The power of Voodoo black magic: 2016 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Rumor Roundup

You might be asking yourself, “A rumor roundup about a car that’s already been released, what are you up to?” Well just hang on a second, Ms. Suspicious; this is about the high performance Mach 1 edition, and if you aren’t excited about that, I can’t help you.

Still reading? Good, because the new Mach 1 might just be the best of both worlds. A Mustang that captures the best of the past, while still being able to take down the Germans, Japanese, and Italian automakers in a bar fight. Is it a coincidence that the Mustang, the most American car, is taking on the Axis? I don’t think so.

This will be the first Mach 1 we have seen in about ten years, with the last edition having been sold under the previous generation of pony car. It will fill the place that the Boss 302 Mustang had in the previous generation, and should stand just above the V8 powered GT version in the 2015 range. 

The Looks

One thing we do know about the upcoming Mach 1, is that it will be a looker. TopSpeed produced a series of renderings of what the car might look like. And all I can say is that I hope the boys at  are right. The car they depict looks amazing. It combines many of the best modern touches of the new car with some nods to the original Mach 1.

In particular I really enjoy the classic Mustang tri-color logo, the accent color hood, and the Mach 1 stripes, both of which appeared on the stunning original.

When you put the renderings of the new Mach 1, next to the 1969 model you can see the clear genetic legacy between the two. Only, the racing stripes and sporting accents that were fresh and modern on the 1969 have become retro on the 2015.

But don’t worry, modern touches abound on the new one. These include include a front-splitter, which is something that is normally reserved for race cars, and hood scoops.

The Power

What lies underneath those hood scoops? Well, in the original Mach 1, you got a 351 cubic inch Windsor V8 with a two-barrel carburetor good for 250 horsepower. Or if you really meant business you could get a 428 cubic inch – that’s 7.0 liters – Ram Air Cobra Jet V8 that chucked out 335 hp and 440 pound feet of torque, which is more than you get from the modern V8 in the Mustang GT.

The new Mach 1, by comparison, should be packing something a bit more … sinister. That’s because its rumored to be powered by Voodoo. The Voodoo V8 is an upgrade from the Coyote we saw in the 2013 Mustang in a number of ways. The most obvious of which is that the Voodoo comes with two – yes two – turbochargers.

Less obvious but maybe more important is the switch to a 180 degree crankshaft. This set-up has been a staple of Ferrari V8s since the mid 1970s and resembles what you would get if you bolted two inline four’s to the same crankshaft. The benefits are increased power and throttle response because of better crank positioning. The downside is an increase in vibration which requires very careful engineering. That’s why engines like this typically don’t land in anything but high-end Italian performance cars.

So what do two turbos and a fancy new crankshaft mean in terms of power? Maybe as much as 600 horsepower, which is more than you get in the V8 powered Ferrari 458 Italia. Not to mention- maybe, just maybe – more torque than the Ram Air Cobra Jet.

The engine that makes it to the production Mach 1, may end up with less power because it will be replacing the midrange BOSS 302 edition rather than the top end Shelbys.  But the potential for insane levels of horsepower is definitely there.

The Handling

Unlike that original Mach 1, all this power won’t be held back with a solid rear axle, the automotive equivalent of having your shoes tied together. Thankfully, the next-gen Mach 1, just like the base 2015 Mustang,  that will get the fully independent rear suspension.

If the splitter in the renderings isn’t just made of whimsy, it should be a clue to the fact that the Mach 1 will mean business on the track. Expect a lowered suspension with stiffer springs and track-tuned shocks and bushings.

If Ford wants to be meaningful competition for cars like the BMW M4, it will need to get this part of it right. While Mustangs have generally been fast, they have rarely been able to compete with the imports in the bendy bits of road.

There is no word whether the Mach 1 will feature any new transmission options, but my guess is that Ford might have ready one of its nine- or ten-speed automatics in time for the next-gen Mach 1. I’d love to see a new seven-speed manual bolted to the Voodoo, too, but I won’t hold my breath.

What it All Means

Taken all together the Mach 1 looks to be the first mid-range Mustang in quite a while that you can look at and say that it is legitimately the best sports car in its class. What will really tell the tale is whether Ford is able to make the pony car handle and feel like a driver’s car.

Things like power and presence help with that, but ultimately that is a war fought in the small details of suspension set up and steering precision.

The original Mustang Mach 1, is a car for the ages. That is a tough legacy to live up to, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that Ford makes the new one live up to its potential. 

(Main Photo Credit: TopSpeed)


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