November '15

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62 The Shop November 2015 C e l e b r a t i n g t h e Ford Mustang performance distinctive appearance, and a 302-ci small- block V-8 was added as an available engine. Four more inches were added to the face- lifted 1969 model, along with some 140 pounds. a racy new Mach i version was part of the lineup, as well as a new luxury hardtop model dubbed grandé. the Super Cobra Jet 428 engine became the top power plant option for production Mustangs—an Fe-based big block—while an even more radical boss 429 was stuffed into a limited number of boss 429 Mustangs. the boss 429 was the brainstorm of new Ford president Semon "bunkie" Knudsen, who loved naSCar racing and made the exotic boss engine available to the public via these Mustangs (which qualified the engine as being legal for stock car racing competition). For legalization in SCCa trans-am competition, a boss 302 was marketed, featuring a purpose-built race engine dis- placing 302 cubes to fall within the required rules. the car was dreamed up by larry Shinoda. in both cases, the name "boss" was used to honor the new boss, Knudsen. the 1970 Mustangs were based on '69 models with a few small changes, including the use (for the first time) of quad headlights and the elimination of rear quarter panel simulated vents on Sportsroof (fastback) models. Livin' Large "livin' large" is perhaps the best way to describe the overall flavor of the new Mustang for 1971. the wheelbase grew to 109-inches, overall length was 2 inches longer and the car was wider (front tread 3-inch gain, 1.5-inches wider rear), with the main reason being able to fit the new canted-valve 429-ci 385-series V-8 engine. a new boss 351 power plant replaced the costly boss 302 and the exotic boss 429 was no longer available. the Sportsroof models were much more sweeping in appearance (some called it a "flatback" rather than a fastback), and the cars weighed close to 600 pounds more than the 1970 models they replaced. Safety side door beams were added, along with a bunch of new emission control equipment required by federal law. the Mustang went virtually unchanged in1972, except the high-performance emphasis was nearly killed off completely. the '73 models were also carry-overs (a new look was given to the grille, however) as things were changing around Ford deal- erships: people were not buying Mustangs like they used to. Sales in 1971 dropped to under 150,000 units; 1972 saw 125,000 out the door; and 1973 saw the last year for the Mustang convertible, which actually spiked drop- top sales that year because of the discon- tinuance announcement, and resulted in a slight bump to 134,867 total Mustang sales. but better days (sales numbers) were ahead! the completely re-vamped Mustang ii was debuted to the public in September 1973. it was the right car for the right time, a "little jewel" for iacocca, and proof of the benefits of downsizing came when there were more than twice as many 1974 Mus- tang iis sold as the 1973 models it replaced. the car was a total success at the time, although many Mustang enthusiasts today have few nice things to say about the Mus- tang ii. "no longer were the young buying Mus- Ford Motor Co. estimates there are more than 250 enthusiast clubs exclusively for Mustangs, large and small, regional and statewide. The largest is the national Mustang Club of America that has in excess of 170 local charter clubs across the U.S., Canada and worldwide. Ford-loyal Mustang owners are plentiful and here's Jodi Holmes of Livonia, Michigan detailing her 1970 428-ci Cobra Jet Mach I. She's a board member of the Mustang Owner's Club of South- eastern Michigan. For the 2009 running of the NHRA Winterna- tionals Brent Hajek Motorsports brought out four 2008 Cobra Jet FR500CJ package drag cars, painted up in nostalgia paint livery from the 1968 racing season. The car ran 10-flat with early shut-offs right off the truck.

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