2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1: Classic name gets modern 480hp V8

Ford has officially revealed its latest pony car, with the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 promising to be the most track-ready V8 with its various performance and handling improvements. Based on the Mustang GT fastback coupe, the new Mach 1 marks a return to dealerships of a nameplate last seen 17 years ago.

Even then, it was a storied badge. Ford launched the first Mustang Mach 1 on the 1969 model year car, in mid-1968, with upgrades to the suspension, styling, wheels, and a variety of engines. Over the intervening years, the Mach 1 variant came and went, applied to different generations of Mustang but each time focusing on usable performance.

For the 2021 Mustang Mach 1, the 5.0-liter V8 pushes 480 horsepower through a standard 6-speed manual Tremec 3160 transmission, borrowed from the Shelby GT350. That has rev-matching and a short-throw shifter. A 10-speed automatic is optional, with an upgraded torque converter and unique calibration. Peak horsepower arrives at 7,000 rpm, while the 420 lb-ft of torque peaks at 4,600 rpm.

The front end has been finessed with a deep 3D mesh, shark-noised section, and faux lamp elements, intended to be reminiscent of the original Mach 1. There are also new side grilles and a low-gloss Magnetic pony badge centered on the grille. It matches the other low-gloss trim on the mirror caps, rear spoiler, and elsewhere.

New Tarnished Dark-painted aluminum wheels are offered, in 19-inch x 9.5-inch and 19-inch x 10-inch sizes, again as a modern twist on the original Magnum 500 wheels. Ford will offer a Handling Package – only with the manual Mach 1, mind – that has wider 19-inch x 10.5 and 19-inch x 11-inch wheels front and back, respectively. It also adds a higher downforce front splitter, new front wheel lip moldings, and a low-gloss Magnetic swing spoiler with a Gurney flap and rear tire spats from Shelby GT500.

It's enough for 150-percent more downforce compared to the Mustang GT with Performance Pack Level 1, Ford says. Even without the Handling Package, the standard Mustang Mach 1 offers 22-percent more downforce than that car.

There's new MagneRide calibration, a stiffer steering I-shaft, and new EPA calibration too, along with stiffer sway bars and front springs. The Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2 donates its brake booster, while the Shelby GT500 generously shares its rear toe-link and lower diffuser. Ford also throws in two side heat exchangers – one for engine oil cooling, the other for transmission oil cooling – and a rear axle cooling system, plus a new underbelly pan for smoothing and increasing airflow.

Outside, Satin Black side and hood stripes are included with reflective accent strips in Red, White, and Orange. There'll be an exclusive Fighter Jet Gray paint, alongside the regular Iconic Silver, Shadow Black, Oxford White, Velocity Blue, Twister Orange, Race Red, and Grabber Yellow.

As for the cabin, that gets ebony seats with an accent stripe on the leather-trimmed cars, plus a new Dark Spindrift instrument panel with aluminum accents. New door sill plates and a white cue ball shift knob have been added too, plus new graphics on the standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 will arrive in the US and Canada in the spring of 2021, the automaker says. Pricing will be confirmed closer to launch, but we're expecting it to slot in somewhere under the $60,440 of a Shelby GT350.