Return of the Ford Mustang Mach 1

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2022 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Road Test: Return of the Ford Mustang Mach 1 
In continuous production since 1964, the Ford Mustang is currently the longest-produced car in the Ford lineup. Over the years the car has gone from a sporty V8, to the gas-saving Mustang II (1974-1978), to the fire-breathing Mustang GT, Mach 1, Boss 429, SVO and Cobra variants. But now, seven generations away from the original WWII fighter plane named two-door, the track-ready Mustang Mach 1 returns this year to offer white knuckle, sports car thrills. 

Few automobiles have a hallowed history or winning reputation that can come close to the Ford Mustang Mach 1. The legendary Camaro killer and Firebird fighter has gone through many changes over the years. Originally offered from 1969 to 1978, the Mach 1 returned briefly in 2003-2004 as part of Ford's heritage program but was discontinued with the arrival of the fifth generation Mustang. 

The term "Mach 1" is equal to the "speed of sound" and when first introduced in 1969, the beefed-up Mustang Mach 1 was poised to whisk drivers away at supersonic speeds for less money than its Boss 429 and Cobra variants. Those with a need for speed bought the Mach 1 in record numbers, outselling the popular GT model. The original Mach 1 boasted wins on the SCCA Manufacturer's Rally Championships in 1969 and 1970 and set 295 mph speed and endurance records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. 


  

Tire-shredding Fun!

According to Dave Pericak, director of Ford Icons (cool title), the new Mach 1 will "claim the top spot in our 5.0-liter V8 performance lineup and reward our most hardcore Mustang enthusiasts who demand the next level of power, precision, and collectability." The 5.0-liter Coyote V8 will saddle up the new Mach 1 with 480 screaming horses and 420-pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm. Redline happens at 7,500 rpms. Marry that monster motor to the Shelby GT350's Tremec TR-3160 six-speed manual transmission, with a short-throw shifter and twin-disc clutch, and you've got yourself a serious date to detonate!   

Zero to 60 mph times from a dead start happens in a neck-cracking 4.2 seconds and the seriously swift Mach 1 will run a quarter mile in 12.2 seconds. That's faster than a Dodge Challenger R/T or a BMW M2 Competition. It doesn't goof around when it comes to braking either, screeching to a halt from 60 miles per hour in a best-in-class 94 feet. 

Sharing some of its suspension goodies with the Shelby GT500, the Mach 1 comes with MagneRide shocks that have been specially tuned as well as stiffer anti-roll bars and front springs. It also benefits from firmer sub-frame bushings, rear toe link, rear diffuser and rear-axle cooling system from the Shelby.   

As a nod to the original Mach 1, this reborn stallion offers 19-inch five-spoke smoked wheels wearing sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. To slow all that horsepower down, you'll find a pair of serious six-piston Brembo calipers and rotors up front, matched to single-piston rear brakes. You can upgrade to the 20-inch wheel and tire package off of the Shelby GT500 that gives you a half inch wider rear wheels and tires for meaty smoke-outs. 

But you didn't buy the Mach 1 for nondescript trips to the grocery store, did you? We thought not. 
Let it be said that we think the maestros of Ford's "Go-fast Division" should consider changing the Track mode label to "God Help You!" By simply tapping on the mode selector and selecting Track mode, you'll notice some not so subtle changes on the digital instrument panel. A large tachometer will appear as well as a stability control light. You have the option of turning off the Traction Control but keep in mind that those Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires cost around two hundred dollars each. 

Driving this car in Track mode will make you feel like NASCAR's Kyle Busch or possibly Denny Hamlin. The 480 horses are at your command to handle incredible amounts of torque for amazing launches and masterful power as you tear through the gears. Ford's no-lift-shift feature allows for effortless shifting to manage all that sheer power. Did we mention that this powerful pony has Launch Control on tap? 

 So, what's it like? Let's see… what is driving the Mach 1 in Track mode like? Imagine you have saddled a tiger and that it is racing around at full runaway tilt with you holding on for dear life, maneuvering it by the scruff of the neck. Exhilarating? YES! Turning in on a steep corner proves that the Mach 1's steering puts the GT version to shame thanks to its stiffer electric power steering and 3.73 Torsen limited-slip rear axle.   

You can push this nimble beast for hours on end on track days without experiencing engine or transmission over-heating or even brake fade. For those not interested in pushing this pony express to its limits, a ten-speed automatic gearbox is also available, but you'll lose the Torsen limited-slip differential. It must be said that the automatic still offers mind-melting thrills and keeps the engine right in the sweet spot of its power band at all speeds and driving conditions. 

Wrap it up, we'll take it! 
Keep in mind that this is a track-ready coupe and was never really built to be stuck in rush hour traffic. The ride is very firm, and it is a bit noisy inside that car, however, you would expect that in a sports car of this caliber. But for those who buy the Mach 1 for its racing prowess, this 'Stang does indeed break the sound barrier and delivers like a thoroughbred.