You could fall in love with it, but you might not want to. The Mustang Mach 1 brings a conglomeration of goodies to this venerable pony car.
The Mach 1 name has been used twice before and returns for the current generation of the car that we love. From the GT model on up, you will find items that are situated in this Mustang to give us a car that might be considered a Frankenstein, might be too much of too many things, or it could be exactly right for you.
It’s Not a Shelby Car
This special version of the Ford Mustang doesn’t quite measure up to the GT350, GT350R, or the GT500, but it’s not supposed to. If you were thinking that adding the Mach 1 name to this car would make it more than the Shelby versions, think again. This specialized model is situated below the versions with the Cobra on the front and above the GT model to occupy a small space in the lineup. It’s pretty clear the idea behind this car was to merge qualities we love about several different Mustangs together.
Looks, Drives, and Sounds Right
The style offered for the Mustang Mach 1 is unmistakable. This car appears to fit ideally in the lineup with racing stripes and special badges that make it known what this car offers. The addition of the rear spoiler from the GT500 gives us our first glimpse of how this car has borrowed other Mustang parts. You’ll have to look in the wheels to see them, but the Mach 1 also packs the Brembo brakes of the top Shelby car while also using the MagneRide dampers and a Torsen rear differential to help it have the driving performance desired.
On the wheels, you will see a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires that give the Mach 1 all the grip it needs out on the track. Open the hood, and the Coyote engine of the GT is what you’ll find. The long-appreciated 5.0-liter V8 packs a serious punch, giving the Mach 1 480 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. That figure is 20 horsepower higher than what is offered in the GT model.
Overall, the driving package of the Mach 1 Mustang allows it to be a much more compelling car than the GT. The GT can feel harsh and unbalanced, but the performance additions for the Mach 1 allow it to be planted and controlled. This means you can take the corners hard and know you’re not going to lose the rear end or bounce around on the track.
The Right Way to Shift this Mustang
The amazing Coyote engine of the Mach 1 is attached to a Tremec six-speed manual transmission from the GT350Rto give you an added level of fun and engagement. This transmission is tough enough for hard shifting and adrenaline to pump from you into the gears.
If you’re looking for the use of GT350 items in the Mach 1, all you’ve got to do is peek inside the cabin. This is where you’ll see the Recaro seats that come right out of the GT350. Even the Bullitt model has its hands in this mixture with the manual shift knob brought from that special version of the Mustang.
In the Mustang Mach 1, you have the option of deleting the rear seat, which could save some weight and make this car the track-day special that you want to experience on the weekends. Keep the seats in place, and you’ll have a beautiful Mustang that is a bit more useful.
Putting this Car to the Test
To genuinely appreciate the cornucopia of parts that make the Mach 1 the performance car that it is, this car had to go up against another Mustang on the track. Car and Driver put the Mach 1 against the GT350R through the Lightning Lap test. Reviewing their results, the Mach 1 performed extremely well and gave us the speed and fun desired at any track. The true surprise of the test is the fact that the Mach 1 was faster than the GT350R for the entire lap.
At the end of the test, the 2:51.4 lap time for the Mustang Mach 1 was 0.4 seconds faster than the GT350R. This is a time that put this Frankenstein version of the Mustang at the top of the LL2 class for the time being. It might not be long before another car reaches this same speed or better, but for now, the Lightning Lap belongs to the Mach 1.