Makeshift Shelf: 1971 Mustang Mach 1

1971 Mustang Mach 1

When I first saw the photo of this Mach 1, I got pretty excited. Many Mustang enthusiasts love the SportRoof styling of this generation and the fact that it has a 351-4v under the hood makes it even better! There are a few concerns, but the car is listed here on eBay with a short 3-day auction and no reserve so it might be worth a look. Thanks goes to Jim S for the tip!


There’s the most powerful small block you could get in a Ford at the time. It may not be as thrilling as a big block, but it was still a respectable performer that could even outrun some larger engines. The fact that it’s a little lighter too helps with handling a bit too. The seller claims that the car runs and drives, but could use some attention.

Black Primer

Why do some people feel the need to spray everything with a coat of black primer? Hey, at least they stuck some stickers on the fender after doing the dirty work! The seller makes a few originality claims in their listing, but after looking through all the photos I’m having a hard time believing them.

Automatic Transmission

Heck, now I’m even starting to wonder if that first photo was staged. There is a lot of dust on the windshield though and it is not uncommon for longtime-stored cars to become shelves. I’m sure the next owner will be happy with their purchase and honestly if it had a 4-speed, I’d be tempted to throw a bid out there. How about you?


  1. Jim

    Looks like a decent project and based on some of the crazy prices I’ve seen lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go for close to $10k

    • randy

      They’d love to get 10K I am sure, but the short auction won’t help I do not think. I bet it would be fun to sling that big butted car around a few corners.

  2. grant

    I think the first photo might actually be real. Check out the artwork in the dust on the windshield. Someone had kids.

  3. randy

    The 4V 351C will be what sells this car. I know the ’70 351C 4V had closed chamber heads, I am not sure if the ’71 had open or closed chamber heads.

    It’s a great engine, Ford messed up when they killed it.

    • Rocco Member

      They generally had closed chambers through March-April ’71. Then Ford went to open chambers. Even the closed chamber heads with flattop pistons(4V) pinged unless you ran 93. I personally wouldn’t want the closed chamber heads any more. You are right about Ford dropping the eng. It was a great racing eng. The 351 Winsor has replaced the 351 Cleveland for all hot rod applications now. It’s hard to believe, but they have much better heads now, and the eng is lighter,better oiling, and fits most applications.
      This is probably a good project for someone that likes this body style. Buyer be ware the C-6 trans didn’t come in these Mustangs until ’72 with the 4-V only. So this car will have the less desirable FMX trans. But I’d have to have a 4-speed anyway.

      • randy

        Howdie, Rocco, which Windsor heads would you recommend? I have a “W” in my ’65 F100, and I am going to beef it up some.

      • Rocco Member

        Tell me more about what level you intend to beef it up. Cam, headers, intake& carb, & do you have a standard transmission. Do you know what year your 351W block is? Before 1994 or after? The code is cast near your starter. C9AE=’69; DOOE=’70; D3AE=’73; F4VE=’94-’97. The first 2 digits = the year. ’94-’97 blocks are roller cam capable.
        The Edelbrock Performer heads are pretty good for all around performance. Before you choose a head, you should have an idea what you want to accomplish, and what type of valve train you intend on using (bolt down rockers,or adjustable studs). I have AFR 225 C&C ported for 600 HP. But I have the Ford Racing X303 heads on a 350 HP motor. Then I have some original cast iron Ford GT-40 heads(hard to find lately) on a 275 HP motor in an F-150. Do you see what I mean about the level of HP you intend to accomplish? I had Edelbrock heads on one of my motors that ran excellent, until I overheated the eng, and they cracked. I’ve just tried different combo’s with what I acquired through trades and such. When I wanted to build a 600HP motor, I research the best head for that application, and bought them new. I’ve probably got over $4000 in them. The other heads are more budget friendly, $650-1000 complete with valves and springs. This is why it’s so hard to advise someone over the internet.

        Good luck with your project. I’ll help more if I can. Just let me know.

      • randy

        I’d be happy with GT-40 heads, I’m not going to go crazy power wise.
        I’m just looking for factory iron heads that flow the best, with a decent combustion chamber. Have you ever put Cleveland heads on a W?

      • Rocco Member

        Yes, and it is pretty involved and expensive by the time you purchase everything needed.
        Stick with the Winsor heads. The GT-40 are a good choice.
        Just for heck of it, where are you located? I’m in Pensacola, FL.

      • randy

        I am in S.E. Oklahoma. My 1/2 brother lives out that way somewhere, but we don’t talk.

      • Rocco Member


        I was just seeing if you were closer to help you on a more personal level. I’t was a shot.
        Can you find some GT-40 heads in your part of the country?


      • randy

        Yes, it was worth a shot. What did those heads come on, car wise?

      • Rocco Member

        ’93-’95 F-150 Lightning Trucks with 351 eng; ’93-’95 Cobra Mustangs with 302 eng.
        Have you done anything to your eng? Is your F-100 a stick shift? Do you know what the rear gear ratio is? 2.79,3.00, 3.50 etc.?

      • randy

        It’s a 4 speed granny, the rear is prob 3.00 or 3.25. I’d like to put an automatic behind it. I may try to find an engine trans assy to drop into it. I’d prefer an FE set up, but they are big bucks to build.
        my email is randylyle111 at yahoo, if you want o take it off the board.

      • Rocco Member

        If you put an FE motor in, you’ll have to change the metal frame mounts. The mounts where your rubber mounts bolt to. They are either straight(FE or 6cyl) or angled(289-351) to the rear.

      • Rocco Member

        e-mail address as you typed it is not accepted. I even added .com

      • randy

        I call them “perches”, I’ve had them given to me, and I’ve seen them on epay for $125.00 a set.

  4. JW

    The only real issue with these Mustangs is don’t ever try to back one up especially in a park because you may be running over someone’s kid. No visibility what so ever out the back window, our 70 isn’t a whole lot better but it is better than the 71 to 73 models. Yes the 351 Cleveland’s are great motors even the 2 barrel version..

  5. Dean

    In the words of Del Shannon – run away, run run run run run away! There are so many things wrong with this car. It looks like a couple of midgets tried to get amorous in that back seat – or maybe that’s where all the junk was originally stored. The passenger door doesn’t fit right, and I’m not sure if that is because the fender is bent or the door is sagging – or both. The spray bomb on the outside of the car is bad enough, but what possessed them to bomb the engine (and the brake controller) blue. And on, and on…

  6. 64 bonneville

    looks like a rattle and shake primer job (spray cans) seller didn’t add decal call outs, as they have painted around the Mach I clean and rust (?) free with the bidding up to $2600, might make a good deal for somebody.

  7. piper62j

    I looked at this one seriously and had to turn away.. The fact of only listing it for 3 days reminds me of the “get it now before it goes” sales pitch. Minimum time on EBay should be 7 days.. But what would I know?? I’m just a power seller on EBay..

    The damage on the right side appears to be a side swipe to include the door.. As long as the A-pillar is not pushed in, it’s an easy fix if you can find a decent door and a re-pop fender.

    Floor pans look very good considering and I can’t tell if the aprons are rusted because of the poor pictures..

    Not a bad project overall if you know these cars, and I do..

    • randy

      Did you physically go look at it, or are you relaying what we have all seen here?

      I am confused, you say it’s not a bad project because you know these cars, and yet you had to turn away. Please help me understand.

  8. piper62j

    Randy.. In my time I’ve learned that when someone pushes a sale on you.. Something is wrong when pressured into buying.. I consider 3 days on EBay insufficient time to expose the car to the community.

    That said, I currently have a 73 Mach 1 “Q” code restoration in progress.. Check out the finished floor pan and new lines.

  9. randy

    Nice floor pan.

  10. Mark

    I had a 71 mach1 very much like this one in high school: 351C-4v, auto, a/c but no gauge package, cheaper steering wheel, hub caps, no ram air, no louvers, no ps/pb. Man, I loved that car!

  11. piper62j

    I bought a new 73 Mach 1 – 400ci – 2v – and loved it… Should have kept it and not listen to the wife.

    Anyway, I’m currently restoring a Q-code and having a blast with it.. My next project will be a 73 Mustang convertible just to tool around in..

    Attached is what the current restoration Mach 1 will look like when finished..

  12. randy

    Every time I see one of these it reminds me of the song “I like big butts and I cannot lie”

    Nice car piper!

  13. randy

    30 minutes left, $4650.00 high bid.

  14. Jason Houston

    Somebody got a very good deal. This is a rust-free Calif. aircraft carrier with original 1971 Calif plates! Nice car for someone who wants an easy (and profitable) restoration. Too bad some 16- y.o. dropout slopped black primer over the car, then lost interest. It’s probably been sitting in mom and dad’s garage since he went to prison in 1982.

  15. Hammer

    Friend of mine had a yellow 1971 Mach 1, Ram Air 351, 4 speed. These are my favorite style Mustang (71 to 73). I like both the flat backs and notchbacks. I spent a lot of time driving that car and it was a handful. Best car for doing “donuts” I have ever driven. I don’t like any Mustang older than 1968 as they were nothing but junk and were ugly with their rounded roofs. As far as older ones being junk, I worked for a Ford Dealer and all of us techs hated the older mustangs and most of us would rather have a Falcon rather than a falconstang as we called them. The 69 & 70 year models were getting better but 71 to 73 were the best. We actually had 2 65/66 mustang rag tops in the shop bend in the middle so the doors wouldn’t close. Shop manager said not to open both doors at the same time in the ragtops as that was not uncommon.

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