"I have the same weakness for '69 Mach 1s that Superman has for Kryptonite," Jon confessed.
The blue car, Jon learned, came from the Omaha, Nebraska area. Or the North. The gray Mach was a true Dixie car, originally sold at Fairway Ford in Greenville, South Carolina. In fact, Jon worked at the dealership for 19 years.
Jon wanted to know if they were for sale? The owner gave the standard answer: He was "going to restore them someday."
With as many as 30 "gonna restore someday" cars on the property, including half a dozen Fords, Jon kept talking to the owner for the next couple of weeks. They finally made a deal.
The Mach 1s had been sitting on the property for nearly 30 years, so they were in a sad state of disrepair. They had obviously been used as donor cars for parts at one time. Neither had an engine or transmission.
Repainted in white at some...
Repainted in white at some point in its past, the 351-powered Mach 1 was originally Pastel Gray with red stripes. Leaves and plants nearly obscured the car in its resting place, where it had been sitting since 1983 or 1984. Jon plans to restore it first. Front-end damage is obvious.
The Blue car, seen here as...
The Blue car, seen here as it was loaded onto Jon's trailer, will require much more work to restore. Someone had removed the disc brakes and suspension, allowing the front end to sag into the dirt, resulting in plenty of frame rail rust damage.
The southern "Gray" Mach 1 was originally powered by a 351 four-barrel engine and came well optioned with automatic transmission, power brakes and steering, air conditioning, tinted glass, fold-down rear seat, and Shaker hood scoop. Jon noted it was ordered in May and built in July, or very late in 1969 production. The floor pans were "fairly solid," probably because the windows remained in the car and kept the rain out. This car still had its interior.
In contrast, the northern "Blue" Mach 1 came from the factory with the 390 big-block backed by a four-speed. Unfortunately, along with the drivetrain, the front disc brakes and suspension were missing. The front frame rails rested on the ground, so they were rusted. Likewise, the floorpans rusted through because the side window glass was missing, along with the entire interior.
"My wife thinks I am out of my mind for buying them," Jon said.
Not many years ago, these Mach 1s would have been crushed. However, with the scarcity of Mach 1s, and the help of aftermarket parts, they are restorable projects today. When Jon restored a Ford Talladega, he farmed out the body and paintwork. He plans to learn those skills when he restores the Mach 1s.
These Mustangs are definitely projects, but with Superman's resolve, one day we will see The Blue and The Gray rise again.