The Mach 1 name is returning to the Ford Mustang lineup for the 2021 model year. It’ll be making a comeback as a limited-edition model, and be positioned as the “pinnacle of style, handling and 5.0-liter V8 performance.” So yes, it’s going to have the 5.0-liter V8 under the hood.
Right now, the Mustang Bullitt is the most powerful 5.0-liter V8-equipped Mustang. It’s slightly more potent than the base GT at 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. However, it’s not a track rat. A regular GT with the Performance Pack 2 option is the more performance-oriented model available now for track duty. But, Ford is stating its track intentions clearly for the Mach 1.
“Mach 1 has a special place in Mustang history, and it’s time for this special edition to claim the top spot in our 5.0-liter V8 performance lineup and reward our most hardcore Mustang enthusiasts who demand that next level of power, precision and collectability,” said Dave Pericak, director, Ford Icons. “Like the original, the all-new Mustang Mach 1 will be true to its heritage, delivering great looks and as the most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang ever.”
Unfortunately, that’s about as detailed as Ford is getting with the Mach 1 for the time being. We won’t be learning about power numbers, suspension details, price or even when it’ll officially debut. Even with its assumed track capability, the Mach 1 will still sit below the Shelby models.
“Mach 1 has always been that bridge between base Mustangs and the Shelby models,” said Ted Ryan, Ford heritage brand manager.
In some cases, yes, the Mach 1 did serve as a bridge to Shelbys. The future of the Shelby GT350 has been thrown into doubt, though, since a VIN decoder found its way online a short time ago. It was then that we saw the Mach 1 name pop up on the list of 2021 Mustang models, and this news today lends further credence to the decoder’s validity. The Shelby GT350 and its 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank V8 engine were mysteriously missing from the rundown of 2021 models, but the Shelby GT500 was listed. We poked Ford again this morning in hopes of learning more about the GT350’s fate, but mum is the official word for now. Ford’s verbiage of calling this the “most track-ready 5.0-liter Mustang ever” gives us the smallest of hopes that the GT350 may stick around, but Ford could very well just be referring to the Shelby GT500 with its 5.2-liter supercharged V8 with that comment. We’ll know more later this year on that front.
There’s one more dimension to all of this: the pictures! Ford released three photos of the Mach 1 wearing camouflage, showing us a few details of its design. The grille styling is unlike any other new Mustang sold today, with its two round elements flanking the Mustang logo on the outer edges of the center grille. Ford didn’t detail what purpose they serve, but the look is reminiscent of the original 1969 Mustang Mach 1. Those round shapes were the headlights back then, so it’s unclear what Ford is up to with them now that they’re very obviously not serving as headlights.
From the back, it looks a lot like the GT350 with its raised spoiler and large, quad-tipped exhaust poking out. The close-up wheel shot also reveals some massive Brembo brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires size 305/30/19. That’s nearly identical to the tire size on the GT350, which is shod with 305/35/19 size rears, also Pilot Sport Cup 2s.
The introduction of this model could very well be the end of the Bullitt for this generation of Mustang. We won’t be too heartbroken, though, as this looks like an even higher performing Mustang than the Bullitt. The launch cadence is even similar to the order of the most recent Mach 1 offered in 2003 and 2004. Ford sold a Mustang Bullitt starting in 2001 before hopping on the Mach 1 train shortly after that.
There’s no official launch date for the 2021 Mach 1, but an official reveal can’t be far away at this point. We’ll be eagerly awaiting the news from the Blue Oval.