R-Code Cobra Jet Project: 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

This 1969 Mustang is an R-Code 428 Cobra Jet, but before we go too far, I have to tell you that it is not a numbers matching car. It is largely complete, although the engine and transmission aren’t original, and while it does have rust, it isn’t as bad as some of the Mustangs that we’ve seen here at Barn Finds. You will find the Mustang listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Mount Hope, West Virginia, and is being offered for sale with a clear title. The owner has set a BIN price of $15,800 for the Mustang.

It’s a Mustang project car, so rust is something that you kind of expect, and this one is no exception. However, the worst of it seems to be confined to the front floor pans, lower torque boxes, and the passenger side trunk floor. The trunk lid will need some repairs, and the hood has been modified with the addition of a Boss 429 style scoop, so you may want to change that. The rest of the car looks to be quite clean. Both quarter panels have been replaced at some stage. The replacements don’t have the side scoops, but the owner has scoops and the internal bracing that will go with the car.

The interior is actually quite good on this Mustang. I think a day spent in there with some good cleaning products would produce some surprising results. The dash pad is cracked and there is some damage to the wheel and the gauge surrounds along with a couple of plastic components in the back seat area, but everything else actually looks quite good. If you were going to undertake a full nut-and-bolt restoration there are some components that you might consider replacing, but for a restoration to create a nice driver, then this makes a good base to work from.

As I said at the start, this is not a numbers matching car. The 9″ rear end is original, but the C6 automatic transmission, while it is the right type, is not original. The engine that is included is also of the right specification, but it is not original. From my perspective, it still has the potential to be a nice and potent car, but the lack of that numbers matching cache is going to ultimately impact the value of the car once finished.

Taken on face value, this Mustang appears to be quite a reasonable car that would be a sound base for a restoration project. It has rust, but it is by no means the worst that we have seen. When restored, it is going to be a nice and quite potent car, but you have to wonder just how much its ultimate value will be affected by the non-original engine and transmission. Over to you, Barn Finders, for your verdict.

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  1. Dean

    Some people (me included) look at cars such as this as a hobby. Fix one up, make it street safe and drive-able, clean it, polish it and just generally have fun with it, doing what it was engineered for….and in the end, not caring whether it’s numbers matching because I purchased it only as an investment..in good times

  2. Classic Steel

    I understand the above comment but it’s heartbreaking to not have the original engine and trannie 😟
    This would be fun to drive anyway !
    But alas we don’t know over the years the reason as it could of been one drag race to many and a rod thru the block👀

    With the ford one could pull a miracle and find an engine 90 days prior to build date …but slim

  3. Matt steele

    I’d rather have none #’s matching but close to original at 1/2 price and drive it

    • Brad W

      Matching numbers doesn’t have to mean museum piece. I have a matching numbers 68 mercury cougar gt (390). I drive the shoot out of that thing. If you want to invest your money buy an old Ferrari or a Picasso painting. If you want to have fun and have something to leave your kids when your gone buy a car like this and get it road worthy.

  4. Jimmy

    This one is in better shape than the 70 we bought in 2005 with the original drivetrain for $14,500. I would have rather had this one as #’s matching doesn’t mean fun it means investment.

  5. Blueovaldude Member

    As long as the driveline is correct, the number matching thing just isn’t that big of a deal to me.

    • Joe Payne

      Nice stable of ponies you have there!

  6. Fhuket

    N U M B E R S M A T C H I N G.
    I just done a little survey on my freinds whom own classic cars ( mostly original Ford muscle cars ).
    There are quite a few so , I wrote down the first 20 on my list.
    I then ticked the ones that are NOT die hard numbers matching nutters and constantly comment on their numbers matching car in the shed.
    I then looked at the list of people and thought about what ones really enjoy their investment and get the most out of it.
    The ones that I remember doing things with their investment that the car was originally intended for and became famous for.
    Then I looked at the list and thought about what people are fun to be around and have good times and memorable moments.

    The three categories had the same ticks on all of them .
    Just my own observation and I won’t say what group got the all three ticks but it made me think about M A T C H I N G N U M B E R S people.


    • Mike_B_SVT

      Matching Numbers ;-)

      • Fhuket

        Perfect 😊

  7. Jim22

    I’m not sure why people worry about numbers matching with old fords since there is no such thing. You can not tie a particular motor to a VIN of a Mustang. You can have the right date, but that’s it. In fact, Ford did a horrible job in casting labels for FE blocks. Just look at a big block Ford bock and you will see that they used the same casting numbers on 428 and 390’s. I had this happen to me. The only way I could tell if I had a 390 or a 428 was to pull the heads and measure the cylinder bores.

    • Fhuket

      So true

    • Boss351

      Hey Jim22,

      I agree with most of what you say. The partial VIN on the big block Fords should be present on the motor (rear flat pad ) starting in January 1, 1968 to meet the requirements of Title 49, United States Code, Subtitle VI, Part C, Chapter 331. Although required, the VIN may be faint, unreadable or even stamped on the rear drivers side cylinder head.

      Given that, it is still very hard to tell a 390 from a 428 when it is installed in a vehicle as they did share casting numbers from 1966 to 1970.

    • Mike_B_SVT

      @Jim22 and @Fhuket you guys are wrong and perpetuating a myth.
      As Boss351 stated: a partial VIN stamp for ID purposes was required by Federal Law starting Jan 1st, 1968 for major drivetrain components.

      You will find this VIN stamp on either the engine block or a head, as well as the transmission. Locations will vary depending on the engine and transmission type, as well as the production period and factory.

      Here are the VIN tags and various VIN stamps from my 1970 Eliminator.

      Now, explain to me again how there is “no such thing” as matching numbers for an “old Ford”?

      • TJP440

        I believe the law went into effect 1-1-69. Please feel free to correct me :)
        I know that some manufacturer’s and plants started earlier.
        Chrysler prior to 69 used a BSO # (build sequence order) that was tied to the vehicles build sheet

      • Fhuket

        You are correct. Found some matching numbers available online 😉

  8. Boss351

    It’s an original R code car so it does have value even without the original motor or transmission. The good news is the original 31 spline rear end is there. Bad news – missing shaker hood and ram air components and some of the other high dollar 428 cj engine parts

    Rust is typical repair for this year. Really not bad considering what metal work needs to be done . If I didn’t have a few cars in progress, I would be serious about purchasing this one. The original color combo is nice as well

  9. Brian

    I’m going to ask a question that’s been on my mind for a while. I’m younger than most here (I think) at 40 years old, so I never grew up with these muscle cars. My question is this though – did engines die like ALL THE TIME? It seems so rare that a car has the original engine… But why? Legit question :)

    • Fhuket

      Hello Brian.
      Yes . If they were used as intended they always needed a new motor.
      Some people care about matching numbers and some don’t.
      Two different types of people really.
      I raced this old Falcon GT for 3 years in all types of racing.
      My lack mechanical knowledge and lack of mechanical sympathy in my youth resulted in having 9 different 351 big port 4V Clevelands in the car during that time.
      The original matching numbers engine was a hangrenade the first time I over revved it and put a rod out the side of the block aswell as dropped valves etc.
      We just kept bolting replacement used engines in and having fun.
      Sold the car years ago and saw it restored on display at a show not long ago looking all original and matching numbers etc etc.
      So, there you go…. matching numbers are not really an issue these days .

      • bruce baker

        How did they find, & fix the original block?

      • Steve R

        They didn’t. The engine in the car is restamped. If done well, which is exceedingly hard to do, nobody would know it’s not original except someone with intimate knowledge of the cars history.

        Steve R

      • Fhuket

        Steve R.

    • bruce baker

      Yeah, it does seam that way compared to engines now days. As simple as cars/engines back then, as compared to cars now days with computers,100 sensors, chips, & electronics. My late father use to say it a lot (like for 50 years). ” if you don’t take care of your car especially the engine, it will treat you real bad”. I just said it to both my neighbors in the last three months. As both piggy backed rod bearing on their 2012, & 2015 cars with just over 200,000 miles on them . The 2012 Envoy raced a new Camaro costing him $ 2,700oo for a installed used straight 6 engine. The 2015 high end gas powered 4 door VW was driven with no oil showing on it’s dipstick. It’s still running but now sounds like an old Diesel truck engine. He goes 10,000 miles without the hood being open at all on his beautiful clean car. I still change my oil at 2,500 miles because of the Oil Acidity Factor as i don’t drive that much being retired plus having 2 running cars.

    • big mike

      Brian, I think a lot has to do with the types of oils and additives that are on the market today, that were not around in the 60’s – though the 80’s as when I was growing up. My Dad always said that a engine puts out what you put in it. For many years when working for my Dad in his Body Shop, I drove shop trucks that had 500,000 miles on them, but they had many engines in them to get that kind of miles. I current own the very first new truck I ever bought a 97 Chevy Silverado 4×4 2500 ex-cab, which has well over 400K on it and the original engine, I will get in it tonight after work and pull my 32′ camper to deer camp. I have always replaced my oil between 3500 and 4000 miles, I have serviced the tranny ever 50,000 miles. You get out what you put in them.
      Now that being I only own 9 of 16 cars in my collection that have the original drive train in them. I have bought and restored some that came with original engines and some that did not. Some that could be rebuilt and some that was put on a scrap pile. I have bought cars just for the engine(parts car) I don’t know but also the fact that gas had lead in it for so many years mainly up until the early 80’s, might also have something to do with why older motors seemed to turn loose or hand grenade as some put it. I also know that if you find a motor that has set for many years, I never try to get it running without some serious prep work to it.

    • Mike_B_SVT

      As mentioned, the drivetrain technology was not as good then. Also, you have to keep in mind that back in the day these cars were transportation. They got used and abused. They got hot rodded and modified. It wasn’t until probably the 80’s (most of our muscle and pony cars were about 20 years old) when “numbers matching” and “concours restoration” became a thing for this automotive generation.

      You can think about it like… say a Fox Body 5.0 Mustang. They were daily transportation. If an engine or trans conked out, off to the auto shop or back to the dealership to swap in a rebuilt long block or a complete engine / trans. Got to get to work on Monday!
      Now, with the Fox Body cars starting to become “collectible”, people are paying good money for nicely preserved original cars. If it’s ratty and had a drivetrain swap, it’s very likely going to bring less money. The same ideas apply to older cars as well.

  10. David B

    I have a numbers match R code SCJ 1970 that I bought in 1985 and I probably will die with it still my favorite car although I own 4 mustangs from the 70 to a 90 GT to a 2013 boss it is almost impossible to find all original. I can tell you that the crank stamping for my SCJ is correct as is the 427 LeMans rods and and external balancer it was missing the factory oil cooler which I got back then for 650$ for the money this car is still an R code car if someone really wants to own one.

  11. Jack

    How many people will ever see the numbers stamp on the block or tranny and say it’s not matching ? Maybe the next buyer ? I think the matching number is overrated !

    • Mike_B_SVT

      Eh, depends on the person. Some folks like the idea of a car being as original as possible. Some folks don’t care. It is what it is.

      Is there a premium for a classic that is “matching numbers”? Depends on the car and the buyer, I suppose.

  12. stillrunners

    What Keith said…….

  13. Troy s

    Like the Boss ‘9 hood scoop, if that’s the original color of the car this would have been one good looking machine, still is, just a tad rough. As long as the performance numbers are matching after it’s fixed up I’m happy…that’s what made these so special in the first place.

  14. Tricky

    Personally, I don’t think matching numbers are such a big deal. Only one of my cars have matching numbers – my ’77 Dodge pickup with a 360 – while my wife’s ’41 Lincoln convertible has a 500 caddie, the original V12 being long gone!! I guess for me it doesn’t really matter, as long as they are being used, driven and enjoyed!!

  15. Herbee

    Everytime I see someone driving a so called number correct car they are having no fun at all with car, to include driving like a granny or just to paranoid to drive car at all. Sounds extremely boring.

    • Jimmy

      @Herbee that’s why my wife finally sold her 70 Mach1 she was so paranoid driving it, even at shows she caught 2 guys leaning on it and went off the deep end. She took her money and bought a 2012 GT/CS with the Coyote motor that she drives like she stole it and bought a 2006 V6 Mustang for work and shopping which she drives that one like she stole it. She misses her 70 until she gets behind the wheel of her 2012.

    • Mike_B_SVT

      Every time I see me driving my numbers correct car, I’m having a blast with it. Took it out today since the weather was nice. Openned up the secondaries a few times – y’know, purely for maintenance purposes (they worked flawlessly). The only paranoia I suffered was after the fact, when I hoped there were no cops around! Summary: miles from boredom.

      Really, if you are not enjoying driving your classic (matching numbers or not) then it is time for a change. Drive what you love, and love what you drive :-)

    • Fhuket

      Lol. Herbee … you have to realise that they don’t get their fun from driving. They get there fun from saying to people “it’s numbers matching” .
      I got one once that was numbers matching and told a few people but it didn’t really have the fun factor to the whole thing.
      Telling people about the numbers matching was nothing compared to over revving it and throwing a rod out mid race , locking the engine and spinning backwards at 90 mph across the track into the bushes on the side…. Maximum fun and good memories. Better than trying to remember the number on the block with the holes in the side that we turned into a coffee table 😂

      • Mike_B_SVT

        Just because some people take care of their toys instead of breaking them does not mean we don’t have fun playing with them too.


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