One of our greatest pleasures in this business is coming across Mustangs on the show field that are still in the possession of their original owners. There's just something about a car that has been in a single person's hands since day one. Most often, these Ponies will have undergone a fairly extensive restoration after they have served their original daily driving purposes, but don't count Richard Waddle's '72 Mach 1 among them.
A Mustang enthusiast since he was 10 years old, Richard understandably took such good care of his Pony that a little work here and there was all that was necessary to keep the car in its current top-notch condition. Richard, a resident of Rogers, Arkansas, placed his order for the Mach 1 shortly after Christmas 1971. On March 8, 1972, the Gold Glow Mustang was delivered to Bobby Hopper Ford in Springdale, Arkansas, and "I was waiting as it rolled off the transport," said Richard.
The Mach 1 was ordered with a 351 Cleveland 4V, Ram Air, a C6 tranny, a 3.25 open rearend, a Competition suspension, Deluxe ginger interior, the Convenience Group, air conditioning, an extra cooling package, and power steering--quite the package for tooling around Richard's Ozark home. The total cost after trade was a healthy $3,793.67, comprising 35 payments of $125.74 each. According to Richard, the only problem was that the ordered Ram Air didn't arrive as requested from the factory.
"I eventually bought a Ram Air system that came off of a '71 Mustang in a used car lot for $50.00," he said. For the next 15 years, the Mach 1 served as Richard's daily driver. During that time, he diligently maintained the Mustang's looks and performance and even put his own stamp on the car along the way.
Since those early days, Richard has added a front spoiler, a rear wing, a Tilt-Away steering column and a Rim-Blow steering wheel, a console, intermittent wipers, and Magnum 500 wheels. The only real problem he's had with the car was with the engine. "I rebuilt the engine when the car had just 21,000 miles on it," said Richard. "It had a flat cam lobe, two head bolts that were finger-tight, and the oil ring on the No. 5 cylinder was improperly installed."
The other big fix involved the paint. Richard explained that his exuberant upkeep of the Mach 1 resulted in him waxing off the original topcoat. Larry Larrimore was eventually given the task of adding a coat of Gold Glow to the otherwise flawless sheetmetal. Finally, years of steady use mandated new seat covers and carpet. "Finding original ginger Comfortweave material," said Richard, "was the most difficult part of the whole process."
Richard got into the show thing quite by accident. In 1983 he drove the Mach 1 to the Mid-America Shelby and Mustang Meet in Tulsa. Although he was there to only look around, Richard was talked into showing the car by a fellow '71-'73 Mustang owner. Not having anything to prep the car with for inspection, the gentleman generously loaned Richard some materials to clean off the dust. "I took Second Place after two tiebreakers with the guy who had talked me into showing and had loaned me his cleaning supplies. I've shown the car at the Tulsa Mustang shows ever since."
Today, Richard continues to show his Mach 1 and is even an MCA judge for the '71-'73 Mustang class. With 84,400 miles on the odometer, the SportsRoof doesn't see as much road time as it once did, but thanks to careful maintenance and a few strategically placed modifications, this old Pony is always ready for a few more laps.