That trend would continue throughout the decades, as Rick developed his own unique style that attracted a loyal following. Even with a regular day job, he built cars for other people on weekends. As it turned, he was building Pro Touring cars without even knowing it. “The first car I ever built was slammed to the ground, and my goal was to emulate the look of the ’69 and ’70 Trans-Am race cars. I wanted to build a street version of the cars Parnelli Jones raced, and I’ve always drawn inspiration from the big wheels, big brakes, and aggressive stance of those Trans-Am cars in my own projects,” Rick says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a Camaro, Mustang, ’Cuda, or Javelin, every single one of those Trans-Am cars looks badass. I had been building cars like that since the early ’80s, so when the whole Pro Touring scene came around, I was already knee-deep in it. Now that there are so many parts available for these cars, it makes building them even more fun.”

Like most hot rodders, Rick can’t turn his back on a great deal when he finds one. In 1985, he came across a ’69 Mach 1—an original 428ci big-block, four-speed car—with a paltry $1,000 asking price. “It was a super deal that I just couldn’t pass up, and I immediately stored it at my parents’ garage because I was working on both my ’69 Boss 302 and ’70 Mach 1 at the time. It sure wasn’t the prettiest car around, but it was all original with no rust whatsoever, the perfect foundation to build an awesome car,” he recollects. “I told myself that I’d start working on it soon, but one car after another, year after year, the car sat undisturbed in that garage. Many, many years later in 2003, my brother-in-law, Gary Whorton, asked if he could buy the Mach 1. By this time, he had already seen several of my finished projects and wanted to get a muscle car of his own. After thinking about it for a few days, I gave in and sold him the car, promising to help him restore it.”

Then sometime in 2004, Rick got a call from the late Todd Gartshore at Baer Brakes, who had taken a liking to the ’69 Boss 302 Mustang that Rick brought to SEMA the year prior. Todd was looking for a cool car to put in the Baer booth in 2005, and when Rick divulged his plans for the Mach 1, it was game on. “I stripped the car down to metal and completely rebuilt it from the ground up, pulling out all the stops to make this car as awesome as I could. I used nothing but NOS parts, and only the highest quality aftermarket hardware,” he says. “I think it’s really hard to improve upon the ’69 Mustang body style, so I made very few body mods. I had to cut the shifter hole a tad to fit the Richmond six-speed manual, but otherwise the metal is stock. The body ended up being diamond straight, and I painted it in a custom color that resembles the factory Acapulco Blue but with more pop.”

When restoring a ’69 Mach 1 that still has its original 428 Cobra Jet big-block, swapping it out for a late-model EFI mill is simply out of the question. As such, the FE short-block was freshened up with new rings and bearings, and fitted with a Crane 248/248-at-.050 mechanical flat-tappet cam. Matched with a set of ported Dove aluminum cylinder heads and a Ford Police Interceptor intake manifold, the combo is good for an estimated 600 hp. The exhaust barks out a set of 1.75-inch JBA long-tube headers and dual 3-inch Borla mufflers. An original 9-inch rearend—fitted with 31-spline Moser axles, 4.11:1 gears, and a Detroit Locker—channel the power to the ground.