1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1
If you’re familiar with the 1970 Ford Mustang, you’ll notice that the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 looks a bit different. What it gained in looks, it lost in power due to new regulations that put more strict standards on car emissions. Despite downgrading from a 351 cu. in. engine to a 302 cu. in. V8 – which consequently lowered its output from 220 hp to 210 hp on the same 9.0:1 compression – the 1971 Mach 1 went up in price. In exchange, buyers got a meaner-looking car that made heads turn to its racetrack-like appearance.
Although the 351 engine could still be installed as an optional upgrade – just like you could get it done for the 1971 Mustang – it was no longer standard. Instead, the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 got a hood scoop and a mean spoiler in the back. If you had the extra cash, you could even opt in for the optional two-tone pain on the hood. Buyers who wanted the 351 cu. in. had to choose between a 275 hp 4-barrel at $93, or a 240 hp 2-barrel at $45 extra. The ever-popular, top-of-the-line 429 big-block V8 was the biggest engine option for the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1. These monster-engine cars became an underachieving poser of the Thunderbird due to their conventional construction that featured the V8 wedge-type combustion chambers.
The big-block V8 was available in two versions: the ram-air CJ-R, and the regular CJ; the CJ-R was believed to output more horsepower due to its cold-air induction. The two versions featured 4-barrel carburetors, 370 horse powers, and hydraulic lifters. 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 then came out with the SCJ version, which was a 375 hp Super Cobra Jet that could come with or without the ram-air option.
Additional options included the Magnum 500 wheels and a different spoiler in the back. Two rear axles were available: 4.11:1, and 3.91. Ordering these rear axle rations and buying the Drag Pack was necessary to get the Super Cobra Jet version. Initially, sales weren’t as promising as Ford expected, because these upgrades cost an extra $400-$500, so by mid-season they dropped all three of these special editions for the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1, although it was still for sale for the regular 1971 Ford Mustang.
Engineering this car posed an interesting challenge: due to the wider 429 engine, the body of the car had to get wider, so the designers had to go back to the drawing board to increase its stability. One major change was that they put staggered shocks in the back of all 429 and 351 engine models of the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Additional changes included a revamped base suspension (due to increased weight of the vehicle), a redesigned steering column, and an improved front-end that could suit the bigger engine. After some other basic revisions, Ford chief program engineer stated that they improved handling on both smaller-engine and bigger-engine models.
In terms of performance, the 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 wasn’t too impressive: it did 0-60mph in under 10 seconds, and it could run the ¼-mile at 78 mph in 17.5 seconds. It averaged 16mpg, and its top speed was just 86mph.