Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson
This 1969 Mach 1 Mustang is documented by its Marti Report as one of four produced with these options. It is powered by its matching-numbers 428-ci Cobra Jet engine with correct Holley carburetor, backed by a C6 3-speed automatic transmission, and has resided with the same California owner for the past 15 years. This highly optioned Mach 1 is equipped with power steering, power disc brakes and factory air conditioning. During its restoration, it was completely disassembled prior to painting and was rebuilt system by system and bolt by bolt with Ford, Autolite and factory NOS parts. The engine, transmission, suspension, steering, brakes, electrical, tires, interior and hoses are all new. Every pad, clip, spring, retainer, shoe, switch and bulb is also new. A high-quality paint job wraps up the work done, and the whole thing sits on Firestone Wide Oval tires. This Mach 1 has 25 break-in miles since completion, causing the odometer to roll over to all zeros.  

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 428 CJ
Years Produced:1969–70
Number Produced:72,458 Mach 1 (10,080 428 CJ)
Original List Price:About $3,122
SCM Valuation:$66,000
Tune Up Cost:$350
Chassis Number Location:Top edge of the dash on the driver’s side, visible through the windshield
Engine Number Location:On the rear driver’s side of the block, just below the head
Club Info:Mustang Club of America
Alternatives:1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396, 1969 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400, 1969 Plymouth Barracuda 383
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 773, sold for $73,700, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas sale on September 29, 2018. It was offered with no reserve.

“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” seemed to be the thinking around many of Detroit’s decisions during the 1960s. No manufacturer embraced this more than the Ford Motor Company. Henry Ford II built much of the company’s marketing around this philosophy, and he spent millions to ensure high-profile victories from the Daytona 500 to the Indianapolis 500 to the biggest motorsports stage in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Still, there was a nagging question: Was all of this effort and money creating better Fords for the street?

The man who coined “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” was Bob Tasca, owner of the second-largest Ford dealership in the ’60s. Tasca Ford in East Providence, RI, not only raced the company’s products, but was also the go-to dealer for the hottest street Fords, much like Royal Pontiac, Yenko Chevrolet or Grand Spaulding Dodge. As a master salesman, Tasca could see the disconnect between Ford’s racing victories and their underwhelming street machines.

Street mojo

Tasca decided to show Ford just what they needed to build by whipping up a performance machine he called the KR-8.

“The trend-setting KR-8 began life as a Medium Gold Metallic 1967 Mustang GTA 2-door hard top demonstrator model equipped with the top-of-the-line 10.5:1 390 FE big-block engine and backed by a big-block Ford C6 3-speed automatic,” wrote author Bob McClurg in his book The Tasca Ford Legacy: Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday! “Tasca and company had super-tuned the factory-rated 320-hp engine and taken it as far as it would go. Still, Bob felt that the car’s performance was lackluster at best, so he began making plans to change it.”

Tasca took a 428 Police Interceptor short-block, added a set of 1964 427 medium-riser heads and an aluminum intake with two Holley 780s — the kind of component mix-and-match the factory could easily do. McClurg quotes former Hot Rod magazine editor Eric Dahlquist: “Bob Tasca regaled me with the background of the KR-8 Mustang, KR standing for King of the Road and 8 standing for 428. I had driven the car the day before and it was fast — faster than any GTO, Chevelle, or GTX and was totally tractable to boot.”

Dahlquist wrote a three-page story about the KR-8 in Hot Rod, and after thousands of letters landed on Henry Ford II’s desk, the 428 Cobra Jet was born, added to the Mustang lineup in February 1968. A series of historic Super Stock victories that year also cemented the car’s reputation. “Ford went on to sell over 13,000 Cobra Jets in what remained of the 1968 model year and recaptured some of their street ‘mojo.’ Ford enthusiasts finally got the world-beater they were looking for,” said Dahlquist.

The king of the corral

The 428 Cobra Jet returned in 1969, wrapped in a restyled body and powering a new performance SportsRoof (fastback) model, the Mach 1. The great Bud Lindemann in his pioneering TV show, “Car and Track,” got to test one of the first ’69 Cobra Jet Mach 1s at Ford’s Dearborn test track. “Ford has finally seen the light, so the race for street supremacy is on,” gushed Lindemann. “This car looks like it’s going 30 mph before it left the line.”

Once it left the line, Bud was impressed, “They advertised it at 335 horsepower plus 445 foot-pounds torque at 3,400 rpm… With all that power up front, you can make it do just about anything, including a fandango.” He also noted, “The cornering and handling of the Mach 1 in our initial trial run was great.” Bottom line: “This little pony could be king of the corral.”

A total of 72,458 Mach 1 Mustangs were built in 1969, but most were 351-powered. Only 10,080 of them were propelled by the 428 Cobra Jet.

Our featured 1969 Mach 1 428 CJ is about as desirable as these cars get. The restoration is breathtaking, correct to the smallest detail. Plus, this San Jose-built Mustang came loaded with factory options, as proven by the Marti Report on this car. Kevin Marti owns Ford’s historic database and can pull the exact factory build sheet or invoice for a variety of Fords. He can also query the database to find how many Mach 1s were built with the same options — in this case, just four.

So why did this above-average Mach 1 428 CJ sell for just north of the median price for these cars? The Mach 1’s midpoint is about the same as its crosstown rival, the ’69 396 Camaro. It seems the mid-$70k range is about all the market will bear for a mainstream late-’60s pony performance machine — even a top-of-the-line one at that.

Prices on these types of cars have been fairly flat for the past decade or more, surely because they were much more common than the exotic Boss 429 Mustangs or COPO Camaros. That’s a disadvantage for sellers, especially after an expensive nut-and-bolt restoration.

But for buyers, that means these peak-of-the-Muscle-era pony cars are still within the means of many collectors. I’d call this one very well bought.

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.)

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