2021 Mustang Mach 1 confirmed: Ford makes a new V8 icon

Ford is bringing back one of its most iconic Mustang nameplates, with the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 headed to dealerships for those looking for the most track-ready version of the muscle car. The name may have inspired Ford's new electrified Mustang Mach-E crossover, but pony car enthusiasts shouldn't be concerned: the new Mach 1 is still very much a V8.

Ford first used the Mach 1 name back on its 1969 model year Mustang, launched in August 1968. It took the Mustang GT and upgraded the suspension, a matte black hood stripe with pins and a scoop, new wheels, and rear window louvers which Ford referred to as SportSlats. Four different V8 engines were offered, up to a whopping 7.0-liters in size.

Since that point, the Mach 1 name shifted in and out of dealerships, each time offering something more potent and potentially rewarding than the regular Mustang. After a break in the 80s and 90s, Ford rebooted the badge for the 2003 and 2004 model year Mustang. That fourth generation Mach 1 paired design details from the original with a new handling suspension system and bigger brakes, among other changes.

While the underlying Mustang may have changed over the decades, the Mach 1's positioning has remained the same: offer enthusiast drivers a mid-way point between the regular Mustang and the Shelby versions. Now, Ford believes it's time to do that again. Today it confirmed that there's an all-new 2021 Mustang Mach 1 in the pipeline.

Details are scant at the moment. What we know is that it will have a 5.0-liter V8 engine, and sit above the Mustang GT in the current lineup. It's intended to "reward our most hardcore Mustang enthusiasts who demand that next level of power, precision and collectability" according to Dave Pericak, director of Ford Icons. It should also be "the most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang ever."

Sure enough, Ford's images of the new 2021 Mustang Mach 1 show it on just that playground, being tested out on the track. There's camouflage front and rear, unsurprisingly, though the car's sizable circular intakes in the front grille, big rear spoiler, and serious-looking Brembo brakes are clear.

Inside, we're guessing that Ford will stick to Mach 1 heritage and throw in chunky upgraded sports seats and new cabin trim The Mustang's existing digital instrumentation will likely get new graphics too – easy swaps for customization is one of the benefits of doing away with physical dials, after all – and since the Mach 1 idea was never stripped-out minimalism, there should be some creature comforts in there still.

When, exactly, we'll know all this for sure, Ford isn't saying. We're expecting to see more of the 2021 Mustang Mach 1 later in the year, as the automaker settles any lingering concerns from old-school enthusiasts that their pony car might succumb entirely to electrification.