Mustang Mach 1

Mustang Mach 1

Appears In
Diamonds Are Forever

On Film
After Bond flees Willard Whyte’s WW Tectronics facility, he jumps into diamond smuggler Tiffany Case’s red Ford Mustang Mach 1 and heads into Las Vegas. The local sheriff spots him immediately, initiating a pursuit that weaves through the Vegas traffic. The Mustang slips into a car park where Bond executes a series of manoeuvres that leaves seven police patrol cars crushed and crumpled. When the sheriff thinks he has Bond trapped down a dead end, 007 flips the Mustang on to its two right-side wheels and escapes through a narrow passage.

The Vehicle
The filmmakers planned to use a pair of Ford Mustang 351s for the Las Vegas chase but realised that these were not powerful enough to perform the stunts. Instead they opted for a first generation Ford Mustang Mach 1 fastback with its hefty 429 Cobra Jet Ram Air engine. Introduced in 1969, the Mach 1 fastback has been described as one of the last of the Ford ‘big blocks’, its fastback styling the work of legendary car designer Larry Shinoda.

Its upgraded suspension included front shock tower reinforcement, thicker sway bars, heavier springs and shocks and, in this model, staggered rear shocks. Its power came from a muscular 7.0-litre, 335bhp V8 engine, while its flush bonnet air scoops were originally designed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (the forerunner to NASA).

The Production
To shoot the street-driving sequence, the production closed downtown Vegas for an unprecedented five nights, using three different Mustangs and no extra lighting; the Strip’s neon glow provided more than enough. Filmed in early April 1971, the chase was Sean Connery’s first scene on the shooting schedule.

The car park and the alley scenes were shot at Universal Studios in Hollywood with stunt driver Joey Chipwood executing the two-wheel flip at the first time of asking. However, the shot of the Mustang exiting the alley was filmed later on with a different driver who accidentally completed the scene on the incorrect wheels, prompting the filmmakers to include a scene in the middle of the alley where Bond and Tiffany rock the car from one set of wheels to the other.