For the first time in nearly two decades, Ford is selling brand new Mustangs with an aggressive Mach 1 tuning to bridge the gap between the GT and range-topping Shelby models.
The original Mach 1 generated immediate attention when it debuted in 1969 by setting numerous records at the Bonneville Salt Flats and securing back-to-back Manufacturer’s Rally Championships in 1969 and 1970. The nameplate still carries prestige today, with one Mach 1 restomod being featured in John Wick.
Suffice to say that the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 has quite the legacy to live up to, especially when considering is short-lived, lukewarm return from 2003 to 2004. Ford is billing the new model as the most track-capable 'Stang with a 5.0-liter V8, which is now calibrated to produce 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of peak torque.
Revised components sourced from the Shelby GT350 and GT500 were implemented to enhance the Mach 1's performance. The Tremec 3160 six-speed dual-clutch manual transmission, intake manifold, oil filter adapter and engine oil cooler come from the diminutive Shelby, while the rear axle cooling system, tire spats and lower diffuser are borrowed from the GT500. Everything rides on new 19-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels finished in Tarnished Dark paint.
A brand new underbelly pan with large underwings, which is the vehicle’s most aerodynamic upgrade, extends 20 inches further rearward than the Mustang GT Performance Pack's to smooth and increase the airflow. Special belly pan airfoils in the brake cooling ramps also improve downforce and assist the brake cooling flow.
A Handling Package—exclusively available on the six-speed manual—alsog gets a larger front splitter for extra downforce, new front wheel lip moldings, a low-gloss Magnetic swing spoiler with a Gurney flap, and rear tire spats from the GT500, along with wider rims.
A 10-speed automatic transmission with an upgraded torque converter is also available for those who want to make Mach 1 their track day car.
While Ford is clearly working to advance the Mustang's ability to run laps at high speeds, the muscle car hasn't strayed far in the style department. A 3-D mesh, shark-nosed section and faux lamp elements hark to the original '69 fastback, and the fascia are flanked by new side grilles below each turn signal lamp. Low-gloss magnetic and black accents appear on various elements, including the mirror caps, rear spoiler and pony badge.
The cockpit features a Dark Spindrift instrument panel with aluminum accents. Ebony leather seats with an accent stripe hint at Mach 1 heritage leather interior. Other interior upgrades include new door sill plates, an updated splash screen on the 12.3-inch all-LCD instrument cluster, and a retro white cue ball shift knob.
Prices weren't announced, but Car and Driver estimates that the limited-production 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 will cost around $50,000 when it hits dealerships in the spring of 2021.