Originally a bank repossessed vehicle with 61 731 miles (99 346 km) on the clock, the rare 1971 Mustang Mach 1, fitted with the optional four-barrel 351 cubic inch (5.8-litre) Cleveland V8 with dual Ram Air intakes and mated to a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic gearbox, garnered R501 000 after bidding had commenced at R300 000.
Seemingly set to fetch below half-a-million rand after bidding stalled at R482 500, a showdown between two bidders ultimately saw the price spike until the hammer dropped at said price. The winning buyer however declined to comment when approached.
"Auctions represent a means for ordinary people to get their hands on exceptional cars. Today is proof of this as the lucky buyer just walked away with a collector’s item rarely found in retail outlets," Park Village Auctions' Clive Lazarus said.
Launched in 1968 as a performance package for the standard Mustang, the Mach 1 in question was based on the final redesign of the first generation pony car available from 1971-1973, and could be had with either a 302 cubic-inch (4.9-litre) Windsor V8, the aforementioned 351 with two-or four-barrel carburettors, the latter setup with or without the dual Ram Air intakes, and a 429 inch-cubic (7.0-litre) V8 in Cobra Jet (four-barrel Rochester carburettors) or Super Cobra Jet (four-barrel Holley carburettors) guises.
With 276 kW and 610 Nm of torque on tap in Super Cobra Jet spec, and fitted with the optional four-speed manual 'box, the Mach 1 could dispatch the 0-62 mph (96 km/h) sprint in 5.8 seconds and reach a theoretical top speed of 202 km/h, while models with the Cruise-O-Matic took 0.1 second longer and topped out at 198 km/h.
In 351 Ram Air Cleveland form however, the Mach 1 produced 213 kW and 502 Nm of torque, with the Cruise-O-Matic resulting in a one km/h drop from the four-speed manual's theoretical 207 km/h top whack. The 0-60 mph (62 km/h) dash also took longer at 7.4 seconds versus the manual's 6.6.
Capping the Mustang's hero status in a number of films off, the Mach 1 famously appeared as Eleanor in the original Gone in Sixty Seconds (1974) as a 1973 model year vehicle, and as James Bond's (Sean Connery) ride in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever.