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1971 Ford Mustang

1971 Mustang

Except for height, the '71 is dimensionally a different animal. Though the 1971 Mustang's wheelbase was only one inch longer than the 1970, every other dimension grew. Larger and heavier than before, the sheer heft of the latest Mustang encroaches on the traditionally larger Torino. Still, the ponycar maintains its essential design cues.

Mach 1 styling is a bit of a departure, however. With integrated color-keyed polyurethane front bumpers, NACA hood scoops, raked windshield and hidden wipers, Mach 1 styling is pure Shinoda. The Mach 1, available online in the fastback body style, was the designated recipient of the large 429 engine, although the base engine was the small-block 302. The Boss 302 and 429 was dropped in 1971 in favor of the Boss 351. Grandé Mustangs had a vinyl top and Grandé emblems behind the rear window.

The Mustang lineup manages only modest sales. Rising insurance premiums and the imminent oil crisis distract potential buyers. Muscle is on the wane, but not before a final stand of raw, unabashed power.

Bunkie Knudson vacates his post as president of Ford. His inspired muscle cars are nearing extinction.

The design of the hood scoops used on the Mach I is borrowed from NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which in 1958 became NASA. Designed to be flush with the hood, NACA ducts turn up again on the '87 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.

Diamonds Are Forever, the 1971 James Bond movie, featured a car chase involving 007 driving a red Mach 1 through the streets of Las Vegas. The scene is infamous for an error in editing; the Mach enters a narrow alley on the passenger side wheels and exits on the drivers side.

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