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  2003 Mach 1 Taps Mustang's Rich Heritage

  Nov 10, 2002
  By:  Ford Media

2003 Mach 1

The year was 1969. Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson starred in the biker classic, Easy Rider. More than 450,000 people converge on Bethel, New York for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. The Mustang Mach 1 takes to the streets to do battle with Camaros and Chargers armed with a 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine and a menacing, and soon-to-be famous, "shaker" scoop.

Fast forward to 2002. Easy Rider remains a cult classic and Harley- Davidson motorcycles are more popular than ever. The days of Woodstock are fond memories, but the music and the fashions of the era live on. The Mach 1 returns as a 2003 model complete with a fully functional "shaker" scoop and a 305-horsepower V-8 engine.

The Mach 1 nameplate has played an important part in the history of Mustang and Ford. The legendary name helped define muscle-car performance, the sport of drag racing and Hollywood chase scenes including the original thriller, Gone In 60 Seconds.

"The memories of the original Mach 1 never faded away and the passion for performance is as strong today as it was in 1969," said Chris Theodore, vice president, North American Product Development. "Our new Mach 1 is another chapter in America's ongoing love affair with the Mustang."

Mustang Heritage - Production Performers

1964: Mustang is introduced at the New York World's fair on April 17.

More than 100,000 units sold in the first four months.

1965: The Mustang Shelby G.T. 350 racing legend debuts at Riverside Raceway.

Mustangs begin to win NHRA A/FX races with 427-cubic-inch big- block engines.

1966: Ford designers, such as Bill Shenk, are asked to sketch proposals for the upcoming 1969 Mustang - including a new special performance car named Mach 1. Mach 1 begins to take an aggressive stance with a short rear deck, long hood, chevrons, and side scoops. The car is based off the same chassis and platform as previous Mustangs.

1967: Mustang outsells the Chevy Camaro by a two-to-one margin.

The Shelby GT-500 is born with a Ford 428-cubic-inch engine.

1966-1968: The Mach 2 concept tours the auto show circuit. The mid-engine, road-ready prototype built by Kar Kraft in Brighton, Mich., displayed a street-competition racing theme. The car was a highly modified two seater on a shortened version of the existing Mustang chassis. The design was eventually abandoned even though others, including General Motors with mid-engine Corvette concepts, followed the trend.

1967-1968: The Mach 1 concept teases the design direction of the production 1967 Mustang 2+2 Fastback. The concept featured large rear-body scoops, racing style flip-open fuel doors, four exhaust ports and mag wheels. The front end was changed several times to create a more traditional Mustang look.

1968: The Cobra Jet 428-cubic-inch V-8 engine debuts in a Mustang. The engine features a Holley four-barrel carburetor and 335 horsepower at 5600 rpm.

The Shelby Cobra GT-500 KR "King of the Road" arrives with a 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine.

1969: The Mach 1 Sportsroof production model takes on a definitive drag racing theme with an aggressive flat-black hood, integrated rear spoiler and front air dam, and racing hood tie-downs. The interior featured "comfortweave" bucket seats and a three-spoke "Rim Blow" steering wheel. Engine combinations included the notable, 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet ram-air with the infamous "shaker" air intake scoop that protruded from the hood.

Mach 1 smashes sales and performance expectations with more than 72,000 units sold and 0-60 times of fewer than seven seconds.

At the NHRA Spring Nationals, Danny Ongais drives Mickey Thompson's Mustang Mach 1 to the first of two major victories.

1970: Mach 1 receives a mild refresh with aluminum rocker panels, integrated driving lamps into the grill, black window louvers and a stiffened suspension. The potent 300 horsepower Cleveland engine starts to take on a performance role with an integrated timing chain chamber and frontal water crossover passage.

The Trans-Am race season sees the Mustang come out on top.

Mach 1 Twister Special - After losing a special order for 96 already-built Grabber Orange Mach 1s, Ford unexpectedly creates a collector model by turning them into Twister Specials with special tornado logos. Ford displayed all of the vehicles, and 90 similarly displaced Tornio Cobras, at its "Total Performance Day" held Nov. 7, 1969 in Kansas City, Miss.

1971: The entire Mustang lineup gets longer and wider. The freshening includes a stronger front appearance thanks to a new bumper and honeycomb grille with pony logo, a NASA-style ram-air hood scoop and Magnum 500 wheels. The most potent powertrain combination is the optional 429 - cubic inch, 375 horsepower Super Cobra Jet V-8 engine with a Holley carburetor, mechanical lifters and adjustable rocker arms with a ram-air induction system. The car was famous for its battles on the street with the 1971 Chevrolet Z28 Camaro.

1972: Mach 1 is cosmetically unchanged, peak performance now comes from the 351 High Output (HO) 'Cleveland' V-8 producing 275 horsepower. The dip in power is indicative of new environmental and safety regulations taking effect.

1973: The high cost of certification for emission's compliance starts to spell the end of the muscle car era. To meet new anti-pollution standards, Mustang's carburetor settings are set leaner to decrease emissions.

The Mustang lineup gets minimal styling changes including chrome trim around the headlights and a larger "egg-crate" mesh on the grill.

1974: The all-new Mustang II plays a crucial role in keeping the nameplate alive with a whopping 385,993 units sold in the first year.

The new Mach 1 remains one of Ford's sportiest cars in a 2+2 fastback configuration featuring new racing mirrors, styled steel wheels, black rocker panels and rear fascia treatments. The car can be upgraded with the Ralleye package, including a competition suspension and Traction-Lok differential.

The original Gone In 60 Seconds film opens starring a 1973 Mach 1 Mustang nicknamed "Eleanor". The movie featured an exciting 40-minute chase scene that Car Craft magazine called "the most hair-raising chase scene ever filmed."

1975-78: Mach 1 is virtually unchanged with only a larger "egg-crate" mesh on the grill in 1975.

1976: The Cobra II package debuts with a hood scoop, front air dam, and rear spoiler.

1979: The Mach 1 name is discontinued and the performance theme is carried on with the Cobra option package.

The fifth-generation Mustang is born from the all-new Fox chassis.

1980: Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) opens its door to produce limited-edition performance cars.

1982: The 5.0-liter, 302-cubic-inch HO engine returns to Mustang.

1984: The Mustang SVO hits the streets with a turbocharged 2.3-liter engine producing 175 horsepower. The turbocharger's 14 pounds-per-square-inch of boost is unheard of for production models.

1986: Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) debuts in the Mustang lineup.

1993: SVO spawns Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT), a niche engineering and marketing organization charged with delivering exclusive, high-performance vehicles. The group's first product is the 235 horsepower Mustang Cobra with a 5.0-liter engine, modified suspension, unique front and rear fascias, upgraded wheels and tires, and new interior and exterior SVT graphics. SVT also produces 107 copies of its street-legal, race-ready Cobra R with a tighter racing suspension and less weight, thanks to the removal of the air conditioning system, rear seats, radio and sound-deadening materials.

The Mustang Mach III hits the autoshow circuit with a 450 horsepower V-8 engine and sleek, modern lines. One of the two show cars didn't travel well. A loose wrench is left under the hood of the car. While in transit inside the car hauler, the wrench contacts the battery and starts a fire that destroys the priceless prototype.

1994: Mustang is dramatically restyled to evoke the model's heritage and performance tradition. Ford SVT unleashes a similarly restyled Mustang Cobra, including a limited run of Indianapolis 500 Cobra convertible pace-car replicas. Cobra features a freer breathing, 240 horsepower version of the Mustang GT's 5.0-liter engine as well as SVT's unique suspension and appearance upgrades.

1995: Ford SVT produces another limited run of 200 street-legal, race-ready Cobra Rs with 351-cubic-inch, 5.8-liter V-8 engines producing 300 horsepower. All models are painted white.

1996: The Modular V-8 is installed into the Mustang GT and SVT Mustang Cobra. The GT receives the 4.6-liter SOHC engine with 215 horsepower and the Cobra gets the 4.6-liter DOHC engine with 305 horsepower.

1997: Ford's Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE) team tours the Super Stallion Mustang concept featuring a flexible fuel 5.4-liter engine with a Garrett supercharger that produces 545 horsepower and 495 foot-pounds of torque.

2000: SVT introduces the third-generation Cobra R race package with a 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 engine producing 385 horsepower and 385 foot-pounds of torque. Only 300 red models are built.

"Eleanor" returns as an over-the-top 1967 Mustang G.T. 500 in the remake of Gone in 60 Seconds starring Nicholas Cage.

2001: The limited-edition, 265-horsepower Mustang Bullitt is introduced and paves the way for the 2003 Mach 1.

2002: The all-new Mach 1 is introduced. The car features the return of the "shaker" scoop with 305 horsepower and 320 foot-pounds of torque, a redesigned "comfortweave" interior, Heritage wheels, an extended black air dam and spoiler, and a classic Mach 1 paint scheme.

The only remaining Mach III prototype is sold at auction for $300,000.


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