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Big Horse Project: 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Mustangs, Camaros, Suburbans, and many other cars were produced in “generations”, with the shift from one to the next demarcated by styling, engine size, platform, rebadging, or any combination of these. The Mustang was introduced midway through 1964 as a 2450 lb four-seater designed in the “long hood, short deck” idiom that was so popular at the time. By 1973, although that model year remained a member of the first generation, the car looked completely different. Now weighing over 2700 lbs and with a wheelbase eight inches longer than the 1965 version, the car was losing that sporty feel. Engine output had been gradually degraded since 1970. Sales were following performance in the declining direction. But today, like many cars that met a lack of enthusiasm at introduction, the larger 70s Mustangs have found their niche with collectors. Here on eBay is a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 bid to $4001, with no reserve. This project car is located in Truxton, Missouri.

Five versions of the Mustang were available in 1973: Coupe, Sports Roof, Grande, Convertible, and Mach 1. Only the Mach 1 came with a V8 as the base engine, and that was a 302 ci. According to its VIN, this car was originally equipped with a 351ci 4V (Q code), and sure enough, in the engine bay sits a 351 Cleveland. No word whether it’s the original mill, and I’m going to guess it doesn’t run. From the factory, this combination was good for about 260 hp. Zero to sixty came in a little under nine seconds. The transmission is a three-speed automatic. Ford couldn’t make the 4V ram air engine pass emissions tests, so while the hood had the scoops, they were nonfunctional. Only the 2V received ram air.

This Medium Bright Yellow exterior/Ginger interior is classic for the Mustang line-up in the 70s. Of course, this interior is going to need plenty of work to put it right. Yes, those are rust holes in the rear floor, and those aren’t the only places you’ll see daylight where you shouldn’t. From dash to floors, this one will need it all. On the other hand, parts are not difficult to find, and this one does have its gauges, interior trim and handles, and seats. Many of the relics we see here at Barn Finds are not nearly so complete.

The requirements don’t stop when we view the greasy side. That gas tank will need to be replaced, along with just about everything else. As noted, collectors are finding merit in these luxe versions of a “sporty” Mustang. Prices have reached the $40k area for original Q-code cars with numbers-matching engines. Even given the work involved, the current bid on this one seems to be a bit of a bargain. What do you think?



  1. Howard A ( since 2014) Member

    Bottom of the barrel, refuse, wreck, junk, salvage, and many more synonyms to describe this. NOT mentioned, however, this was a very important phase in the Mustang. The ’73 Mustang was the last of the traditional Mustangs, and in ’74, the Mustang ll was introduced, and was not well received, even with Farrah Fawcett as a prop. The Mustang ll was for an entirely different generation, and while the “full size” Mustang followers cried, small Mustangs were here to stay. It amazes me the crap they became ( I HATED my ’88) and still persevered.
    So, what is it, coming up on 50 years now, just as popular as ever, especially if they keep winning races, heck, it made me smile, Kyle Busch, traded marques, and runs a Chevy, and Toyota seems to be waning, and it’s back to the good ol’ days of Ford vs. Chevy, and that’s how it should be, consarnit !
    Now, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, how could anyone even think of selling this, and more amazing, who is going to buy this junk? Come on, folks, really.

    Like 6
    • Walter

      I’m with you on the “value” of this car. As for the popularity of the II? It was very popular when it came out and probably saved the marque.
      Hated your 88? I really liked mine. Fox bodies were light. The 5.0 was strong (for its time), it was RWD, and had a 5 speed. All good stuff and true to the Mustang legacy. But my wife who had a 66 when we met never considered it a Mustang. I guess you and she would agree. She does love our current generation GT though.

      Like 8
  2. Fastbacks R Not for 4x4s

    I rather buy the 4×4 67-68 fastback under the shed in one of the pictures.

    I would rescue and restore it😏

    Like 8
  3. K Gun Offense

    I love the ebay ad where it says this car is mostly used for car shows!! Not sure of what car show he is talking about. Needs a lot of work but with 1 day left the price isn’t bad and might be worth it. Once fixed,maybe it could really be in a car show!!!

    Like 3
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      I’ve seen a bunch of eBay ads like that. I think it’s a “check the box” type of thing eBay has when you list a car. “How is the car used?” Backyard planter is not one of the choices.

      Like 12
  4. Howie

    Talk about poor photos to sell a car!! Look at how far away some are!!

    Like 1
  5. cold340t

    Eleanor after the chase! The REAL Eleanor!

    Like 10
  6. Horodbuilder

    Salvage title is a deal killer for me. No matter how much or how little you spend on this car it will never have any value. Yard art is the only bright future for this one.

    Like 3
  7. DontmesswitTexxas

    With the outrageous prices of restoration and OEM parts, and let’s not even talk about the labor… this is strictly a candidate for the parts yard.

    Like 3
    • Midway

      Labor should be included in any build as the people that scoff at $50 per hour don’t have a clue

      Like 0
  8. MoparMike

    Screw the car, I want that jack.

    Like 4
  9. Scooby

    I got into Building model Cars because like in the real world I could do whatever I felt would make them stand out from others.
    When I got an image or an off the wall idea in my head I was on it.
    I have never built a model out of the box as it was intended, I’d want different Headers or wider tires and if it wasn’t an intended Drag Strip Blown Nitro hemi, I liked things a bit more tucked in reserved one mite say.
    Example a trick Rod I concocted is a 56 Ford Ranchero it was chopped &lowered not to much as the Tano cover rested on the tubs in the rear hiding tires as wide as the bed,from the rear you could see a gap in the tires ware the differential hid out. Dragstar wheels, Jet Black pearl paint so smooth it looked wet, white leather with black accents buckets haunched down W/headrests in black velvet .
    It ain’t stock or even Real ? But completely submerged under the hood with the headers tucked downwards next to the 5 speed trans it Feeds is a 426 Hemi with a Cross Ram 2×4 setup, the carbs resting gently outside the valve covers and neatly under the hood !! IF ONLY IT LIVED..
    That 300 Doge with the 413 is sweet.
    One other Model I Concocted is more like what is here, Don’t worry far less details .
    Close your eyes and picture this,talk about aerodynamics. Always wanted to build it. Thanks.

    Like 1
  10. DON

    How can you say the Mustang II was not well received ?? Sales for the Mustang II were phenomenal for Ford Even with the Pinto and Mavericks offering decent fuel mileage , Ford sold over a million of them in four years , and sales equaled or surpassed many of the earlier model sales for most of the cars run

    Like 4
  11. Purple sky

    Twin to my 1973 Mach I 351CJ Q-code 4bbl. Bought her in 1980 for $500.00 from a rinky dink used lot in Hazel Park Michigan. We called it Hazeltuckey in the day. LOL Could see the pavement through the quarter panels from inside the trunk. Only 7 years old and pretty rusty. LOL Rest of the car was solid and clean. Up to $40,000 these days? I guess maybe.. Hobby has turned into a circus..

    Like 3
    • Mike

      Feel your pain coming from the capital of the rust belt even Detroit is crumbling

      Like 1
  12. 64 Bonneville

    Purple Sky, you have nailed it. Hobby has turned into a circus. Unfortunately, for the hobbyist, has priced many of us out of the hobby. This is a car that would need some well skilled bodyman (bodyperson?) to work their magic. I’m fairly good but not sure, being in my mid 70s’, if I could do it. The mechanical side, if I took my time would be no problem. I turned wrenches for over 60 years and have the knowledge and the tools. So, that leaves the interior, last headliner I tried to do came out looking awful, so would contract it out. Main thing is the title showing it being salvage. Could never get a clean title, maybe a rebuilt title, but still not good enough to get a “clean” title for it.

    Like 2

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