For the second time – and after a 17-year wait – Ford has brought back the Mustang Mach 1. Officially unveiled on 16 June, the new Mustang Mach 1 follows the last Mach 1 revival in 2003-04, which in turn was inspired by the original that debuted as a 1969 model. That original Mach 1 continued through the final years of the first-generation Mustang and was a constant during the lifespan of the Mustang II generation, too.
The new Mach 1 will be a limited-edition for the 2021 model year, with its track-focussed upgrades in engine performance and handling leading Ford to describe it as “a new standard of 5.0-litre V8 track-ready performance”.
“Bold styling, great acceleration and speed – Mach 1 says it all,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer. “This is one of those special Mustangs that truly brings a smile to the faces of our owners, enthusiasts and fans – including me – so there’s never been a better time to bring back Mach 1 and have it go global too.”
Hopefully, going “global” means the Mach 1 will be coming to Australia, although Ford Australia are yet to confirm or deny the new model’s addition to the local market.
Designed to bridge the gap between the Mustang GT and Shelby models, the Mach 1 takes the V8-engined GT base and adds several Shelby GT350 and GT500 parts. The result is a car that’s broadly similar to the latest Bullitt Mustang in terms of its mechanical specification, but has a subtler look.
The 5.0-litre Coyote V8 delivers 480hp (358kW) at 7000rpm and 420lb/ft of torque (569Nm) at 4600rpm - identical to the US-market MY18 Bullitt (Aus market Bullitts produce 345kW and 556Nm).
Added Shelby GT350 parts including the intake manifold, oil filter adapter and engine oil cooler. The latter increases engine oil cooling capacity by a claimed 50 per cent.
A Tremec 3160 six-speed manual is the default transmission for the Mach 1 and also comes from the Shelby GT350. Incorporating a Mustang first in rev-matching, this transmission is paired with an oil cooler system from the GT350 and the twin-disc clutch and short-throw shifter from the GT.
An optional ten-speed SelectShift automatic gets an upgraded torque convertor and has been recalibrated to suit the Mach 1’s extra engine power over a stock Mustang GT. The auto also runs a second air-to-oil cooler that increases cooling capacity by 75 percent.
Standard rims are five-spoke ‘Tarnished Dark’ alloys that are described as being in the style of the Magnum 500 wheels from the original Mach 1. In 19x9.5-inch front and 19x10-inch rear sizes, these alloys are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres as standard.
Wider wheels (19x10.5 front and 19x11 rear) are available as part of an optional Handling Package that includes Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres, a unique front splitter and new front wheel lip mouldings, as well as a rear spoiler with Gurney flap and rear tyre spats from the Shelby GT500. The Handling Package is only available with the manual transmission.
MagneRide magnetically-adjustable suspension is standard on the Mach 1 and features new calibration to suit. There’s also new calibration for the electric power-assisted steering, as well as a stiffer steering I-shaft.
Stiffer sway bars and front springs, stiffer bushings in the rear subframe and a brake booster from the GT Performance Pack level 2 are also standard. The Mach 1 also gains a rear tow-link from the GT500.
To complement these under-the-skin changes, there are bodywork changes, including front-end aero elements unique to the Mach 1, a longer belly pan and a GT500-sourced rear spoiler and diffuser. Combined, these deliver a claimed 22 per cent more downforce than a GT upgraded with Ford’s Level 1 Performance Pack. With the optional Handling Package fitted, that jumps to around 150 per cent.
For greater track endurance, the Mach 1 also gains two heat exchangers (one side cooling the engine oil, with the other cooling the transmission fluid) and the rear axle cooling system from the GT500.
Mach 1 Style. . . Dialled Down
While a Mach 1 tribute – at least a tribute to the original version – should feature a shaker bonnet scoop, this has not been included. Engine cooling compromises are the reason, says Ford.
Somewhat surprisingly, visual homages to the original Mach 1 are limited, and overall styling is fairly subtle for what will be a high-profile model for Ford.
Aside from the unique front splitter and new-look side grilles, there’s a deep 3D mesh fill on the main grille, with faux driving light openings and a pony badge finished in ‘Magnetic’ dark liquid silver. This Magnetic finish has been applied to other parts, too, including the mirror caps and rear spoiler.
Paint options include the Mach 1-exclusive Fighter Jet Grey that’s part of an optional Appearance Package, with other colour choices including Shadow Black, Oxford White, Race Red, Velocity Blue, Iconic Silver, Twister Orange and Grabber Yellow.
Identifying Mach 1 badging features on the front guards and tail light panel, as well as the broad bonnet stripe. Along with the side stripes, this bonnet stripe is finished in black on all paint options, but all striping can be edged with a choice of red, white or orange as part of the Appearance Package.
Interior touches include a unique Dark Spindrift finish with aluminium accents for the dash panel, accent striping on the seats, unique sills, cue ball gear shift knob for the manual and a special intro screen for the 12.3-inch LCD instrumentation.
A badge with each car’s individual chassis number also features in the cabin.
Due for North American release in Q2 (approx.) 2021, the Mustang Mach 1 will be a limited edition, but Ford are yet to state how limited. Similarly, no word has come on whether the Mach 1 will be available in Australia.
Given Ford Australia has committed to the R-Spec as the halo model Mustang here, a local release for the Mach 1 is considered unlikely.