Brian Harper: The title is retro, dusted off and polished after 17 years on the shelf. Then once more, so is the automotive, a minimum of in the event you contemplate a thundering, highly effective, usually aspirated V8 bolted to a Tremec six-speed guide inherently old style. Nonetheless, a minimum of to these of us of a sure age — and, sadly, David, neither of us goes to see 60 once more — the “Mach 1” title affixed to a Mustang has a magic that ought to carry an ear-to-ear grin to getting old motorheads all over the place, particularly those that love Detroit muscle.
For the youthful crowd, although, a quick historical past lesson is so as. The unique 1969 Mustang Mach 1 was one of many highlights of Detroit’s authentic pony automotive wars. Fastback roof, shaker scoop, matte-black-painted hood with cool hood pins, rear deck spoiler, rear window louvres and a giant ol’ 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet V8 to push it. The primary technology lasted solely two years, the title returning for one more two years in 2003 and 2004 earlier than once more disappearing.
Now, after a 17-year hiatus, the Mustang Mach 1 fastback coupe is resurrected as soon as extra for the 2021 mannequin 12 months. Like the unique, this one bridges the hole between GT and Shelby fashions, delivering 480 hp from its 5.0-litre V8.
FoMoCo guarantees this Mach 1 is “probably the most track-capable 5.0-litre Mustang ever,” courtesy of a newly designed entrance finish, plus Ford Efficiency components from the Shelby GT350 and GT500 fashions and an obtainable dealing with bundle for larger at-the-limit dealing with.
So, is Ford blowing smoke or is that this one a keeper?
David Sales space: With a few caveats, it’s a keeper if for no different motive than the Mach 1 is just about the aforementioned GT350 in several garb. Oh, the high-revving flat-plane crank V8 is gone and, with it, 46 hp. However in spirit and in value — the Premium model of the Mach 1 begins at $65,500, which is nearly the identical because the GT350’s $62,599 was in 2016, give or take an inflation level or two — that is the Shelby, vivid purple sheen swapped for a stylish Jet Fighter pastel gray.
With these sneakers to fill and its accountability, as you talked about, as “probably the most track-capable 5.0L Mustang ever,” comes a bunch of upgrades. All Mach 1s, for example, get a cooling system for the rear axle, some fairly nifty aerodynamic scoops, spoilers, and diffusers to not point out a rear toe hyperlink to maintain the wheels in line when issues get squirrely. Throw in a efficiency model of Ford’s magnetorheological dampers and you’ve got a fairly effectively outfitted ’Stang. However, like our favorite late-night pitchman used to say — and you already know who I’m speaking about, Brian, as a result of, as you talked about, we’re from the identical period — “wait, there’s extra.” Our little beastie was blessed with the $4,500 Dealing with Bundle that provides adjustable entrance strut towers, much more aerodynamic aids (boosting down drive by 150 per cent from strange Mustangs) and staggered 19-inch rims. And what beauties they’re, proper?
With these greater wheels comes a set of Ford’s go-to summer time efficiency tires — Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s. Barely a tread to be seen and with rubber that can absolutely say sayonara in lower than 10,000 kilometres, they’ve by no means met a pavement they can not grip, particularly since they’re among the largest tires ever mounted on a home. The rears, for example, are 315/30ZR19, sizeable sufficient to impress even a Lamborghini V12. The fronts, in the meantime, are much more (comparatively) humongous — at 305/30ZR19 they’re tied for the widest entrance tires I’ve ever seen on a manufacturing automotive. Understeer be gone, for regardless of how a lot of the Mach 1’s weight is hanging over the entrance axle, you’ll not get these tires to slip. I can’t wait to get this automotive on the monitor. That stated, such a radical setup comes at a value, which I’ll go away to you, oh clever one, to recount.
BH: Oh, you imply the tramlining? Sure, the Mach 1 could be a handful on topped pavement, or on roads rutted by buses and tractor trailers. And by “handful,” I imply you higher have each arms firmly on the steering wheel. When these meaty Michelins don’t have most grip, they go trying to find it — arduous. It’s under no circumstances a delicate tug. Is the compromise price it for limpet-like adhesion to tarmac, regardless of how curves get in the best way? Relies upon, how robust is the urge to play Pace Racer?
Make no mistake, the Mach 1 could be a hoot to blast round a monitor, very like the GT350 was. However, regardless of formidable efficiency bona fides, it may be pushed gently — in the event you can ignore the candy soul music emanating from the tailpipes as you run the V8 up towards its 7,000-rpm redline (I couldn’t resist). And regardless of having to be strong sufficient to deal with the engine’s 420 pound-feet of torque, the transmission isn’t a grinder to function. The Mustang can simply begin off in second gear with no trace of lugging and the shifts are clear and exact. Actually, the Mach 1 isn’t a bear in metropolis site visitors, although it’s a disgrace to topic the automotive to such mundane exercise.
DB: Sadly, as a result of I actually don’t need to agree with a suburban progressive, I do. First off, the “wandering” of which you communicate on topped roads is an actual annoyance, sufficient so that you simply had higher be shopping for this Mustang over all others as a result of you will have a bona fide want for its dealing with. For those who’re only a poseur who couldn’t discover an apex with a Garmin GPS constructed into the dashboard and Lewis Hamilton sitting within the passenger seat, you’ll be paying a heck of a value for the bragging rights.
Ditto the transmission. Home manuals, particularly these in a position to deal with the torque of a thrumpy V8, was once rock-crushers. Not this Tremec. It’s all creamily easy shifts and (comparatively) gentle clutch actuation. I actually respect the automated “blipper.” I used to be by no means all that good on the previous heel-and-toe and respect the disguising of my numptiness. And, hell, something that resurrects the lovable little white cue-ball shift knob from the Bullitt can’t be unhealthy, can it?
Certainly, there’s nothing apart from the tramlining that flashes purple “don’t purchase this automotive” warnings. The inside just isn’t unhealthy, although, and I believe this may infuriate many a pony automotive fan, it’s not practically as well-hewn because the decor inside the electrical SUV that dares sully the nice Mustang title (you already know, the one which additionally has a “Mach” on its hindquarters). I dare say I anticipated a bit extra aspect bolstering from the seats. That is, in spite of everything, Ford’s — let’s repeat it collectively — “most track-capable 5.0-litre Mustang ever.”
Lastly, I gotta say that I just like the seems of this newest ’Stang. The Dealing with bundle’s wheels are to die for, the graphics effectively styled and the aerodynamic add-ons — spoiler and entrance splitter — aggressive with out being Trailer Park Boys garish. I even just like the paint.
All that stated, although, I gotta admit that it doesn’t flip my crank. I’m well beyond the entire V8 with a stick factor — if I ever was a fan — a lot preferring my engines midships and shifting gears with the mere flip of a paddle. I suppose it’s as a result of I used to be so busy with bikes in these early life — specifically the ’60s and ’70s — when varied types of Mustangs dominated the roost. By the point I obtained into automobiles, Mustangs had been already previous their prime. What I’m making an attempt to say is that, in contrast to you, I’m too younger to be nostalgic about Mach 1s previous.
BH: Jeez, David, I’m solely what, 18 or 19 months older than you? So don’t pull that “too younger” crap with me. It’s only a matter of — to make use of one in all my father’s expressions — “what turns your crank.” And, in contrast to you, I’m much more ambivalent a couple of mid-engine sports activities automotive than I’m a couple of good front-engine/rear-drive sports activities coupe or convertible, one with a correct guide. Each of my very own private automobiles are stick shifts; I just like the extra intimate human/machine connection a guide offers. I feel it higher focuses a driver’s consideration on what’s occurring.
I might think about the enjoyment of seeing some snooty Porsche proprietor’s face as they struggle to determine how the hell some lowly Ford is maintaining with their superior German engineering
That stated, my subject with the Mach 1 is that it is perhaps too track-oriented. Oh, it could be nice to run a number of scorching laps on a twisty circuit, however then what? The Mach 1, regardless of all of the efficiency bells, whistles and add-ons, to not point out the drag strip and racetrack driving modes, is a avenue automotive — one with air con, heated seats, navigation, rear digital camera, and so forth. And as a avenue automotive, it could be much more livable dialed again.
Not the powertrain; I completely love the facility, the shove into the seat as you nail the throttle. However I’d swap out the tester’s expensive Pilots for rubber with a barely narrower width and much more tread. I don’t grasp with a moneyed crowd, having to interchange the tires yearly is an expense I don’t need. (The usual Mach 1 comes with 255/40R19 entrance, 275/40R19 rear summer time tires). And that low-hanging entrance air splitter? It wouldn’t final a season earlier than it obtained ripped from the automotive, a sufferer of something sticking up greater than three inches.
Backside line? I would like this automotive unhealthy, however I additionally need it livable to be able to drive it for as near 12 months of the 12 months as potential. Why? Perhaps I’m being pessimistic, however I see the Mustang gone inside 10 years, the Mach-E being the brand new face of efficiency in an electrified future. If the Mach 1 is consultant of the final breed of uncooked, naturally aspirated V8 muscle automobiles, it must be celebrated, if for no different motive than it makes me and plenty of different motorheads comfortable.
DB: Effectively, I gotta inform you old-timer, in the event you don’t need the spoiler and people mondo-wide wheels — and I’m with you on each counts — there’s the Mustang GT to contemplate.
I’m really glad Ford produces this automotive. No, it’s not for me, however I might think about the enjoyment of looming massive within the rear-view mirror of a 911 on a racetrack simply to see the expression on some snooty Porsche proprietor’s face as they struggle to determine how the hell some lowly Ford is maintaining with their superior German engineering. If that’s you, Ford has a Mustang along with your title on it.