Beautiful In White: 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Sometimes, there can be a sort of dangerous beauty in the clean start of a downward arc; a sense of purity, fate, and purpose that comes at the beginning of the end of a great story. So it is with this no-frills, base model 1971 Mustang Mach 1. It’s located in Atlanta, Georgia and listed here on Facebook Marketplace for $14,000.

When the last of the Shelby Mustangs rolled off the lots in 1970, the Mach 1 stood alone at the top of Ford’s pony car lineup. To mark the end of one era and the beginning of another, the Mustang– Mach 1 included– received a facelift, gaining three inches, several hundred pounds, and a comparatively anemic 302 V8 as its base engine. It was very much the white jumpsuit bedecked with rhinestones to the ’69 or ’70 Mach 1’s black leather. The savings of three whole dollars off MSRP from the 1970 model doesn’t seem to compensate for the dramatic loss of performance: weight, size, and all the many other issues aside, the 302 made 210 bhp with a 2-barrel compared to the 351’s 250 bhp similarly equipped. This isn’t to say that the cars can’t perform– when fitted with the right engine and properly tuned, the later Mach 1 Mustangs can absolutely toss rubber in fat chunks and chew pavement like bubblegum.

Beautiful in white, this example originally came equipped with the aforementioned 302 and a three-speed. The original owner apparently decided against the no-cost option hood with scoops, making this a true base model Mach 1. The car is now equipped with a new crate 302, though it comes with both a 351 Cleveland and the original engine, giving the next owner his choice of paths to pursue: either return it to original, increase the performance, or don’t fix what ain’t broken. This difficult decision may be influenced, though, by the missing three-speed. The car is now equipped with a Tremec. The owner states that the car needs a driver’s side floor pan, interior, and paint and that it comes.

There’s a strong appeal to a straight, roadworthy ’71 Mach 1. While this year model isn’t the same car as its predecessors, it can project the sort of attitude that the senior Mustangs lack. If the ’69 is dangerous like a stranger with a mysterious past and the ’70 is walking into the wrong bar at the wrong time, then the ’71 can feel like a back alley knife fight. All the places you might be in trouble with the others, you are definitely in trouble with it. And unlike the older cars, this car is at a price point where you could actually take it to some of those places. Done right– or maybe deliciously wrong– this could be a car that makes some stories.

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Comments

  1. flmikey

    Never saw a Mach 1 without the hood scoops…maybe someone swapped out that hood for a regular hood in the past…always like these latter mustangs…they drove better than the older ones…nice find!!

    Like 7
    • Gary

      And backing them up was a dream, great view.

      Like 1
  2. JOEY V

    “When the last of the Shelby Mustangs rolled off the lots in 1970, the Mach 1 stood alone at the top of Ford’s pony car lineup” WRONG ! The BOSS 351 was to top offered Mustang in 1971.

    Like 20
    • flmikey

      …and let’s not forget the 2 429 options available that year…though, if memory serves, the boss 351 was the hot one to get…

      Like 13
    • Andy Parrish Andy Parrish Staff

      Fair enough! I’d forgotten the BOSS 351, since it was only offered for one year. Still, if I recall correctly, the Mach 1 offered similar 1/4 mile times when equipped with the 429. Thanks for the correction!

      Like 7
  3. Pete

    My parents owned one and the the Mustang II when I was a kid. I have nightmares just looking at them. I remember the mechanic by his first name, went once a month like church on Sundays.

  4. Pete

    My parents owned one and the the Mustang II when I was a kid. I have nightmares just looking at them. I remember the mechanic ,went once a month like church on Sundays

  5. Stan Thompson

    Bought a new one out of H.S., Yellow and black miss that car !!

  6. Ruby

    429 mach1 was an awesome car. But…Similar 1/4 mile times with less weight and better handling is why the BOSS is the BOSS for 71. Not to mention the “R” in the VIN…

    Like 2
  7. Howie Mueler

    This might be good for someone that does not care about much being original. Been listed for at least a week now.

    Like 2
  8. Djjerme

    These cars were so huge. I remember a high school buddies dad had a convertible with the 351. Same color, and he kept it in immaculate condition, but it was such a turd. Our friends Mustang II actually ate it up in everything (off the line, 1/4 mile, around corners..etc)

    These I think were a bigger misstep for Ford then the later Pinto-stang

    Like 3
    • DON

      Well, yes and no. When these cars came out , Pony cars were getting larger – Camaro, Barracuda Javelin , so it seemed like all the brands were going this way , sort of a luxury sport car, not a sporty car for Americas youth , if you know what I mean. Then the oil embargo hit, and all of a sudden, big wasn’t good anymore ,and these larger cars were seen as excessive. By the same token, I wouldn’t say the Mustang II was a misstep either. Built as a sporty economy car , it emulated the same ideas as the first Mustangs , and sold extremely well .

      Like 2
  9. Ray

    I’d buy it for the fact it comes with 3 engines, one being a 351C.

    Like 2
  10. Tom Stewart

    How do you even see out that back window? That angle is not great.

    Like 1
    • Twinstick

      That’s why they were referred to as the Flatbacks. They weren’t made for backing up.

  11. Desert Rat

    No crappy Mustang II gona run with a 351 or 429 71 Mustang period, and If it’s good enought for James Bond it’s good enought for me!

    Like 2
  12. JEFFREY F MEEDER

    i have a 1971 mach 1 with an original motor, rebuilt on a engine stand ! the car is in good shape , never saw a winter !
    needs restored , missing radeator , and original wheels, needs a new dash pad ! 10,000.00 obo !

  13. Howie Mueler

    I see this has Sold.

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