Car Collector's Corner A 1970 Mustang Mach 1 Gets Traded For a Tool Box. The Reality Behind the Ultimate Car Deal

J Sutherland
by J Sutherland

Most car guys dream about the ultimate car deal, but reality is a cruel master in the old car game. These dreams often center around mint, well-stored barn finds with less than 1000 miles on the clock.

The mint barn find scenario is found within the range of “possible.” Read on to learn what usually happens in one of those ultimate car deals.

Curt Barton knew about this 1970 Mustang Mach 1 since he was a kid. One day, car guy fate rang the doorbell, as Curt’s son John reports:

In the summer of 1998 Doug came to the door, proposing a trade of the tool box for his project Mustang. Curt didn’t hesitate to say yes as it was a car he grew up seeing as teenager.”

This wasn’t a pristine car and Curt knew that it would be a major job, so he did what most car guys do in similar circumstances. He jumped into the project with both feet. Or as John explains:

“The restoration started shortly thereafter as the passion to get it on the road was never-ending.”

The easiest part of any restoration is the beginning, but as anyone experienced with a major project realizes, the road to completion is long and arduous. According to John,

“It went through its ups and downs, everything from shortage or parts and funds to the lack of employment and a place to work on it.”

Eventually, circumstances tilt towards the car guy in any successful project, and this Mach 1 was no exception as John explains:

“Becoming self-employed at least worked out the problem of where to work on it.”

Despite the stock look of this Mach 1, Curt wanted to make this Mustang his own personal statement, so he started to design the finished product to suit his own vision for the car. John explains this process:

“The search was on for some rare options to add to the car as Curt didn’t want this to be just another 1970 Mach 1. To finish off the list of the rare options, a special order color was chosen to go with the ivy green interior.”

By car project standards, this car was nearly a basket case, but eventually an abundance of talent, perseverance, hard work and of course, money can make a car look like it just came out of the showroom. The finished product came about 6 years later, almost to the day Curt had received the car.

The fun begins long before the project ends in many cases, but ultimately the goal is simple – put the car back on road and drive the wheels off it. John was pleased to report that his Dad has this covered after all the work on the Mach 1:

“From that day on, Curt has put on many miles including trips to the United States for car shows and all around Western Canada.”

Curt is still in the auto body business, and he’s recognized as a serious talent in that arena. His favorite project will always be the “toolbox for a Mach 1 Mustang”. This true-life ultimate car deal couldn’t have happened without a lot more hard work and talent than luck.

The lesson is simple. Mint ultimate car deals are more myth than fact.

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J Sutherland
J Sutherland

Online collector car writer/webmaster and enthusiast

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2 of 15 comments
  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Mar 16, 2012

    Beautiful job, beautiful piece of Americana.

  • Obbop Obbop on Mar 17, 2012

    Lemme' win the Lottery for a few million bucks and I MAY share the pics of the early 70s 340 Duster I buy and the 1969 V8 2-door Dart. Already restored to optimum condition, of course. I may even allow you to briefly touch them. Now, off the shanty's dirt and weeds ye neer-do-wells.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.