Barn Find Hunter Finds Medley of Kick Ass Mach 1 Mustangs in Alaska

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One ’71 model has a rare combination of 429 Ram Air, factory 4-speed, factory AC and other unusual accessory codes.

Alaska seems as if it’s a world away from the Lower 48 states, but it’s not all that different from them. Just like Texas and Pennsylvania and Maine, it’s home to people who love the Ford Mustang. Before he passed away, Alaskan Ray McLeod built up a collection of classic Mustangs, including a trio of Mach 1 fastbacks.

Now that he’s gone, McLeod’s widow is trying to find new homes for her late husband’s cars. In this episode of “Barn Find Hunter,” host Tom Cotter heads to Fairbanks in a gorgeous 1966 Shelby GT350 to learn more about them. McLeod’s love of Mustangs is obvious because his property is covered in them. Unfortunately, they’re all in various states of neglect and disrepair. One mid-’60s notchback is a hodgepodge of different colored body parts: the dashboard from one car, a door panel from another, etc. Another notchback is in even worse shape. Ford Mustang Mach 1 with 429 Cobra Jet

The main attractions are the Mach 1s. There are three of them. Cotter only takes a peek at a black one under a car cover, but pays more attention to the two blue Mach 1s nearby. One is out in the open, its keys still in the ignition that hasn’t been fired up in years. Despite its age, its body looks decent. Cotter says, “I’m told that in Alaska, they don’t use salt on the roads, so cars here live in a very dry climate, so this might be a solid car, with the exception of the floor pan.” Taking a look at the engine, he notes, “It’s got those big ol’ valve covers on there. It has a … cast iron manifold with a Holley carburetor.” Ford Mustang Mach 1 with 429 Cobra Jet

The Mach 1 in a shed is even more noteworthy. Cotter squeezes in next to it and says, “This is a ’71 Mustang Mach 1 and it’s a rare combination of options. 429 Ram Air car with a factory four-speed, factory air conditioning, and a number of other unusual accessory codes, like a lighting package and things like that. So that’s a rare beast. It looks to be solid. I’m told it probably did not come from Alaska. It looks straight as an arrow, I gotta tell you that. I don’t see any waves in the body.” Ford Mustang Mach 1 with 429 Cobra Jet

Its various parts are not far away. The dashboard, 429-cubic-inch V8, and four-speed transmission are nearby. That gearbox causes a bit of confusion, though. According to what Cotter was told, the Mach 1 left the factory with a four-speed manual. However, a quick glance inside of it shows it has the brake pedal of an automatic car. McLeod’s widow Tracy brings Cotter documentation on the car which reveals that it did indeed start its life with a stick. The downside is that one form lists the Mach 1 as a ’71 and another lists it as a ’72. One thing is clear to Cotter: How enjoyable the Mach 1 would be if it were running. After taking a close look at the 429, he says, “This engine’s a cranker. This would be a great car. This would be a fun car to own and burn rubber with.”

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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