The Ford Mustang Bullitt, Shelby GT350 and GT350R models won’t be offered for 2021 – but the company has resurrected another heritage nameplate.
And unlike the two Shelbys, Ford’s latest limited edition flagship, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1, will also be offered globally.
Ford Australia had no comment on whether we’ll be one of the export markets for the Mach 1.
The 2021 Mustang Mach 1 is powered by Ford’s naturally-aspirated 5.0-litre Coyote V8, producing 358kW of power and 570Nm of torque.
It’s borrowed bits and pieces from other high-performance Mustangs. For example, it borrows its rear axle cooler and lower diffuser from the fire-breathing supercharged Shelby GT500.
Its intake manifold and engine oil cooler come from the Shelby GT350, as does its Tremec six-speed manual transmission with automatic rev matching. A 10-speed automatic is optional.
The car rides on a revised magnetic suspension setup backed by stiffer sway bars and front springs.
Standard features include a retuned electronic power steering system, stiffer rear subframe bushings, and Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres wrapped around wider wheels than the stock GT.
It’s also available with an optional Handling Package, which adds a unique front splitter and rear tyre spats from the Shelby GT500.
The Mach 1’s design pays homage to its predecessors with a deep front splitter and mesh grille complete with retro-inspired lamp inserts, black highlights on the bonnet and flanks, and a larger rear diffuser.
While Australia missed out on the Shelby GT350 and GT350R, which used Ford’s 6.2-litre Voodoo V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft producing 392kW of power and 582Nm of torque, we’ve enjoyed some home-grown hi-po Mustangs.
The limited-edition Mustang R-Spec, fettled by Herrod Performance, features a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine producing 522kW of power and 830Nm of torque.
Herrod’s new SM17 special also has a blown V8, albeit with more power (578kW) but slightly less torque (810Nm).
North American buyers have access to the Shelby GT500, which features a 5.2-litre supercharged cross-plane crank V8 with 567kW of power and 847Nm of torque. It’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sourced.
Like the Shelby GT500, Mach 1 is one of the oldest variant names in Mustang history.
It first appeared on the 1969 Mustang and offered a choice of five V8 engines, the largest being the 7.0-litre 428 4V Cobra Jet. Its success led to Ford withdrawing the GT nameplate after 1969, which didn’t reappear until 1982.
The Mach 1 nameplate sat atop the redesigned 1971 range and was available exclusively with the fastback body. Eleanor in the original Gone in 60 Seconds was a 1973 Mach 1.
The nameplate carried over into the dramatically downsized Mustang II range in 1974. Though the Mustang II was extremely popular at first, particularly in the wake of the first oil crisis, it had the ignominy of being the first Mustang to not offer an optional V8.
One was available in Mexico and Ford’s US operations quickly made it available in 1975.
The Mach 1 nameplate lasted for the rest of the Mustang II’s run but was supplanted by Cobra at the top of the range.
It reappeared in the Mustang line in 2003 and 2004 on a special edition that succeeded the Bullitt, closing out the fourth generation model and packing a version of the Mustang Cobra’s double overhead-cam 4.6-litre V8 engine.