Let’s face it; the original Mustang was never really well-suited for big block engines. The 390 in the 1967-1968 generation was widely panned for its atrocious handling. And then adding another 3.8″ inches of front overhang to the restyled 1969 version was only going to make things worse. The 428 didn’t really weigh anymore than the 390, but combined with the heavy C6 automatic, power steering and an oil cooler, the Mach 1 weighed in with 59.3% of its weight over the front wheels. Is that a record for front-engine RWD cars?
Needless to say, handling suffered, as well as traction.
I got to drive a ’70 version of this car at Towson Ford, and it was a beast, despite having only a 351 under the hood. But then it was my very first drive in a genuine performance car. Oddly, the body shop was many miles away on Falls Road, a twisty old narrow road. Not exactly the place to try to explore the limits of a Mach1 when you’re sixteen years old. And it was a four speed, so that added another element in trying to keep the bucking bronco in its lane.
Not surprisingly, the ’69 Camaro Z-28, with its light little high-winding 302 had it all over this nose-heavy Mustang. No wonder the Z-28 became such an icon. And of course a 340 Barracuda was just as good and fast, but too often overlooked.
I wonder if anyone still has a functioning Ronson Robot-Liter?