Your classic Ford Mustang Mach 1
FORD MUSTANG MACH 1
OWNED BY James Howell FROM Eastbourne FIRST CLASSIC Volkswagen Beetle DREAM CLASSIC The Mustang (but with more power!) BEST TRIP To the Nürburgring in my 5-litre Mk3 Ford Capri
Having been brought up in a family that was interested in machinery and older cars, I suppose it was inevitable that it would rub off on me. My initial purchase at 16 was a VW Beetle in need of a lot of TLC; this was ultimately superseded by a Ford Escort Mk1, which was written off in an accident.
I would have dearly liked to buy an American car, but we had no room for a large project at home so I set my sights lower and purchased a white Ford Capri 1.6 that, again, was an ongoing restoration.
I then had the chance to purchase a rare 2.3-litre Capri, which was a left-hand-drive import and perfect for me as a project. Eventually the car was finished to a point where I was happy with it, and it became my pride and joy. Then, one day before Christmas 2015 when I was working on the car in my garage, there was an explosion. The car had caught fire and every attempt to douse the flames failed – even the fire brigade had trouble putting it out. I was left with badly burnt hands and a written-off Capri.
I then owned – and was enjoying – a new Ford Mustang when I saw a 1969 Mach 1 version advertised for sale. It had been fully restored to perfection, the previous owner having painstakingly taken eight years to complete it. I knew I really wanted this car, but then I also liked my new Mustang, not least because I didn’t have to take a boot full of spares and tools with me!
So I took time out, came home, talked to my parents and decided not to swap. About a week later I was contacted by the seller, asking if I was still interested. I was, of course, so I looked at the numbers again and we struck a deal. I decided to keep both Mustangs, and so my story with ‘Green’ began.
After a few teething problems (such as the steering column trying to catch fire because of some bad wiring, and the brakes locking on), I enjoyed putting as many miles on the car as I could – about 1500 in the first three months of ownership. My first outing to Simply Ford at Beaulieu resulted in a People’s Choice award for Show and Shine and we went on to win another couple of trophies.
The car was laid up over the winter of 2017 for basic maintenance, but has since won a People’s Champion award with Classic & Sports Car. I am always happy to let people young and old start it up and give it a rev; the kids enjoy the noise and I hope they get the bug, because they’re the ones who will carry the hobby forward. Also, the parents always get in and out with a big grin on their faces.
My Mustangs are my pride and joy and I hope that what I do with my cars will spur others to change their ‘keep off’ views – after all, we own cars, not museums. So long as people are respectful, just remember that they can’t break it any worse than you can.
Luckily I have understanding parents, so no need for a mortgage. Who knows what may happen next with my classic car ownership?
Howell has had a lifelong love of American cars, but it was only a couple of years ago that he was able to buy this glorious Mustang. He also owns a modern version!
Previous owner sourced parts from the US
Howell has kept it in concours condition…
…and continues to pick up show awards