71 Mach 1: Good buy? - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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71 Mach 1: Good buy?

I have found a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 with 89k miles, runs great, beautiful paint, as far as I know everything engine wise is stock.
I was wondering how reliable these cars are?
I understand there are MANY variables, thats why im considering bringing a mechanic out with me to check out the vehicle.
What should I look for in the car that are common issues with these vehicles?
Im currently still attending High School, and my parents concern is that this car will have alot of issues and break down frequently.
The car is also very cheaply priced at $7k which is a bit of a concern, as im assuming it implies something is wrong.
Any advice would be great, sorry about all the newby questions, im just very interested in this car, (Wanted one for years), and need to find out if its worth my time!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 10:39 PM
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Vintage Mustang tend to have rust issues. 1971-73 Mustangs have the fewest reproduction parts available of all the vintage Mustangs. You're dealing with a 42 year old car. You had better have a pile of cash or know how to work on cars. The car is going to constantly need repair of some sort. Vintage Mustangs were built cheaply and not designed to last more than about 10 years.

You're not going to like this, but I wouldn't recommend any vintage car as a teen's first car for safety reasons first and foremost. I know of at least one forum member that found this out the hard way. I know some forum members will disagree with me.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 10:50 PM
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My first car (still have it) was a 1967 Chevelle. It was a hot street car back in high school (still is) and everyone told me "it would be too much car". If you're responsible and have the know how and/or willingness to learn, then go for it.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 10:56 PM
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those were what we drove back in the day. i have seen "many" new cars ripped in half during wrecks out here in lost angeles. i have never seen an old mustang rippied in two. always wear seat belt and if not equipped add a shoulder harness. any old car can be a money pit. an old mustang that has never ben completely rebuilt can be a money pit. even an old mustang thats ben rebuilt can be a money if i buy cause i will keep modifying it. i have a 68 torino thats a money pit. i have a 69 b2 to restore thats gonna be a money pit. the place i rent was built 2 years ago and is my landlords money pit ! yes he put down some really nice ceramic floor tile and used the wrong quick-set ! isnt that awful ??!! a freind had a 73 mach 1 that i used to drag race(i didnt wear drag when i raced it !) ! it was a screamer ! i say if you like that mustang and you dont mind spending money on it then buy it ! i'm all tripped out !
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Jmolone View Post
I was wondering how reliable these cars are?
No offense but if you have to ask this then perhaps a classic car is not for you. Are they reliable compared to a 2010 Camry? No, but that's not a fair comparison.

Reliability and unreliability are terms for new cars. These terms are only abstractly associated with classic cars. The entire experience is different than one where the sole purpose is transportation. Maintaining a classic Mustang is not easy. But the rewards are different.

If you want to know if there are trials and tribulations associated with owning a classic Mustang, the answer is yes. But they are more or less similar in nature to all cars of the era.

1965 Mustang

Last edited by jdub; 03-21-2012 at 11:06 PM.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 12:53 AM
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As the others pointed out, these are old cars, as such, they require work to keep going. You will need a decent set of tools, so add that to the budget.

If you like working on cars, it really isn't a bad choice. I purchased my '69 Mustang during my senior year and enjoyed many years of driving it (and fixing/restoring/upgrading/fixing/cleaning/fixing). Did I mention I had to fix it too? But then, I actually like working on it. ;-)


1996 Mustang Cobra Convertible (Procharged/423 RWHP)
1969 Fastback, 351C, TKO 600, T-lock, Shaker, slats, fold down, yadda yadda, etc.
1972 Mach 1, 351C, FMX
1931 Model A Station Wagon 150B

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 01:25 AM
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Just be sure you are ready to be late for some appts. (when you get out to the car and it won't start) AND I recommend you get AAA Towing package. lol Other than that, it's a blast to own a vintage Mustang!
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 07:52 AM
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If car has been taken care of and perhaps been garage kept most of it's life, then there is a strong possibility that it could be a very reliable car to own. Bringing a person familiar with vintage Mustangs with you to look at car is, by far, the smartest approach to checking it out.

I personally feel that the 1971-73 model Mustangs get you the best bang for the buck, and if you find one without rust issues, will be a great investment too.

One more thing, I do believe that a 1971 Mustang model with a 351 was the quickest out of all the factory equipped Mustangs of that era, including all the 429s, 428s, 390s, etc. Someone correct me if I am mistaken.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 08:20 AM
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You will want to take a mechanic and maybe a body man, look at floors and frame. They will be able to give you a idea as to what it will cost in the next few years. If you are not very mechanical your will need to make friends with someone who is to be a mentor. A 45 year old car will need every rubber part if they have not been change before. Plan on going thru the brakes and fuel system and wiring. If your Love Mustangs nothing else will do. Welcome to your addiction!
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 08:42 AM
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Have you drove it yet? Since you're still in High School, I have to say you are pretty much an inexperienced driver. the '71-'73 body style has a very big blind spot. Almost like driving a van without windows!
What's your location?

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 08:57 AM
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I would advise a 2001-2004 Mustang, 6 cyl 5-speed for a first car. Safer, probably as fast as a stock 71 Mach, and much much more reliable.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 09:09 AM
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i think the car wouds be good for you as a w/e cruiser. to use it as a commuter
imo isnt going to be benefical. 10-12 MPG + relaiability, safty issue,s theft issues and the like.

youd be better off getting a late 90's beater for daily trans

1970 Mach 1 San Jose built Dec 23 1969. Marti says 1 of 7. Purchased in 1987. Original family owner of the powertrain 351C 2v FMX.

1993 GT 11,000 miles, Built 2-12-93 Auto, 3:27 Axle, cloth, sunroof. Untouched except for rubber and battery, Purchased new 8-3-93. still has the factory windshield fluid and new car smell.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 09:24 AM
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Yep, 89,000 mile is "like new" to an old car. But, you know there is no "1" or "2" in front of that....because the 13th owner said so, right? Better stand back and see that the 89K is true. Everything a little worn? Or worn plane out?

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 09:55 AM
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Like everyone pointed out, be in good knowledgeable company and inspect it. You can update or modernize it to handle better. I bought and ordered my 1971 Mach 1 the way I wanted it without driving one. That blind spot is there, but you can get used to it. The day I picked it up I looked out over the hood and the car seemed to be pointed towards the sky with the NASA hood. I traded in my '66 Mustang convertible for it and it was different getting used to the larger size. Good luck.

my 1968 coupe, survivor, 11,900 miles (from Menlo Park CA): --pictures available at http://www.allfordmustangs.com/photopost/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/105333[/url]
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-22-2012, 09:56 AM
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This may sound like a dumb question. What will be the purpose of the car? If it's climb in and drive it, by the way a Mustang would be neat, I don't recomend it or any other vintage car.

When a 71 Cadillac or Mercedes was brand new their reliability maybe slightly but not a whole lot better than a Mustang or Camero. Even low priced recent cars are very reliable. It's like going to a French restuarant...if you have to ask the price you shouldn't be there (did it once...wow!). By the way cars since 1990 almost all have electronic fuel injection and ignition. You turn the key, it starts and off you go. Tune up may be needed every 90,000 miles!

If you ask about gas mileage chances are you'll be disappointed. 15-20 mpg is normal whereas on recent cars 25-35 mpg is normal.

I've owned my 68 Mustang for 35 years. It has been very reliable in my opinion but I always tinkered with it because that's always been my hobby.

I got my first car when I was in high school. Had a part time job at a service station and most of my spare time was working on that car and/or other's car. Spent some time here and there for college degree, wife, kids and building house but cars have always been my hobby.

You and your parents need to consider if a vintage car is for you at this time in your life. In my opinion bringing a mechanic and/or a vintage car person along is secondary to making the right decision.

To be practical...strange for a car nut... you can get a really great condition used recent car for less than $10,000 (most I've spent is $7000). Recent cars 90,000 is the mileage for their first major service. 200,000 is assumed no problem!

Hey, I love Stangs, kills me to say all this but it's kinda like marriage. It's a lot more than a pretty girl...


Safety. The 71-73 is probably the safest of the vintage Mustangs. With that in mind they have little of what now is assumed on a car: Air bags, ABS, Traction control etc. Rear wheel drive can be an experience if you're used to front wheel drive.

My '64 1/2 vert. Ordered May '64. D code 4 speed, handling package, caspian blue, accent group, Ford blue manual top.

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