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No human can shift faster than a well built auto transmission. We actually have a C4 auto tranny in our 73 well built Mach 1. I had thought the C4 was a little weak for an engine putting out as much HP as our engine does. But in researching I found a lot of folks prefer a well built C4 as it has lighter internals than the heavier duty C6 auto tranny. After acquiring the Mach 1 the first thing I did was have the C4 rebuilt with all high performance parts. It does a nice job. As much as I enjoy a manual tranny, I far prefer the convenience, and ye, even the performance of a nicely built auto tranny. My two cents.
For me I had always preferred 69-70 Sportsroof/fastback Mustangs. The 71-73 model years were considered to be too bloated looking, and were far heavier than prior year models. I just did not take the 71-73 Mustangs seriously. My loss. On more recent years I began to appreciate them, then we acquired our 73 Mach 1 in Summer, 2018. I have owned several 60 Mustang/Mach 1 vehicles, and we have a 1969 Shelby Gt500. I know these 69-70 units inside and out. It turns out there are a lot of similarities with the 71-73 model years and the 69-70 vehicles. We love to drive the 73 Mach 1, a lot. I feel badly at how I omitted the 71-73 units as worthy Mustangs for so many years. My loss, and I am trying to make up for it now.
That is a beautiful looking vehicle. The prior owner of our 1973 Mach 1 replaced his original 302 2v engine with a 351W using 69 351W 4v heads. The engine was built for street/strip, but he insisted on having only 9.7:1 compression ratio pistons because of the lack of high octane gasoline in our area (If I am lucky I find 90 octane non-ethanol out here to use). It was a smart move. The engine runs strong, despite the 9.7:1 compression. And I get no pre-ignition under load. Like yourself I initially did not like the 71-73 model years, far favoring 69-70 fastback/sportsroof Mustangs. But over the years I grew to appreciate the 71-73 models, Then we got ours, and it has been an awesome experience.
In my younger years I had been a kind of Mustang snob, where only 1969 - 1970 Mustangs were worthy of idolizing (I know, narrow minded of me back then). In high school I had a very nice looking 1969 Candyapple Red Mustang coupe. In early college I moved into a 1969 Mach 1 with a 351W and FMX auto tranny. Within 18 months I had built the beegeebies out of the tranny (B&M high performance parts), and built the engine into a very powerful street/strip unit. I foolishly sold the Mach 1 in my last year in the army (1976) as so many folks told me how hard it would be to get a job as a civilian, and I wanted to have a solid cash cushion when I returned to civilian life. What a dumb move. I was offered a job on my first day out looking for work. I never needed to sell the car. Dang... In 2017 I decided to acquire another 69-70 Mustang. My prior interest was in getting one to restore, but a bout with brain cancer, and surviving it, left me in a condition where I am no longer able to do some of the things I once could. So, I did the next best thing. I found a beautifully restored 1969 Shelby GT500 (Candyapple Red also), and purchased it. It is my first big block Mustang. I well remembered how difficult it was to change spark plugs in 69-70 big block engines, but opted to get it anyway. Meanwhile, over the prior 19 years my wife and I used to go past a home in our area where in non-winter months a gorgeous 1973 Fastback Mustang was parked. Even though it was not a 69-70 model I loved its stance, and it was in great condition. In Summer, 2018, we received a call from a friend who knew we liked Mustangs and asked if we could help her neighbor find a buyer for his Mustang. Turns out it was the same 73 Mustang that we had been eying for the prior 19 years. The owner was looking for a nice home with folks who were familiar with Mustangs and would care for it like he did for the prior 35 years. We called, and scheduled a time to come over and look at the car. He was only selling it as he developed Parkinsons and could no longer drive it. We drove over to his place in our Shelby just to make a clear point about our love and appreciation for Mustangs (and Shelby variants). He was impressed and found we were quite qualified to own and care for these wonderful vehicles. We did the deal, and my appreciation and love for early vintage Mustangs has clearly grown to include 71-73 models. Our 73 Mustang began life as a very base Mach 1 with a 302 2v, C4 auto tranny, tinted windows, and power steering. It had manual 4 wheel drum brakes, and no air conditioning. A very humble beginning. It was repainted with Valspar House Of Kolor "Sunset" in approximately 2007, a beautiful color. The prior owner left the Mach 1 stripes off the car (I will be putting them back on). In about 2013 he replaced the 302 with a 1974 351W from a truck, with 69 351W 4v heads, and had the engine built as a street/strip machine. The original 2.73:1 conventional rear axle was replaced with a 3.5:1 TractionLok unit, and he had a 1973 Mustang front power disc braking system swapped in. All very good moves. It is a well balanced vehicle. After acquiring the Mach 1 I had a Classic Air air conditioning system added, replaced the factory basic idiot light instrumentation replaced with a Dakota VHX analog instrument cluster, and had the C4 built with all high performance internals. I found it necessary to install a 3 row aluminum radiator with a radiator fan shroud that could hold 2 electric fans controlled with a thermal switch. Then I installed a WiFi backup camera system using my iPhone for the display device, popped in a center console, and installed an LED taillight & flash sequencer system. The Mach 1 sounds great when it is running, and is a strong performer. I also replaced the hood (rusted) and opened up the Ram Air inlet ducts to bring cool air into the engine compartment. Next we are having some minor body and paint work done over the Winter months. Next Spring when the weather breaks we are going to have a blast cutting around in it, and taking it to the same car shows as we bring the Shelby to in order to show the two cars. Sorry about getting so long winded. I love talking about both of the ponies.