Rides from the Readers: 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, email@example.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.
Today’s featured vehicle is a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Barely five years after its debut, the Mustang lineup was bursting with performance models. The Mach 1 replaced the GT model for 1969 and proved successful enough that the GT nameplate didn’t reappear until 1982. The Mach 1 struck a golden-striped mean between performance and luxury, when compared to the full-bore Shelby GT500 or even the Boss 302. You could, however, amp up your Mach 1’s base 351-cubic-inch, two-barrel powerplant with a four-barrel carb. You could also stroke a check for a 390-cu-in engine, the 428 Cobra Jet, or the all-out Super Cobra Jet 428.
This particular Candy Apple Red Mach 1 belongs to Paul Miller, and it sports the four-barrel, 351 Windsor V-8, paired with a three-speed automatic. It holds a special place in Miller’s heart, not because he was the first owner, but because at the age of 19 he bought the Mach 1 with his own money: $1700 cash. The Mach 1 was Miller’s first automotive purchase and a sufficiently dignified upgrade from the ’67 Chevy Bel Air his father provided during his son’s high school years.
Miller used the Mach 1 as his everyday car, but he was very particular with it; he took the bus to work as often as possible and, when the winter driving season rolled around, he swapped on another set of wheels and tires to preserve the original chrome rims. After a snowy drive, the Mach 1 got a thoughtful hosing off to remove any salt and slush.
“My Mach brings back many good memories of cruising around, hanging out with buddies, going to the prom with my girlfriend at the time—but also a bad memory of nearly crashing the car while hot rodding around one night,” Miller writes. We’d imagine many young drivers of the ’70s can relate!
Three years after Miller bought the Mach 1, he picked up another daily driver and was able to give the Mustang special treatment. By 1979, he started taking it to shows, and when he got married in the early ’80s he toted along his wife and stepson. Today the Mach 1 enjoys the company of several other “survivor” cars owned by Miller’s family and a few extended family members: a blue ’69 sportsroof Mustang, another ’69 Mach 1, a ’66 Mustang coupe, and a ’69 RS Camaro.
“Today, my car has 51,600 original miles on it,” Miller writes. “It finds its way to the occasional show, cruise-in, or on a country drive with my wife. Best of all, every time I get behind the Mach 1’s wheel, I become 19 again!”