Junkyard Find: 1974 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1974 ford mustang mach 1

All right, Mustang II experts, I’m going to start right off by saying that this [s]Pinto[/s] Mustang might not be a numbers-matching real Mach 1. Maybe it’s a FrankenMustang with what appears to be the correct collection of Mach 1 options. Either way, this fine Malaise Era machine— which I found at a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard a few weeks back— is a fascinating museum of the diminished automotive expectations faced by car shoppers in a grim period in American history.

The Mach 1 for ’74 came with a mighty 105 horsepower. No, really.

Thanks to Ford’s European operations, a very compact 2.8 liter pushrod V6 was available for the Mustang II. If a Ford dealership also sold Mercury cars, Cologne-powered Capris could be found in the same showroom.

This car received a thick coat of what appears to be gray latex house paint, probably just before it took that final tow-truck ride to the Parking Lot of Automotive Doom.

Automatic transmission with factory tachometer! Yes, that’s a 5,000 RPM redline on an allegedly sporty V6.

Remote passenger-side mirror!

Truly amazing vinyl-on-vinyl-on-pleather PetroPolstery™ seats!

Either the original buyer of this car cheaped out and got the $61 AM radio instead of the $346 8-track player (that’s $1,634 in today’s dollars, for those of you who scream that your Bluetooth-enabled head unit cost too much), or this is an aftermarket Philco that replaced a stereo ripped off by Seconal-crazed junkie thieves in 1976.

You’d never see a pre-1974 Mach 1 in one of these low-buck self-serve wrecking yards, because such a car would be snapped up at the auction for much more than the junkyard chain’s buyer would ever pay. Poor unloved Mustang II!

Join the conversation
2 of 117 comments
  • Andy D Andy D on Feb 10, 2014

    Heh heh, I was into '66 bugs. and was too busy wrenching to sneer very hard. Then I got into faux wood wagons when the goons came.

  • Dannew02 Dannew02 on Feb 13, 2014

    THe one car my Dad's mother ever drove was a notchback like this. (Possibly a 75 though) She got her license, in her late 50's, just to be able to drive her Mustang. IT was a silver GHia, 4-cyl auto (with no power steering or brakes, but it did have power windows and a sunroof.) She LOVED that car and drove it proudly. SHe had seen it in the dealer's showroom when my Grandpa was there getting one of his work trucks for his business and she just had to have it. SHe had never driven, or had interest in driving before that, but once she saw that Mustang she did what she had to do to get it. ONce it got about 10 years old, both she and the Stang started getting to old. She never drove any other car, that I ever heard about. Grandpa had a string of Oldses, LIncolns and Caddies but Gran only ever rode in those. THe Mustang was still in the back of his business garage when he sold out in the late 80's/early 90's. Even when she was in a care home, one of the grandkids got her a plastic model of the Mustang and she'd get all smiles and recall some of the trips she made in it. SO rag on all you want, P/M-II haters, I'll never have anything bad to say about this genration of Mustangs because I'll remember how happy it made my Gran.

  • Analoggrotto Knew about it all along but only now did the risk analysis tilt against leaving it there.
  • Mike Beranek Funny story about the '80 T-bird. My old man's Dart Sport had given up the ghost so he was car-shopping. He & I dropped my mom at a store and then went to the Ford dealer, where we test-drove the new T-Bird (with digital dash!)So we pull up to the store to pick mom up. She walks out and dad says "We just bought it.". Mom stares at the Mulroney- almost 13 grand- and just about fell over.Dad had not in fact bought the T-Bird, instead he got a Cordoba for only 9 grand.
  • EngineerfromBaja_1990 I'd love a well preserved Mark VII LSC with the HO 5.0 for a weekend cruiser. Its design aged better than both the VI and VIII. Although I'd gladly take the latter as well (quad cam V8 and wrap around interior FTW)
  • Teddyc73 The Mark VIII was the first car I lusted over as a young new auto enthusiast. Still think it's a beauty after all these years.
  • Art Vandelay wish They’d do an SS version of the Bolt. We need more electric hot hatches and this is a clean enough design that it would look good