Your clas­sic Ford Mus­tang Mach 1

Classic Sports Car - - Contents -

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

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