The Interesting Story Of Doug Bailey’s Aztec Aqua Coyote Mach 1

The story of Doug Bailey’s Coyote-powered 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 that I am about to share with you is, in my opinion, incredible. While I try to attend as many local Las Vegas car shows as possible, I was unable to make the recent Open House held at CJ Pony Parts’ western distribution center. As my luck would have it, I observed photos of an Aztec Aqua Mach 1 that attended the Open House on Instagram and realized that it would be a perfect feature subject vehicle. I searched and searched for the owner, who appeared not to have a single social media account. Eventually, I decided to lean on my industry colleagues for help finding the owner, and even after attending all the local shows for several weeks, I still came up empty. Finally, with the help of my good friend Phil Painter, creator of the famed “Muscle Cars at The Strip” events, I was able to get in contact with the owner, Doug Bailey.

Doug’s 1969 Mustang Mach 1 has been in the family since it was purchased new in June of 1969 from Bradshaw Ford in St. George, Utah.

“My father owned it for the first six months until he decided to move up to a 1970 428CJ Mach 1. I purchased it from him at that time,” says Doug.

In February of 1971—during the height of the Vietnam War—Doug was drafted into the Army. After completing his Basic Training, Doug spent most of his military time at Fort Hood as a heavy mechanic, and not making very much money.

“My younger sister took the car and payments until I could afford it again. A $99 payment was tough to make when base pay was $67 a month,” he says.

The original engine broke the camshaft in two pieces in April of 1971 and was replaced with another 351 Windsor powerplant under factory warranty. In September of 1971, Doug returned to Las Vegas to drive the car back to Fort Hood. On his way back from Las Vegas, the Mustang lost yet another engine near Santa Cruz, New Mexico. The Mach 1 was subsequently shipped to Texas, where Doug waited over five months for Ford to install engine number three. To this point, the car still had only approximately 16,000 miles and was precisely two years and two months old.

While still stationed at Fort Hood, Doug hot-rodded the car and beefed up the transmission, and in June of 1973, he blew up the engine while driving in an autocross event. The vehicle was now four years old and through its fourth engine. Many of us would’ve probably given up on the car and sold it off, but not Doug.

“When the last engine blew in the Mustang, I was working on transplanting a 289 cubic-inch engine into a 1971 Ford Pinto. The Pinto kept me busy most of the time, so the Mustang was put on the back burner,” he says.

Over time, Doug bought several engines for the Mustang, but none of them were ever installed. He had lots of plans for the car, street, drag, and so forth. He even purchased a 428 Cobra Jet engine, but later gave it away for a friend’s build. Honorably discharged from the Army, Doug headed back home to Las Vegas, Nevada. For the next several years, he owned and operated a small service station in his hometown. Unfortunately, he was forced to sell the business due to the unstable economy and oil crisis of the time. From June of 1973 through August of 2015, he towed the car from one home to another without the engine and transmission. As it sat, the Ford still only had 21,375 original miles on it. Through these 35 years, Doug started a family with his wife Pam and became a successful sales rep for the Frito Lay company on the ever-growing Las Vegas Strip. Finally, in September of 2015, Doug decided to rebuild the car.

“After I retired, I had a lot of time on my hands and decided it was finally time to put it back on the road. I wanted a car that I could get into and drive wherever I wanted and would still be unique. The Coyote offered a combination of decent horsepower and fuel mileage if I wanted to drive it for road trips. The Coyote also offered an easy upgrade of power adders if I didn’t think stock was enough,” he explains.

This time, he would upgrade the Mach 1 with modern amenities and a drivetrain out of a 2014 Mustang GT. Doug took on nearly the entire build himself, in his very own garage. The interior was completed by his son-in-law, Ryan Frawley, of Lucky 7 Upholstery in Las Vegas. The rebuild of the Mustang took just shy of four years to finish, and ironically enough, the build was completed in June of 2019, just in time for its 50th birthday.

If you think this is the only Ford in the family, think again. Doug and his wife currently own a 1972 Mach, a 2006 and 2011 Mustang GT, and a 1970 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible that’s daily driven.  It’s not often we get to feature a vehicle still owned by its original purchaser, especially one as rich in personal history as Doug Bailey’s 1969 Mach 1. Special thanks to the following people who helped me find this car: the Las Vegas Mustang and car community, Drake Auto Group, Bill Tumas from CJ Pony Parts, and Phil Painter. I’d like to thank Doug for letting me share his beautiful story for all of the automotive community to read.

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