Take Your Hands Off Our Heritage, Mustang Fans Tell EV-hungry Ford

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
take your hands off our heritage mustang fans tell ev hungry ford

Don’t worry, Mustang owners. Ford Motor Company is definitely leaning away from naming its upcoming sporty, “Mustang inspired” electric crossover the Mach 1.

Fans of what will soon be the last remaining Ford car gave the automaker an earful after it teased the model at this year’s Detroit auto show. Hold on there, sailor, the voices cried — you’re telling me the V8-powered fastback of my dreams, the one with an optional Cobra Jet motor, is about to be sullied by a case of name theft? Why not just debut a bicycle called the Thunderbird while you’re at it? The back-peddling began almost immediately.

Now, it seems Ford realizes not everyone is as eager for an all-electric, self-driving (but maybe not completely self-driving, wink, wink) future as CEO Jim Hackett is. The Mach 1 revival seems doomed.

Speaking to Automotive News at the celebration marking Ford’s 10 millionth Mustang, the automaker’s executive vice president and head of global markets, Jim Farley, tried to remain on the fence when it came to the Mach 1 name.

“We put that out there to evaluate it,” Farley said. “There are pros and cons. I don’t want to handicap it at this point, but we got a very strong reaction from people.”

As AutoGuide notes, you won’t find any mention of the upcoming Mach 1 on Ford’s media site or YouTube channel anymore. This, plus Farley’s comments, shows that Ford knows it hit a nerve when it decided to reach into the past for a cool, ballsy model name. The electric crossover, of which there are still many unknowns, appears in 2020, and will remain Mustang-inspired to some degree. Front-end styling might appear Mustang-esque, as there’s not much you can do about the rear.

The original Mach 1 debuted with a standard sloping roofline and 351 cubic-inch V8 in mid-1968, before emissions regulations saw the base motor fall in displacement — first to a 302, then to a 2.8-liter Cologne V6. The moniker died when the Mustang II bit the dust after 1978, though Ford briefly revived the designation in the early 2000s.

As for the actual Mustang — soon to be the only Ford with a trunk — the original pony car is expected to borrow one of the company’s new modular platforms for its next generation. All-wheel drive is a possibility with this architecture. The launch of that vehicle has reportedly been pushed back to 2021.

“Mustang is still going to be a strong, well proportioned vehicle,” Mustang chief designer Darrell Behmer told Automotive News. “The modular architectures will still give us flexibility; it’s not going to bastardize Mustang.”

[Image: Corey Lewis/TTAC]

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2 of 17 comments
  • Mike Beranek Mike Beranek on Aug 28, 2018

    I think Ford forgot how the fanboys reacted back in the 80's. They'd have to be crazy to mess with the current Mustang, which is the apex of pony-car development.

  • BklynPete BklynPete on Aug 29, 2018

    “We put that out there to evaluate it,” Farley said. “There are pros and cons. I don’t want to handicap it at this point, but we got a very strong reaction from people.” Hackett, Farley and especially the hapless deer-in-the-headlights Bill Ford really come across as stupid. They should listen to what Vito Corleone told Sonny after he spoke out about The Turk's drug-sale offer: "Never let anyone outside the family know what you're thinking!"

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