Mustang Mach 1
In 1969, the Mustang Mach 1 was the answer to increased consumer demand for style and performance. Its more aggressive style was a big departure from the more staid look of the 1968 GT. The car was all about power, and in its base form, it came with a lower price tag. The Mach 1 was a car for the average Joe, who couldn't afford a Shelby or a Boss.
Most car lovers have a soft spot for performance automobiles, and Mustang enthusiasts are no exception. GTs, Bosses, Shelbys and Mach 1s can be found at any car show or drag strip; most drag cars are Cobra Jets, known for their straight-line performance. Their style is what makes them so popular with restorers and enthusiasts.
The 1969 Mach 1 Cobra Jet with the 428 delivered a lot of power, when the rubber could actually meet the road. Unlike the GT, the Mach 1 blatantly advertised what was under the hood. However, if a buyer wanted the less-powerful 390, it was also available- but it was discontinued for the next model year. There are few comparisons done between the 351 and the 428, but the 351 was seen as a welcome change from the 68 GT's 302.
The next year, the 351 Windsor came in second to the 351 Cleveland. That engine signaled a departure from the small block that had been prevalent for seven years, beginning life as a 221ci. The Cleveland had more power than the Windsor, and earned a performance reputation. 1971 was the end for big power from the Mach 1 and it was the same year that the 385 series debuted. 1972-73 saw the 351 Cleveland becoming the highest option for the Mach 1, but new SAE ratings, insurance premiums, decreased compression and rising fuel prices all tarnished the engine's performance image.
1972's sole bright spot was the 351 HO, which was little more than a detuned Boss. Things only got worse from there- in 1974, the V8 was entirely removed as an option for the Mach 1. The biggest engine choice was a 2.8L V6. Ford quickly rectified that blunder, reintroducing a 302 V8 for 1975; that option remained available until the Mach 1 was discontinued in 1978.