Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cars in Yards: 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Uncovering a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 project in New York. Cars painstakingly covered and parked in a driveway can be torture for swivel-head, automotive buffs on the prowl. "What's hiding under there? Could it be a classic? Is is for sale?" Mental notes of the mystery car's location are recalled on every routine outing. They circle their prey as often as possible in hopes of getting a glimpse of what lies under the car cover.
  Gary K. of Long Island, New York is one car buff whose relentless pursuit of classic muscle cars uncovered this Royal Maroon 1969 Mach 1. "I've seen this 1969 Mach 1 about a thousand times parked in a driveway near my hometown," said Gary. "I always knew it was an older Mustang." Recently, Gary finally gave in to the magnetic force that pulls gearheads and decaying classic cars together. The cover was about to come off.

A 1969 Mustang Mach 1 has been teasing motorists from under a car cover in a Long Island, New York driveway for many years.

1969 was the first year for the Mach 1 and the SportsRoof option.

"All original and not for sale"
  Gary met an older gentleman at the door and asked him for the details on the old car in the driveway. Of course a closer look and a talk with the homeowner would lead to the inevitable question. "Is it for sale?"
  The Mach1, which has a rusty rear bumper, was missing the grille, headlights and front bumper, has been parked in the driveway for many years. "Of course it was 'not for sale,'" said Gary. "He let me peek under the cover anyway."  

Vintage 1976 parking decal from the Town of Oyster Bay, New York.

Project car
  The engine and interior are not currently in the Mustang but the original paint, decals, and factory shaker hood remain on the car. "The homeowner told me that the 1969 Mach 1 belonged to his son and he was is in the process of restoring it," said Gary.
  The straight, relatively rust-free body panels finished in Royal Maroon paint with the distinctive Mach 1 striping are striking but Gary was wowed by something stuck to the rear bumper. "What I liked best about this car were the bumper stickers from 1976," said Gary. For 35 years the Mach 1 Mustang has sported a 'Town of Oyster Bay, New York' parking decal. Faded, sticky proof that this Mustang has been locally owned for decades. "I'm shocked at how many of these muscle cars I find neglected on Long Island," said Gary.
  A 1972 Pontiac GTO and 1969 Chevrolet Camaro have already been spotted on Long Island. Keep cruising for the classics Gary, you might find your dream car.

– Jody Potter, junkyardlife

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Mustang Mach 1 production numbers

FIRST GENERATION - Mustang models 1969-1970
  (wheelbase 108") 
  1969 - 72,458
  1970 - 40,970

1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 in Grabber Lime Green.

('71-'73 models wheelbase increased to 109")
  1971 - 36,499
  1972 - 27,675
  1973 - 35,440

Mustang II Mach Is were downsized in 1974 and equipped with a 105 hp V6 engine. 

2ND GENERATION - 'Mustang II' models 1974-1978
  (wheelbase reduced to 96.2")

  1974 - 385,993
  1975 - 188,575
  1976 - 187,576
  1977 - 153,173
  1978 - 192,420

* Mach 1s were not built on the Fox body platform, 1979-1993.

Ford reintroduced the Mach 1 Mustang in 2003.

4TH GENERATION - SN-95 Mustang models 2003-2004
  ('03-'04 models wheelbase increased to 101.3") 

  2003 - 9,652
  2004 - 7,182

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Auctions: Lincoln Town Car bites the bullet as production ends on Ford's Panther platform

Ford ceases production of the rear-wheel drive, V8, Panther platform, which includes Lincoln Town Cars, on Thursday. It was ironic to see a bullet-riddled 1981 Town Car at a recent Birmingham, Alabama auction. Ford started production of the smaller Town Car in 1981 as a replacement for their larger-than-life 1979 Lincoln Continental. The Town Car has been Lincoln's flagship automobile for more than 30 years. From grandmas to gangsters the Lincoln Town Car has many fans. Taxi and limousine drivers swear by their durability. Unfortunately, rear-wheel drive Ford sedans' days are numbered. When the last Town Car rolls off the St. Thomas, Ontario assembly line another icon of America's roadways will be dead.  

Notice the seat belt tied to the steering wheel?
It keeps the front wheels straight with the transmission in neutral while towing.

Cardboard corpses 
The gray 1981 Town Car included four cardboard corpses. These were uncommon optional equipment for a full-size luxury sedan, even if it was at an impounded vehicle auctionI noticed the rear passengers appeared to have sustained more kill shots. And they say the back seat is safer?  

Winning bidder owns a Town Car and gets targets to practice their Second Amendment rights.

1981 Lincoln Town Car. Yes, those are bullet holes. Time to reload.

Crown Vic police cars, Grand Marquis fall victim  
Ford's Crown Victorias, which have been limited to fleet sales since 2008, will also cease production this week as the Panther platform ends. The last Mercury Grand Marquis, also on the Panther platform, rolled off the assembly line in January 2011. 
  Stock up on parts if you own one. Somewhere, somebody is reloading. 

These Ford Crown Vic police cars were built on the Panther platform as well. 

– Jody Potter, junkyardlife

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

1971 Pontiac Trans Am barn find

Barn find Trans Am finds previous owner 30 years later. Sweden's Thomas Rosenborg placed a "want" ad in his local newspaper seeking a 1969 Pontiac GTO. A few days later, he received a call from a woman wanting to sell a slightly damaged Trans Am that had been parked since 1993. Rosenborg, a long-time Pontiac fan, decided to make the 250-mile trip to look at Anneli's Trans Am. 
  A quick check of the VIN number and Rosenborg was shocked. "Unbelievable! It was the same 1971 Trans Am that I owned during the summer of 1981," Rosenborg said.

1971 Pontiac Trans Am 455, 4-speed barn find in Sweden.

Parked since 1993
Barn finds and tragedy go hand in hand. This '71 Trans Am, one-of-885 four-speed V8s, once belonged to Anneli's brother in Sweden. Anneli (top photo) took ownership of the car in 1993 after her brother's death in a motorcycle accident. "Her brother bought the Pontiac in 1989 and had just finished restoring it before he died in 1993," said Rosenborg.

Burnout mishap
The Cameo White Trans Am spent years parked in Anneli's basement without a scratch. In 1998 a friend insisted on showing Anneli the power of her Pontiac. It was a mistake. Rear-wheel drive V8s with positraction can be a handful while performing burnouts and imitating Burt Reynolds' driving in "Smokey and the Bandit." Unfortunately the rare Poncho suffered front end damage during the smoke show.

Rosenborg's 1971 Trans Am barn find washed and ready to unload in Sweden. 

Blown to pieces
The 55-year old Pontiac enthusiast would like to restore the T/A as a father-son project but it will not be a numbers matching car. "The Trans Am's original 455-cubic inch engine was blown to pieces," said Rosenborg. "During the 1970s many American muscle cars made their way to Sweden." Matching number cars were less of a concern in those days. "Then, no one was asking 'matching numbers,'" said Rosenborg.

1981 photo of Rosenborg's 1971 Pontiac Trans Am in Sweden.
Chasing Pontiacs
The recent success in finding his old 1971 T/A has fueled Rosenborg on a search for a 1972 Pontiac Formula 455, four-speed that he once owned and restored during the 1980s. "The are many rare cars still standing in garages and barns in Sweden," said Rosenborg. "I'm chasing only Pontiacs." 
  Rosenborg shares the what many junkyardlife fans know as fact. "You cannot imagine how many broken dreams, restorations that run out of time and forgotten cars that have been sleeping for decades." 

– Jody Potter, junkyardlife

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1981 photo of Rosenborg's 1971 Pontiac Trans Am in Sweden.

1981 photo of Rosenborg's 1971 Trans Am in Sweden.
1981 photo of the 400 Pontiac engine in Rosenborg's Trans Am that he recently repurchased. The original 455 engine is long gone. 

Sweden's Thomas Rosenborg paid $3,000 USD for this 1971 Trans Am 30-years after he owned it the first time.

Rosenborg unloaded his barn find 1971 Trans Am and parked it next to his recently restored 1969 GTO convertible.

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