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2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is a Limited-Edition, 480 HP Track Terror

Ford is promising the most potent, track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang yet with the limited-edition Mach 1.

The Mach 1 is back. Ford took the wraps off what it’s touting as the most capable, most aggressive 5.0-liter V8 Mustang early Tuesday morning. The limited-edition 2021 Mach 1 uses the GT as its base, but cherry-picks choice parts from the higher Shelby models to bridge the performance gap.

Under that classically long hood is an uprated version of the GT’s V8. Here it pumps out 480 hp at a heady 7,000 rpm, the same as last year’s Bullitt model. Torque peaks at 4,600 rpm, with 420 lb-ft of twist. The power hits the rear wheels through the Shelby GT350’s Tremec six-speed manual. The gearbox gains a new rev-matching system for downshifts. Ford has also pilfered the GT350’s oil cooler system for the Mach 1, and stuck with the GT’s clutch and short-throw shifter.

Those that prefer leaving the shifting to the car can opt for Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission.

This wouldn’t be a Mach 1 without an aggressive exterior look, and Ford has delivered on that front. The front end features a deep splitter, faux-foglight inserts in the grille, and larger side intakes. Ford has gone for black accent pieces, including the side mirrors, rear spoiler, window trim, badging and lower bodywork. Subtle stripes span the flanks, harking back to the original Mach 1 of 1969. At the back, a quartet of 4.5-inch exhaust tips announce the Mach 1’s arrival or—more likely—departure. The whole package sits over new 19-inch, five-spoke wheels, harkening back to the original Magnum 500-style items.

An available Handling Package cranks up the visual aggression and the Mach 1’s dynamic abilities. Available only on six-speed models, it adds an extra inch of width to the wheels at all four corners, now up to 11 inches out back. It also cribs the monster rear spoiler and tire spats from the Shelby GT500. Ford throws in a larger front splitter and wider front wheel arches too. Stock, the Mach 1 produces 22 percent more downforce than a Performance Pack-equipped GT. With the Handling Package, that jumps to roughly 150 percent.

Ford will offer the Mach 1 with eight exterior colors, one of which, the Fighter Jet Gray seen here, is exclusive to the model, and available only with the Appearance Package.

SEE ALSO: 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost High-Performance Package Review

With Ford’s target being track dominance, the Blue Oval has included a few choice upgrades to improve the Mach 1’s endurance on circuits. There are two side heat exchangers to cool engine and transmission oil, and a rear-axle cooling system from the GT500. An underbelly pan stretches 20 inches further aft than the Mustang GT PP. It smooths airflow, with Mach 1-unique changes to direct more air into the brake cooling ramps, improving downforce and brake performance.

Rounding out the dynamic changes, Ford has fitted the latest version of its MagneRide system as standard, and modified the electric power-steering calibration. There are stiffer sway bars and front springs, and sticky Michelin PS4 tires. Lastly, it picks up stiffer rear bushings and a rear toe-link from the Shelby GT500.

Inside, there’s a unique instrument panel, and Mach 1s with leather interiors will pick up an accent stripe on the seats. The all-digital instrument cluster gets a new Mach 1 splash screen, and manual cars get a retro white cue ball shifter. A plaque displays the Mach 1’s individual chassis number.

If you want a Mach 1, you’ll want to hurry: it will be a limited-edition model when it arrives in dealerships spring 2021. Expect pricing and production numbers closer to that date.

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