“Neither he nor I knew it was an early car,” Mike in Maryland says of the 1969 Mach 1 he bought in a little town in Pennsylvania. He had always wanted a 1969 Mach 1. “The owner told me it was a Super Cobra Jet Drag Pack car. That made it even more attractive, even though there was no engine, no transmission, it needed some bodywork, and was completely disassembled.”
Super Cobra Jet means the car came with either the 3.91 or the 4.30 gears in the 9-inch rearend, which mandated special heavy-duty engine features, including an oil cooler up front (for dragstrip use). No air conditioning was available.
“I looked the car over thoroughly and then asked if I could think about it overnight.”
Mike had a tough decision to make. The car was completely apart. The driver-side floor pan had been replaced. Somebody had cut away half of a quarter-panel and welded in a patch panel. He knew a muscle car of this stature should have the whole panel replaced, and preferably with an N.O.S. Ford unit. Also, Mike knew that 428 Cobra Jet parts are getting harder and harder to find.
“That’s a car you don’t want to put just any 428 in. You want the date code to be right. You’re going to have a lot of money in it, but it will be a nice car when it’s done.”
The next morning Mike decided to go ahead and buy the Mach 1. He immediately put a want ad for a date-code-correct 428 block on the Cobra Jet Registry website. The early build date (August 29, 1968) raised red flags. Registry members questioned whether Ford build a Super Cobra Jet this early in the production run.
Mike already had a Marti Report, which documented the car as a real Super Cobra Jet.
To delve further into the Mach 1’s factory issue, Mike had Marti do “specific research,” and was shocked to discover that 9T02Q103396 was “the first Mustang ordered with a 428 Super Cobra Jet engine with a 4.30 Traction-Lok Rear Axle.”
Furthermore, Mike’s Mach 1 was also the first one released and second one produced out of all three Mustang assembly plants with these features.