Ford Mustang Mach 1 Is Back for 2021 with 480 HP, Aggressive Aero

  • The Ford Mustang Mach 1 is back after 17 years with some upgrades from the higher-performance Shelby GT350 and GT500.
  • The new Mach 1 is powered by a 480-hp 5.0-liter V-8 with a standard six-speed manual transmission from the Shelby GT350, although a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters is available.
  • The Mach 1 will arrive at dealerships in spring 2021 with an expected starting price of around $50,000.

If cars could procreate, and the Ford Mustang Bullitt and high-performance Shelby variants got together and threw on a little Marvin Gaye, the result would be the new Mach 1 Mustang. After a 17-year hiatus, the Mach 1 is back, and it’s powered by a more powerful 480-hp 5.0-liter V-8, has the same ivory white cue-ball shifter as the Bullitt (if you choose to #SaveTheManuals), and is fitted with all sorts of track-ready upgrades from the Shelby GT350 and GT500.

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In the Mach 1, the 5.0-liter V-8 pumps out 480 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque—the same output as the Steve McQueen–inspired Bullitt—and comes standard with the six-speed manual transmission from the Shelby GT350, now with rev matching, although a 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is available. During Car and Driver testing, the manual-only Bullitt launched to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and raced through the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds at 115 mph. The best part is that manual-equipped Mach 1s come with the same white cue-ball shift knob as the Bullitt—a C/D staff favorite.

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The Mach 1’s 5.0-liter V-8 gets some good stuff from the Shelby GT350, too, including its intake manifold, oil-filter adapter, and engine oil cooler. Additionally, the Mach 1 has the GT350’s front and rear subframe with stiffer bushings. It gets a few things from the 760-hp Shelby GT500 as well, including the rear axle cooling system, rear toe link, and rear diffuser—and there are four new 4.5-inch exhaust tips sticking out the back. Better yet, MagneRide dampers are standard on the Mach 1.

The Mach 1’s lower front vents are also taken from the Shelby GT350; the driver’s side cools the 5.0-liter engine while the passenger side cools the transmission. Above that are incandescent park and turn lamps, also stripped from the GT350, and two large intakes are integrated into the grille that cool the engine and transmission oil. Sitting in between the air holes is the pony badge, finished in a low-gloss silver called Magnetic, and Mach 1 badges adorn the front fenders and the rear decklid.

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The standard Mach 1 rides on 19-inch five-spoke Tarnished Dark painted aluminum wheels, which pay tribute to the classic Magnum 500–style wheels from Mach 1s of old, and are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. The Mach 1 comes with the choice of seven exterior colors: Iconic Silver, Shadow Black, Oxford White, Velocity Blue, Twister Orange, Race Red, and Grabber Yellow. The satin-black vinyl side and hood stripes can be had trimmed in either red or white.

Ford is offering an appearance package for the new Mach 1 that only comes in Fighter Jet Gray, and it has a ton of orange accents. Those satin-black side and hood stripes have Appearance pack–exclusive orange trim, the Brembo brakes are orange, and the seats have an orange bar stitched across the back. In our opinion, the gray and orange looks best paired with the fully equipped Handling package.

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Ford

Wannabe Carroll Shelbys who want the most aggressive and capable Mach 1 can opt for the manual-only Handling package, which includes exclusive staggered 10.5-/11-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, adjustable front strut top mounts, an even higher-downforce front splitter, and a swing rear spoiler with Gurney flap from the GT500. Ford claims that the Handling package’s upgrades, along with the Mach 1’s new underbelly pan—which is 20 inches longer than the Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 1’s pan—give the Mach 1 150 percent more downforce than the PPL1 Mustangs.

The limited-production 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 will arrive at dealerships in spring 2021 with an estimated starting price around $50,000. When asked if Ford is discontinuing the Mustang Bullitt and replacing it with the Mach 1, a Ford spokesman told C/D that it is “not sharing full details on the ’21 model year Mustang lineup at this time.”

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