S-Code 390 Project: 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

As the 1960s drew to a close, American V8’s were producing some pretty impressive performance figures, and slick styling by vehicle manufacturers was also a strong selling point. The 1969 Mustang Mach 1 Sportroof perfectly encapsulated these two philosophies. This particular Mach 1 is going to need some work, but the end product would seem to be well worth the effort. It should be a great project vehicle and is located in Marysville, Pennsylvania. The Mustang has been listed for sale here on eBay with a BIN of $7,500, but if you’re feeling lucky, you could also make the owner an offer.

According to the Marti Report, the Mustang started life finished in Black Jade with a blackout hood. During its lifetime it has managed to accumulate several panels of different colors, not to mention a bit of rust. It looks like the vital areas such as the front frame rails, torque boxes, and the shock towers, have all escaped rust’s ravages. The floors are pretty well shot, while the owner does admit that the Mustang will require rear frame rails. There is also some rust to address in the lower quarter panels, lower corners of the doors, and around the bottom of the rear window. As you can see from this photo, the Mustang was also fitted with a black interior, and while it is said to be complete, this will also require restoration. I guess one positive aspect of taking on a project car like this Mustang is the ready availability of high-quality replacement and reproduction parts. This is one of the characteristics that make a Mustang so attractive as a project car.

Hiding under the hood of the Mustang is a 390ci V8, but it isn’t clear whether this is the original S-Code engine. If it is, then in its heyday, it would have sent a healthy 320hp to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. The owner gives no indication of just how healthy the engine is, but the external corrosion and open intake would make me feel inclined to give the engine a refresh during the restoration process. The S-Code wasn’t the most potent engine in the Mustang armory, but the performance was still sufficient to satisfy the vast majority of owners. After all, any car that can knock-off the ¼ mile in 14.4 seconds does demand at least some respect.

This 1969 Mustang Sportroof is indicative of a trend that seems to be emerging with Mach 1 project cars. While nicely restored or immaculately preserved survivors continue to command extremely respectable sale prices, we are beginning to see more project-grade cars emerging at relatively realistic prices. This is good news for potential restorers because when you combine that trend with the previously-mentioned availability and affordability of restoration parts, it suddenly means that more of these cars are becoming financially viable projects. This appears to be just such a car, so I suspect that it might sell fairly quickly.


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  1. Retired Stig

    A long time ago, in a junk yard far, far away, this was a seriously cool car. Great color combination, killer drive train. But now? Too many open holes in the motor allowing moisture in. No floors, do you really think the torque boxes and frame are sound? Sorry, but no thanks.

    Like 6
  2. JohnfromSC

    The S code 390 was the lowest #s engine, available on the Mach 1 only in 69, but IMO offers the best of both worlds. Torquer than the 351s and not as heavy as the 428s which were built more for drag racing. You can easily liven up a 390 beyond its factory numbers and make a great touring car.

    Agree with Stig. The only way this one comes back is a personal labor of love. Hopefully the engine is savalgeable.

    Like 3
  3. Classic Steel

    This is one of the cheapest cars to restore.
    The sweet spot is its not a vette or mopar
    And you can buy the metal and chrome bumpers without a new mortgage on the house.
    They make one piece pans and skins are dirt cheap.

    The biggest thing is the Engine the original .
    The four speed is awesome too.

    Good luck on the sale and restoration 👍👀

    Like 1
  4. Desertrat

    428s do not weigh more than 390s same basic block different stroke and bore make a 428 vs 390.

    Like 6
    • Lee Miller

      Yup. Maybe he is thinking the 429/460 series. Love me some FE power.

      Like 3
  5. MrMustang

    390s production was lower than the 428 because for 100 bucks more you could get a Cobra Jet. You cannot bore a 390 without cooling issues to make it a 428. .06 overbore on the engine. You can make a 406 out of it by simply stroking the crank and keeping the stock bore. Personally, this car need s alot of work and there are 390 Mach 1s available at an affordable price that are in way better shape than this one…..pass!

    Like 7
  6. TimM

    Can’t see beyond the multiple different body part!! Needs floors, quarters, interior, motor rebuild, breaks, suspension, oh my the list goes on!! The nice thing is everything is available but I really don’t need another three year project in my garage!!

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