Tuesday, July 20, 2021

IN THE DRIVEWAY: The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Let's take a brief drive down memory lane for just a moment. It’s 1969, Woodstock was happening, we just landed on the moon, Joe Namath and the Jets won the Super Bowl, and the Ford Mustang Mach 1 was thundering down the streets with its 428 Cobra Jet V8 engine and Magnum 500 wheels. Times were definitely different back then. Today, we have entrepreneurs building their own space ships and flying into space, a 43-year old quarterback leading his team to the Super Bowl and the Mustang, well, it's still around. In fact, the Mach returned last year, but as an electric vehicle and called the Mustang Mach-E.  While impressive, the Mach-E is a far cry from the Mach 1 of 50 years ago. But if you're one that still has gasoline running through your veins, you'll be happy to hear that for 2021, Ford has brought back the Mach 1 - and in the form that we originally remembered it.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is Ford’s latest iteration of the current Mustang. Slotted between the Mustang GT and the GT500, the Mach 1, is a limited production car that combines Mustang heritage with current technology.  

Fans of the 1969 Mach1 will recognize some familiar traits on this new version. The front air dam extension, the black accent stripes running the length of the car right above the rocker panels, and the wing in the back, all painted a low-gloss black, mimics the original car very well. Even the wheels are reimagined Magnum 500 aluminum wheels.

Just as the 428 Cobra Jet impressed 1969 Mach 1 owners, the new Mach 1 has an equally impressive engine under its hood. The 5.0 (460 hp, 420 lb-ft) Coyote engine borrowed from the Mustang GT is massaged to 480 hp along with the same torque rating and is offered with either a six-speed manual or a ten-speed automatic transmission.

Unfortunately, the shaker hood from the original isn't on this new Mach 1 but make no mistake about it, this Mustang will still put a smile on your face as you step on the pedal.  With 480 hp, the Mach 1 has enough power to hit 60 mph ins just a tick over four seconds. And unlike pony cars of old where manual shifting versions would out run automatics, in today's world, the automatic equipped Mach 1, like the tester, is quicker than the manual.  The fun-factor between the two, though, is still up for debate.

On the road, the Mach 1 displays great manners, thanks to a specially tuned suspension. There is a terrific blend of power, handling, and ride comfort. While I prefer to manually change gears by way of three pedals and a stick, I have to admit the automatic is hardly disappointing. Kept in automatic mode, it knows all the right times to shift. When you want to take control, the paddle shifters lets you go through the ten gears and feel like Marion Andretti. And the exhaust note - it's deep, throaty, and pure American muscle. Six-piston front Brembo brakes assures the Mach 1 stops just as quickly as it goes.

Inside the Mach 1, with the exception of the instrument cluster, which is all digital, it's typical Mustang GT, which is a good thing. Everything is easy to use and within fingertips reach. One feature I have always like about the Mustang is the visibility out of it - which is much better than it's Camaro and Challenger competitors.

In a time when much of the auto industry is focusing on electric vehicles, such as Fords Mustang Mach E, I applaud Ford for not forgetting their history and heritage. The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is an excellent example. Here is a car that, more than 50 years ago, made a statement. Today, with modern advancements and technology, the Mach 1 is back in true form - and making it a great way to cruise down memory lane.