The Ford Mustang is quite a versatile product with a rich history in terms of variants, movie cameos, track focussed modifications and professional motorsport. One such special version of the Mustang is the Mach 1 performance package which Ford has brought back to the market after a 17-year hiatus.

The all-new Ford Mustang Mach 1 fastback is the track day version of the regular Mustang GT but not as extreme as a Shelby. Ford has included some design traits that pay tribute to the original Mach 1 chief among which is the deep-fitted mesh grille with what look like perfectly round nostrils. These mirror the positioning of the extra lamps mounted to the front of the 1969 Mach 1. In the 50 years since then, the Mustang has evolved to feature more effective aerodynamic packages.

While the aggressive front splitter for the sporty bumper with more grilles doesn’t look as cool as the wedge on the high-riding original, it will make 2020 Mach 1 corner better. The same goes for the new rear spoiler (the bigger one that comes with Handling package) and the hood intakes for controlling airflow. From the back, the track-pack Mach 1 looks hunkered down and ready to gallop, sporting the large quad-exit exhaust and the very noticeable rear diffusor. The final two design elements that the new Mach 1 can’t have but the original did — slats over the rear windscreen and vents in the rear wheel arches. Ford says that the Mach 1 has 150 per cent more downforce than the regular Mustang GT with the handling package that uses some aero bits derived from the GT500.

The Mach 1 is not just a Mustang GT with an aero kit with go-faster stripes. The specialists over at Ford Performance have done numerous small bits of tinkering to make it track-usable such as improved cooling, stiffer suspension, better handling, recalibrated traction and ride management systems and more.

Under the massive striped bonnet is a tweaked 5.0-litre V8 that now churns out 480hp and 570Nm. This power unit borrows components derived from the Shelby GT350 including the Tremec 6-speed manual shifter which is offered as standard. The other option is a recalibrated version of Ford’s 10-speed SelectShift automatic.

Inside, the Mach 1 is pretty much the same as the top-spec Mustang GT with a 2+2 seat layout and comforts like climate control, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a touchscreen infotainment system. Some of the special Mach 1 touches include a white cue ball as the knob for the manual shifter and an engraved badging that reads the vehicle’s unique chassis number. Also, the new Mach 1 will be a limited-edition Mustang.

The question I have is why would I want a Mach 1 Mustang? A well-specced Mustang GT Fastback comes to around US$52,000 which includes the Level 2 Performance Package. Meanwhile, a similarly-specced Shelby GT350 is priced at US$63,000. Keep in mind that the GT350 is a better track toy with more power and a much better soundtrack. If you want something with a bit more heritage, there is the Mustang Bullitt which also garners a price tag of around US$53,000. As far as I see it, the Mach 1 is for those who want a bit of Mustang heritage in the modern era without committing to the slight madness of daily driving a Shelby. Maybe the Mach 1 will be an investment since it is set to be a limited edition model? While I can appreciate the story behind the car and its distinct visual characteristics, the all-new Mach 1 Mustang doesn’t stir much within me.

What do you think of the new Mach 1? Would you pick it over a top-spec Mustang GT or a Shelby GT350? Let me know in the comments section below and don’t forget to subscribe to The Auto Loons for more cool updates from the car world.

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