When we last saw the Mach 1 moniker applied to a Mustang, it was back in 2004 and 2005 when the moniker was used on a limited production run of Mustang models. While that iteration featured a shaker hood, not much else was done with performance. Ford engineers opted to remedy that for 2021 with the limited edition Mach 1.
Like before, the 2021 Mach 1 is tapping into a very potent piece of nostalgia, with the car being adorned with graphics and stripes that are supposed to be a callback to the original 1969 model. This connection also extends to the round inlets that are in the front grille. Back in 1969, these spaces housed additional lighting, but Ford engineers chose to use them as a very clever solution to enhancing air flow into the engine by making them functional air intakes. This also means that no Shaker hood is offered for this chapter of Mach 1, but Ford was quick to point out that not all Mach 1s had shaker hoods, and that the trick air intakes and an open style air box are sufficient enough to get the job done.
The interior of the 2021 Mach 1 (like the Bullitt that preceded it) is designed with some unique touches to help separate it from the standard GT model. An all new splash screen pops up when you start the car, and a Mach 1 exclusive shifter piece is added. New sill plates and a plaque are also added, but Ford chose not to reveal the full extent of the optional equipment available. Recaro sport seats are available, which is good news for those that need a more supportive throne for spirited driving or even a weekend at the track. Like the Bullitt, it appears that the interior is a mixture of trim levels with the digital screen from the up-level premium trim being prominently visible.
Performance for the Mach 1 comes from a tweaked version of the Mustang’s 5.0 liter V8, and while it does not surpass the GT350’s 526 horsepower, it does match the Bullitt’s with drivers having 480 horsepower for their driving needs. A six speed Tremec sourced manual transmission is standard issue, but it has been modified to match the gearing in the GT350, and it even features a built in rev matching feature. Unlike the Bullitt, the Mach 1 can also be equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with engineers adding an upgraded torque converter and tweaked shift times. We suspect that Ford made this decision to help broaden the appeal of the Mach 1, especially for customers that want the Mach 1 as a styling statement and would rather not do the shifting themselves.
The GT350 also donates a few of its parts to the Mach 1 in a bid to improve cooling. This includes the oil and transmission coolers with the former adding 50 percent more oil capacity. The automatic gets two coolers, and even the rear differential gets a cooler with that particular component being lifted from the range topping GT500. The chassis and suspension have also received their fair share of upgrades to help cope with the extra performance. Magnetic shocks are now standard equipment along with stiffer springs as well as stiffer anti-roll bars. Stiffer rear sub-frame bushings, a Performance Package 2 derived brake booster, and a GT500 rear-toe link are also part of the package. The aerodynamics have even been enhanced with the belly pan being slightly longer than a normal GT for better air flow, while a large wing section, a GT500 derived rear diffuser and air foils near the brakes help enhance down force. Manual transmission versions come with an available handling package that adds a larger front spoiler, extra spats at the wheel arches, and a Gurney flap on the rear spoiler.
Ford did not release pricing for the 2021 Mach 1, but we suspect that it will have a higher base MSRP than the $48,000 wielded by the outgoing Bullitt model. However, look for the Mach 1 to continue to serve as a bridge between the standard Mustang and Shelby lineups and be below the $61,000 Shelby GT350. Look for the Mach 1 to also be a very potent contender for both the Dodge Challenger Scat Pack as well as the Chevrolet Camaro 1LE. In the meantime, we have included a brief video that Ford released on the Mach 1 which can be seen below.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.