Not only did the Ford Mustang, Ford's popular "ponycar," get a major restyling in 1969, it added a selection of memorable models, including the 1969 Ford Mustang Grande and Mach 1. In all, five new models were added, plus a pair of "Bosses" later on. Throw in the selection of seven engines, and Mustang offered enough choices to satisfy every styling and performance appetite.
In just about every dimension, the revamped Mustang looked a little plumper, a mite exaggerated. Quad headlights continued to define its personality, with the outer pair positioned in a recessed niche-far removed from mates within the grille opening. Windows lost their vent glass. Even dashboards were more dramatic.
Not everyone agreed that each change followed the correct course. Back panels stuck closest to the original Mustang theme, albeit with flattened tri-section lenses. Otherwise, the car's proportions seemed a bit distorted, due largely to the expanded overhang out front.
Nevertheless, the year brought new monikers destined to enter the performance-car lexicon. The Mach 1, billed as the "wild newcomer," borrowed its name from a futuristic 1967 show car, the designation signifying the speed of sound (about 750 mph). With a handle like that, a car just had to travel with virtual supersonic haste -- which it did, at least when the available Cobra Jet 428-cid V-8 lay under the hood.
Motor Trend proved as much when their testers flashed an early Mach 1 with 335-bhp Cobra Jet to 60 in just 5.7 seconds, completing the quarter-mile in 14.3 seconds at a flat 100 mph. This, by the way, was accomplished with a three-speed automatic, the Mach 1 taking advantage of the 428's prodigious 440 pounds/feet of torque.
Not wholly impressed, the magazine complained that the "sum is far short of its parts" and performance didn't match the car's unabashedly aggressive demeanor. Gripes aside, they ranked this Mustang the "toughest one yet."
Available with or without Ram-Air, the Cobra Jet was one of five Mach 1 engines on the selection sheet. Choose Ram-Air, and a "shaker" hood scoop replaced the customary simulated opening. Base engine was Ford's "zesty" 351-cid V-8, with two- or four-barrel carburetion, and in between: a 390-cid engine. All but the 351 displayed quad-tipped dual exhausts. Big-blocks came with a four-speed or available SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic. Oddly, a tachometer cost extra.
On the next page, learn more about how the interior and exterior of the Mach 1 was fashioned and see what the Mustang Grande brought to the table.