Raising racehorses has always involved careful breeding and training. One of the biggest considerations concerns a stallion and a mare's pedigree, a record of ancestry used to predict traits of their offspring. If the same measure were used for performance cars, everyone would know that Emory Harrigan's Mach 1 would be one special Mustang, indeed.
"Mustang fever runs in my family," Emory said. "Between my mom, dad, three brothers, and myself, we've owned a wide variety of Mustangs. I started off with a '69 hardtop that my dad brought home. It wasn't a Mach 1, but we didn't complain. That car survived not only my father, but also three teenage boys-and is now resting in my garage." Ford made sure that the '69 lineup included a steed for every performance need with its series of Boss Mustangs. Yet, the 351-powered Mach 1 still filled a particular niche. Surprisingly, though, Emory's car came not from a fellow musclecar enthusiast, but from an elderly lady who was sad to see it go.
"My worst moment with the car came when I first picked it up," Emory said. "The car had been special to her ever since she laid eyes on it. She didn't really want to let it go, but felt she had to for various reasons. It hurt to see how attached she was to it."
Fortunately, though, Emory has taken great pains to make sure the car stays in tip-top shape for the appreciation of all. Within the engine bay, the 351 Windsor in this low-mileage car still retains the original 4.00x3.50 bore/stroke and has never been rebuilt. In fact, even the Autolite 4V carburetor is original to the car, having been refurbished by Pony Carburetors. Other than some basic parts, such as the water pump, the fuel pump, the timing chain, and the gaskets, everything under the hood remains essentially stock.
The driver compartment was restored to original condition with an updated JVC stereo to add some tunes to the muffled music of almost 300 hp. The chassis and suspension remain stock, except for a set of Monroe gas shocks, which adds to the driving pleasure-since this car is driven to every show it attends.
"A lot of people are amazed that I actually drive the car," Emory said of this consistent show winner. "It doesn't live in the back of a trailer and get towed around. When I first got it, it had only about 60,000 miles, but now it's pushing up around 80,000. It's a very good driver and very durable and dependable. In fact, it's probably more dependable than my everyday car."
Since then, Mustang fever has spread throughout the household, much like it did when Emory himself was growing up. "In 1997 my son, Levi, and I got a '69 hardtop out of a field and spent 1998-'99 rebuilding it. Now he has a new '99 Mustang. My youngest son, Travis, turned 16 and the fever has set in with him too, and I just got my hands on a '67 Shelby GT500 for my next project car. The garage I built last summer is already full, so I guess the Harrigan family driveway will be lined with Mustangs just like when I was a teenager!"
With a long lineage of Mustangs such as this, it appears as though this next project car will be a winner too!