Rusty Restorer: 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1

The ready availability and affordability of parts means that Mustangs with rust issues have become easier and cheaper to restore than they were not too many years ago. This 1970 Mach 1 has rust, and it will require a full restoration. It’s going to be a fairly major undertaking, but with 1st Generation Mustang values continuing to trend upwards, it is one that might be worth considering. It is located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $9,700, and the reserve has been met.

At first glance, the Candy Apple Red Mustang doesn’t look to be too bad. Then the owner gets quite candid about the car’s needs. I suspect that by the time the next owner has completed the restoration of the Mach 1, he is going to be on a first-name basis with the guy who supplies his parts. The lower rear quarter panels have rust, and will either need to be replaced, or patches will need to be fitted. That’s just a start because there is also significant rust in the floors, the trunk, the bottoms of the doors, the ends of the front frame rails, along with some in the door jambs. The shock towers and rockers are said to be solid, which is a real plus. What isn’t mentioned is the condition of the area around the torque boxes, and given how vulnerable these are, they will require at least a pretty thorough check. However, the rust has even managed to claim the fuel tank. The external trim and chrome pieces are present, and anything that isn’t in good condition could certainly be restored. The story is the same with the glass, as it appears to be free of any major problems.

Slotted into the engine bay is an H-Code 351ci Windsor V8. It appears that this is a full numbers-matching car that also comes equipped with a 4-speed manual transmission and power steering. Until recently, the Mustang had been parked and left sitting for around 20-years. While things look a bit crusty and corroded under the hood, the owner has had no trouble coaxing the 351 back to life. He says that it runs and idles nicely, and the car is capable of moving under its own power. He does say that the clutch will require attention, as it does appear to stick. Still, if the Mach 1 is going to be treated to a full restoration, pulling the motor to get everything detailed to a high standard would provide the perfect opportunity to replace the clutch. The H-Code wasn’t the most powerful engine in the Mustang’s armory in 1970, but with 250hp on tap, the vehicle should be capable of galloping through the ¼ mile in 15.6 seconds.

The interior of the Mustang is essentially complete, and would certainly be considered to be serviceable if the next owner wanted to just get the vehicle back on the road ASAP. The dash pad has done the usual trick of cracking around the speaker grille but is otherwise quite good. The rest of the dash presents quite well, although the lenses on the gauges and the clock are beginning to become cloudy. The original AM radio has been replaced with what appears to be an AM/FM radio/8-track player, with speakers cut into the rear plastic trim. There has been some deterioration to the upholstery on the door trims and the front seats, and I also notice some holes drilled in the console. If the Mach 1 is to be restored to a high standard, then a full trim kit is probably going to be required if everything is to match nicely. But once again, these are easy to source and very affordable. One plus is the fact that the original owner chose to order the car with air conditioning. The entire system does appear to be present, but I suspect that there is a fair chance that it probably doesn’t blow old anymore.

I acknowledge that this 1970 Mustang Mach 1 has rust…and plenty of it. Having said that, it is a very long way from being the rustiest Mustang project car that we have seen over the years here at Barn Finds. Bidding on the vehicle hasn’t been frantic, but it has been strong enough to suggest that there are a few people who can see some potential in this classic. Can you?


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  1. GP Member

    A 1970 Mach 1 with a 2 barrel carb.- That’s just stupid. My favorite Mustang of all.

    Like 5
    • JoeNYWF64

      Should not have called it Mach 1 with 2bbl.
      Same for much rarer ’67 gto with optional 2bbl lower compression regular fuel 400 v8. That shoud’uv been reserved only for lemans,tempest, etc.
      I believe this stang is wearing rare? poor man’s “mag wheels” –
      1 piece wheel covers with phony lug nuts. I bet some were broken off tryin to use a lug wrench. lol
      Not bad looking!!
      Can you actually fix that delux driver’s door panel, or do you have to buy a new one? Better to have a separate removable in handle/armrest area.

      Like 2
  2. Steve R

    It’s pretty rusty, but looks to be unmodified. It even appears to have the original T-handle, which runs in excess of $300 by itself.

    Steve R

    Like 3
  3. ken tillyUK Member

    Good resto project. By the way, did anybody follow the BAT auction yesterday where Burt Reynolds Pontiac sold for $143,000 ?

    Like 2
    • JohnfromSC

      @kentillyUK. I for one followed it. To me the most significant thing is that high $ cars are now going to auction sites that are solely focused on online sales, BaT being the most successful. This trend started well before covid, which only accelerated the trend. The big auction houses are scrambling because the costs of selling and buying is so much cheaper online, and their business model is being threatened. I’m personally a leery online buyer having almost been burned on a $70K car that was fraudulently represented, but an enthusiastic seller.

      Like 3
      • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

        Interesting comment JohnfromSC. I’ve been to a couple Mecum auctions recently, and I’m always struck by the amount of people working the event (maybe 100?), plus the elaborate TV-worthy set. I don’t follow BaT closely, but as you point out their overhead has to be much lower. I couldn’t buy anything high dollar without seeing it first-hand, but that seems to be the trend.

        Like 1
  4. Troy s

    I get it, the Mach 1 didn’t guarantee brutal acceleration, not all were cobra jet street machines. The fact no one juiced the 351 over the years is kinda surprising…not even a looks only dress up kit! The trend to collect early Mustangs predates the muscle car revival nearly a decade or more, as early as the introduction of the loved Mustang II possibly.
    Luke warm version here but still one of the best looking Mustangs of all time,, the ’69-70.

    Like 5
  5. Woody

    The rare wheel covers were also available on the ‘70 Cobra 429,the center had a mean cobra and looked great for a “hubcap”! My brother lost one and is in search of the rare covers. This Mustang is a good start for a project.

    Like 1
  6. TimM

    A numbers matching muscle car that isn’t breaking the bank!! Yet!!! Lots of potential here with the four speed already there it makes this car worth having!!!

  7. travs66

    Sold for $10,200. Seems like someone got a very good deal for a Mach 1, factory four speed and not much mechanical work to get in it and have fun!

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