But It’s A Fastback: 1970 Mustang Mach 1

Styling, more than any other feature, sells cars.  There have been many examples of a manufacturer trying to sell a car that is reliable, easy to drive, and comfortable, but nobody wants the vehicle because it’s as ugly as a mud fence.  Buyers always want the good looking car, especially if it is the “hot” car at the time.  Look at the 1964 1/2 Mustang for example.  While the new car was basically a Falcon under the skin, guess which car had buyers lined up around the block?  Speaking of Mustangs, we have an example of this phenomenon right here.  Found here on craigslist out of Knoxville, Tennessee for the asking price of $5600, this 1970 Mustang Mach 1 fastback is a perfect example of style taking precedent over everything else.  Despite the fact that the car is in rough condition, it is still commanding a price over and above that of a coupe in better condition.  Thanks to Clinton H, we can analyze this diamond in the rough.

There are a lot of appealing options on this Mustang.  First off, it is a Mach I, which was only offered in a “Sports Roof” body style.  This was Ford’s name for a fastback for a while.  The Mach 1 package included a matte black hood with hood pins, a hood scoop, beefier suspension, chrome gas cap and exhaust tips, upgraded wheels, a chin spoiler on the front, a deck lid spoiler, and rear window louvers.  This car appears to be equipped with a 351 cubic inch V-8 engine and a 3 speed FMX automatic.  Whether the rear end is a “traction lok” or open rear end is not told to us by the owner.  The other good news is that it the factory paint is a dark ivy green metallic, which is fairly close to the dark highland green that was made famous on the Bullit Mustang.

If this car were a standard coupe, I doubt that any of us would even give it a passing glance.  The saving grace for this Mustang is those beautiful fastback lines.  Good looks like this can get a guy in trouble, and make no mistake, this Mustang would be a lot of trouble to get back to show condition.  Your first clue is that the owner says the purchase includes a set of floor pans.  The second clue is the rust we see in the fenders and the sills, complete with a few areas where it looks like Bondo was slathered on to hide some not so subtle bumps and bruises.  There are dents in the rear panels behind the quarter panels and there will be a fairly large chrome bill awaiting the new owner.

When looking under the hood, the only thing I can think of is the line from Talladega Nights: “It looks like the Pep Boys threw up”.   Obviously, this car hasn’t seen the road in some time.  It almost looks like it has been underwater, but my guess is that these are the long term effects of sitting in a yard with a tarp over it.  The owner doesn’t tell us whether it is locked up or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised.  The good news is that the shock tower and brace appear to be restorable and that there is a Ford air conditioning compressor of the correct vintage in place.

The picture above gives us a clue to the condition of the interior.  Unfortunately, this clue is right up there with seeing the big gash in the side of the Titanic’s hull.  The owner does have a good set of front seats for the car, but the rest of the interior is the definition of trashed.  He was kind enough to provide two rather shaky videos of the car, which can be found on YouTube here and at here.

While there are a lot of negatives about this car, it does have some pluses.  The body panels are all salvageable and there are plenty of reproduction panels and patch panels out there if they end up being rougher than they look in the pictures.  The glass looks to be intact and useable, and the aftermarket wheels, if the passenger front one can be found, might be good trading fodder at a swap meet.  Yet, despite all of this, if it were a coupe, it would be headed to the junkyard.  It will take a lot of money to get this one back together and you will probably not break even at the end.

To me, a restoration to original would probably be too costly in money and time for the reward of showing it.  This Mustang would be a good candidate for a resto-mod though.  I would combine the Mach 1 styling elements such as the spoilers, hood scoop, and louvers, with the awesome color.  I would then install the most unobtrusive roll cage as possible, Dynamat the interior, and put in some modern bucket seats in the front.  The back seat would be omitted, and the space carpeted over.  I’d beef up the suspension and add Wilwood brakes at all four corners.  For a drivetrain, maybe add one of those new Coyote crate motors from Ford performance, a Ford racing Tremec 5 speed, and a built Ford 9″ rear end.  I think I could enjoy something like that, that is, if I could enjoy anything after selling my kidneys to fincance the project.  For those beautiful fastback lines, and the howl of that Coyote engine, I think it would be worth the trade.

Fast Finds


  1. Jeffro

    It might be a Fastback, but, only fast thing now is how fast the rust is eating it up.

  2. JC

    It’s actually a decent price for a ’70 Mach 1 if those 1/4’s can be saved (which look like they are not that bad). I’d like to see pics of the lower rear quarters in front and behind the wheels. If you think this Mustang is “rough”, you haven’t seen many. Floors are easy and I didn’t see anything horrible on those videos. Additionally, that 351W will make more power for less than any coyote and you’ll be about $10k ahead in fab/retrofit costs, not to mention it belongs in there instead of a bunch of plastic and ugly coil packs. If you put it pack the way it belongs, you’ll always have a car with value long after the resto-mod fad sunsets and if you have the skill, you could end up with equity.

    Like 1
  3. Jay M

    That’s a 50k resto to end up with a 25k car…

    Like 1
  4. Tom

    You began by talking about style. The reason this model holds it’s value is because it was designed by Larry Shinoda, the same Larry Shinoda who designed the 63 Corvette. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Shinoda

    • Chris In Australia

      So you get design Corvettes, then end up at Ford? Talk about a fall from grace.

      • Kevin

        Go away shevy head.

  5. joeinthousandoaks

    Let me know where those restored Mach 1’s are for for $25,000. I’ll take two.

    • Steve

      Put me down for one as well…

    • Jay M

      Not restored. Original. There are 3 on eBay right now. 17k, 19.5k, 22k.
      My point was that your money is better spent up front on a driver/survivor, rather than restoring a basket case.

      • JC

        Hate to break it to you but there’s a world of difference between a real original survivor and a driver. The cars you are comparing to a restored Mach 1, would essentially require restoration themselves and are not of the caliber of a real survivor or fully restored car. You will not find a restored Mach 1 for 25k anywhere and as others have posted, if you do, I’ll take 2 and pay you a finders fee. You would get every penny out of this Mach 1 if you spent 50k on restoring it, unlike the coupe the author mentions, which is why the FB’s demand the $$.

      • Dickie F

        As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago – I have been asked by the son of the original owner, of a original survivor 70 Mach 1, to put it back on the road for his own usage.
        The car is original, right down to the rear window louvre and has only done 32k.
        Bad news is it has been in lock up storage for 20 years.
        It was started occasionally (ouch) and still has that old fuel and oil in it. All because the nice traffic officer could not find the vin number on the car.
        Can anyone advise how I can get the fuel system cleaned out, without removing the system?
        That is because it is still in the barn (really) with no space to work on it.

  6. DG

    The price is a little high for what I would pay, but not at all unreasonable. Everything is there, even a numbers matching 351/tranny. Now that Shelbys are in the stratosphere, people are gravitating to these cars. I see their value going up.

  7. JW

    The hood is wrong on this car, 69’s had the black out hood with hood pins, the 70 had color matched body paint with stripes and Mach1 down the middle and twist locks not pins. That is what’s on our 70 Mach1.

  8. Harry Hodson

    The gapping hole in the hood was for a Shaker hood scoop. A ’70 Mach1 ‘M’ code should be a Cleveland 4bbl. The engine shown is a Windsor 2bbl, and a later model ( see the EGR valve behind the carb)
    Unless this thing is tinwirm free . . . .pass.

    • z28th1s

      That hole isn’t for a ‘shaker’ scoop.

      That hole in the hood is from the original ‘signal light’ hood scoop that had the 351 badge on the side of it. If you look closely at the picture you can still see the outline of the scoop

      • Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive Cason Member

        If I’m not mistaken, the turn signal holes would be original, but the larger hole was DIY. The “signal scoop” was non-functional.

        The 351 badge may or may not have been present on the scoop, depending on whether the engine displacement hood decals were ordered. A Marti report would do wonders here! :-)

    • Truckeemtnfords

      The shaker hood does not have the cutouts for the turn signal lights like this hood has, so your wrong.

    • Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive Cason Member

      If it’s an H code, it could have come with a 351W and would, of course, have the two-barrel Autolite carb. That would be a base Mach 1. Did anyone confirm this was an M code?

      I agree with the original author – it’s hard to justify a restoration on a car like this, assuming it’s an H-code automatic. If M-code four-speed or, of course, a 428, the story would be different.

      BUT…it could be beautiful again and there’s a lot there that’s still solid.

      I’m a happy 1970 Grande (H-code with Cleveland) owner, as the prices make good ones screaming deals for the same fun. Okay, my long lost first car was also a 1970 Grande, so I’m nostalgic.

    • Keith

      “tinworm free” and “mustang” should never be used in the same sentence. They are incompatible.

  9. Paul

    Non matching, non original sheet metal Mach 1, restored to a number 2.5 to 3 condition…..you can buy several for $25k. I can find them for you Joe! All day long

    • JC

      When I think of “restored”, a #2.5 to 3 pile of dung doesn’t come to mind, might as well drive it looking like it does so no one laughs at that crappy work. A full quality restoration would bring every bit of $50k and cost about the same depending on skill but at least you wouldn’t be upside down.

      • Keith

        Agreed JC, “restored to a #3” makes 0 sense.


    Great example of why not to cover a car left outside. When you park on dirt and trap in the moisture this is what happens.

  11. Rocco

    @Jeff B. You said “It looks like the Pep Boys threw up”. You might be right, maybe the Pep Boys fire extinguisher threw up.

  12. Rocco

    Did anyone notice the other ’70 Mustang sitting beside it in pic #7? Maybe he is selling off the parts car. With the ’75 EGR valve, we know it’s not the original eng. Plus the ad said with C-6 tranny. Could be an eng.& trans. transplant since the smallblock C-6 didn’t fit behind a 351ci until ’72. Only the VIN# will tell the correct eng.

  13. Mark-A

    For some reason I can’t STOP thinking that it’s FIRE DAMAGED from the photo looking across the Bonnet (Hood), also the Engine Bay showing the suspension bracing looks like the paint has bubbled up (Maybe from a Fire?). Definitely one I’d WANT/NEED to inspect in person before I’d consider making an offer on it.

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