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[11/21/2002] 2003 Mustang Mach 1: A New Speed Steed


The Ford Mustang Mach 1 will soon be back stalking the streets – complete with a 305-horsepower V-8 engine and the signature ram-air “shaker” hood scoop that put the 1969 model in motion, even at a stoplight.

“Of all our Living Legends, Mustang might have the richest heritage. While everyone has a favorite, Mach 1 is one of the most memorable and most collectable Mustangs,” says Jim O’Connor, group vice president, Ford North America Marketing, Sales and Service.

The original Mach 1 was one of the most collectable Mustangs ever. It was named “the quickest four-person production car” by Car Life magazine in a March 1969 road test. Production will be limited to 6,500 numbered editions, making the 2003 model a collectible as well.

The 2003 Mach 1 features:

* An all-aluminum, 4.6-liter DOHC modular (MOD) V-8 engine with four valves per cylinder producing 305 horsepower and 320 foot-pounds of torque
* 17-inch, 5-spoke Heritage wheels with the galloping pony logo inspired by the 1969-1973 Mustang’s Mach 1 wheel design
* 1960s-style “comfortweave” trimmed black leather seats
* Black extended front air dam and rear decklid spoiler
* Body side scoops
* Modern color scheme and badging that captures vintage cues

The Mustang Mach 1 special edition is built on the same line of the Dearborn Assembly Plant that produces coupe and convertible versions of the Mustang V-6, GT and SVT Mustang Cobra. Each Mach 1 will come with a unique “R” engine code found in the vehicle identification number (VIN) to ensure exclusivity and collectibility.

The Mach 1 is the newest derivative to join Ford’s Living Legends lineup of cars, which includes Mustang, Thunderbird, the new Ford GT and the Forty-Nine concept.

Modern Mustang: Muscle Car Reborn

The modern Mustang is a leader – just like the original 1964 ½ model. For more than 15 years, the Mustang has led its class in sales volume while the Mustang convertible is the best-selling convertible in the United States.

Ford uses some of the same techniques it did in the 1960s and 1970s to keep Mustang fresh. Through a wide range of personalization options, the company offers “a steed for every need” and fuels customers’ enthusiasm for driving. Mustang coupes and convertibles are offered as a V-6, a Mustang GT with a MOD 4.6-liter two-valve V-8 and the top-of-the-line SVT Mustang Cobra with a supercharged MOD 4.6-liter dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) four-valve V-8.

Special limited-edition models, including the Bullitt GT in 2001 and the new Mach 1, are designed to offer collectors and enthusiasts a modern Mustang with an infusion of muscle-car memories. They keep the flame of pony car passion lit today and promise a bright future.

“A powerful nameplate like Mustang doesn’t come around too often in our business,” says O’Connor. “Our lineup of Mustangs and special edition models are designed to turn today’s customers into tomorrow’s enthusiasts. Mach 1 is a glance in the mirror of Mustang’s storied past, but it’s steering straight into the future of Mustang.”

Today, Mustang stands alone. In 2002, General Motors discontinued its Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird, Mustang competitors since 1968.

More Mach Talk

The new Mustang Mach 1 was born out of the passion of Mustang enthusiasts across America. Team Mustang, fresh on the success of the 2001 Mustang Bullitt GT*, began work on a “one-off” Mach 1 convertible in the summer of 2001. The car won the SEMA design award for its class and went on to tour Mustang Club events across the country earning rave reviews.

At the same time, Team Mustang began work on a prototype Mach 1 coupe. The Team used the coupe to test the market for another special edition Mustang. The car proved such a popular merger of new and vintage Mustangs that the team quickly decided to put it into production.

“People dropped their jaws when they saw the Mach 1 for the first time, especially when we blipped the throttle to demonstrate the shaker,” says Scott Hoag, Mach 1 program manager. “These grassroots events started chats all over the Internet of fans telling us to build this car.”

The project received the green light in the fall of 2001 as a limited-edition model designed to bridge the gap between the past, the present and the future of Mustang.

The Scoop on Design

The 2003 Mach 1 inherits many of its design cues from its 1969 namesake, which had a distinct drag-racing image. These include a black front air-dam extension, a black rear decklid spoiler, predominate rocker panels, and body side scoops.

The color scheme is all business with bold black pin stripping just above the rocker panels and a dominant Mach 1 logo. The hood also has large black drag racing stripe down the center, which surrounds the “shaker” scoop. The primary exterior paint colors are Oxford White, Black, Torch Red, Zinc Yellow, Azure Blue and Dark Shadow Gray with classic galloping pony logos on the front fender and inside the grille.

The experience of sitting inside Mach 1, with its woven leather trimmed seats, is a blast from the past. The seats are covered in “comfortweave” black leather that is reminiscent of the material used on the original Mach 1. Today’s seats offer increased lateral support and four-way adjustable head restraints.

A popular Mach 1 interior configuration will likely include an optional gray accent finished center stack and shifter bezel, polished aluminum accelerator, brake, clutch and dead pedal. The optional aluminum shift boot ring also accents the standard aluminum ball shifter. The standard gray-backed instrument cluster features unique retro-look dials. Mach 1 also comes standard with the Mach 460 six-disc in-dash CD changer audio system. The MOD 4

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