Will Ford Revive The Mustang Mach 1?

There’s seemingly no end to the rumor mill surrounding the upcoming launch of the 2015 Ford Mustang, but a new whisper broke late yesterday: Ford might revive the Mach 1 name for use on the all-new 2015 Ford Mustang.

Technically, this rumor isn’t entirely new. In June, Mustangs Daily claimed Ford sources hinted the Mach 1 name will be applied to the next-generation Mustang no later than 2017. A website called Ford Authority dumped gasoline on that speculative fire, noting Ford filed to renew the Mach 1 trademark in late 2012 with a “1B” status, which indicates an intent to use a certain mark in commerce. Ford Authority notes the trademark was granted a first extension on August 26, 2013, meaning Ford has more time to submit a statement of use, explaining how it’s using the mark on an actual product. Given that the 2015 Mustang has yet to reach the market place, this suggests a 2015 Mustang Mach 1 is indeed on its way.

Granted, Ford’s filing allows it to trademark the Mach 1 name for a broad spectrum of applications, many of which aren’t restricted to actual production vehicles. According to Ford’s filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, these uses include “automobiles and their engines; exterior insignia badges for vehicles; vehicle rooftop carriers; spare tire covers; fitted motor vehicle covers; bug deflectors for motor vehicles; running boards for motor vehicles; mud flaps for motor vehicles; trailer hitch receiver plugs for motor vehicles; sunshades for motor vehicles; license plate frames for motor vehicles; windshields for motor vehicles; windows for motor vehicles; wheels for motor vehicles; hub caps for motor vehicle wheels; fitted truck bed covers and truck bed liners.”

Whether or not Ford actually intends on affixing the Mach 1 name to a 2015 Ford Mustang or is simply protecting a historical trademark for use on licensed merchandise and restoration parts emains to be seen. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Mustang Mach 1 name is resurrected again in the future. We’ve heard some back-channel winks and nods suggesting nostalgia-tinged special-edition variants of the next Mustang are in the works. That’s not surprising, considering similar variants have helped retain enthusiast interest in prior Mustang models as they age.

But there’s also room for a car that, instead of merely being a tape-and-stripe package, actually follows in the footsteps of the original Mustang Mach 1, one that bridges the gap between the 2015 Ford Mustang and an SVT-tuned/ Shelby-badged flagship. Arguably, the 2012 and 2013 Mustang Boss 302 models performed a similar task, but that void has reemerged since their discontinuation.

If such a 2015 Ford Mustang variant does emerge, it’ll provide yet another chapter to the history of the Mach 1 nameplate:

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-1966: Ford shows the Mustang Mach 1 concept at national auto shows. The front fascia gives hints at the second-generation Mustang due to launch in 1967, but the rakish fastback roofline wouldn’t be incorporated into production cars until 1969.

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-1967: The Mach name resurfaces yet again, this time on the Mach 2 concept, a two-seat, mid-engine sports car. This project goes nowhere, although the name is recycled internally for another mid-engine proposal designed by GM ex-pat Larry Shinoda.

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-1969: The Mustang Mach 1 is introduced as a full-fledged production package, offered only in concert with the new Sportsroof fastback body style. Slotting in between the Mustang GT and the Shelby Mustang GT350/500 models, the Boss 302 is dressed to the nines with a blacked-out hood, contrasting side stripes, a shaker hood scoop (functional on certain engines) and upgraded interior trim. A 351-cubic inch V-8 with a two-barrel carburetor was standard, but a four-barrel variant, along with both a 390-cubic inch and the 428 cubic-inch (“Cobra Jet”) V-8 was optional.

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-1970: The Mach 1, along with the Mustang itself, is amended slightly for the 1970 model year. Side stripes are replaced with molded appliques for the rocker sills, and the matte black hood treatment exchanged for a tri-stripe effect similar to that used on the 1970 Mustang Boss 302. The grille gained rectangular fog lamps but shed all Ford and Mustang insignia, including the galloping horse emblem. The 390 cubic-inch V-8 was no longer available, but the 428 remained in play.

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-1971: The Mustang is completely redesigned, but the Mach 1 name lives on. A contrasting hood appliqué highlighted a pair of NACA ducts, and matched rocker and side stripe accents applied to the car. The base engine was a 302-cubic-inch V-8, while the 351 and a 429 cubic-inch V-8 were optional. The 429, offered in both Cobra Jet and Super Cobra Jet forms, were dropped from the lineup in 1972.

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-1974: The downsized Mustang II is a big departure from Mustangs past, but the Mach 1 name continues to live on, albeit primarily as a décor package. Mach 1 models boasted black rocker panels with Mach 1 lettering, a blacked-out rear valance panel, and styled steel wheels, but the only engine offered was a 2.8-liter V-6 – the biggest engine offered in early Mustang IIs. More power arrived in 1975, when the 5.0-liter/ 302-cubic-inch V-8 was relaunched in the Mustang lineup.

-1979: The Mach 1 name is killed off as the all-new, Euro-styled Fox-body Mustang debuts. The Mustang GT name, which the Mach 1 effectively killed after the 1969 model year, is revived.

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-1992: Nostalgia strikes when it comes time to preview the 1994 Mustang's exterior styling with a concept car. A round, red roadster bears little resemblance to any prior Mach model, but Ford dubs the show car the Mustang Mach III, picking up where the 1967 Mach 2 show car left off.

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-2003: Ford's newfound sense of nostalgia, which also led to the birth of the "Living Legends" design studio, the Ford GT, and the short-lived Thunderbird, prompted a revival of the Mach 1 package for the Mustang. With rockers and hood treatments inspired by the 1970 Mach 1, the 2003 Mustang Mach 1 used the normally-aspirated, aluminum-block, 305-hp 4.6-liter V-8 previously used in the 1999-2002 Mustang SVT Cobra, and was even topped with a semi-functional shaker hood scoop. We called it “a barking, snapping, ass-happy animal. It's just about perfect.” The car was continued through 2004 but discontinued before the launch of the new 2005 Mustang.

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