After 17 Years, a New Mustang Mach 1 Is on Sale. It Won’t Last.

Why you should consider ordering "the most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang ever"

new and old Mustang Mach 1 cars
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is on sale as of today.

When Ford announced the return of the Mustang Mach 1 after a 17-year hiatus, we knew it was going to be a limited-edition model. They told us up front so we could be ready, and we sincerely appreciate that. 

But sometimes “limited-edition” is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to cars. These aren’t $100 Supreme T-shirts that just anyone can impulse buy; these are massive investments that cost tens of thousands of dollars (if not more), and automakers have been known to offer up a finite number of special-edition cars to make them seem exclusive and newsworthy only to not take in enough orders to meet their threshold. In short, a car that’s “limited” to 100 may only end up selling 75 models.

That won’t be happening with the new 2021 Mustang Mach 1, which officially went on sale today. According Berj Alexanian, a Ford Mustang spokesperson quoted in the Detroit Free Press, “There will not be enough [cars] to meet demand.”

How does he know that? Ford hasn’t announced how many Mach 1s will be available, the automaker just began taking orders today, and we won’t even be able to see the car in person at dealerships until the spring. It seems a little premature to be threatening people with a sellout, no? 

Well, if you know the history of the Mach 1, and the state of the current Mustang lineup, maybe not.

2021 ford mustang mach 1
It doesn’t look like the Mach 1 of yore, but Ford is hoping it performs like one.

As we explained a couple weeks ago, the Mach 1 is essentially replacing the Shelby GT350 and GT350R (which are being discontinued this fall) as the highest-performance Mustang that is still available with a stick shift. (The Mustang GT500 is only available with a Tremec seven-speed dual clutch transmission.) And the estimate that it would come in around $50K turned out to be true; the Mach 1 will start at $51,720, which saves you about $9K compared to the stock Shelby GT350.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Mach 1, it was first offered back in 1969, just five years after the Ford Mustang made its debut. On the surface, it was just one of many high-performance versions of the Mustang available at the time; but once people got behind the wheel, its dominance became clear. It essentially knocked the Mustang GT out of Ford’s lineup and, as the automaker noted in a press release, set 295 speed and endurance records at the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats in its first model year.

That pedigree is being upheld with the new Mach 1 in a variety of aspects. Ford says it’s “the most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang ever” — maybe not as exciting as the GT350’s flat-plane-crank V8, but it packs a V8 that puts out 480 horsepower at 7,000 rpm. And in case you’re trying to find the sweet spot of performance-per-dollar in the current Mustang lineup, the stock Mach 1 puts out 22% more downforce than the GT with the Performance Pack Level 1, and 150% more downforce if you add the optional Handling Package. (The Mach 1 is already optimized for track performance, but as with all sports cars you have the option of turning it up a notch … for a premium.)

Ford Mustang Mach 1 Cue Ball Shift Knob
A look into the interior of the Mach 1, featuring the white cue ball shift knob.

But it has to be said that the Mach 1 is also about style. Fans of the ‘60s and ‘70s classics may still yearn for the old-school body (sorry, that’s not coming back), but there’s one detail sure to please those who appreciate a little nostalgia: a white cue-ball shift knob.

Time will tell if there’s still demand for the Mach 1 name and the stick-shift option (the car is also available with a 10-speed automatic), but as Ford’s Alexanian said, if that includes you, don’t wait too long before getting in touch with your local Ford dealer.

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