Rated at 335 horsepower, it was Ford's second-most powerful mill that year, superseded only by the 429-cubic-inch powerplant in the limited-edition Boss 429, which generated 375 horses. But unlike the latter, which was dropped in a production Mustang for NASCAR homologation, the Cobra Jet turned the pony car into a drag-ready beast when paired with the Drag Pak bundle.
The latter added an engine oil cooler, cap screw connecting rods, and a modified crankshaft and flywheel. The Drag Pak also came with either a Traction-Lok differential with a 3.91 axle radio or a No-Spin locker with a 4.30 ratio. The optional package turned the Cobra Jet into the Super Cobra Jet.
The Cobra Jet engine was quite popular in its first year on the market. It found its way into no fewer than 13,261 Mustangs (not including Shelby models). However, only 3,115 customers also checked the Drag Pak box on the options list. Granted, it's not quite as rare as other Mustangs from the era, but many Super Cobra Jets are no longer on the road. The red example you see here is one of those examples waiting for a second chance at life.
This Mach 1 had a rough life. Sure, the Candyapple Red paint looks good enough to make the vehicle seem like an unrestored and unmolested survivor, but it's most likely a refinish. And you can tell by the fact that the traditional Mach 1 stripe is missing. The lower black stripe is also an add-on that wasn't available on the Mustang that year.
The black pattern on the hood is yet another sign that someone messed around with a different decal layout on this muscle car. On the flip side, the weathering suggests that the refinish occurred some time ago, perhaps in the 1980s or 1990s. The front fascia also shows signs of damage. The left-side fender was probably crumpled in a minor crash, and it's now finished in primer. Two headlamps and some parts of the grille are missing.
The cabin is in better shape and mostly original, which is what you want from a classic car. Sure, it's a bit dirty, and the upholstery and door panels show signs of wear, but it's nothing that can't be fixed with proper detailing.
Sadly, this Mach 1 hides terrible news under the hood. Even though it still has a shaker, the Cobra Jet-specific feature sits atop an FE-type V8. It's unclear whether the mill is period-correct or not, but Ford did offer a 390-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) FE in 1969. It came with 320 horsepower on tap thanks to a four-barrel carburetor setup. It was available with the Mach 1 in 1969 only.
The missing Cobra Jet powerplant is definitely a bummer, but this Mustang is still a cool project that deserves to be brought back to life. Especially since Cobra Jet engines aren't very difficult to source. But until that happens, check it out as a somewhat derelict survivor in the video below.