dimension and location was "adjusted" by using different shaker bases for the different engines and putting the scoop in the same location in relation to the hood. Descriptions for the various shaker bases are as follows:

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery