It was a warm summer evening in 1972 as an easily influenced 14-year-old boy approached the newly completed Fashion Place Mall in Murray, Utah with his family. Along the curb outside the entrance of the mall, a beautiful white 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 adorned with black stripes sat idling. Customized with wide tires, chrome wheels and side exhaust pipes, the Mach was the embodiment of everything right in the world. Maybe it was his blooming testosterone or maybe the deep rumble of the dual exhaust, but the young man stopped in mid-step and could not move. Before him was the coolest car he had ever seen. He would have one. Oh, yes, he would have one.
Many years after the mall incident—and after owning many other years of Mustangs, Ford cars and trucks—my lovely wife gave me permission to buy what I always dreamed of owning: a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1.
The search began immediately to make my dreams come true. Over the Internet, through the newspaper want ads and inside of automobile trader magazines, the desire to find a drivable yet restorable Mach 1 took hold. To make my quest even more difficult, I wanted the car to be fully optioned: Ram Air hood, front and rear spoiler, air conditioning, C6 automatic transmission and deluxe interior. As the search moved on, dead ends appeared everywhere. Thinking I would give up and accept another year, friends who knew my story straightened me out. “Don’t settle for second best,” they said. “You’ll find one,” my friends assured me.
Not more than a week later, I was searching classifieds on several Mustang web sites and found a new listing: 1971 Mach 1 for sale. After several phone calls and exchange of photographs, my youngest son Dillon and I hitched up the car trailer on the back of our Ford Bronco and set out for Phoenix, Arizona. The car was close to what was described and after a little negotiating; the car of my dreams was loaded on the trailer with the Bronco pointed back north to Utah. Every time we stopped for gas or breaks, crowds would gather and admire the car—asking where we had found it.
The first order of business upon arrival back home was new custom wheels and tires. From the tire store, the next stop was the muffler shop for a Dr. Gas crossover and Spintech mufflers. Time spent so far? A mere three days! The next weekend, the new Mach was off to Cody, Wyoming for the International Mustang Show. Since those early days of ownership my Mach 1 has been treated to a full restoration utilizing NOS interior and exterior pieces, including a fantastic anniversary gift of a powerful new 351 under the Ram Air hood.