Thinking of Muscle Cars, the Pony Car class comes to the mind of each and every car enthusiast. The pony car class was established by Ford when it rolled of the Mustang model off the assembly lines back in mid-1964. Small body coupe car with some decent amount of horsepower under the hood, mostly dragged out of a series of V8s common with bigger muscle car class, to even challenge the long living muscle car performance immortality.
The Mustang was the pinnacle of the 1960’s American car industry, creating a new, more challenging segment later known as Pony Car class. A more subtle but highly capable class that took away the only down side of the muscle car class, the weight factor.
Since its presence, the Mustang set the bar so high with its performance and application that forced GM and Chrysler to respond to this newcomer with Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger respectively, even if it was already too late. Mustang set a record in sales within 18 months of its appearance in the car market with over 1.5 million units sold, proving the new Pony Car class an unrivaled, valuable class for all American and later global competitors to fight in.
The first generation of Mustang came in since mid-1964 (Known as 1964 ½ models) and lasted until 1973. This generation endured the most notable changes with various facelifts, trim levels and performance packages through these years more than any other of its generations, each deserving to be considered as a unique generation themselves. Among them all, the 1967 Shelby tuned series, Cobra Jet performance packages and the 1969 Mach1 series are considered just as a very little portion of Mustang’s top dog models at that time. What you are about to experience further in the article, is a very small bit of a huge black diamond stone, called the 1969 Ford Mustang Mach1. A fully restored all Americn pony car in some kind of a mild Restomod (Restoration/Modification) fashion in Iran.
Considering the unrivaled domination of GM over Iran car market back in 1960s and 1970s, led by smooth diplomatic relationship between Iran and USA causing the first and only American car assembly lines out of US soil, it is not strange not to be able to find much of Fords and Chrysler and specially import AMC products in Iran. Yet this beautiful 1969 is one of those rare 1969/1970 Mach1 trim levels that finally got rescued professionally.
The Mach1 trim level was first introduced with the new face of Mustang for the 1969 (and 1970) and only in Sports Roof, Ford’s take on Fast Back body style. The trim level is considered a midrange package as the Boss 429, Boss 302 and Shelby 500 and Shelby 350s are considered more desirable and usually more powerful.
The body style kept the Mach1 trim level apart from other trim levels. Four round headlights for 1969 (only two inner round headlights for 1970), rear glass with louvered blackout shade, aerodynamic fiberglass side mirrors, distinctive two tone optional reflective body stripes and decals, optional functional “Shaker” hood scoop, Tail and chin spoilers, pop-open gas cap, matt black hood along with simulated air scoop and NASCAR-style cable and pin tie downs and dual exhaust system are most notable distinctions of Mach1 trim level from the others. The story was almost the same for the 1970 model year but some small design and trim factors changed like the front fascia head lights and non-functional side scope delete.
The Mach1 trim offered a reasonable price along with some decent sporty factors making the base GT trim look redundant. GT trim was discontinued due to low sales since 1969 and Mach1 sort of took over with its great sales figures. Based on the sport nature of the Mach1 trim, the four engine trim levels offered were all V8s, contrary to the base GT trim level engines.
Lowest trim possible for 1969 Mach1 was a 5.8 liter 351 Windsor V8 with a 2bbl carburetor (codename 351W 2V), though a 4bbl carb was also offered. Same displacement was also available but with more powerful Cleveland block and heads known as 351C with 2bbl and 4bbl carb setups (2V and 4V) as well. 6.4 liter 390FE series was considered midrange power plant option and that was because of the more powerful 7.0 liter 428 Cobra Jet and Super Cobra Jet (CJ/SCJ) engine along with some goodies like the “Drag Pack” package and “Traction-Lok” rear axle limited slip differential option.
The Black Iranian-American 1969 Mustang took a 3-year long journey to be fully restored. The vehicle was stripped to bare metal and chassis to be renewed under direct supervision of Taymour Richard. Richard is a well-known Franco-Persian former race driver and now a restoration expert and car collector in Iran. Despite his obvious passion for European antiques, he can never resist legendary American muscle cars.
Richard took serious efforts and cash into this black diamond. For those who do not know, it is important to point out that importing high quality OE and aftermarket parts for a through restoration can cost a fortune in Iran. Ordering parts and awaiting them is probably the most difficult and most time consuming task in a restoration project done in Iran, even more than the progress of project itself.
The vehicle has gone through a mild Restomod type of restoration. The exterior is fully stripped and the bodywork done on it is remarkable. Due to the nature of the deep black metallic finish and clear coat, the bodywork flaws are prone to pop, but not here on this mirror finish black body job. The dark black mixes well with brand new chrome parts all around, completing the exterior glory along with a sweet set of beautiful Magnum 500 steel wheels (common design and style among muscle cars of the 60’s and 70’s) finished in chrome a and black just as expected.
The interior is fully imported to replace the perished and rusted parts. From the full dash, gauge cluster, AM/FM radio, three spoke drilled and wood trim steering wheel, seats and door trims. The B&M sport console shifter is probably the only item inside this Mustang which is not original but rather time correct. this vehicle did not come with the inside dash-tach nor its steering column mounted sibling. That is where Richard chose to set it with one hood-mounted exterior tachometer which beautifully complements the exterior elements and also the driving experience.
The vehicle leaves no defect inside out. All perfection is there to be seen and no good eye can miss the amount of OCD Richard has put to install and assemble this beautiful piece of machinery.
The lowest power output of the standard 1969 Mach1 351W 2V setup was 250 horsepower and 355 lb.ft of torque. Even respectable for today’s standards but not when considering its 5.8L displacement. It was the end of 1960’s and there was no limitations none what so ever, so the 428 SCJ/CJ made up to 335 horsepower and 440 lb.ft of torque officially. It is said that almost all American car makers of the era would lie about their power plant outputs to get away from federal restrictions and fall in line with insurance laws. Therefore the 7.0L 428 V8 could make way over 400 horsepower easily.
Over here, the Iranian-American mix black diamond however hides most of its surprises under its huge muscular body. This wild horse packs the same 5.8L 351W engine but not the very same offered back in 1969. The 16 valve (OHV) push rod engine has been altered drastically to match up current standards visually and practically.
Compression ratio has been raised to 9:1 (not so high considering this engine’s capacity) and the more modern single belt accessory drive pulley system has been installed. The engine uses an adjustable flow, electric racing fuel pump to feed the huge 2 x 4bbl Edelbrock carburetors, setup to run in corporation of Tehran’s rather high altitude and rather low quality pump gas. The MSD electronics feeds and controls all eight spark plugs for better fuel efficiency and of course to minimize the risk of miss fire. The high pressure out going gases are smoothly forced out of the racing headers and into the full steel custom dual exhaust pipes with heat insulation around the fuel tank. Brand new aluminum radiator is also backed up by two temperature-adjustable high-flow electric radiator fans to cool down this power plant.
Although not officially confirmed, Richard claims that this specific setup produces roughly 460 horsepower and 320 lb.ft of torque, respectable for current date standards. Yet the torque rating seems a bit off on the down side.
The startup of the modified engine is just as we expected. Rumbly, unstable, wild along with heavy smell of a cold engine fuel richness. The rattling sound of the engine tickles the mind of every car enthusiast even if you are a lover of Italian high revving V12s. This V8 idles rough but rhythmic. The engine does not sound any louder than any other standard 1969 Mustang Mach1 and that is the whole point. Restomod but not so revealing.
Inside out, there is nothing out of whack. This black diamond Mustang looks stock as it has just left the assembly line, unless you give the gas pedal a gentle push. The engine roars blistering fast but ideals back immediately as we go off throttle. This rather high revving V8 sounds best at cruising RPMs, not so loud and yet definitely not so quite.
The power is transmitted to the rear axle through a modified 3 speed automatic transmission. Sounds a bit weird but I promises you, it works. The tranny is beefed up with racing clutch packs to endure the punishments of this fast revving and torquey engine. From there, the brand-new rear axle setup alters everything. The whole rear end suspension setup is changed for the more modern active solid axle with sway bar and disc brake on Tri-Link suspension with coil springs, capable of four different adjustment levels to cope with every driving styles. Front single A-Arm on torsion bars and disc brakes are left stock but are followed by a faster ratio modern rack and pinion steering system for better and faster reaction in sharp turns.
Having a set of four rather wide and sticky and extremely expensive BFG tires (215s front and 235s rear) on those classic Magnum 500 wheels, seems to complete the whole mechanics of this machine. The engine is on fire, tranny is engaged solid, the suspension is set for corners and brakes are ice cold, but Nah. Yet a simple push more than gentle touch on the gas pedal can turn the wheels so fast and brutal that it leaves a wide and dark skid mark on a three meter launch try, along with some considerable white smoke of the tires.
No one wants to lose the back end of such a beautiful but brutal unicorn on a loose surface, at least not when it is not intentional and controlled for some joy ride. The nature of this much brutality is that the drivetrain of this very Mustang was setup more toward acceleration than speed. Therefore this 1.5 ton (rather light considering the weight of other rivals of the same era) can literally leap forward to 60 mph just in 5 seconds, embarrassing the owners of most modern sport cars of this day.
The name Mustang represents a history full of endurance, speed and sale figure records. The name suggested probably the most wanted car segment of America, the Pony Car class, over the past half century. This model name soon turned into a distinctive brand model under the supervision of blue oval of Ford and fortunately lasted along with Camaro and Challenger up to this day. The sad part of the story is that there are not much Mustangs in Iran and a lot of their small society got destroyed through the past four decades due to negligence and poor attitude of the car market toward the classic cars.
Hopefully some rare expert and passionate people like Teymour Richard has come a long way to restore and recreate some of these iconic machines as parts of a global history, mostly involving Americans and Iranians mutual cultural and historical common timeline. This back diamond 1969 Mustang Mach1 is considered as one of the very rare cleanly restored and modified Mustangs in Iran, if not the whole Middle East.