Parked in 1981: 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1

By 1973, the Mustang was a very different creature to the vehicle that left people breathless when it broke cover in 1964. All of its dimensions had grown, and it was a softer and more civilized car that many potential owners found easier to live with as a daily driver. The 1973 model year also marked the end of the line for the 1st Generation cars. The Mustang II was waiting in the wings, which would spell a significant shift in philosophy for the company. Our feature car is a 1973 Mach 1 that the owner found hidden away in an undisclosed location. It had been in hibernation since 1981, which makes the odometer reading of 96,000 miles potentially genuine. He has revived this classic but now feels that the time is right for it to find a new home. It is located in Puyallup, Washington, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set the price at $9,500, and it seems that there’s not much room to negotiate on that figure. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Matt H for spotting this Mach 1 for us.

The owner believes that the Light Pewter paint and iconic Mach 1 stripes that this vehicle wears are original. He can spot no evidence of any repaint or restoration work, which probably isn’t surprising when you consider that the Mustang was barely eight years old when the previous owner parked it. The panels are pretty straight, with no dings, dents, or signs of prior accident damage. The paint shows its age, and the buyer will almost certainly perform a cosmetic refresh to return this classic to its former glory. There is rust that they will need to address, but for a 1st Generation Mustang, it is surprisingly mild. The owner identifies an area in the right side of the trunk pan, the lower area of the rear quarter panel on the same side, and some that has appeared in the hood. The floors and underside of the vehicle are said to be sound, and there are no signs of any issues in the remaining lower body extremities. The exterior trim is in good condition, as is the glass. The owner has fitted some deep-dished wheels, and while they may not be to everyone’s taste, that style of aftermarket wheel seems to suit the character of the car extremely well.

While the Mustang’s interior would be considered serviceable, it will need some time and money spent on it if it is to once again present at its best. The starting point should be to perform a deep clean because that should reap some rewards for the buyer. It looks like seatcovers and a carpet set might need to find their way onto the shopping list, along with a few smaller items like a handle for the driver’s door. The photos aren’t clear enough to categorically rule out adding a dash pad to that list, but the remaining trim pieces look like they would clean nicely. The original owner didn’t load this interior with creature comforts, so a remote driver’s mirror, an AM radio, and a gauge cluster with a factory tach seem to be about it.

Increasing size and weight, combined with tightening emission regulations, profoundly impacted the 1st generation Mustang’s performance as the curtain ran down on its production. It is interesting to compare a few figures to gain an understanding of how the focus had changed. This Mach 1 is equipped with a 351-2V V8 that should be producing 157hp. In 1969, a Mach 1 with the 351-2V offered its driver 250hp. The ’73 model car tipped the scales at 3,500lbs, while the ’69 carried 3,260lbs. Equipped with a 3-speed automatic as in our feature car, the trip down the ¼ mile would take 17.5 seconds. In 1969, that same journey accounted for a mere 15.9 seconds. While the original owner might not have loaded the interior with comfort features, their decision to order this classic with power steering and power front disc brakes should off the buyer an effortless motoring experience. The owner claims that this Mach 1 is numbers-matching, and it appears that he has not only revived it but returned it to a roadworthy state. The engine bay would benefit from some cleaning and detailing, but attending to this sounds like a pleasant way to occupy some time during the upcoming colder months.

When Ford first released the Mustang, they structured the range to offer something for virtually everybody. Matching market trends, the car grew larger and heavier with each passing year, and the sad reality was that the writing was on the wall for the 1st Generation vehicles at the dawn of the 1970s. Finding a good 1973 Mustang Mach 1 today is becoming more difficult, but they are out there. While values have climbed at a constant rate in recent years, these cars haven’t managed to keep pace with other offerings. It is possible to find some fairly tidy examples in today’s market for around $20,000, although you could double that figure for a pristine example. This car isn’t at that level, but it potentially could be for a relatively minimal outlay. It has only been on the market for around a day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a buyer snaps it up pretty quickly. Would you be tempted?


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  1. Classic Steel

    Already history and going to a new home 👍👀🤠

    Like 4
  2. Jaydawg7 Jaydawg7

    Aannndd… it’s gone. That didn’t take long.

    Like 4
  3. Rip Andread

    Unless you’re really tall, this era Mustang had the driver buried way deep so you barely saw over the dash pad. And those rear quarters are absolutely blind without using the outside mirrors. This era’s only saving grace is that the engine compartment can take 385-series (429-460 and much bigger strokers) engines with plenty of room to spare. I built one using a thick-cast 68 TBird 429 bored 060 (easy on that year 429) and a 460 crank to get over 500 cubes.

    Like 8
    • JoeNYWF64

      I would think one could raise the seat(s) up with spacers. I’ve seen it done on a 1st gen firebird, but that was to instead “acquire some more leg room” for the driver – the seats do not adjust back that far on those.

      Like 2
  4. Don

    Net power gross power .

    Like 3
    • CCFisher

      Exactly. There’s no formula to convert from one to another, but Chevrolet published both figures in 1971. The Corvette’s base 350 was 270hp gross vs. 210hp net. The LS6 dropped from 425 gross to 325 net. The 351 in this car was still detuned relative to 1969, but not as dramatically as the numbers suggest.

      Like 3
  5. James Schwartz

    No surprise that it sold quickly. That likely should have been priced more in the 12k-15k area. If it had been local to me (and I had seen it in time), I’d have jumped on it at only 9500 dollars.
    I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the 73 Mustang being final year of the “1st generation” Mustang and also my birth year.

    Like 3

    i have a 1971 mack 1 , never saw a winter, the motor was rebuilt and is still on the engine stand. everything is there, but no radiator, needs a new dash pad ! 351 cleveland. 10,000.00

    Like 6
  7. mike

    My Dad had a yellow ’72 Mach 1, his pride and joy! Kept it nice and very drivable for 32 years and sold it for twice what he paid new! Wish all my cars went that way!! :0)

    Like 1
  8. Jackie Hollingsworth

    Love the bigger 1971-73 Mach 1’s…..Somebody got a steal on this one.

  9. bone

    Highly doubt it was special ordered with power steering, I would be surprised if any 71-73 Mustang had manual steering

    Like 1
  10. KC John

    Saw opening picture and had quick flashback. Joined the army in 81. Stuff like this was everywhere back then. I must’ve had those wheels on half a dozen cars in the day.

    Like 1
  11. Bob Lampe

    Jeffrey I am interested

  12. Tom71mustangs Member

    Great car! Bone- my ‘71 Coupe came with manual steering, as my HS and College daily, I delivered pizzas for 7 years in that car with manual steering and drum brakes. Granted, it started life as a “plain Jane”/ low option car. It did get front discs and power steering once I restomodded it back in 2002/03.

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