Ford’s Mustang saw a significant restyle for 1969. New models became synonymous with performance and included the Trans-Am road racing Boss 302 and huge Boss 429. For the street, a new Mach I model came standard with a 250-horsepower, 351-cubic-inch V-8. Optional were the 290-horsepower 351 V-8; a 325-hp, 390-cubic-inch V-8 or the 335-hp, 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet V-8. The Mach I’s successful entry accounted for 72,458 sales out of the total 299,824 Mustangs produced that year.
Today, a Mach I is a solid collectible; prime examples often command premium prices. Most valued are those models with a clean collision history and without any body corrosion. The real icing on the cake is finding one that meets that criteria, but also comes from the factory equipped with a high amount of optional equipment.
For Jim Nemeth of St. Clements, his first car was a 1965 Mustang and through the years he and his wife, Irene, have owned several more.
“I love the Mustang and had never owned a ’69, because they were always out of my price range,” Nemeth says. Not deterred from looking, he continued his quest and held out hope the right car would surface. In 2012, he compiled a list that had him travelling each weekend throughout the United States checking out possible purchase vehicles.
In July 2012, Nemeth and his grandson, Cooper, spotted a candy-apple-red ’69 Mach I located in Dallas, Texas, on an eBay auction. Luckily, Nemeth had a friend in Dallas that had the opportunity to look at the car and report back to Nemeth on its condition. Repainted once in 2005, the Mach I looked great. The only other changes were recovering the seats, replacing the carpet and having the cylinder heads rebuilt to handle modern fuels.
“Relying on my friend’s condition report we were confident in bidding,” Nemeth says, “and Cooper was actually having fun, laughing and increasing the bid by $100 each time someone else would bid.”
The auction ended and Nemeth was the winner, but 10 minutes after the auction had ended he was contacted by the seller, who told him the second place bidder was willing to offer an additional $2,000 more than Nemeth’s winning bid. Not biting at that proposition, a deal was a deal and Nemeth and his friend, Darren Beasly, drove to Dallas with a truck and trailer, finalized the deal and hauled the Mach I home to Manitoba.
Built in Dearborn, Mich., and delivered from Glenbrook Ford in Glenview, Ill. — this Mach I made its way south to Dallas by 1972. Finished in candy-apple red with blackout hood treatment, dealer-installed spoilers and rear window slats, it says “speed” while standing still. Inside we find a rim blow steering wheel, white Clarion knit vinyl upholstery, AM radio, electric clock, power steering, power front disc-brakes, Selectaire air-conditioning and tinted glass.
Under the hood is the optional 335-hp, 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet V-8. It’s backed by a C-6 Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission leading to a 3:1 rear axle ratio, making it a capable cruiser both on the street or highway. For show there’s a set of styled road wheels with reproduction Goodyear Wide-Oval tires, but for the street there’s a set of Magnum 500 wheels turning on Cooper Cobra GT radial tires.
Since purchasing the car, Nemeth has removed the transmission shift kit installed by the previous owner and continues to maintain the car with Genuine Ford new old stock (NOS) parts, as well as keeping every factory part removed from the car. The Mach I is a constant show winner, having racked up more than 35 awards in the past five years. It’s always a crowd favourite.
The Nemeths have been members of the Fabulous ’50s Ford Club of Manitoba for the past five years and would like to invite everyone out to the club’s 23rd annual Flashback Weekend.
It begins this evening at 8, with a sock-hop social at the Transcona Country Club, a live band (the Marvells) and a huge silent auction with proceeds in support of the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation.
Social tickets are still available by calling 204-453-4871.
On Saturday, there’s a classic car cruise from Garden City Shopping Centre to the Half Moon Drive In at Lockport, via River Road.
On Sunday there’s a giant car show at the south parking lot of Garden City Shopping Centre. Registration opens at 10 a.m. and the show runs from noon to 5 p.m.
There’s kids’ entertainment, car show merchandise, vendors, a jacket raffle, live music with Russel Lee and a 50/50 draw in support of the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation. All classic, collector and special-interest vehicles are welcome to view for more than 40 special class awards.
For more information on this event, call 204-453-4871 or visit the website, fabulous50sford.com.