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Forest Pony: 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Did you know that those plastic model kits that you can buy at toy and hobby stores have several things in common with project cars? I know you’re now sitting there trying to decide if Adam has lost the plot, so bear with me on this one. Both require an eye for detail if the finished product is going to present at its best, while both come in varying skill levels to cater to the abilities of the person tackling the project. This 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 will need someone with some pretty sharp skills if it is ever to terrorize our roads once again. However, it is a complete car that has generated its share of interest since being listed for sale here on eBay. The Mach 1 is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and healthy bidding has pushed the price to $5,100 in a No Reserve auction.

It isn’t clear how long the Candy Apple Red Mach 1 has been sitting under these trees, but I suspect that it has been a few years. With the reputation that 1st Generation Mustangs have developed for rust issues, this is not the best spot to park a classic like this. The owner is candid about the fact that the vehicle will need plenty of work and that there is no shortage of rust to be tackled. The tin worm has attacked all of the places that we’ve become accustomed to on these classics, including most of the lower sections of the body panels. There is rust in the trunk pans, and thanks to the damp environment, you can be pretty sure that the floors will have copped it as well. The owner doesn’t provide any underside photos or specific details, but with areas like the battery tray beginning to dissolve, we need to wonder how healthy components like the frame rails are. It isn’t all gloom and doom, though. One of the greatest attractions for Mustangs as project cars is the ready availability of rust repair panels. There is nothing that I have listed that can’t be replaced, and the prices on these parts are surprisingly affordable. I would advise potential buyers to ask the owner questions and investigate costs because it is easy for even the most carefully devised budgets to blow out considerably. On a positive note, some of the exterior trim and the hubcaps look serviceable, and there are no problems with the glass.

The Mustang’s interior is complete, but as is the case with the exterior, it will take plenty of work if it is to be returned to its best. The first thing that I would do would be to treat the interior to a deep clean. There might be more here that is salvageable than first glances suggest. There’s plenty of dust, dirt, and debris, but I think that items like the seat covers might respond well to a clean. The same would appear true of the rear trims and most of the dash, so I’d be breaking out the cleaning cloth before I spent any money. Interior trim kits for these Mustangs are not dear, but you should watch every penny if you consider this as a project build. A 1970 Mach 1 is a desirable car, but its drivetrain configuration largely determines its value. As you will see, this one is okay, but it’s not a car that will command a mega-dollar valuation.

If this Mach 1 featured a big block V8 under the hood, that would make it a project car capable of commanding a serious amount of money once restored. If the owner were to attempt a meticulous restoration, we could be talking about values in the six-figure territory. However, this Mustang is about as mechanically basic as it was possible for a Mach 1 to be. The H-Code 351ci V8 produced 250hp, but it was the entry-level motor for this model. The original owner also chose to equip the car with an automatic transmission and power steering. The journey down the ¼ mile would have taken 16.1 seconds, which wasn’t that fast for a V8 Mustang. I am talking in the past tense here because this Ford doesn’t run or drive. The owner claims that it ran when parked but that the engine is now locked. It may be possible to get it turning freely, but it is impossible to know whether it will be in good health. If you assume the worst-case scenario, the 351 may require a rebuild. Add in any work needed to whip the rest of the drivetrain into shape, and the restoration total just keeps climbing.

I want to return to my original analogy about project cars and model kits for a moment. While they share many common traits, there is one area where they tend to vary enormously. It is rare for a model kit to cost its owner a five-figure sum (even if you count the digits that come after the decimal point). However, most project cars push into that territory pretty quickly, and it is something that potential buyers must keep in mind. I can never emphasize enough how important it is for buyers to do their homework before committing themselves financially to a project build. It is rare for one to cost less than anticipated, but it is common for a budget to blow out substantially. With those thoughts in mind, do you see this 1970 Mustang Mach 1 as a project car, or is its fate to become a parts vehicle?


  1. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    This Mustang has been out of the barn too long and has gone feral. Gonna take a lot of love, patience and knowledge to bring her back to the point where you can saddle up climb on then take her for a ride..

    Like 7
    • 8banger 8banger Member

      Great, now you have that 70s hit Gonna Take a Lot Of Love burned into me brain.

      Like 19
      • Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

        😆Good call, 8banger.
        Exactly the right song for this resto!!!

        Like 5
      • Dusty Rider

        I knew Nicky back in the day, I used to take her to MCI (she was a KC girl), in my ’66 Mustang for her flights back to Cali. Sweet girl, talked all the time! I miss her and those days too.

        Like 12
      • PRA4SNW

        From a comment on the YouTube video:

        Neil Young was leaving a party in Laurel Canyon
        Nicolette asked him for a ride home.
        He Said sure.
        As she got in the car she saw a Crumpled up paper on the floor.
        She picked it up and read the lyrics to “lotta love”
        She loved the lyrics.
        Neil said u can have them.
        Number one on the charts !!!!!

        Great story.

        Like 4
  2. Steve R

    Parts car or donor for build based on a brand new Dynacorn body.

    Steve R

    Like 10
  3. Richard D McElwee

    What a waste. Why would anyone treat a classic like this. I had a 70 fast back and wish I had it back.

    Like 8
  4. Jose Rovirosa

    If the air cleaner lid is original to the car, this would actually be an M code 351C 4 bbl. w/ 300 hp. The 4 speed would be more desirable, but it should still command quite a bit more than the H code would if it’s not too far gone.

    Like 3
  5. Hound59

    Love the snow tires…

    Like 1
    • Don Eladio


      Like 0
      • Brewmenn

        *tires. left rear, and right front.

        Like 2
  6. Superdessucke

    Why anyone would pay $11.1k (current) for an “extremely rusty” unibody car is beyond me but hey, it’s their money. Seems like common sense has gone out the window over the past few years.

    Like 5
  7. Doc

    I had a69 yellow and black Mach 1 with four on the floor and four barrel carb that was solid except the bottom of both doors were rusted out had an accident with it before I could get it reconditioned wish I still had it great car .

    Like 2
  8. Howie Mueler

    This could go pretty high. $11k now.

    Like 0
  9. James427

    Man, if I saw that beside the road sitting under those trees I would have knocked on that door in a heart beat.

    Like 2
    • Jose Rovirosa

      Probably one of those “it’s not for sale, I’m going to restore it” situations.

      Like 3
  10. J Max

    Hey Dusty us Kansas city people call it KCI hahaha

    Like 0

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