Mach I a reliable, close-to-original drive

Photos by Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free PressDuncan McDougall was put on the trail of his 1971 Mustang Mach I in 2006 after a conversation with a friend. The car was an original, rust-free vehicle in good condition with a rebuilt engine when McDougall bought it.

Photos by Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free Press

Duncan McDougall was put on the trail of his 1971 Mustang Mach I in 2006 after a conversation with a friend. The car was an original, rust-free vehicle in good condition with a rebuilt engine when McDougall bought it.

The Ford Mustang was all-new for 1971. Longer, lower, wider and with styling never before seen on any pony car. Available as a coupe, convertible, fastback and the popular Mach I, they featured a new hood with concealed windshield wipers and a full-width grille opening incorporating the headlamps.

Part of the restyle included a wider front subframe. The additional width was needed to allow the installation of Ford’s new 429-cubic-inch big-block V-8 engine option. It also allowed ample room for air conditioning, heavy-duty cooling systems and power accessories.

The Mach I came with a new NASA-inspired dual hood scoop treatment, with chrome twist locks as opposed to the simple pins most performance hoods were held down with. Hood and deck treatments in flat black or argent silver, along with full-length racing stripe packages and spoilers, ensured nobody was going to mistake this car for anything other than a performance machine.

Winnipegger Duncan McDougall was quite happy cruising around in his 1965 Buick Riviera until a conversation with a friend in June 2006 put him onto a lead for a 1971 Mustang Mach I that was for sale. An original rust-free car, the Mach I was in good condition with a rebuilt engine. While it needed some work and paint, the car was just too good for McDougall to pass up.

Powering McDougall’s Mach I is the 351-cubic-inch Cleveland V-8 engine. Machined at Ken’s Kustom Auto Machine and rebuilt with 0.03-inch overbore pistons, hydraulic performance camshaft and Duraspark ignition, it’s topped off with an Edelbrock aluminum air-gap intake manifold and 600-cubic-feet-per-minute Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor making it a nice trade-off between a stock rebuild and a performance upgrade. Exhaust gasses are handled by a set of Hooker headers leading to a 2.5-inch diameter custom dual exhaust system, with stainless steel Magnaflow mufflers.

The original three-speed C-6 automatic transmission was removed in favour of a modern Ford AOD overdrive automatic transmission. Coupled with the 3.56:1 geared, Traction-Lok and nine-inch rear axle, the Mach I has a great highway cruising ability with less engine wear and added fuel economy.

McDougall took his time with the bodywork, ensuring the panels were straight and the panel gaps were in tolerance before Mid-Town Ford laid down a fresh Acapulco blue paint finish in 2007.

Instead of merely applying the hood appliqué and side stripes, McDougall had stencils made and affixed to the car. This allowed the painter to shoot the argent silver accents and bury them under four coats of clear finish.

The blue vinyl interior is mostly original, with McDougall only adding a new carpet and dash pad. Other upgrades include a Kenwood AM/FM/CD player and Classic Auto Air air conditioning. Optional equipment includes power steering, power front disc-brakes, tilt steering wheel, full instrumentation, dual racing mirrors with driver’s remote, tinted glass, front and rear spoilers, hood locks, pop-open quick-fuel gas cap and 15-inch Magnum 500 road wheels with B.F. Goodrich raised-white-letter T/A radial tires.

With a lot of care and regular maintenance, the Mach I has now logged about 30,000 kilometres since the engine rebuild and has taken McDougall and his wife, Janis, on several trips and cruises including Red Deer, Minneapolis and Rapid City, S.D., to name a few.

“The car is very reliable, and I like the fact that it was never butchered and is close to original,” McDougall says.

The McDougalls have been members of the Manitoba Street Rod Association (MSRA) since 2012, and this year, Duncan is the chairman of the club’s 26th annual Toy Run committee. The MSRA Toy Run takes place this Sunday with a rain date scheduled for Monday.

“There were several rain outs, so we moved the date up almost a full month and hope to have a sunny day for the show,” McDougall says.

The Toy Run is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Revenue Canada Taxation Centre parking lot on Stapon Road, across from Kildonan Place Shopping Centre. Entry is a new, unwrapped toy and all proceeds go to the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation. For more information check out msra.mb.ca.

57ford@mymts.net

The Mustang is powered by a V-8 engine which was machined at Ken’s Kustom Auto Machine.

The Mustang is powered by a V-8 engine which was machined at Ken’s Kustom Auto Machine.

The interior of the Mach I is mostly original with additions of a new dash pad and carpet.

The interior of the Mach I is mostly original with additions of a new dash pad and carpet.