Ford Mustang Mach 1 Could Return in 2021

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Despite Ford’s rejiggering of the Mach 1 name for use in the Mustang-inspired Mach-E crossover, the original will not be superseded by the new EV. Based upon leaked dealer VIN decoder guides, it appears the storied pony car trim could be returning for the 2021 model year.

We haven’t seen the Mach 1 since 2004, when it briefly appeared as the high-performance alternative to the Mustang GT. While not as brutal on paper as the SVT Cobra, it was loaded with the best parts the manufacturer could source from other Ford models reliant on the 4.6-liter V8. Having driven both vehicles when they were new, your author can attest to the supercharged snake being the superior performance coupe. Its independent rear suspension was unique within the Mustang lineup at the time, and it offered 390 horsepower against the Mach 1’s naturally aspirated 305 hp — though both vehicles seem to have been underrated by the manufacturer.

Regardless of their true output, the Mach 1 always seemed engineered for more practical fun. Unlike the Cobra, it leaned into retro-inspired touches and offered brighter paint options. The seats, dials, shifter, shaker hood scoop, and external graphics all hinted at the Mach 1 of yesteryear and foreshadowed the heritage-obsessed Mustangs from the car’s fifth generation. It was also about 200 pounds lighter than the supercharged snake, offered a substantially higher redline, and had the best-sounding factory exhaust systems Ford could provide.

It wouldn’t last. Ford launched the S197 Mustang at the end of 2004 and abandoned both the SN-95 Cobra and Mach 1. From there, Ford would rely on vintage monikers like Boss and Shelby for its hi-po sport coupes. But that’s about to change, according to a forum at the Mach-E Club. In post devoted to leaked information about Ford’s all-electric crossover (which is technically a Mustang), the author noticed the dealer VIN guide also makes mention of the Mach 1.

We also noticed the GT350 was curiously absent.

While it doesn’t indicate what powertrain will be used to break the sound barrier, the above context presumes it will be slotted below the Shelby GT500. We also know it’ll be assembled at Flat Rock Assembly, which isn’t much of a find. That’s where all Mustangs are built.

The rest is down to your imagination. We expect bold color options with contrasting graphics, at least one opening in the hood, and enough horsepower to shame the current GT model — a task requiring a bare minimum of 460 ponies. Of course, this presumes the leaked documents are legitimate and our dreams somehow inform the physical world. Thus far, no Ford dealer has validated the VIN decoder’s authenticity.

But rumors have swirled that the Blue Oval was considering a Mach 1 return since at least 2019. Torque News even went so far as to say “a source has confirmed that this is not a rumor, but a fact as the Mustang Mach 1 will replace the Bullitt as the niche performance vehicle in the Mustang lineup” last December. Whether it adheres more closely to the 1969 original or the short-lived early 2000s revamp remains to be seen. We’re just pleased to hear it’s coming back at all.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Apr 03, 2020

    Ford's Mach 1 can't achieve Mach 1 (not even with rounding). Meanwhile, Putin has achieved Mach 20+.

  • Akear Akear on Apr 04, 2020

    On a positive note this is one of the rare times that GM is exporting technology to another car maker. Most of the time GM simply imports their technology from other car makers.

    • Mcs Mcs on Apr 04, 2020

      GM's EV battery technology is pretty good. That's one thing they've done well. Even the older tech in 2019 and earlier Bolts is pretty good. There's an article by a Bolt owner with 100k miles on his car that still gets 210+ miles of range. The new BEV3 NMCA cells should be even better. I've read they have total pack costs below $120/kWh. That would put the price of a pack the size of the 2020 Bolt's at $7920 or less.

  • Big Al from Oz Musk and Trump are of the same ilk, except Musk's IQ is a damn site higher than Trumps. Musk like Trump is only into himself. Musk doesn't care about Trump only Musk. Musk sees more dollars if Trump wins.Hey, I'm Big Al again!3
  • Rover Sig We have a car with two fake exhausts in the bumper, but a large shiny muffler visible hanging down on one side, not aligned with the fake exhaust exits. Horrendous. I had to paint the shiny muffler with high-temp black paint to make it less visible. Exhaust pipes were meant to be round and hang below the bumper, and they can be made quiet or loud as the engineers like. But fake exhausts rank down there with fake intake vents on the side of that old Buick.
  • EBFlex Of course it does. What a silly question
  • Buickman Elon is a phony.
  • The Oracle When elected, Trump will carve out massive loopholes for Elon and other donors.