The Lasting Impression That The Ford Mustang Makes
by Anthony Palmieri
Ever since I can remember the Ford Mustang had a place in my heart. The first Mustang that stood out for me was somewhere around 1971 when a neighbor has a New Red Mach 1 Mustang in their driveway. I would drive my bicycle past it and wondered, how the words on the trunk lid were pronounced, Match 1, Mock 1, March 1, Mach Won, etc. But no matter how it was pronounced, the long sloping roof, rear louvers, and wing (as I called it) was captivating. Five years later I purchased my very own pony car. Taking $300 of my hard earned money from a part time stock boy job, I purchased a 1967 Mustang Convertible from my boss. The only problem was that I was 15 years old, and could not even get a learners permit for another year. That year was a great opportunity to get my hands greasy, and learn about body work. Yes, this stang's floor boards were rotted in areas, as well as the rear quarters. This experience opened the door for my love of this special breed. Thirty years later and having filled the stable at one time or another with a 1970 Mach 1, 1989 GT, and now a 1969 Mach 1 and another 1970 Mach 1 my desire for this car has not waned. Each one of these Mustangs had something special.
1970 Mach 1 Mustang
The 1967 Mustang with its power convertible roof was a gem in its own right. The Mustang badge in the grill was what people seen coming towards them. As it got closer, they realized it was making an even bolder statement with the finned side scoops, the slight rumble of the 289 engine and when the roof was down it could be even more captivating. This was not the power hungry, throaty loud exhaust version, but rather, a classic car that you wanted to go slow where heads would turn. Fords creation was a masterpiece in its own right, and today it can draw a similar level of desire as a Picasso.
The 1970 Mach 1 was in a class of its own, and is still there even today. There were a massive number of options that could be ordered including engines, transmissions, rear ends, and body accents, but the goal was a checklist for what level of performance you desired, or could afford. Do not get me wrong, even the smallest engine still roared with performance and turned heads. In many cases, before you seen this Mustang approaching you could hear it. The rumble of power, and that deep throaty exhaust made people stand still to see what was coming. Without seeing the car, people anticipated a Chevy, Mopar, or a Ford. As the car became visible, the front chin spoiler and low ground clearance gave the appearance of a race car, and it was! This Mustang was white and optioned with shaker hood, and the large bold black stripe. The shaker hood was the key feature for me. When I was at the lights I would rev the engine so people could see it shake from side to side as if the engine was so powerful that it was trying to burst out. The other outstanding features were the rear window louvers or slats, and the rear spoiler further adding to that racing car look. This car was a head turner and an attention grabber, which in some cases was not a good thing. I recall a few times when the blue lights were flashing behind me due to the exhaust noise, to a few other reasons that I will not mention. That was the only time that I wished it did not get attention. But it was still fun! This Mustang as with the 1967 both required quite a bit of work to get them to the fine condition they ended up with.
As with the 1967 requiring lots of body work, this stang only needed minor body work and paint. The major work for this beast was under the hood. Unfortunately the original engine did not last long with me, and one night it self destructed with one hole as large as a coke can in the block. Being an optimist, this was an opportunity. At the local junk yard, I was able to find a used 351 Cleveland and get my hands dirty once again. Nine months later, and spending every cent I had from my part time job, this engine was completely rebuilt inside and out with a flair for performance. A Crane cam, Edelbrock intake manifold, Holley carburetor, Hooker Headers, and a few head and block modifications boosted the power even more. It not only looked like a power house from the outside, but when the hood was popped open, it showed it even more. The power from this engine was brought to the road with a set of Jetson Revenger 50 series tires in the back, and 70 series in the front providing that racing raked look, as well as plenty of smoke when a burnout was desired.
These experiences with the used stangs made me want to purchase a new one. In 1989 a Mustang GT fully optioned was corralled. It was a great car, and was everything that Ford advertised and more. The problem was, it was off the shelf, not personalized, and anyone with money could purchase one.
Going full circle, the impression that the 1970 Mustang made could not be squelched. Twenty five years after my first Mach 1, I fell upon a 1969 Mach 1 that was unbelievable. It was a hidden gem that had the original paint, chrome, and interior, as well as 28,000 miles. Yes, that is not a typo, twenty eight thousand miles. This was like buying it new, except a much greater price tag. Being in such great condition, there was no way I could get my hands dirty, since there was nothing to do except keeping it shining. Six months later this 1969 Mach 1 had a sibling, a 1970 Mach 1 in the stall next to it. After 25 years since my first Mach 1, I was making up for lost time by having 2. Someone once told me that "You just can't have one" as they referenced their 2 Camaros, and I now believe that.
About the Author: Anthony Palmieri founded Palmieri Concepts, http://www.PalmieriConcepts.com, after 20 years of creating custom art work for his own pleasure and enjoyment. This business grew out of a love for motor vehicles and was started to share with others what started out as a hobby.
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