Donna Chapman’s 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Donna Chapman's stunning Mach 1 Mustang is a sentimental reminder of her dad

Photographers: Greg Forster

DONNA Chapman’s tasty ’69 Mach 1 Mustang first grabbed our attention at the Father’s Day Classic Car & Bike Show in St Kilda, yet it was months before its owner became known to us. Once we tracked Donna down, it turned out that she has a massive sentimental attachment to this Mach 1.

This article on Donna’s Mustang was first published in the May 2019 issue of Street Machine

How’d you come to own this gorgeous ’69 Mustang?

It was my dad Graham’s car – he passed away recently and left it to me. So, to me it’s worth more than any amount of money in the world. It’s my baby, as my dad restored it. Dad and I have always liked cars, and he always liked Mustangs.

Tell us about the resto.

Dad imported the genuine Winter Blue Mach 1 about 15 years ago, but only began rebuilding it around 2011-12. He finished it about a year before melanoma took his life in July 2015. It was a ground-up resto; he stripped it to a bare shell before respraying it in a bright blue. He was a spray painter and panel beater, yet he did it all, including the rewire and bolting in the rebuilt factory Mach 1 driveline. I can’t tell you what that is as I’m yet to learn. The only mod is an ICE ignition.

And he also designed the decals?

Dad spent months sketching the stripes and mocking them up on miniature cars. It had become his passion after working at a panel shop that laid the factory striping on Porsches by hand, with stencils and paint. So when I was a kid, he’d hand-paint pinstriping and decals on all of our cars – it was something that he liked to do.

Did you have a hand in the build?

Partly; I loved spending time with Dad in the shed and I documented the resto with photos. I was right there beside him, watching and passing tools. I’m glad that he got to enjoy the Mach 1 for a short while, though Easter 2015 was his last attempt at driving it – he couldn’t because of the pain that he was in. At his funeral we had the Mach 1 parked out the front, and the ribbon from that day is kept in the car. I feel that he’s with me when I’m driving it, and I know that it’s now up to me to get the Mustang back out into the world again.

What do you get up to in the Mach 1?

I take it out as much as I can, at least every weekend. I’ll go for a drive down the coast and to a few local car shows. I don’t yet have the confidence to properly show it as I’m still learning about the car, but I’m slowly getting there. Thankfully everyone in the scene is super-friendly and helpful. Some people tell me that I’m lucky to have inherited the Mach 1, but I’d rather have my dad. Often, I just sit in the shed with the Mustang and I feel Dad there – I’ll never sell it! My middle son wants it when I go, but I don’t plan on dying! He figures that he’s the only one with any interest in it, like I was with my dad.