Oh, the 1970’s! What a decade. The disco scene was in full swing with John Travolta strutting his stuff and sending everyone into a frenzy Saturday night. Richard Nixon narrowly escaped being fired when he resigned over the Watergate scandal. A small start-up called Apple computers is plotting world domination. The Sony Walkman is revolutionizing the way everyone listens to music. A superfast plane called the Concorde carried a lucky few across the sky at supersonic speeds. Apollo 13 escaped tragedy because of the incredible brain power at NASA. A film called Jaws made everyone too scared to swim. And Space Invaders attracts crowds at arcade game machines around the world.
In the middle of all this wade through is promoting one of its best-selling cars, the Mustang. A YouTube video from the Classic Car Channel contains three hilarious TV commercials produced by the then automaker to try and increase sales of the very popular pony car in 1971. If you haven’t seen it, and you want to laugh a little, check out the short video below. this.
Mustang Mach 1 – “America’s Big Challenger To European Street Cars”
In 1969, Ford was eyeing a younger market. With the success of the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird and Dodge Challenger, they are interested in releasing many high-performance models that will appeal to a growing number of muscle car enthusiasts. Then came the Mustang GT, Boss 302, Shelby’s GT350, GT500, and Mach 1.
The Mach 1 Mustang replaced the GT when sales began to decline. Ford included a 5.8-liter V8 (351 cubic inches) powertrain to start with, and then cranked up power over time. With its sporty fastback styling, cool hood scoop, trendy rear deck spoiler, chrome gas cap, and chrome exhaust tip, the Mach 1 really looks great. The matte black hood with chrome ties is also a cool looking option. Like the shaker scoop, an air scoop that Ford mounts on top of the engine to catch fresh air, which tends to vibrate as the V8 spins (hence the name).
The 1971 model has color-coded bumpers as standard, ‘Mustang decals’, race-inspired suspension and white sidewall tires. Surrounding the all-new instrument cluster, Ford applied some teak wood and included some high-back sports bucket seats. It’s an interesting package. One that Ford wanted to apply some marketing expertise (ahem!), to increase sales.
Ford Marketing Proficiency And 71 Mach 1
Every Ford marketing executive who worked on some of the original 1970s campaigns would have cringed when they watched them again. Because they are so cute. One of the TV commercials for the Mustang Mach 1 (in the video above) has the catch line “This is America’s answer to great European street cars”. In the video we see a pair of ultra-cheesy actors dancing around in Spanish costumes, playing musical instruments as they observe the new Mustang. One of the actors even stroked a muscle car in a bullfight cloak, while sporting a hideous Spanish accent. Only in the 70s!
In another ad, a large group of people seem happy to belittle one of their friends, saying that he lacks aggression and personality. Someone said “I’ve seen broccoli with more personality”. Then the film cuts to a poor target individual getting into Mach-1, with the group commenting that the car will help crystallize his identity, and become a source of inner strength for him. And that would “make him an extraordinary human being”. You may also recognize the famous TV actress and ’70s pin-up from Charlies’ Angels, Farah Fawcett. He chimed in with Marilyn Monroe’s weak impression to emphasize what a difference owning a Mustang would have in the man’s love life. You just can’t make this thing, it’s funny.
In the third commercial, we see a serious salesman in a model dinner suit with three of Ford’s newest models; base model two-door hardtop, vinyl-roofed Grande, and Mach 1. The line-up is quite impressive. The only problem with the whole thing is the awful catch line used: “Ford gives you a better Idea”, which isn’t really the most inspiring quote. God knows what these people were smoking back then when they produced this ad, but they must be hilarious now.
How much did the 1971 Mustang Mach 1 cost?
Ford produced 36,449 Mach 1 Mustangs in 1971. The original price of one of these cars was $3,500. We found a great example at RetroClassicCar.Com. A car with an M-Code 351 four-valve 285 horsepower engine in light metal tin, retails for $29,995. And CarAndClassic.Com recently advertised the Mach 1 Cobra Jet 351 V8 Auto in Dark Green metallic for $34,995. Which gives you an idea of how much this awesome classic muscle car costs on the market today. And the value only goes up one way, as they become less frequent over time.
So, if you want to be an amazing human being, get some personality, and you don’t want your friends to compare you to a member of the cabbage family, then maybe you should take Ford’s advice and get one of these super cool cars. . But whatever you do, please avoid wearing a Spanish dress costume, as it will most likely spoil the overall image (smile).