While we all have a bit of a soft spot for the classic cars of yesteryear, these aging machines don’t necessarily meet our modern standards for drivability and performance. And while this isn’t a problem for some buyers, others are left wanting a bit more from these icons. That is where pro-touring and resto-mod builds come into play, as they combine old-school cool with new-age hardware. Take this 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 muscle car for example, which sold at Barrett Jackson’s 2020 Scottsdale auction. Not only does this machine look like a million bucks, it packs a secret weapon under the hood: a big block Chevrolet Performance V8.
This 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 has undergone quite the resto-mod build, and is currently known as the “Machstang”. According to Barrett Jackson, this muscle car project took over 2,500 hours of labor and involved reshaping, replacing, or modifying every part of this classic Mach 1. The team started by crafting a custom chassis for the car, which combines a coilover 4-link rear suspension with the front set-up from a Mustang II. As you study the bodywork of the “Machstang” more closely, some exterior adjustments become more apparent. Take the rear quarter panels for instance, which are now some eight inches longer than before. The front and rear bumpers have also been molded into the bodywork, as has that uncompromising rear spoiler. You may recognize the custom-molded headlights from a 1969 Shelby Mustang.
A well modified body isn’t all that this 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is hiding in plain sight. Under the hood sits a 502ci Chevrolet big block V8, complete with a Vortech supercharger, Ram Jet fuel injection, a forged-steel crankshaft, forged all-aluminum pistons, aluminum oval port heads, a COMP cam and custom-built headers. The decision to stick a Chevrolet Performance engine inside one of Ford’s greatest muscle car classics is going to rub some fans the wrong way, but it sure does look good in the engine bay. That engine comes mated to a T56 6-speed manual transmission, which sends power to a Ford 9-inch rear complete with Detroit Lockers.
When this 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 rolled across the auction block last year, it sold for just $56,100. Considering this sheer number of man hours involved in the build, that seems like a bargain price. That said, we can’t help but wonder if a Ford Performance crate engine would have helped increase the value.