Ford Mustang Mach 1 Could Return in 2021

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford mustang mach 1 could return in 2021

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Ford’s rejiggering of the Mach 1 name for use in the Mustang-inspired Mach-E crossover, the original will not be superseded by the new EV.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.]

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3 of 13 comments
  • 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.

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