Chuck the Truck's Flashback - 1971 Mustang Mach1

With time on our(her) hands since the kids have grown up and moved out, the missus has been organizing boxes of pics for scrapbooking. She came across these that I haven't seen in over 15 years. (Note - write dates on the packs of pictures. Despite the best intentions of remembering "when", it doesn't really happen that way.)
Around 1983-1985, I got bit by the new toy bug again. I spotted for sale a red 1971 Mustang Mach1. I had to have it! Without telling the missus, I depleted our savings and got a cash advance, at usuary rates, on the credit card and dragged home this "Rustang" project. Fireworks? An understatement, but I got to keep it.
I wish I had "before" pics. The fenders and quarters were new, since the previous owners had found a few trees, but everything else was rust. It took about five years to get it to this stage, what with kids, work, and all.




I still remember the engine - a 351 Cleveland, four barrel, quench heads. I was working at the parts store, so I researched and built it right. Forged TRW flattops, Hastings moly rings, shotpeened rods, ARP rod bolts, balanced reciprocating assembly, B-H-J balancer, screw-in 7/16" studs and guide plates, 3/8" push rods, Crane Gold rockers, Ford Motorsport solid lifter cam - 296/306 degrees, .580/.606" lift, Cloyes TruRoller, Edelbrock Torker matched to the huge by large intake ports, Holley 800CFM double pumper, 2" Hooker headers with insulating wrap, MSD6 controlling a Ford electronic distributor, and just for fun a 150HP NOS Cheater system. I don't remember when, but I remember the cam specs?


It'a alive! The night I started it up. The bibs? For fitness reasons. I seen 'em at Farm and Fleet, "Yup, I kin fit n'is."
I preferred Key Imperials - a whole lot tougher than these Oshkosh. I carried that Case Sidewinder for a long time - great knife and I still have it.


I backed the engine with a Fairbanks 3800 stall converter and a built C6, and I put a Detroit Locker and 4.11 Richmond gears in the 9" out back. It was a neck snapper! Remember those Turbo Tubes from the Exhaust page? They started life here. How loud was it? Ask those little monkeys! Flime tys! They're both married now, and the little one is a momma.





I molded in the front fender and hood scoop diecast trim, and opened up the hood scoops so they would be functional. I painted the centers of American Torq-Thrust D's so they would match my "Stealth Fighter".





I fit a 5" Autometer tach in from the back where the old clock/gauges were, and added a set of Autometer mechanical gauges in the center. The B&M shifter was top of the line at the time. The seats were the deluxe Mach1 seats. Radio? We don't need no stinkin' radio!






I decided on the flat black fairly late in the project and it really works on this body. Takes some of the bulk out of it and it makes it look downright scary.





I replaced the rear valance - a real trick with a stick welder and little talent. Floor pans too, and I welded in subframe connectors. The rear frame rails were rotted, a common Mustang problem, so they got replaced too.
Like that back window? I was on the road for all of six blocks before I got pulled over. The officer couldn't see the temporary registration in the back window since he wasn't in a helicopter. A polite discussion and I got off with a verbal warning - he was going to be watching for me. I painted the cool Mach1 pop open gas cap black to match.



The car was great fun to drive. It was fast and loud, and when I hit the nitrous it was like a whole 'nother car. I'd pull out to pass with throttle floored, then hit the nitrous and it sounded like it turned into a ProStocker. I'd do burnouts in the parking lot after work just to hear it reverberate off the buildings (yes, nitrous burnouts too - I was still young.) It had so much power I got to second-guessing myself. I thought I had more power down low that I was giving up with that converter so I put in a 2500 stall and it was a dog. Instead of being smart and swapping back, I swapped to a milder Comp Cam. It worked but it wasn't near as much fun. I installed the newly released Holley ProJection4, a big ticket item that I could only swing with my employee discount. I never really got that combo dialed in before I sold it. I should have left it as I built it.



The 71-73 was never as popular as the earlier models, but done right it looks wicked.







It was a great learning project that helped me do the truck better. I'm glad she found these pictures so I could re-live the past.