Since its inception in 1964, Ford Mustang has been a car pony car for the people. so called blue collarSports car for the co-worker. But the average worker with a bit more hair on his chest has opted since the 1969 Mustang Mach 1, a slightly more powerful, sportier series that wants to bridge the gap between “regular” Mustangs and models that drive outside of Shelby.
Fortunately, that’s no different in 2021: Although Ford has been making a fuss for a while with its new electric SUV’Mustang Mach E‘, still maintaining the Mach 1 tradition of the traditional Mustang. Today’s Mach 1 aims to be the fastest selling Mustang worldwide, and to be fully tuned for track use. Since the Shelby models were not imported in Europe, there is certainly something to be said for this claim.
Bullitt On Shelby
The Mustang Mach 1 is definitely not a GT version just with some extra power from the V8. Ford starts from the closed ‘Fastback’ variant anyway, but takes the block from bulit as a basis. So the 460 hp, 529 Nm V8 gets extra oil cooling to last longer on the track. It is optionally mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission with a modified torque converter or a new six-speed manual gearbox. It comes from specialist Tremec, finds its basis in the Shelby GT350, and was developed largely in Belgium. The six-speed gearbox gets a two-disc reinforced clutch, short shift travel and a Matching speed-Middle throttle function when shifting to a lower gear.
The power still goes to the rear wheels, where it passes through a limited-slip differential to reach the tarmac more efficiently. Ford installed 19-inch wider wheels, modified Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rubber and stiffer Brembo brake discs. The suspension features stiffer springs and anti-roll bars and uses components from Shelby GT350 and GT500, while adaptive MagneRide dampers are standard and custom-tuned for Mach 1. The entire air duct around Mach 1 has also been modified to improve cooling and aerodynamics. For example, the Mach 1 Mustang produces 22 percent more downforce than the bourgeois version.
Heavy but sharper
Of course, all of these modifications essentially make the Mustang’s steer clearer and get around the circuit more efficient. Fortunately, a rainy spring took a break during the testing session at Ford’s test site in Lommel to try it out for yourself. With the V8 up front, the Mustang also stays pretty heavy in the nose, but the Mach 1 changes direction more decisively than the slower GT. It also has more grip than you’d expect when changing course in corners, so you can build confidence. Although audiences will continue to shift once they reach the limits of physics.
The large naturally aspirated V8 engine unleashes its maximum power at the top of the revs, so you can enjoy a ride. The block has been adapted to the latest emission standards, but thankfully there don’t seem to be decibels missing from the soundtrack. The manual gearbox gives a few tenths of a sprint to 100 km/h (4.8 seconds compared to 4.4 seconds for the automatic), but it remains a pleasure to work with with its steady operation. Moreover, it saves you a small amount of 3000 euros.
Even like the Mach 1, the Ford Mustang isn’t the fastest, most efficient or sharpest sports car. However, his old and raw personality radiates an irresistible allure. The modifications obtained by the Mustang Mach 1 prove their worth. As a result, the additional cost of 12,500 euros is certainly justified. But only if you plan to take advantage of these customizations. In the other case, the naturally aspirated V8 with manual gearbox on the regular GT is at least fun.