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A grey 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is racing around a track.

Race-Ready 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Delivers Thrills

The Ford Mustang Mach 1 first debuted in 1969 and instantly affirmed itself as one of the coolest Mustangs around. Back when the jet age was still young and especially exciting, Mach 1 became a special high-speed target. The name represents the speed of sound and a jet aircraft’s ability to break the sound barrier that had claimed the lives of many pilots in lesser aircraft. The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 won’t break the sound barrier, but it will cause grins to break out on the faces of drivers and passengers.

The original Mustang Mach 1 embraced jet-age styling with a fastback body, blacked-out shaker hood, and beefy V8 engine options. Among the motor options were the classic 351 Windsor, a 390, or the Cobra Jet and its 428-inches of displacement. Choices for shifting gears included a three-speed manual, four-speed manual, or an automatic transmission.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 follows the original edition’s styling cues with modern touches for a perfect combination of nostalgia and cutting-edge performance. The limited-edition production vehicle has all the power of a muscle car with the modern advancements in suspension and aerodynamics needed for cutting edge performance.

Ample Performance on Tap

A blue 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is shown from the side in front of a grey building.

Ford knows it has a winner with the Mustang, but the popular vehicle has a gap in its trim levels between the standard V8 Mustang GT and the high-performance Shelby GT350. Now, that gap is filled quite well with the re-emergence of the Mach 1 after a 17-year hiatus. The Mach 1 is designed to be more track-ready than the Mustang GT, but more affordable than the Shelby GT350.

A 5.0-liter V8 provides the Mach 1 with up to 480 horsepower at 7,000 rpm, which is 20 hp more than the similar engine in the Mustang GT. It delivers plenty of torque, too, with up to 420 lb-ft at 4,600 rpm. That would put the Mach 1 in the same general power range as the original Ford GT that dominated the Le Mans circuit in the late 1960s and inspired the recent popular film. While performance numbers aren’t out yet, the similar engine in the BULLITT allows that Mustang Variant to go from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds and run a quarter-mile in 12.6 seconds with a trap speed of 115 mph. The Mach 1 and the BULLITT also share the same cue-ball shift knob when the Mach 1 is equipped with a six-speed manual.

The Mach 1 benefits from many the speed parts that make the Shelby Mustangs legendary on American roadways and racetracks alike. It gets the same subframe as the GT350 in front and on the rear with stiffer bushings. It also shares the GT350’s intake manifold and engine oil cooler. Among go-fast parts shared with the GT500 are the rear axle cooling system and a rear diffuser with four 4.5-inch exhaust ends.

A set of 19-inch alloy wheels with five spokes and shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires is an homage to the original Magnum 500 wheels on the 1969 Mach 1. Brembo disc brakes give you plenty of “whoa” to keep the frisky Mustang under control. Air intakes under each front turn indicator help to cool down the rotors and enable fun days at the track.

Great Handling and Stability

Redesigned front and rear ends give the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 better aerodynamics and performance. The front end has a longer underbelly pan and additional airfoils that give the new design improved downforce while cooling the brakes with better airflow. An improved rear spoiler on the Mach 1 greatly enhances aerodynamics and improves downforce on the powered rear wheels. Altogether, these aerodynamic enhancements deliver 22 percent more downforce than the Mustang GT, stabilizing steering and improving handling.

An optional Handling Package gives the front end a larger splitter and adds a Gurney-flap wing spoiler to the rear, improving downforce by a whopping 150 percent over the Mustang GT. Wider 19-inch wheels also improve traction and performance over the stock 19-inch wheels by providing better grip and power transfer to the tarmac. However, the Handling Package is only available with the six-speed manual transmission. If you prefer the convenience and quick shifts of the optional ten-speed automatic, you will only have the standard Mach 1 aerodynamics.

The suspension in the Mach 1 comes from advanced racing technology with magnetorheological dampers absorbing bumps and rough roadway surfaces. The dampers use a combination of magnetorheological fluid that contains metallic particles and magnetic energy to provide exceptional handling and stability. Many of the best production sports cars use the same technology to ensure stability in cars that are very low to the ground and have relatively little vertical damping potential.

Interior Comforts Keep it Cool

The interior of a blue 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is shown through an open door.

The original Mach 1 debuted more than 50 years ago. The 21st-century edition is decidedly modern and provides good comfort for up to four passengers. But while you can fit friends and family in a pinch, the Mach 1 is still a two-door coupe, and those seated in the front bucket seats will be far more comfortable than those seated in the back. If you like black, then you will love the blacked-out interior. Cloth and leather are the primary options for upholstery and seat coverings.

The new Mach 1 is not a family car. It is a race car with an LCD instrument cluster measuring more than a foot tall. Door sill plated and an engraved badge that lists the Mach 1’s chassis number gives the little accents that make the interior stand out. You can be ensconced in leather if you prefer, but cloth seats will do a better job of keeping driver and passenger firmly planted with more grip on the seating surface.

Safety Features Ensure Grins, not Frowns

The Mach 1 certainly will come with first-rate seat belts and airbag arrangements. It also comes with Ford Co-Pilot 360 Technology, which provides blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warnings, and pre-collision assist with automatic engine braking. The Mach 1 uses radar detection to determine when the appropriate safety feature should engage and make your travels much safer.

Lane-keeping assist will prevent the Mach 1 from drifting out of its travel lane while adaptive cruise control and automated braking will help to prevent rear-ending a vehicle or other object. Another active assistance feature is automated high-beam headlights that will dim when they detect approaching traffic. Electronic stability control is included via Ford’s AdvanceTrac system, which helps to maintain traction on slippery surfaces. The traction control helps to prevent the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 from losing its grip and the tires from spinning or skidding out of control. If the roadway is wet or otherwise slick, the AdvanceTrac system adjusts the power delivery to maintain traction.

A Race-Ready Mustang

With all of its advanced features, the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 represents a revival of Ford’s affordable performance lineup. While it may not have all the performance of a Shelby GT350 or GT500, the Mustang Mach 1 is a much more attainable vehicle. And although it is more expensive than a Mustang GT, it sports all of the features you need to take your car straight from the dealership to the track.

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