1969 Mustang

Mach 1

1969 saw a new $3139 intruder into Shelby-Mustang territory, the Mach 1 fastback. This packed a 351 V-8 with dual exhausts, handling suspension with styled-steel wheels and white-letter Goodyear Polyglas tires, reflective i.d. striping along the body sides and around the tail, pop-off gas cap, and a matte-black hood with simulated air scoop and NASCAR-style tiedowns. A separate rear spoiler was available. So was a new "shaker" hood scoop, so-called because it attached directly to the air cleaner through a hole in the hood, vibrating madly for all to see. Also on the standard-equipment list were racing mirrors, high-back bucket seats, center console, the Rim-Blow steering wheel, and the Grande's pseudo-teak interior accents.

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Ford said all '69 Mustangs were "The Going Thing," but the Mach 1 had "street cred" to spare. Most other '69s could be optioned to approximate a Mach 1 -- or a Grande. The GT Group was less promoted this year but included the Mach's stiff competition suspension (which was also a separate $31 option with 428 V-8s) and wheel/tire package, plus specific trim. A less aggressive handling option (also $31) was available with any V-8 except 428s. Also returning for regular models were an Exterior Decor Group ($32) and standard and deluxe Interior Decor Groups ($88-$133). Intermittent ("interval") windshield wipers were a new individual option. Hardtops again offered an incongruous front bench seat option.


Boss 302

Bunkie Knudsen and Larry Shinoda's "killer" fastback was ready by March and out to even the score with anything Mustang's pony car competition could offer, at least on the street. They were going to call it "Trans-Am" until Pontiac grabbed the name for its hottest '69 Firebird, so they settled on Boss 302. Trans-Am rules required 1000 copies be built for sale to qualify as "production," but Ford ended up turning out 1934 of the '69s. Despite even that low number, the Boss brought people into Ford showrooms like no Mustang since the original.

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For what amounted to a street-legal Trans-Am racer, the Boss 302 was an incredible value at just under $3600 to start. It basically came one way, though buyers could chose from close- or wide-ratio four-speed gearboxes at no charge. Power assist was recommended for the standard, ultra-quick 16:1 steering ratio. Another option involved Detroit "No-Spin" axles geared at 3.50, 3.91, or 4.30:1. The standard final drive was a shortish 3.50:1, available with or without Ford's Traction-Lok limited-slip differential (also offered with a 3.91 gearset).



Ford put a lot of effort into the 1969 Mustang. The Mustang was significantly restyled, but it was still pure Mustang. It was longer, lower, meaner and sleeker. Every dimension increased with the exception of wheel base, which remained at 108 inches. All Mustangs were lowered 0.5 inch on the suspension and the windshield rake was increased by 2.2 degrees. This translated to about a 150-175 pound weight increase, depending on the model. The biggest visual changes was the front

In addition to model proliferation, there was also engine proliferation. Including the Boss Mustangs, there were ten Mustang engines to choose from! The standard engine was the 200 c.i. inline six but an enlarged version was available- the 155 hp 250 c.i. six cylinder, on which air conditioning was available. The smallest V-8 was the 210hp 302 . Two 351 c.i. V-8s joined the lineup, basically stretched 302s. The two-barrel carburetor version was rated at 250 hp while the four-barrel was rated 290 hp. These engines were built at Ford Windsor plant and thus are known as the 351 Windsor or 351W. The old standby, the 390 c.i. big-block was still available.



Boss 429

The Boss 302 was a stunning car -- but so was the other "ultimate Mustang" that Knudsen cooked up, the Boss 429. This big-block brute was born of Ford's desire to certify a new "semi-hemi" 429 V-8 for stock-car racing. NASCAR required at least 500 production installations, but didn't specify which models. So although Torinos showed up at the track, Ford qualified the engine by selling it in Mustangs.

Beside semi-hemispherical combustion chambers -- "crescent-shaped" in Ford parlance -- the Boss 429 engine employed thinwall block construction, aluminum heads, beefier main bearings, and a cross-drilled steel-billeted crankshaft. There were two versions of this "820" engine: a hydraulic-lifter "S" fitted to the first 279 cars, and an improved "T" version with different rods and pistons and either mechanical or hydraulic lifters. Both were nominally rated at 360 horsepower in street tune or 375 horsepower in full-race trim. But as with the H.O. 302, these were low-ball numbers to avoid raising the ire of insurance companies that were now fast hiking premiums on all performance cars.