With the opening of the new zMax Dragway on the grounds of the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, the NMRA jumped at the chance to host its first-ever event in the Ford-rich Carolinas. While the Nitto All-Star Nationals, held August 6-9, gave drag racers a chance to try out the new track surface, car show participants gathered from around North and South Carolina to compete for the numerous NMRA awards and trophies. Fortunately, the weather cooperated with sunny skies all weekend.
Chris Lyons was a junior in high school when he purchased his '73 Mach 1 in 1975. "I paid $3,000 for it with only 6,000 miles on it. I went to school during the day and worked every evening so I could pay for it and the insurance. I knew it was special, so I was willing to sacrifice my free time in order to own it."
Powered by the Q-code 351 Cobra Jet engine, Chris avoided driving the red Mach 1 in inclement weather, instead parking it in the garage while he drove his father's truck to school and work. In 1987, with 46,376 miles on the odometer, Chris parked the Mach 1 permanently, "I decided it was too special to risk an accident," Chris explains. "It continues to be stored in a climate-controlled environment, with a dehumidifier running 24/7. Along with the paint, everything in and on it is original."
Ten years ago, Chris and his father pulled the engine for a clean-up. "We put it on an engine stand and painstakingly cleaned it piece by piece, making sure all the parts were Ford manufactured before putting it back in the car."
Today, Chris mainly uses the Mach 1 for car shows near his Traphill, North Carolina home. At the Charlotte NMRA event, his long-time preservation efforts paid off. "I've been an avid Mustang Monthly subscriber for over 18 years," Chris told us. "Winning the Editors Choice award in Charlotte is a tremendous thrill for me."
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