The 2021 Mach 1 will be the Mustang family athlete.
It will sit above the Mustang GT, and below the Shelby GT350.
It will also serve as a most direct link to the upcoming Mach-E electric SUV.
We were invited to participate in a virtual sit-down session with a few Ford representatives who know a thing or two about the Ford Mustang. These gentlemen, Jim Owens (Mustang & Shelby Marketing Manager) and Tom Barns (Mustang Vehicle Engineering Manager) are very deep in the know about the upcoming Ford Mustang Mach 1 and shared some insight with us.
To be straight-up honest, the interwebs had already figured out the majority of the details on the new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1, which makes confirming the final little bits all the more fun. Before moving on to specs and highlights, Ford wanted to remind us that performance runs deep in the Blue Oval’s roots. In fact, way back 1901, before the founding of the FoMoCo, Henry was already racing his “project car” and winning.
Way back, performance enthusiasts got a big break in the form of the flat-head V8 but the story here is about the Mustang, and more specifically, the Mach 1, which got its name following Chuck Yeager’s feat. Back in 1969, the first-ever Mach 1 made its mark thanks to setting no less than 295 various speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Ford also sent the Mach 1 rallying in SCCA events in 1969 and 1970 and won back-to-back Manufacturer’s Rally Championships.
The Mach 1’s origins are set in Ford’s desire to compete even more with the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. So adamant was Ford at the time, still today, to beat the competition that the Mach 1 was one of six available performance versions. Today, or tomorrow we suppose, it will be one of four if you include the GT, and the Shelby GT350 and GT500. We figure the Bullitt will not return in 2021 however this detail remains unconfirmed.
The Mach 1 thrived until it was pulled in 1978. The secrets to its success were unique styling elements, an upgraded performance suspension and brakes, more power, a unique wheel and tire package, as well as physical differences including decals, badges, and an optional shaker hood.
Now, the first and only bit of bad news for the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1: There is no shaker hood available. Most of us who remember the Mach 1 from 2003-04 also recall that it sported such an accessory. But everything else remains true to form. What we needed to know was how much power the Mach 1 will have. The answer: 480-horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque from its 5.0-litre Coyote V8. This is exactly the Mustang Bullitt’s output numbers, which were attained via an open airbox, Shelby GT350 intake manifold, and a larger 87-millimeter throttle body.
Sending the power to the rear wheels is a revised Tremec TR3160 6-speed from the GT350, now configured with a rev-matching function and the GT350’s transmission oil cooler system. Those who want to go faster in a straight line or around a track can select the optional 10-speed automatic transmission which has been recalibrated for the application and fitted with a new torque converter and a second air-to-oil fluid cooler.
As predicted, the new Mach 1 will feature a number of elements from the GT’s Performance Package Level 2 including the MagneRide Damping System however with unique calibration, and Brembo brakes. The Mach 1 will also get revised steering, new sway bars, and front springs. Although all of this is tuned for the ultimate track experience, Ford was quick to specify that none of this comes at the expense of its streetability.
With these words uttered, we immediately understood who the new Mach 1 is aimed at. Ford said that it is destined for existing Mustang and Mach 1 fans as well as the “new” Mustang enthusiast looking for performance and styling. Read: Not meant to compete with the Honda Civic Type R or Subaru WRX STI. Even so, there are some of us “older” gentlemen who enjoy speed and for us, Ford will provide, for a price, an optional Handling Package offered exclusively with the manual transmission. It will feature a larger unique front splitter, new front wheel lip moldings, and a spoiler with a Gurney flap and rear tire spats from the Shelby GT500.
Standard on the Mach 1 will be satin black side and hood stripes included with reflective accent stripes (in one of three colours – Red, White, and Orange). Exterior colour options include the Mach 1 exclusive Fighter Jet Gray, Iconic Silver, Shadow Black, Oxford White, Velocity Blue, Twister Orange, Race Red, and Grabber Yellow.
One of the many elements unique to the Mach 1 is its GT500-inspired front fascia. This car was designed with extra cooling for hard and intense lapping and track sessions. In the front air intakes, you might notice small blocked sections and they are purposeful to improve cooling capacity. The lower grille, lower valance, splitter, belly-pan and two-piece upper grille are exclusive to the Mach 1. Also exclusive are new 19-inch 5-spoke wheels (front 19-inch x 9.5-inch, and rear 19-inch x 10-inch). As part of the Handling Package, the Mach 1 can be fitted with wider mesh-type 19-inch wheels (19-inch x 10.5-inch front, and 19-inch x 11-inch rear).
Essentially, the Mach 1 will project the image of a tuned or modified Mustang which is certain to please.
The cabin is not left untouched either. There will be a cue-ball shifter, new door sill plate, new instrument panel finish, new cluster splash screen as part of the 12.3-inch instrument cluster. Recaro seats (like this in the Bullitt) and leather will also be available. Finally, each Mach 1 will get a chassis badge with a chassis number that identifies the car.
The timing for the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is no fluke. Its return, expected in U.S. and Canadian Ford dealerships in the spring of 2021, coincides with that of the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV. How better to establish a link between products than with a similar name?
We asked Ford about this coincidence and Ford responded that will be done in order to establish connections in styling and driving dynamics (and in name) between Mustangs. While we’re convinced the Mach 1 will impress us on every point, we look forward to sampling the bond between it and the Mach-E.