We are learning more and more about the upcoming Mustang Mach 1. It’s important to emphasize that number over a letter, for fear of losing the interest of the Mustang Mach-E haters out there.
And while I’ve written plenty about the electrified crossover Mustang of late, and garnered plenty of harsh comments, writing about the V8 muscle car replacement for the GT350 and Bullitt always seems to bring excitement back to the Mustang enthusiasts.
I get it. Pony cars, which Ford was the first one to create such a vehicle, are beloved, none more so than the Mustang. Rest assured, that even with the arrival of the Mach-E and the exit of the GT350, that V8 muscle is still part of Ford’s future plans.
Case in point, some news the Blue Oval just released.
Ford released this information regarding a new Limited Edition Handling Package for the upcoming Mustang Mach 1:
“Inspired by construction and engineering marvels such as bridges, roll cages and even bird’s nests, the all-new Mustang Mach 1 Handling Package wheels aim to capture attention when they reach roads and tracks across the U.S. and Canada early next year.
Using a layered construction design typically reserved for show cars and other non-production vehicles, the cast aluminum wheels bring with them on-track benefits such as structural integrity for hard cornering and about a two-pound weight drop from the standard Mach 1 wheels, despite being one inch wider.”
Five Things To Know About the Mach 1 Handling Package Wheels
According to Ford, these are the five things to know about the Limited Edition Handling Package Wheels for the 2021 Mustang Mach 1.
1.) Tarnished Dark-painted cast aluminum wheels, track-focused appearance.
2.) Layered construction provides a three-dimensional appearance.
3.) One inch wider than Mach 1 base model wheels, but about two pounds lighter.
4.) Long straight lines behind shorter, angled lines inspired by bird’s nest and bridge truss construction.
5.) Y-spoke influenced by Ford ST wheels and overall design influenced by Mach-E GT prototype wheels.
Designing Wheels For Mustangs
Wheels often get overlooked but are an integral part of a vehicle’s looks. I know some consumers who will buy a vehicle (or won’t buy a vehicle) based on the wheel styling. So it is important. Mark Kaski has worked as a lead designer for Ford for more than a decade.
Kaski is responsible for all of the wheel designs on all variants of the Mustang over the last 10 years, but he’s also worked on other features of the Mustang including exterior components and lighting. He also led design work of exterior components, lighting and wheels for the Mustang Mach-E.
But of all the wheels he’s designed for Mustang, his latest work might just be “his masterpiece.”
Exclusive to the all-new Mustang Mach 1 equipped with a Handling Package, Kaski’s “bird’s nest” design is unique, even among the collection of designs that populate his portfolio.
“In some ways, I see the wheels as jewelry for the vehicle,” Kaski said. “The design is different than anything we’ve ever done, but I think it’s perfect for this new Mach 1. It’s going to influence Mustang wheel design going forward.”
Kaski works with engineers when coming up with designs to make sure his designs aren’t just aesthetically pleasing but incredibly functional, with performance in mind.
“There aren’t many in the industry doing layering like this on a production wheel,” he said. “It’s the result of a whole lot of engineering, a lot of design and a little artistic talent. And there was probably some magic involved too.”
How Much Does The Mustang Mach 1 Cost?
Starting price is $52,915 which includes a $1,195 destination charge.
Likewise, the all-new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Handling Package will be available to order on Jan. 4, reaching showrooms in the spring.
Mach 1 Performance
The Mach 1 engineering and design teams worked in tandem to develop a front end unique to the Mach 1 persona that also meets the high aerodynamic demands of the engine, transmission and braking systems.
A new two-piece upper grille, lower grille and valance, and new side grilles, all contribute to Mach 1’s signature look and more demanding aero and cooling performance requirements.
A front splitter optimized to the fascia shape improves track performance and provides a more aggressive appearance, while a matched rear spoiler works in concert to create ideal lift balance. Mach 1 features 22 percent more downforce than a Mustang GT with Performance Pack Level 1 and the downforce improvement jumps to approximately 150 percent with the Handling Package.
To enhance track endurance, the team added two side heat exchangers – one to cool engine oil, the other transmission oil – as well as a rear axle cooling system and lower diffuser from Shelby GT500.
A new underbelly pan, the vehicle’s most aerodynamically important upgrade, extends 20 inches further rearward than on a Mustang GT Performance Pack to smooth and increase the airflow under the front of the car. Large underwing features in the belly pan increase downforce, while special belly pan airfoils in the brake cooling ramps improve downforce and assist the brake cooling flow – a first for Mustang.
To improve ride and handling, Mach 1 features the latest MagneRide calibration, a stiffer steering I-shaft, new EPAS calibration, stiffer sway bars and front springs, a brake booster from the Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2, 9.5-inch/10-inch split fitment wheels with Michelin PS4 tires, a rear subframe with stiffer bushings and a rear toe-link from Shelby GT500.
On my GT350 story I wrote, I received a great comment related to the Mach 1 that said (in part): “The Mach 1 is a Canadian parts bin car with a Mexican transmission that produces less power at lower RPMs than the 350. I wouldn’t walk across the street to look at one.”
Do you agree with that comment? What do you feel about the Mach 1? Is it a noble replacement to the Bullitt and GT350? There is a lot of Mustang heritage there in both design and engineering. Leave your thoughts in a comment below.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.