2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1: What We Know And Expect

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The 2021 model year is expected to bring a handful of not-insignificant changes to Ford’s iconic Mustang muscle car. Arguably the biggest of these is the discontinuation of the Shelby GT350, as originally reported by Ford Authority. But another change is also on the horizon: Ford is expected to replace the Mustang Bullitt with a new model called Mach 1. Here’s everything we know and expect about the upcoming 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1.

Bullitt

To fully comprehend the direction Ford will take with the Mach 1, it’s important to first understand the model it will replace – the Bullitt.

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The Mustang Bullitt was introduced for the 2019 model year as a special edition based on the Mustang GT. That means that it’s powered by the peppy Ford 5.0L Coyote V8 engine. But Ford managed to squeeze more power from the Bullitt‘s five-oh thanks to a 97 mm performance air intake, an intake manifold from the Shelby GT350, a larger 87 mm throttle body, plus a unique powertrain control module calibration. The result is a gain or 20 horsepower to 480 horsepower (and the same 420 pound-feet of torque as on the regular GT). Top speed for the Mustang Bullitt was also increased to 163 mph – 8 mph higher than the stock GT.

Other mechanical updates included a fully-active black NitroPlate quad-tip performance exhaust. MagneRide suspension is an option, and the only transmission offered is a six-speed manual.

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The Bullitt is available in two exterior colors – Shadow Black and classic Dark Highland Green. Exterior appointments include subtle chrome accents for the model-specific black grille and window surround, classic heritage-inspired 19-inch, 5-spoke aluminum wheels finished in black, and a set of red-painted Brembo brakes. The only badging visible on the exterior is the circular faux gas gap with the Bullitt logo on the rear decklid. No rear spoiler is included.

Inside, a leather-trimmed interior features accent stitching in green on the dashboard, door panels, center console and seats. A 12-inch LCD digital instrument cluster and a heated steering wheel are standard.

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All that results in a unique and attractive package. However, as has been rumored for the past several months, and recently confirmed by VIN decoder documents, the Bullitt will be replaced by the Mustang Mach 1 for the 2021 model year.

Mach 1

The going theory about the Mach 1 is that it will be similar to the Bullitt, keeping all of its mechanical improvements. We expect the same playful 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque from the naturally-aspirated Coyote 5.0, continuing to give it the performance edge over the stock Mustang GT. We also expect the active, quad-tipped exhaust to be present and accounted for.

Currently unknown is whether the Mach 1 will follow the Bullitt’s direction of being offered exclusively with a six-speed stick, or whether Ford’s excellent 10-speed automatic will be offered as an option. Adding an auto typically expands a vehicle’s market potential.

What’s not unknown is the fact that the Mustang Mach 1 will feature a revised front fascia, as indicated by spy shots from earlier this year. The new design should be more aggressive than the Mustang’s current face. It might also end up making its way across the entire 2021 Mustang lineup (except for the Shelby GT500).

We also expect the Bullitt’s retro-inspired, black wheels will be replaced by a different wheel. The prototypes we’ve spied testing have worn polished multi-spoke wheels that have an identical design to the 19-inch aluminum wheels currently offered on the Mustang GT Performance Package. But while the wheels included with the optional GT performance pack are black, the units used on the prototypes pictured here are silver-painted.

19-inch Ebony Black-painted Aluminum Wheel for 2020 Mustang GT Performance Package has the same design as the silver wheels in Mustang Mach 1 spy shots.

The Mach 1 should also see a broader color palette than the Black and Dark Highland Green offered on the Bullitt, expanding its market potential and sales performance. And, like with the Bullitt, the Mach 1 will likely only be offered in the two-door, Fastback Coupe body style.

On the chassis side of the equation, we expect the upgraded Brembo front brakes with red brake calipers (at all four corners) seen on the Bullitt to make a comeback on the Mustang Mach 1. Ford recently began offering the brake as a kit from Ford Performance.

It’s also possible that the Mustang Mach 1 will feature some unique suspension upgrades and calibrations compared to what we see currently on the Bullitt. In fact, the discontinuation of the Shelby GT350 would create an interesting opportunity to equip the Mach 1 with MagneRide suspension as standard, adjustable strut top mounts, and to also give it larger stabilizer bars from the GT350. Doing so would improve the Mustang GT’s handling significantly.

And that brings us to positioning. The discontinuation of the Shelby GT350 will create a rather large gap between the Mustang GT and the GT500. As a result, it’s possible that Ford will position the Mustang Mach 1 even further upmarket compared to the Bullitt. Such a move would be warranted, if the Mach 1 were to offer more performance and more standard features.

Availability

If it weren’t for the coronavirus pandemic, the Mustang Mach 1 would launch for the 2021 model year, arriving at dealers during the third quarter of 2020. But the virus has derailed lifestyles, plans, and timetables – so the launch timeframe is currently up in the air.

Last week, Ford outlined how it plans on keeping workers safe when it does resume North American production. Though Ford’s production operations have been back up and running in China and will restart in Europe on May 4th, Ford has yet to announce any specific dates for restarting North American production as of this writing. Some reports have indicated that the Dearborn-based automaker will reopen its plants as soon as stay-at-home orders are lifted. It’s around that time that we will likely hear more about the Mustang Mach 1, which will be made alongside all other Mustangs at the Ford Flat Rock Plant in Michigan.

We’ll have more to share as we find out, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Mustang Mach 1 news, Ford Mustang news and the latest Ford news coverage.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Photos
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Written by Alex Luft

Ford Authority founder with a passion for global automotive business strategy.

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7 Comments

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  1. For this car to replace the Bullitt Mustang would be a great nod to the nostalgia of the Mach 1. The car was now know as the ’68 Bullitt Mustang was actually a model known as the GT 390. The Car offered a 6.4L V8 producing 320hp and 427lb-ft of torque and was available from ’67-’68. When The Mach 1 entered the scene in 1969, it was a beefed up GT fastback with an available 6.4L V8 (better known as the 390 FE big block) rated at the same 320hp/427lb-ft of torque but the new car had improved handling, braking and styling (similar to the difference between today’s GT and GT Performance pack cars). What would be very interesting to me would be to see Ford take the new Mach 1, give it the GT350 suspension, GT500 exhaust manifolds and exhaust system, a GT350 intake, throttle body and intake manifold and give the car about 495hp/430tq, give it both the manual and auto transmission options, some aero upgrades, a Mach 1 hood (no shaker, more like the 71 Mach 1 hood) and a Mach 1 interior and obviously Mach 1 wheels, and bring that car out, along with bringing back the black jade metallic pain scheme!!!

    • It would be great if it had all that, but it would then have to be priced like the GT350.
      I think they are targeting a price just a bit above the Bullit, so maybe the exhaust and manifold, but I think the suspension changes would make it too expensive. Maybe if they offer a Mach1 Track version for a few $K more.

      • It would probably be price a little higher than the Bullitt and less than the GT350. Remember, the GT350 had a very unique 5.2L FPC V8 under the hood along with a wide body package and a few other “Specific” things. It would be like how in 03-04 the Mach 1 was nothing more than a GT with a Cobra engine and suspension and brake upgrades and of course styling upgrades. You had your regular GT, the Mach 1 and then the Terminator Cobra. This would be the same lineup as you have the GT, the Mach 1 and then the GT500 (which to me should just be a Cobra). This is still an N/A V8 but it should be higher priced than the Bullitt but still less than the GT350.

  2. Hopefully Ford will follows its 2003-04 play book put the naturally aspirated 5.2 with the Shaker scoop under the hood, offer Auto and Standard shift transmission, the wheels from the 03-04 model, black spoiler out back and Ford Performance Suspension with all the goods, don’t forget the black nose stripe = Mach 1, Hit

  3. Yes, I was lucky enough, back in the day, to own 2 Ford Mustang V8’s! They both were bought new! One was a Ford Mustang Mach I,…the other was a Ford Mustang GT BULLITT. I enjoyed both cars!
    However, these iconic cars, are NOT good in the snow!!! Too much weight in the front! Also, you’d need to buy special snow tires, and wheel rims! I managed to get the Ford Mustang GT BULLITT, up to 150 mph!
    When my mother was on her death bed, my dad said to get home as fast as possible! I had to go from Emmitsburg, MD, to Pittsburgh, PA. My younger sister rode along with me. Thanks to the truckers, we managed an average of 120 mph! The Ford Mach I, had the 5.0 V8 engine in it. The Ford Mustang GT BULLITT, had the 4.6 V8 engine in it!
    Both cars NEVER gave me any troubles!!!

  4. Really hoping that Ford uses a cross plane 5.2 V8 for the Mach 1. Just to give it something more than just a Bullitt with a new name.

  5. OK. So growing up no one spoke of a Bullit Mustang cause it was just a car in a movie. VHS wasn’t around and no one I knew saw the movie when it came out. Though still one of my favorite car scenes and I own a DVD of it. Plus Steve McQueen.
    So the 1968 Mustang Fastback with a 390 4 speed was nice but not the focus of adolescent fantasies. That was the rare 428 cars which got way more air time in the verbal drag battles amoungst gear heads of the era. Cool but not the pinnacle.

    No the pinnacle, the stuff of boyhood car dreams was a 428 CobraJet Ram Air Mustang MACH 1 with Track Pack!
    So if your gonna do a Mustang MACH 1 it should have a special combo of parts to distinguish itself from other Mustangs and add potential collectors value.
    I would go with a 2022 Mustang Mach 1 base with the 5.0 ,6 speed or auto plus the new performance kit being offered to push up not only the HP but torque also. It needs to be faster than a GT or Bullit. Should have 440 ft. lbs of torque. 😉 like the original.
    Then I would add a second legendary model the 2022 Mustang Mach 1 CobraJet Ram Air with the 5.2 from GT350, auto from the GT500 and some suspension tweaks for a new Track Pack. Make it a quarter mile killer. That one could get GT350 pricing but focus for the drag strip like the 1969 original. Then we get the true essence of the Mach1. Back in 1969 it was the bomb. Faster than a Boss 429
    I would make the paint package with black out hood standard, the rear floating spoiler optional, no hood pins (pain in the axx) and no rear window louvers though I could see after market pick up on that. Make the base an all around more like a PP1 and the up model a drag strip king like the original.
    Oh and not those rims that are in the picture. Ford, really those are the ugliest rims on a new Mustang. Do a modern interpretation of the Magnum 500.
    Now do that Ford and I’m in for either model!!!!!!

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