The year 1969 was the first to experience extreme changes in the Mustang design. The Mach 1 offered its owners a broad range of transmission options, engines, axles, exterior trims, internal and external colors. The car was like paradise for drivers who like to play around with forms in the distributorship filling their cars with extra functions. It was furnished with a modernized Super Cobra Jet 428 and attributed a practical shaker hood with an engine cutout. Therefore, the driver could have a perfect view while driving and cool feeding air to the engine.

The Mustang’s 1971 body design is renowned as the initial versions. It was the final remodeling for the first generation Mustang which looked very different from the other models of that era. While maintaining the key similarities to the former Mustangs, it was the biggest and bulky with double hood scoops and a two-tone hood. Its body acquired more weight, became longer by two inches, and broader than the 1970 version.


Before settling on the best model that is worth buying, review its key features and their functions.

Features Overview of 1969 Mach 1 and 1971 Mach 1

1969 Mustang Mach 1 Sportroof
Image source: wikipedia

The 1969 model year added more weight to the Mach Mustang body with a length increased by 3.8 inches, wheels maintained at 108 inches, and width enlarged by half an inch. According to Heasley (2016), it was the first car to use quad headlights located both in and out of the grille opening. The enclosed pony was displaced by the tribars logo, set in the middle to the driver’s side. The model was longer than the former models and exhibited convex instead of concave side panels. The fastback body design was relabeled Sportsroof.

1971 Mustang Mach 1
Image source: wikipedia

The 1971 model year Mustangs were less energetic and restored to single headlights, located to the inside of the grille slot with fins on the outside of the grille edges. Some drivers experienced aggressive styling of the 1969 version hurt its performance, which caused the headlamp alteration and simplification of other external styling features. The back bumper air scoops were detached, and the taillight board was now flat rather than concave as in the 1969 models.

Exterior Comparison

The 1969 Mach 1 became larger with long overhangs while reducing the roof to make the car more energetic. The nozzle was sharp-pointed with headlamps outside the grille within rectangular spaces for an adjacent look. This model also gave prospective buyers a wide range of choices regarding axles, transmissions, and engines.

On the roof of the 71s sports, the back window angle was fourteen degrees from parallel, which resulted in a polished, elegant look, although it was difficult to see outside. Therefore, the mechanics no longer offered back window panels because they will block the sky’s view if you put them on the back window. Besides, it is difficult above the long hood and the back end with lowered seats. Heasley (2016) further explains that this model also borrowed a new large chrome strip on the side of front fenders from the 1969 model. The extended hood appeared at the windscreen to protect the hidden wipers.

Interior Comparison

The 1969 Mach 1 has double-color vinyl cushioning, high-back seats, and wood trim on the dashboard’s internal door panels. It has a large steering wheel with three round openings sunken in the respective spoke. Additionally, it has four gauges with a tachometer and speedometer at the center, the temperature scale at the sides, and an analog clock. The interior of this car is soundproof, and its occupants can experience some level of quietness in case of the array sounds produced by the V-8 engine. Further, with all its sportiness, it kept the back seats perfect for stability, and the front ones would fold for additional space.

The 1971s interior was restyled with the dash using a three pod organization and optional power windows and defroster. The inside also presented excellent high-back buckets, a small dashboard, and a new instrument location plan.

Engine Specification Comparison

The 1969 model came with a 3-speed manual transmission and a 3-speed automatic for drivers who liked traveling around. Apart from the 2-barrel standard Windsor, the car also had a 4-barrel that placed out 290 ponies. It also had a 6.4 liter FE V8 generating 320 horsepower and 427lb-feet of torque.

The 1971s engine somehow changed with reduced compression and horsepower. The engine was the 302-V-8, with all other V-8 being optional except the 330hp 351 in the Boss 351. It had a low compression of 280 hp 351 V-8, called 351CJ, which replaced the 285 hp 351 V-8 available at the start of the model year. The Cobra Jet, 7.0 liter V8, leaned on line engine with a 4-barrel mammoth generating 450 horsepower. Engineers offered the drag pack accompanied by a super cobra jet engine featured with a cast-iron tail rod instead of the usual aluminum type. They also included a traction lock back axle with a 3.91 or 4.30 ratio.

ModelPowerTorqueTop Speed0-62 mphWeightEngine TypeDisplacementTransmission
1969 Mustang Mach 1250 hp@ 4,600 rpm355 hp@ 2,600 rpm128 mph8 seconds3,254lbV-8, water cooled,cast iron block &heads428 in37002cc3-speed automatic
1971 Mustang Mach 1240 bhp@ 5,400rpm450 hp@
3,400 rpm
152 mph5.9 seconds3,560lbFord 385 series V-8 429 cobra jet429 in37030cc4-speed manual
Engine Specification Table

Price Comparison

A smart 1969 souped-up pony car generated by a 351cid carbureted V8 engine that siphoned 250 horsepower went for $3,125. For a further $26, the buyer could choose a 4-barrel intake valued at 290 horsepower. Alternatively, for $357, the purchaser could furnish their Mach 1 with a 428cid cobra jet V8 with Ram Air configuration better for 335 horsepower. Currently, Classic Recreations is authorized by Ford to manufacture refurbishments and continuation cars. The company sells a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 with a vintage body or a new redesign and fuel-administered Ford crate engine at $169,000. The 1971 model with a two-door hardtop was selling at $3,006, a two-door convertible at $3,322, and a two-door fastback at 3,006. Its current price ranges between $30,000 and $40,000. 

Features Comparison

The 1969 model year viewed the Mach 1 with a range of power plant options and many new designing features. A unique reflective striping was located along the body sides, with a pop-up gas lid, double exhausts, black hood with imitated air scoop. The car used steel wheels with poly gas tires and a vibrating hood scoop directly attached to the air cleaner through a hole (Heasley 2016). The 1969 version had a luxurious interior with imitated wood trim, high back seats, a soundproof system, and remote sports mirrors.

The 1971 model looks fantastic, presenting a unique light pewter metallic color with black decoration and stripes flowing all over its body. The hood scoop is also varnished in black, producing a smooth double-tone color that retrieves the original attractive setup.

Final words

The 1969 Mustang Mach 1 has lasted for a long time to be a classic for several reasons. For instance, it has the best body among the first generation and also has a matching capability. Moreover, features such as louvers, hood scoop, and a group of lines make the car compatible with the 1969 era. Indeed, it has a wide range of engine transmission choices and exterior features, and colors. It gained from the best refurbishment that occurred on the first-generation Mustang. The 1969 Mustang has better steering than most muscle cars of its era and controllable, with the lower-tier engines capable of getting to 16mpg on the road. However, this model is not a famous Mustang of the late 1960s and early 1970s Boss vehicles.

Consequently, its chrome 12-spoke rims are not as attractive as the Magnum 500 model. The 1971 model did not come from the factory with the side stripes, although it has other visible features such as the lower body black paint and chrome trim. It also includes the Mach 1 logo on the sides of the mudguards and deck lid. Apart from 1971’s Hollywood history as a car featured in Fast and Furious 9, it gained from an authenticated J-Code refurbishment done by Ford using OEM parts. This model’s features make it the best Mustang Mach 1 you could buy in 1971.