Very First Super Cobra Jet: 1969 Mach 1 Found

This is the stuff the Barn Find dream is made of. The discovery of American Muscle royalty is one thing. But finding the very first of a model – especially the very first 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with the optional Super Cobra Jet drag pack – is the stuff of legends. The story is detailed here on MSN, with thanks to our reader Michael.

The Mach 1’s standard issue power was the 351 cu in (5.8 L). The next jump up was the 390 cu in (6.4 L). If the 390 wasn’t enough, you could make the leap to a Cobra Jet – a 428 cu in (7.0 L) beast 4V. If you wanted extra insanity, then the “drag pack” was your option. This bought you a Super Cobra Jet – a modified 428 Cobra with more durable reciprocating assembly parts designed to survive the RPM requirements for drag racing.

Things like the cranks, rods, pistons, wrist pins, flywheel and more were “cranked up”, and required either the 3:91:1 or the 4:30:1 rear end gear ratios. This beast has the 4:30:1. Found originally on Craigslist, Mike (a Maryland Mach 1 enthusiast) knew this restoration had two key realities. First, it could be an amazing and historical find, and second, it was going to be a lot of work. With no engine, no transmission, mostly disassembled, and needing extensive bodywork – Mike had to take a night to think about the purchase.

Deciding to go ahead, Mike had Marti Auto do research into the car’s history (Marti is a Ford database service) – and was shocked to discover this is “the first Mustang ordered with a 428 Super Cobra Jet engine with a 4.30 Traction-Lok Rear Axle.” Mike is officially living the Barn Find dream then!  He’s now the proud owner of the first Super Cobra Jet 4:30 – ever.

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  1. Classic Steel

    This is awesome… A first and a cheap buy…

    The good news if you search and search you have an opportunity to claim the 428 found is original. Yes with the Mustang if you get an engine stamped within 90 days of build then your all original..

    Then the value of your vehicle gets huge!

    FYI: Do you want your money invested back? 🙂

    • Karguy James

      Not quite….. From 1968 on, Federal rules required all manufacturers to stamp the VIN into the block. So your statement is true for 1967 and down Fords, but not this pony.

      Also, the way the Marti Reports break things down, this may NOT be the first SCJ Mach 1. It is the first SCJ with a 4:30 gear ratio. There may have been several SCJ’s built with 4:11, 3:90 or 3:75 or 3:50 gears previous to this car.

      Plus, there are so MANY rare (read valuable) parts needed to put this car back together that does not seem like a realistic and financially viable restoration. Not to say it should be scrapped, but it’s a money pit of a full blown resto.

      • James

        Isn’t this just like the first one painted red, or the first one with a vinyl top? Cool car for sure, but unless it’s the first one off the line, it’s not more special than any other SCJ Mach 1.

  2. Steve R

    The way the story reads, it seems like there were 3.91 geared Mustangs ordered before this car.

    It’s a cool car, but, how much does an early production date effect value? Wouldn’t a later drag pack Mach 1 with matching numbers be more valuable.

    Steve R

    • Adam Clarke Adam T45 Staff

      Steve, the question of value becomes a really difficult one, and you can bet that there will be quite some debate on this. I will admit that a full, matching numbers car would be unbelievably attractive. However, I guess the reality is that there can be a number of vehicles with matching numbers, but there can only ever be one “first” of something.

      • Steve R

        It would be interesting to see if this car comes up for sale in the coming months. Several recent barn finds have been hyped in magazines and social media as form of pre-sale marketing, such as the black 1970 LS5 featured here last week. This car has a bit of that vibe, with the emphasis being placed on it being the first 4.30 geared Super Cobra Jet ordered.

        Steve R

  3. Terry C Johns

    Really !!! let’s get real here folks its a Ford Mustang, not a rare Alfa, Hispano Suiza or Delahaye.

    People sure get excited about very ordinary cars that happen to have a what ever engine or rear diff ratio. Its a Mustang

    • Jim

      While I’ll agree it’s not entirely a car to get very excited about, it’s a bit more that just another Mustang. You have to of owned and driven one to understand that 430 gears behind a CJ demands all your attention and would make that Alfa or any other euro car seem like a girly toy.

      • Jeff K

        My 1988 Supra Turbo 5 speed would eat most “muscle” cars like this for breakfast!

      • Steve R

        Jeff K, you are right. You can only push one of these so fast. I’m sure once this car is up and running it will be a different story.

        Steve R

      • Jwinters

        hey Jeff K how would you like to put your Supra up against my 2012 Mustang GT for pink slips?
        I didn’t think so.

      • Jim

        Jeff K, I’m your huckleberry, lets see what that supra has. I’ll even give you the go.

      • 1st Gear

        Right on Jim.A car such as this ’69 poops out those weird little Euro-weinie cars at will.

  4. Bruce

    I HAVE to agree with Adam T45, there is only one of anything that can be the very first one. I myself would settle for any one, but to some people THE VERY FIRST ONE is the epitome of life. No one else will be able to tell the truth in saying they have it.

  5. glen

    So it isn’t the first SCJ, but the first, or second with this gear ratio, and, it’s missing the engine and tranny?

  6. Jim

    This gen of Mustang would have the VIN stamped on the block so this car will never be “numbers matching”. There are plenty of “1st” when you dissect them down to all possible options so the reality is that this car will just be another SCJ with a transplant drivetrain, nothing to brag about. Of course, there’s always the guy who will over pay so he can tell the story at car shows.


      Small block Ford engines will have the VIN stamped on a pad on the back of the block. Ford FE engines usually have the VIN stamped on the backside of one of the heads. The original VIN stamped head may still be out there for this car.

  7. JW

    So it won’t be completely numbers matching, if he got it cheap enough to put it back together with a non numbers matching SCJ motor I’m sure he will have a smile on his face every time he drives it. Not everyone buys these cars as a investment and I’m one of them. I’m jealous.

    • David

      Right JW, just enjoy the car. That pony , or one similar would be a pleasure to piece together. However there is a slightly bigger smile considering every $$ you put into this will not be lost. I’m jealous too.

  8. Troy s

    Man, whoever bought this car brand new had only one thing on their mind…racing! Street or strip, maybe both, only reason to order up 4:30 gears with the pricey super cobra jet 428 option. I would think a car like this saw heavy action back in the day, very quick cars provided you could get off the line without vaporizing the rear tires, so the original engine probably got smoked years ago from constant abuse. Oddly, I’m more interested in the cars history than the actual car itself.

  9. Sukey

    I owned a 69 428 scj ( auto ) with 4.30 to 1 drove it to high school in Victoria Bc in 1986
    The motor was dead and gone so we put a 390 in it
    It was a amazing to drive
    No one could beat you across the intersection
    I’d pass on this , it’s nothing but a money pit
    It’ll cost you 100,000 to restore properly in Canada
    It’ll break you
    Your bank account and your heart

  10. Tim W

    Guy I knew in HS had a 69 428 CJ. Cruised with him some. I’m a Chevy guy, but that car was an animal! Good thing his step-dad was a Sgt. with the County Sheriff’s Dept.. Kept him out of jail numerous times…..

  11. Pete

    My 66 Mustang is the first one I have ever owned. I’m sort of a big deal in some circles. When I am a big deal in more circles will that make my car worth more to? LMAO

  12. Mark

    Much ado about nothing no motor tranny big deal so what spending Buku bucks restoring this puppy will garner a net loss

  13. SinkTip

    Maybe some of you Ford guys can help me with a question. A buddy in high school had a 69 Cougar with a 428, shaker hood iirc. He called it a SCJ; his young uncle bought it new and special ordered it, when Jim got it it was a nice used car but man was that thing insane fast. Did they ever put the 428 SCJ into 1969 Cougars?

    • Steve R

      Someone added the shaker, Cougars never came with them, though you could get Ram Air with a fixed hood scoop. The SCJ was tied to the gear ratio, 3.91’s and 4.30’s, if it didn’t have one of those two gear ratios it would have been a CJ.

      Steve R

      • CATHOUSE

        I agree 100% with what Steve R posted. Perhaps rather than the shaker style hood you are remembering a hood scoop on that Cougar. If the car was ordered with either Ram Air or the Eliminator package it would have had a hood scoop.

  14. PRA4SNW Member

    After reading the MSN article and finding out that the original block is missing and that it really isn’t specifically claimed to be the very first Super Cobra Jet (just that it is the first with 4.30 gears), the wind fell off the sails.

  15. James

    So many of these rarities show up sans engine – too bad – and too many engine hoists out there!!

  16. Jose Delgadillo

    Don’t know how much he paid for the car. Still a ’69 Mach One is a very desirable car. Well worth restoring and owning. The owner can rebuild it with an appropriate 428 motor and running gear to make it period correct. The original motor may be out there in someone’s garage or project car. There is a chance that it will turn up. These were not the kind of motors that went to the scrapper, many times when they developed problems the owner would just replace it with another motor and set it aside. ’69 and ’70 Mustang fastbacks are some of favorite American cars. I saw a red ’69 on my way to work on two days this week. It was driven by a guy that actually drives his cars in city traffic. I seen him driving his Jag E type in the same area on other mornings.

  17. Mike

    Give me that old mach religion, give me that old mach religion…check out youtube, the guys from “Road kill” found a mach sitting in the junk yard, fixed it to run and man did they have a ball!

  18. carsofchaos

    I always wonder what happens to the engine in stories like this….it is blow up? Was it transplanted into something else? I often find the back stories more interesting than the car itself.

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