November 27, 2021

The Ford Mustang Mach 1 was originally introduced in August 1968 as a 1969 model. The name Mach 1 is derived from the speed of sound and was designed to be a performance bargain. 

The Mach 1 has never claimed to have Shelby or Boss performance, but it’s definitely a great medial option in the Mustang family and that hasn’t changed with the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1. 

This year, Ford slimmed down the Mustang’s available trim levels and replaced the Shelby gt350, Bullet and Mustang GT PP2 and to come up with the Mach 1. 

Ford decided to get its Gordon Ramsay on and whip up something magnificent in the kitchen for the Mustang brand. The Mach 1 is a parts-bin Mustang, but the Mach 1 has taken notes and used the knowledge gained to piece together the perfect Coyote-powered 5.0 liter V8 track car. 

Ford also saw fit to mate the Coyote motor with the Tremec’s TR-3160 six-speed manual transmission that comes out of the Shelby GT350– a huge upgrade when compared to the GT’s standard  MT82 transmission.

Price

Starting at $52,915, the Mach 1 is at a great median price when it comes to the GT and GT500 trim levels. You get all the track-appropriate goodies so you can stay out on the track longer, but if you want the handling package to add on you’re looking at a $56,416 price tag with a six-speed manual transmission 

What The Mach 1 replaces  

Ford drops the Shelby gt350, Bullet, and Mustang GT PP2 and replaces them with the Mach 1.

Engine/Transmission

  • Gen 3 Coyote 5.0 
  • 480hp
  • 460 ft tq
  • 3,700lbs

Before the Mach 1 was released, the GT350 had been roaming the streets with a flat-plane Voodoo V8 motor. It was a higher-revving motor with the same engine technology that just debuted in the C8 Corvette Z06. Ford developers were headed in the right direction, but decided to go back to the deeper roar that most American muscle cars are more known for. They decided to go back to the Mustang’s roots with the lower-revving but proven Coyote 5.0 motor in this generation Mach 1. 

The Mach 1’s horsepower is given a 20-horsepower bump over the standard Mustang GT and delivers 480 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. These power numbers are achieved by Ford adding a larger 85mm throttle body, GT350’s intake manifold, and an open airbox straight from the GT350. Unlike last year’s GT and Bullet trim, the Mach 1 upgraded the clunky and problematic MT82 transmission with the GT350’s  Tremec’s TR-3160 six-speed manual transmission. This is single handedly the best drivetrain upgrade the Coyote configured Mustang needed. This transmission is one of the best transmissions that we’ve tested in years. Clutch engagement is a little stiff for some, but the way the Mach 1 shifts is almost unmatched and gives you peace of mind that the transmission is strong enough to handle the constant abuse of an occasional track day. The Mach 1 also incorporates the GT and Bullitt’s rev-match and no-lift-shift functions as well to help you get the best response when competing. The Mach 1 claims to go from 0 to 60mph in 4.3 seconds and run at 12.6 at 115mph in the quarter-mile. With Drag Mode engaged some people have been pulling in as low as high 11-second passes, so this is a very capable machine right off the lot. Ford also added a new underbelly pan that extends 20 inches more towards the rear of the vehicle. This minor change has helped make the Mach 1 more aerodynamic with a reduced lift. 

10-speed auto transmission

The 10-speed automatic is a less engaging experience, but if you want the most consistent times, this is the transmission to go with. Gear changes are quick, smooth, and precise. This transmission is definitely a fine-tuned machine that puts you right where you want to be in the powerband so you can get maximum performance. The Mach 1 receives an upgraded torque converter to ensure that it holds up on those brutal track days. 

Parts borrowed from the GT350 

  • Tremec’s TR-3160 six-speed manual transmission comes out of the Shelby GT350 and replaces the Getrig MT-80 transmissions that are in the standard GT trim level 
  • Revised MagneRide adaptive dampers
  • stiffer sway bars and front springs
  • reworked electric power steering system.

Parts borrowed from the GT PP2

  • upgraded brake booster

Parts borrowed from the GT500

  • Differential cooler
  • Steering input shaft
  • Transmission cooler
  • Oil cooler
  • Front and rear subframes
  • Stiffer bushings
  • Rear toe link

Active Exhaust

Ford incorporated an active valve performance exhaust that opens and closes depending on which of 5 selectable driver modes is selected. Also Taken from the GT500, the Mach 1 comes with four-and-a-half-inch exhaust tips. A quiet mode is available, but when you’re ready to enjoy your symphony you can switch modes to a loud and aggressive exhaust note. This is great for your early commutes or late-night trips to Mexico for some runs.

Wheels and Tires

The Mach 1 sits on 19-inch wheels that are 9.5 inches wide in the front, and 10 inches in the rear to help keep all the power to the ground. The standard Mach 1 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and wheels are the same specs as that of the GT GT350, but the Mach 1 does trade off carbon for aluminium wheels. There are 19-inch rims wrapped in 255/40’s up front and 275/40’s in the rear, but if you decide to go with Ford’s $3,500 handling package, it adds a more aggressive staggered width and lighter-weight wheel set up. Ford stays with 19-inch rims, but widens them to 10.5 inches up front and 11 inches in the back, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. With the wheel setups being so wide, expect lots of tramlining, so be prepared to keep two hands on the road if you’re on some uneven roads. 

Suspension and added cooling

The Tremec’s TR-3160 six-speed manual transmission mated to the Coyote 5.0 seems to be an amazing match, and Ford decided to add some butter to the roll by fine-tuning the suspension and giving the Mach 1 the cooling capabilities to really push your baby on a track. To improve ride and handling, the Mach 1 has taken some of the best suspension components from other Mustang Trim levels. Ford made sure the Mach 1 was capable of dealing with and giving its drivers a long day of worry-free therapy at the track. The Mach 1 is equipped with the latest MagneRide dampers and includes stiffer sway bars, front springs, rear subframe,  stiffer bushings, and rear toe-link from the Shelby GT500. An upgraded brake booster, stiffer steering I-shaft, and new electric power steering calibration is also integrated into this nicely balanced machine, and to keep your power train a little cooler, Ford has blessed us with oil, transmission, and differential coolers.

The Mach 1 Handling Package ($4,500)

  • Larger front splitter, 
  • New front wheel lip moldings
  • Magnetic swing rear spoiler with a Gurney flap (increases downforce by 150 percent) 
  • Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 tires (305/30 front, 315/30 rear) wrap unique, wider 19-inch wheels, while adjustable strut tower braces provide extra rigidity and sharpness.
  • six-piston Brembo brake calipers in the front, 
  • a stiffer front suspension 
  • K-brace, 
  • a heavy-duty radiator, a 
  • Torsen limited-slip rear diff with 3.73 gears
  • larger rear sway bar. 

Interior/ Infotainment

The Mach 1 has plenty of special interior features, including the new door sill plates as well as a badge on the dash that has the car’s chassis number inscribed on it. All these make way for an extremely upscale interior when compared to past Mustangs. The Mach 1 comes with impressive tech features thanks to the standard Sync 3 infotainment system. This system is optional on lower Mustang models. The Sync 3 system is extremely easy to use and has excellent voice controls. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are also available in the Mach 1. Ford includes Track Apps that give you the ability to monitor your acceleration, brake performance, lap timer, launch control, and electronic line lock. The Bullet also has two pod-style gauges on the center dash that lets you monitor Oil pressure and vacuum. The Mach 1 seats pay homage to the 69 Mustang and showcase a hint of a retro inside of this modern cockpit. If you think the stock seats aren’t sporty enough you have an option for RECARO® Cloth Sport Seats. Most people think they are stiffer and less comfortable than the base seats, but I think they fit just right.

Safety Features

The Mach 1 is well equipped with all the advanced driver-assist features Ford calls Co-Pilot360. It includes lane-keeping assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic high-beam headlights, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot warning with cross-traffic alert. 

Automotive Test Drives

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