Take a good hard look at this ’69 Mach 1 Mustang and try to guess when it was built. Its fastback, big-block goodness slaps you in the face in a naughty kind of way, and ooh baby, check out that stance. Trends are a fickle thing that come and go, and these days hacking up factory sheetmetal and molesting the good work of yesteryear’s best Detroit stylists is the Pro Touring flavor of the week. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but if Rick Flores has anything to say about it, that’s not the point. “Like lots of hot rodders, I’ve always loved the factory body lines of mid-’60s and early ’70s muscle cars. The bodies on these cars have such a classic shape to them that they don’t need any alterations,” he opines.
Not what you’d expect from a guy in a hobby that typically loves to tinker with classic design, but take another hard look at Rick’s creation, and it all makes sense. Although this Mach 1 made its public debut at the 2005 SEMA show, it could easily pass for a car that was finished two days ago, or 10 years ago for that matter. It’s as if his cars have been injected with antibodies that make them immune to the latest trends and the passage of time. Stay tuned, because if Rick has his way, then this miracle injection just might make its way into a muscle car near you.
For a guy working out of his home garage with a handful of buddies, Rick’s Pro Touring projects have garnered an astounding level of national spotlight. Aside from multiple magazine features and some magazine-sponsored project car builds, the industry’s top aftermarket manufacturers have made a habit of pimping Rick’s g-Machines in their booths at trade shows. That’s a pretty darn impressive list of accomplishments for someone who had never turned a wrench before high school. “The first time I saw a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1, I was totally enamored with it. I made up my mind that I was going to get one someday,” he recalls. “A buddy of mine in high school had a ’69 big-block Mustang, but had to sell it when he went to the Air Force. I talked my dad into buying it for $1,200, and I got a job flipping burgers to pay him back. I swapped out the automatic for a four-speed, installed some 4.57:1 gears, put Centerline wheels on it, and the car ran 12.70s at the track. That was in 1978, and I still have that car today.”
Ford Acapulco Blue is a fine...
Ford Acapulco Blue is a fine color, but Rick has managed to make his custom mix of Glasurit basecoat/clearcoat pop that much more. He’s not revealing any secrets, but his custom mix lends a deeper, darker appearance.
As the years passed, Rick indulged in one hot Mustang after another. His past rides include a ’67 GT500, a ’69 Boss 302, a ’70 Mach 1, and a ’71 Mach. These are all the real deal, mind you, not clones. How a regular working stiff could afford to build such an impressive collection of Mustangs is quite simple: “I never had the money to pay other people to do bodywork, so I had to learn to do it myself. While going to college, I met a guy named Jack Holbrook who agreed to show me how to do paint and bodywork on my own car,” Rick explains. “I watched how he sprayed cars in the booth, trying to learn what I could, and he let me practice hands-on. He’d yell at me if I did something wrong, and looking back, it was a great way to learn. I actually paid my way through college painting other people’s cars. They’d see what I did to my Mustang, and asked me to work on their cars.”