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On June 18 we’d planned to have Jim Owens on “Autoline After Hours.” But we had to postpone that by a week because Owens and some of his colleagues had to take a trip from Dearborn, Michigan, to Tulsa, Oklahoma. They took the trip to attend the 46th Mid America Ford & Shelby Nationals.

Although the trip had something to do with his vocation, it had a whole lot to do with Owens’ passion. The job? He’s Mustang & Shelby Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Co.

The enthusiasm? He was providing the attendees with a first-hand look at the 2021 Mustang Mach 1.

Mach 1

The third-generation Mustang Mach 1 (Images: Ford)

Owens didn’t take Delta to Tulsa. He drove. To in a Shelby GT350. From in a Shelby GT500. (He notes that the Recaro seats in the GT350, while top-notch for, say, a track day, are not the sort of thing for a 900+ mile road trip.)

And why did he think it important to go to Tulsa? For one thing, he says that while prevailing conditions have caused all manner of interactions to be virtual, there is something to be said for seeing and hearing the Mach 1 (hearing that 480-hp, 5.0-liter V8 that’s mated to a standard six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic) until we all get the opportunity to drive it.

And for another, he points out that the 2003 Mach 1 was introduced there, as well.

(The first-generation Mach 1 appeared in 1969.)

Mach 1 logo

Ford designers created a new logo for the ‘21 Mach 1, which is a tribute to the previous execution but a contemporary take.

Owens provides—to “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Mike Martinez of Automotive News and me—a comprehensive (through virtual) look at the first Mach 1 in 17 years. The exterior design. The aero. The powertrain. The interior. The performance.

Mach 1 interior

If you look closely you can see the cueball shift knob for the six-speed manual

The Mach 1 fits into the Mustang lineup between the Mustang GT and the Shelby models.

Notably, while the Mach 1 is about acceleration and speed, it is also about ride and handling, with an improved body structure (K-brace, strut tower brace, subframe V-brace), large stabilizer bars (33.3 mm front; 29 mm rear), rear subframe and toelink from the GT500, and standard MagneRide.

Owens talks about the three versions of the Mach 1. About the GT350 and GT500. About the on-going interest that he sees among people of all ages in vehicles like these performance Mustangs (and “interest” is too weak a word). About the competition that the Ford Performance team feels from the teams over at Dodge and Chevy.

2021 Mustang Mach 1

Enormous efforts were made to assure aero.

And about why performance cars like the Mach 1 are not just exhilarating, but a key part of the very identity of Ford, whose founder made the money with which he started the company. . .by racing.

And you can see it all here.