The Mach 1 Mustang is one of those musclecars most petrolhead kids growing up in SA in the 1980s would recognise. We weren’t privy to many Mustangs, but the Mach 1 was one you could always tell apart thanks to its distinctive decals. Ford HQ just announced that it will be reviving the name for an all-new derivative based on the current model of Pony car.

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The very first Mach 1 made its debut in the US in 1969. Mach 1 had a competition-derived suspension and it was longer and larger than the original. Best of all, buyers could choose from an assortment of powerful engine options. In 1974 the name was applied to a hatchback version of the ’Stang, which could be fitted with an optional Rallye suspension package.

Ford used the name again for the 2003 and 2004 model years. These newer cars had 1970s-era design elements. They also featured uprated suspension with larger Brembo front-disc brakes. A matte black spoiler and hood stripe helped the Mach 1 standout.

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“Mach 1 has always been that bridge between base Mustangs and the Shelby models,” said Ted Ryan, heritage brand manager, Ford Archives. “From a style and handling perspective, the original Mach 1 managed to stand out as unique, even in the Mustang line-up – and as the name implies, it could really move.”

Continuing the legacy

The Mach 1 derivatives boasted improved performance versus entry-level Mustang GTs and they were more attainable than Shelby and Boss variants. This latest version will be no different. It will be the epitome of naturally aspirated 5,0-litre V8 in the range, essentially replacing the Bullitt edition. Ford has said very little besides the quotes here and these official images that accompanied the press release.

However, we do get a few little hints from the images. The most obvious difference is the circular air inlets in the grille. At the rear, we can see a larger spoiler and four massive exhaust outlets. Looking at the wheel detail we see larger Brembo calipers and sticky Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tyres.

“Mach 1 has a special place in Mustang history, and it’s time for this special edition to claim the top spot in our 5,0-litre V8 performance line-up and reward our most hardcore Mustang enthusiasts who demand that next level of power, precision and collectability,” said Dave Pericak, director, Ford Icons. “Like the original, the all-new Mustang Mach 1 will be true to its heritage, delivering great looks and as the most track-capable 5,0-litre Mustang ever.”