Faced with competition from the Camaro, Mustang grew for 1969, both in size and performance, up to the ultimate Boss 302 and Boss 429 monsters. Major styling changes were under way in the Ford line. Throughout the sixties, Ford was constantly making major revisions to at least one product line.
This year it was three: completely restyled Mustang and full-size Fords, and an all-new compact Maverick. The Maverick came along on the same day the original Mustang arrived, only five years later. (Because it was sold for a substantial portion of the 1969 model year, it is included here though Ford marketed it as a 1970 model.) As with the Mustang, the Maverick was an instant success. Powerplants for the new compact were initially limited to two 6-cylinder engines, displacing 170 or 200 cubic inches. Maverick styling was part sports car with a sweeping fastback roofline and the popular long hood, short deck treatment. Intended as a replacement for the Falcon, the Maverick was initially offered in only a 2-Door Coupe style, so the Falcon was kept in the line for another year while replacement plans for the 4-Door Sedan and Wagon were worked up. The eventual replacement for the 4-Door Sedan arrived in the 1971 model year. The Wagon replacement arrived in mid-year 1970, as a Torino based Falcon Wagon. Since the Falcon and Fairlane/Torino Wagons had shared the same platform since 1966, the change was a logical one.
Mustang buyers were faced with a slightly larger and more powerful car for 1969. While only about 4 inches longer than the previous year, the styling changes made the car look more muscular. A new four-headlamp setup was used for this one season only, with the inboard lights mounted inside the grille area, and the outboard lights set outside of the grille. Other expected Mustang styling cues were still there. Two new models were added to the line, a luxury version of the coupe called Mustang Grande, and a high-performance version of the fastback, appropriately named Mach I. The Mach I featured the 351 CID V8 as standard equipment, along with beefier suspension and tires and the obligatory racing stripes. Mach I Mustangs were fierce competition to GM's newest high-performance offerings, the Camaro Z28 and the Firebird Trans Am.
Full-size Fords were completely redesigned for 1969. They now rode on the longest wheelbase in their class and could legitimately boast of having more space and a quieter ride than any of their competitors' cars. Powertrain choices were similar to last years, with the 429 CID V8 replacing the 427 CID V8 at the top end, and the new 351 VID V8 becoming a popular choice in the mid-range of the power spectrum. No model changes were made to the fullsize line.
As mentioned earlier, the Falcon was nearing the end of its run, so very few changes were made for 1969. The mid-size Fairlane and Torino line was all-new in 1968, so there were few changes to that line as well. Base power derived from a newly offered 250 CID 6-cylinder as opposed to last year's 200 CID Six. A new high-performance Cobra line was added, consisting of two 2-Door models-a Hardtop and a Sports Roof fastback. All fastbacks in every line were now referred to as "Sports Roof" models. A 428 CID V8 engine powered the Cobra. Finally, the Thunderbird returned with a minor restyling to the grille, but few other changes.