10 Reasons Why We Love The Ford Mustang Mach I | Daily News Byte

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One classic muscle car from the last century that always comes up in conversation is the Mustang. There have been many generations, many models, and some trim levels that stand out above others. One of the Ford Motor Company’s unique cars was the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I, with the optional drag pack package added to it. The Mach I is not a brand new style. In fact, it was a performance option package for a few years, but in 1971 the Mach I was redesigned, upgraded, and sadly this was the last year the flame-breathing 429 Cobra Jet engine could be found under the hood. Here are 10 things every muscle car enthusiast should know about the powerful 1971 Ford Mach I Mustang and the optional drag pack package.


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1/10 429 Cobra Jet Or 429 Super Cobra Jet

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Mecum Auctions

A front view of the 429 Cobra Jet engine in a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

One Mach I option when ordering that many people don’t remember is the CJ and SCJ option. The first is the basic Cobra Jet (CJ) engine that can produce around 370 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. The Super Cobra Jet (SCJ) option provided almost the same, with a horsepower rating of 375 and the same amount of torque. The main difference between the two is inside the engine and the Holley air induction system. Otherwise the two are similar it is possible to upgrade the CJ to the SCJ by changing some parts.

2/10 Mach I Means Speed ​​And Power

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Mecum Auctions

Side and partial front views of a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

The 1971 Ford Mach I, like all other Mach I cars that hit the market, was not the typical run-of-the-mill Mustang. This is an optional level that offers a performance-based car designed to be driven on the edge. They were designed and built only to compete directly with the new GM-designed Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird. The Mach was named after me as a way to grab the attention of buyers, which Ford found the GT designation couldn’t do.

Related: 10 Great Things About The Oldsmobile 442

3/10 Upgraded Suspension Systems Required

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Mecum Auctions

Side view of a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

When a big, heavy engine is placed under the hood of a car, the base-level suspension system just won’t hold up. It is necessary to upgrade and improve some critical points under the vehicle and strengthen the frame if necessary. Improvements for the 1971 Mach I included staggered shocks, reinforced front shock towers, thicker sway bars, and heavier shocks and springs. Along with all that, there’s an optional steering box with variable quick-ratio technology.

4/10 What The Drag Pack Is About

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Mecum Auctions

Front and side views of a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

The Drag Pack is a special option package that can be added to almost any classic muscle car made by Ford. For some of the Mustangs, such as the 302 Boss cars, the package was added automatically without the buyers knowledge. For the Mach I, though, this is an option that needs to be checked when ordering the car from the manufacturer. The drag pack includes a traction-lock differential, an upgraded crankshaft, a high-performance flywheel, an engine oil cooler, cap screw connecting rods, and a choice of rear axle ratios. All of this creates a car better suited for the drag strip.

Related: 10 Interesting Facts About The Forgotten But Never Gone Studebaker

5/10 Benefited From An Added Dual Hood Scoop

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Mecum Auctions

Front and side views of a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

The 1971 Mach I had one unique quality that stood out from the previous generation: a dual scoop design on the hood. For the basic 428 Cobra Jet engine, these scoops were just for show, but when the buyer added the Ram Air option, they became functional air inlets that helped improve horsepower and torque. When all-out racing, the gas pedal is crushed to the floor, meaning that the fuel being pumped into the carburetor needs more air to keep the air-fuel mixture at the ideal level.

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Mecum Auctions

Driver side view of the interior of a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

Something that wasn’t very common in the ’60s and ’70s was a muscle car with a luxurious interior. This is not to say that the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I can rival the likes of BMW or Mercedes, but the Mach I is quite luxurious for its type of car. It came off the production lines with nice carpeting and sound-deadening material, pistol grip floor shifter, vinyl trimmed bucket seats, bubble style dash, power windows, rear defroster, and factory air conditioning. Not bad for a car built to power through the quarter-mile track at speeds up to 105 mph.

Related: 10 Things You Forgot About The Buick Wildcat

7/10 Common Features Are For Eye Appeal

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Greg Gjerdingen via Wikimedia Commons

The side and front view of a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

The Mach I design was created to offer a muscle car that the younger generation would appreciate and buy. The car already has a unique look, with a Sports Roof style top and rear window. But to be sure, Ford Motors added some standard equipment features that made the Mach I more appealing to their target consumers and everyone else looking for a good muscle car. The car has decals on the fenders and trunk lid, black stripes, dual racing side mirrors, a black honeycomb grille, and white sidewall wheels with bright center hub caps.

8/10 The Codes Tell The Tale

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Sicnag via Wikimedia Commons

Front and side views of a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

When a true muscle car collector comes across a 1971 Ford Mach I Mustang, it’s easy to mistake the type of car they’re looking at. The 429 engine comes in three different versions, with other engine options that the original owner had. The best way to tell what type of car it is is to check the codes. They must be displayed on the inside edge of the driver’s door when opened. If the code includes CJ, it is a basic Cobra Jet engine. If it has an SCJ, it will be a Super Cobra Jet engine, and if it doesn’t have either, it’s the basic 429 engine with room for improvement.

Related: History of the Ford Mustang Mach 1 – A Legendary Greatness in Timeline

9/10 Choose Your Poison: Street, Strip, Or Track

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Sicnag via Wikimedia Commons

Front and side views of a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

The ’60s and ’70s were a time when muscle cars were built to maximize power and torque, which made them great on the track or on a drag street, but not much else. The upgraded suspension of the 1971 Ford Mach I made it a car designed for all roads. It easily holds its own in a quarter-mile sprint, blasting away in under 13 seconds, but it can also give mainstream sports cars a run for their money on a curving street track. To make things even better, the 429 engine got better gas mileage than the 351 Cleveland that first came with the Mustang.

10/10 It was Beat On The Track By Its Younger Brother

A parked 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I
Bring a Trailer

The side and front view of a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach I

Back in the day, there was no substitute for displacement, meaning the bigger the engine, the better it was. Throughout the ’70s, many automakers proved this theory wrong, including the 1971 Mach I Mustang that received a Boss 351 under the hood rather than the huge big block that all the young street racers wanted. On paper, the big Cobra Jet should be the clear winner, but when put to the test, the Mach I with the Boss 351 ran from 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds and ran the quarter mile in 13.6 seconds. The Mach I with the 429 CJ jumps from 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds and accelerates to the quarter mile in 14.7 seconds. The Boss 351 was the clear winner on the real-life race track, even if the papers suggested otherwise.

FAQ

Q: How much horsepower does the 1971 Ford Mach I have have?

That largely depends on the engine under the hood. The stock 302 could only push around 210 horsepower due to necessary downgrades due to new regulations. If the car has a 429 Cobra Jet engine under the hood, it can push right out to 370 horses, and the 429 Super Cobra jet can reach a slightly better 375 horsepower.

Q: Why did the Mach I Mustang replace the Mustang GT?

Car makers are in business to make money, so when a car is discontinued, more than likely, it’s because of sales. In its first year of production, the Mach I Mustang sold over 72,000 vehicles, while the GT only reached 5,396 sales. GT was canceled due to lack of sales.

Q: How much is a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach worth to me today?

To value a car, you can’t go by what validation sites say, like NADA which states that a car in good condition is worth more than $70,000. The best way to appreciate any classic car is to check out the latest auctions, and in this case, a Mach I in great shape sold for $15,000 on Bring a Trailer.

Q: How many 1971 Ford Mach I Mustangs were built?

Throughout the 1971 model year, approximately 36,499 Mach I Mustangs were produced. This number includes all engine variations that the car may come with when ordered.

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