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Car Tales: Macho1, Ford Mustang Sportsroof Mach 1

‘Gale Halderman, who passed away on April 30 2020, had been the last living connection to the once seemingly immortal Ford Mustang design team. He was indeed the primary designer of the original Mustang.
1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof Mach 1 for sale
‘Although Lee Iacocca is generally considered the father of the Mustang, he was the driving force behind a team that created the legendary car. But it was Gale Halderman who was the originator of its look.

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‘At the Dayton Art Institute in Ohio Halderman had studied under Read Viemeister. Viemeister had been the Creative Director for the Lippincott brand consultancy team who in 1947 worked on the iconic Tucker car. And it was Viemeister who urged Halderman to go into the automobile industry.
1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof Mach 1 side view
‘Accordingly, in 1954 Gale Halderman was hired as a designer in the Lincoln-Mercury studio. He then transferred to Ford, and had been promoted to design manager before being asked to design what became the new Mustang, coming up with the long hood and short deck concept.
‘And he did this in a seemingly egoless manner that endeared Gale Halderman to all who knew and worked with him, often a sign of a true artist. ‘He did it in such a humble way that has touched the heart of every Mustang enthusiast out there. As great of a designer as he was, he was an even better human being,’ said Jimmy Dinsmore, the author of Mustang by Design: Gale Halderman and the Creation of Ford’s Iconic Pony Car, in his role as spokesman for the Halderman family.
‘Later, in the mid-1970s, Gale Halderman would create the ‘Fox-body’ Mustang. But before that he had mocked up and demonstrated the design for the Ford Mustang Mach 1. This had been approved and put into production by Ford’s then president Semon ‘Bunkie’ Knudsen.
‘At Beverly Hills Car Club we presently have a Mustang Sportsroof Mach 1, a first-generation 1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof Mach 1 that is finished in Wimbledon White with black accent stripes combined with a factory Ginger Corinthian Vinyl (5F) interior.
1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof Mach 1 rear view
‘This muscle car is equipped with an automatic transmission, V8 engine, front-wheel disc brakes, Brawler 4-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust outlets, fender-mounted antenna, ‘Mach 1 – Mustang’ fender decals, honeycomb taillight panel with bright trim, scooped hood, front/rear spoiler, Cooper Cobra tires, chromed wheels, and a spare tire in the trunk. Amenities include air conditioning, dual-side mirrors, power windows, a center console, a cigar lighter with an ashtray, a glove compartment, map light, sun visors, an analog clock, Kenwood radio, and a louvered rear window cover. This is an extremely attractive American classic that stands out, is ready to be enjoyed, and is mechanically sound.
‘The Mach 1 appellation derived from the term used to denote when an object was travelling at the speed of sound. Ford had first used the Mach 1 badge on the futuristic Levacar concept, first shown in 1959.
1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof Mach 1 interior
‘Also created by Gale Halderman, the Levacar Mach 1 was a hover car that floated on a cushion of air. Although this radical concept was stuck in the starting-blocks, the Mach 1 rubric clearly lodged with Ford executives for future use. The 1971 Mustang Mach 1 came only on the ‘SportsRoof’ fastback body style.
‘All first generation Mach 1s are distinguished by the body style code 63C on the door data plate. The Mach 1 also featured other visual and performance enhancing items such as a matte black hood treatment with hood pins, hood scoop (including optional Shaker scoop), and competition suspension, plus a mass of details including rear deck spoiler, and rear window louvers. Al these add-ons made Ford certain – correctly – that it had invested in a hit car.
”Muscle car’ – that was the market that the Mustang unequivocally had uncovered. And as Ford wanted to win the fearsome race to create the biggest and best muscle car, the 1971 Mustang was even physically grander than previously. Its length, width and weight stretched, it was set up to hold big-block engines. But this would be the final year for the giant 429-cubic inch Cobra Jet V8, which now offered 370hp.
‘But what of ‘Bunkie’ Knudsen who had greenlighted the Sportsroof Mach 1?
‘The son of former General Motors president and Army three-star general William S. Knudsen, his nickname came from a World War 1 term for a bunk mate.
1971 Ford Mustang Sportsroof Mach 1 engine
‘ When as a teenager he had asked his father for a car, he was presented with one in pieces – which he had to assemble.
‘At Pontiac he had brought in John DeLorean as his assistant. And Knudsen was brought in to run Ford by Henry Ford II.
‘However, political infighting with already established Ford executives led to Bunkie Knudsen’s dismissal from Ford on September 11 1969.
‘Lee Iacocca, allegedly one of his opponents within the company, would replace him, but not for a further year.
-Alex Manos, Owner
Mustang Sportsroof Mach 1 buyer Alex Manos

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