1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Brings Back the Era of Simpler Engines and Simpler Times

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with a 351 Windsor V8, 4 barrel and 4 speed

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with a 351 Windsor V8, 4 barrel and 4 speed

Every now and then a car comes up for sale that just exemplifies everything I remember about the early American muscle car era and this 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is about as good as it gets. This particular car is equipped with the 351 Windsor V8, 4 speed transmission, it's red with a black interior and it's beautifully restored.

The cars we drove not the cars we dreamed about
1970 Mustang Mach 1 magazine adThere were faster cars at the time and everyone talks about the Hemi Cuda, the 454 Chevelle, even other Mustangs like the 428 Cobra Jet, but this Mustang is a much better example of those years because they were everywhere, it was an affordable car. An L88 Corvette, a Yenko Camaro or a Boss 429 Mustang would show up now and then, but Mustangs like these were far more common. A young man then may have dreamed of those ultra rare big block monsters, but oddly enough, when those same guys look back from today, they remember the cars they actually owned and raced, the cars they had when they picked up their girl for a date.

Fast cars, simple engines and cheap gas
If you were around then, you listened to the Beach Boys or Creedence Clearwater Revival on the radio, or maybe a Motown hit while you cruised to the rumble of that small block V8. If you opened the hood, there was an engine you could work on. No fuel injection, no electronic ignition, no computer control, it was a four barrel carburetor, points in the distributor and a tankful of leaded gasoline. If you were headed for the strip you might spend a few dollars and top up with Sunoco 260, and that few dollars bought a lot of gas.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with a 351 Windsor V8, 4 barrel and 4 speed

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with a 351 Windsor V8, 4 barrel and 4 speed

A big change was coming
Of course, though most of us didn't fully realize it, this car, like all of the other 1970 models, was one of the last signposts marking the end of an era. The very next year, 1971, automakers were required to add smog control systems to their engines to reduce pollution and without today's technology they struggled to figure it out. Most of their first attempts were crude and we faced a period many of us would prefer to forget. Low compression engines brought on by unleaded gasoline, EGR systems with all of those pumps and belts, robbing horsepower when there was none to spare, brought us cars that looked the same on the outside, but under the hood, it was a maze of hoses, mysterious boxes we had never seen before and all sorts of extra hardware that left most of us longing for the old days.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 engine compartment, nothing more than what was necessary

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 engine compartment, nothing more than what was necessary, no smog controls, no computers, and engine you could work on.

Looking at this Mustang brings back simpler engines and simpler times, it's funny how a car can do that. If you remember those days like I do and you're looking for something to relive a few of those moments, even if it is only on the weekends, a Mach 1 like this one would be a great choice.

Many more Mach 1 Mustangs for sale here


  1. Gerry says

    Don’t confuse simple with cheap. They could simply have made cars in these years a lot better.
    My buddy had one from new. Less than 24 hours new, the carb failed and filled the crankcase with fuel. Had it started it would have blown the oil pan off.
    My 69 Chevelle (350/300 /muncie 4 speed) had the shifter hanging off the side of the tranny in the weather. It had plastic bushings on the shift rods. When the dirt got to it, it had less than 30,000 Miles. What a pain to fix in the cold weather with no garage.
    I drove home in a new Ford Fairmont in 1979 and the starter fell out when I pulled in the lane-way. It also was protected by a warranty on the body due to the rusty Mustang II problems. In two years they did $2800 worth of repairs to a $5200 car and offered me $2100 on a trade.
    Over $30,000 for a gas hog, no real back seat, rides and steers like a truck from the a “rusty Ford years” car is a bit steep.
    The human mind has a faculty that ages sad memories and keeps the happy ones to the fore. We remember being cool driving down the road on a hot Saturday night in a rag top. We don’t seem to remember changing a throw-out bearing in a snowstorm in the lane-way at 20 below.
    Yes, I admit that it is a pretty car but as Shakespeare said “All that glisters is not gold”

    • Paul Crowe says

      There’s no mention of cheap in the article, if you think a car in this condition is something you want to drive again, you’ll have to pay for the privilege.

      I don’t have an unnatural rosy memory of the cars back then, I also remember a lot of those side of the road repairs, something you could actually do with the tools you had in the trunk, of course, I was such a motorhead at the time, working on cars was something I enjoyed and I took pride in being able to do what I had to do. Inconvenient? Sure, but those events add to the memories.

      The point I was making in the article, though, was that these more common models that people will now pay a lot for, aren’t the cars that were rare even then, they were the cars we drove, warts and all. I had a 65 Mustang with a 289, not the high performance 289, the base model. I knew every inch of it, kept it in top condition and I would love to have another one today. Like listening to an old song, driving one brings back some fond memories, not perfect memories, but enjoyable nevertheless.

    • Zippy says

      A bad carb will not fill the crankcase with fuel. Nor would it blow the oil pan off it it started. Gas does not just flow down the intake, thru the heads, around the open intake valve, past the piston and into the oil if the carb float sticks open. The fuel pump needs to be pumping if mechanical or running if an electric. Niether would be happening if the motor was off.

      • Gerry says

        You are right. The next morning Rick got in his car and cranked and cranked and cranked until the battery was dead. He called the dealer who towed it back. They found no compression as the cylinders were totally washed down with gasoline and they found the crankcase overfilled by 3 quarts. They told him that it was a good thing it didn’t start…

    • Paul Crowe says

      It was a different time. Not long after this Mach 1 was introduced, I had to sell my 65 Mustang. I took a break from wrenching and racing for a few years while I laced up my combat boots. When I finally took them off I got back on the road with a 71 340 Duster. If only I still had a few of my old cars …, yeah, if only, …

  2. John Byrd says

    Paul, the 1970 Mustang should have had some smog devices. I bought a new 1969 Fairlane Cobra 428 Ram Air car that came equipped with the “Thermactor” system. My pal at the time bought a 69 Mustang and it had the same. I of course, took all that “junk” off my car, the FOMOCO dealer furnished the 8 brass plugs for the holes in the exhaust ports, then I went up a couple of sizes on the primary carb jets and lived happily ever after…..well, till a little over 12000 miles when it scattered the bottom end completely…… Still love ’em tho’. The west coast cars had smog devices as early as 67 for sure, and some sources say 66. I wonder if the draft tubes on my old Anglia or Mini are considered “smog” devices ? They definitely put out a bit of an oily looking smoke for all to enjoy, ha !

  3. biggyfries says

    I have owned all my objects of desire of the musclecar days–they all seem antique now but they ALL make me hot just as much now as when I was in highschool. The biggest number have been Mustangs with the greatest interest in early Shelbys. They were not rustproof but they did handle and were dirt simple to repair, modify. Even to this day you can go to a Shelby event and see the old cars running with some newer more sophisticated cars, but the old cars have a charm the new cars lack–I still love em to this day and they return massive performance for the dollars now just as they did when they were new.
    What’s funny is to see the Ferrari club and the Porsche clup pack up and pull out when the Mustang guys show up at the track. It pains them when a $10K car dices it up with their $100-200K car.

  4. says

    First car was a ’69 Z/28 bought new for $3700, cowl induction, solid lifters, 780cfm Holley with double pumper and butterflies opening all together, 4.10 gear. Hooker headers and “mufflers” exiting out the side that were obnoxious. Smog pump removed. Distributor recurved with 44 degrees total advance running Sunoco 260. Aluminum flywheel so it revved quicker, but you had to spin the tires to win a drag race, which it did a lot. Would pull 8000 rpm in high gear. Friends would say that the open hood was eating all my money. Sold it with 20,000 miles on it after the 4th engine threw a rod through the block. Was in to dirt bikes and then street bikes by this time. Bought the car back, finally figured out that detonation was causing most of my problems, drove the car on my honeymoon, through New England, in December. Sold the car the following spring when my wife said that I hadn’t even driven it over 100 mph and bought a Chevy Vega, Been riding motorcycles and driving little hatchbacks ever since. Fun, bought I wouldn’t go back.