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1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1 - Lowered Expectations, Excellent Results

Gene Hooker's $1,000 '72 Mach 1

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Tech Notes
What: '72 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Owner: Gene Hooker
Hometown: Sophia, North Carolina. Sophia is located in Randolph County. So is Level Cross, hometown of Richard Petty.

Engine: Gene rebuilt the 351 Cleveland himself, keeping the stock crank and rods but adding 10.0:1 pistons. He drilled and tapped the oil passages in the block to accept the restrictor kit. Troy Machine Shop in Troy, North Carolina, bored and honed the block and resized the connecting rods.

Valvetrain: Going off a recommendation from a parts guy at his local Super Shops, Gene threw the Crane Cams parts catalog at the car. He slid in a Crane 296/296-advertised duration, 0.562/0.550-lift cam, Hi Intensity lifters, and Energizer pushrods and 1.7:1 roller rockers. He's happy with this decision. The engine runs and sounds good but is still streetable and gets decent mileage.

Cylinder heads: The stock 4V heads were ported and gasket-matched. Gene kept the stock 2.19/1.71 valves but gave them a three-angle valve job

Induction: An 800-cfm double-pumper Holley feeds those huge Cleveland intake ports through a Holley Street Eliminator single-plane manifold. But Gene is thinking of shelving all these parts for a Mass-Flo fuel injection kit. "I'm interested in the technology, and I think it would be different, too," he says.

Transmission: Wanting overdrive, Gene rebuilt a T5 from a '93 Fox-body Mustang, mating it to the engine via an adapter plate on the bellhousing. A friend made a crossmember that relocated the transmission mount, and he had the driveshaft shortened to fit. He uses the stock mechanical clutch linkage and a Hays pressure plate and friction disc.

Rearend: Richmond 3.50:1 gears fill the stock 9-inch housing, keeping things road-trip-friendly.

Gene is a toolmaker for Thomas Built buses. Anyone ride to elementary school in a Thomas bus?

Suspension: The Mustang's suspension was wasted when Gene bought the car. Things improved significantly when he upgraded to polyurethane bushings, 550-lb/in and 153-lb/in NPD springs, and Ford 111/48-inch front and 1-inch rear sway bars.

Brakes: Surprisingly, this Mach 1 had drum brakes at all corners. Gene kept the rear ones, but tossed the front set in favor of a pair of discs that were optional that year.

Wheels/Tires: No sense messing with stock Mach 1 wheels. BFGoodrich Radial T/As are mounted on the 15x7-inch front and 15x8-inch rear wheels.

Paint/Body: Cagle Automotive of Denton, North Carolina, hung all the new sheetmetal, followed up by a respray by Martin Bennette. James Powell of Silver Valley, North Carolina, applied the stripes.

Interior: Dave Spivey, of Asheboro, North Carolina, redid the interior with the stock Ginger upholstery.

Performance: Gene hasn't made any passes at the dragstrip, preferring to hit the streets in his Mach 1. He drives it as often as he can and figures he puts at least 6,000 miles on the car per year.

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