Dearborn's fight to shed its also-ran image got a boost when the Mach 1 moved into the starting gate. Here was a Mustang that looked the part of a modern pony muscle car, and in 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 428 Cobra Jet livery, it ran like one.
Mustang was restyled for '69, gaining 3.8 inches of body length -- all ahead of the front wheels -- and about 140 pounds of curb weight. The flowing lines looked right in new Mach 1 livery. This was the mainstream performance version. It came standard with a 351-cid V-8, but star of the stable was the optional 428-cid Cobra Jet.
Essentially the same V-8 that put Ford muscle on the map in the 1968 1/2 Cobra Jet Mustang, it came in three states of tune for '69. The base version without Ram Air cost $224; $133 more bought the fresh-air induction system, which this year used a new "shaker" hood in which a scoop mounted to the air cleaner protruded through a hole in the hood and vibrated ominously with the engine.
A third version triggered by the $155 Drag-Pack option was the 428 Super Cobra Jet Ram Air. It used the shaker scoop, plus a modified crankshaft and stronger connecting rods for better high-rpm durability, as well as an engineoil cooler that decreased lubricant temperature by 30 degrees. The Drag Pack came with limited-slip 3.91:1 or 4.30:1 cogs and excluded air conditioning. All versions used a four-speed or Ford's improved SelectShift automatic. And all were underrated at 335 bhp.
But the Cobra Jet's most-pertinent product was torque, enough to send the F40xl4s up in a haze of Polyglas. With 3.91:1 gearing, even the automatic broke 'em lose at each full-throttle upshift. Great for grins, bad for ETs. The root of the problem was a 59-percent-front weight bias, an imbalance that contributed to sloppy handling, as well.
But this was the Mustang Ford fans had waited for -- cheaper than a Boss 429, less temperamental than a Boss 302, and a force anywhere fast cars gathered.
Return to Classic Muscle Cars Library.
For more cool information on muscle cars, check out:
- Some of the best all-around performance machines of the day were Ford muscle cars. See profiles, photos, and specifications of Ford muscle cars.
- Muscle cars came in many shapes and sizes. Here are features on more than 100 muscle cars, including photos and specifications for each model.
- Muscle cars created their own culture. To learn about it, read How Muscle Cars Work.
- Are you thinking of buying a 2007 muscle car, or any other car? See Consumer Guide Automotive's New-Car Reviews, Prices, and Information.
These muscle car profiles include photos and specifications for each model:
- Celebrated in story and song, the 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 was an instant legend.
- The 1964 Pontiac Tempest GTO lit the fuse on the muscle car boom by giving the small-car, big-engine ethic a cool identity.
- Renamed in honor of its new engine, the 1967 Buick GS 400 was a well-kept muscle car secret.
- No muscle car promised more performance, or had more trouble delivering it, than the star-crossed 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429.
For even more on fantastic Fords and magnificent Mustangs, check out:
- Saddle up for the complete story of America's best-loved sporty car. How the Ford Mustang Works chronicles the legend from its inception in the early 1960s to today's all-new Mustang.
- More pizzazz! More performance! Mustang had it all for 1969 -- except more buyers. And 1970 sales were lower still. Was Mustang losing its magic? Find out by reading 1969, 1970 Ford Mustang.
- Learn the history of the Ford Explorer, the world's best-selling SUV. Included are profiles of every model year.