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1969 Mustang Mach I: Perfect to Cruise In

Modesto, California, where this 1969 Mustang Mach I lives, is about 70 miles south of the State capital, Sacramento. It’s farm country, and the home to the Gallo Family Winery, so after you do some tasting and call your designated driver, you might want to tour over and see this tidy red SportsRoof, as Fastbacks had come to be called by the ’69 model year. This car, with a current bid over $11K and the reserve not met, has a buy-it-now price of $55,000 in its listing here on eBay.

It’s the perfect cruise-night trophy winner: nice enough on the top side to be worth looking at, but nowhere close to perfect under the hood or on the underside. There’s a lot of surface rust on the underneath regions, and the engine itself looks a bit of a fright, though it’s nothing that a good cosmetic detail couldn’t address. The next owner, who should first of all verify from a Marti Report that this car was indeed born a Mach I, could also add value by redoing the interior door panels, perhaps tightening up the seat upholstery, particularly at the pilot position, and buffing out the paint. Likely as not, the AC also needs to be retrofitted to take the new refrigerant, but at least the compressor is mounted.

But before you start making bids, note that there are some irregularities in the ad. For one, the car is listed as having over 700,000 miles. Slip of a digit, perhaps, but the only further claims made as to the fitness of the engine are “runs awsome [sic]” and “runs great,” and there is no indication of the age of any rebuild it may have enjoyed or how many times the odo has made the trip around. While we’re on the engine, this one has a 351-CID Windsor, and with no indication to the contrary, it would appear to be the lesser, 2-barrel carb version rather than the 351 4-barrel. Power comes through the drivetrain via an automatic transmission. Despite the Mach I designation, in other words, this is a tame and useable driver.

The ad also says that the owner has had it five-plus years, then that the brother of the ad writer has had it for twenty. Why the discrepancy? The paint is also an area of mystery, with the “original” car having been resprayed, but in the past far enough for the seller not to know when. So back to the comment above: If authentic, this seems like the platform for a show car, but at the moment, it’s just a starting point. Probably better to see how soft that $55K ask is and get the Mach I with the idea to drive it around as is, fixing the little things mentioned earlier as you go and foregoing the expense and impatience of a full restoration. Oh, and without fail, dump those ridiculous wheels, first thing.



    Could it be that the writer’s brother owned it before the current owner? Absolutely! And the surface rust on the bottom doesn’t scare me as I live in the rust belt. It may never reach $55K but half of that could be seen.

    Like 8
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    I like this car. Solid, honest and good looking. Attack the vulnerable rust areas and you’ve got something you can drive and enjoy. Also, I like the wheels too.

    Like 6
  3. PaulG

    Modesto is where American Graffiti takes place, although it was actually filmed in San Rafael…
    This appears to be an honest car and although the ask is high it might make 35k
    As far as the wheels go, these aluminum kidney wheels are getting harder to find, and if removed will almost pay for proper rallye or? replacements. I’d polish them up and keep em!

    Like 6
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Beat me to it.
      My comment “I bet Modesto was a great place to cruise in ’62”.

  4. fordor

    Nice “rivet patch” job on the muffler; looks like there could be shill bidding on this

    Like 1
  5. Howie

    $39,100 now and reserve not met.

    Like 1

    The provided VIN shows an M for the engine code. That would be for a 351-4V engine.

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