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Ford Mustang Mach 1 Is Making a Comeback for 2021!

The long-anticipated Mustang variant is finally arriving, according to a leaked dealer order guide.

The Ford Mustang range already offers a lot of variety, from the EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder to the V-8-powered GT to the supercar-rivaling GT500. Heck, if you count the upcoming Mach-E as a member of the Mustang lineup (as Ford's marketing department would like you to) there's an all-electric SUV model, too. Ever on the lookout to expand the Mustang's appeal and leverage its heritage to do so, Ford has curiously been sitting on one hot Mustang for two decades: The Mustang Mach 1. No longer—it appears as though the Blue Oval is finally ready to dust off and reuse that Mach 1 badge.

How do we know? Enthusiast forum Mach-E Club recently posted leaked dealer VIN decoder guides for both the Mustang Mach-E and the 2021 Ford Mustang coupe. While the Mach-E document offered very little new information, the Mustang coupe's guide contained a big surprise: A Mach 1 trim level for the 2021 model year. Sadly, that's all the details we have at the moment, as the document doesn't give specifics on drivetrain, features, or price. But we can certainly speculate about the Mach 1's long-rumored comeback.

The most popular theory is the Mach 1 will replace the limited-production Bullitt in the lineup. That model (pictured above), was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Steve McQueen classic Bullitt. It is a special version of the GT with unique trim and 480 horsepower (20 more than a standard GT) thanks to a special intake manifold derived from the GT350's.

But, like all Mustang Bullitt special editions before it, the most recent iteration is subject to a licensing deal with Warner Brothers, the studio that owns the rights to Bullitt. That deal likely ends after the 2020 model year, and if Ford wanted to keep the basic formula of the Mustang Bullitt alive it could simply rebrand it to a name it owns, like Mach 1. There's even historical precedent for such a move. The first Bullitt special edition in 2001 was replaced by a limited-production Mach 1 for 2003, though that car got a different, more potent engine with twin-cam heads borrowed from the SVT Cobra.

Even if that is what Ford is planning, we still don't know what it will look like or if it will get any other upgrades. Barring any massive screw-ups in that department, we're looking forward to the Mach 1's return, not least because letting such a recognizable and cool-sounding nameplate go to waste was so uncharacteristic of Ford. The automaker could have probably picked a better time to launch the Mach 1, however—consider how confusing it might be to consumers to have both a Ford Mustang Mach 1 and a Ford Mustang Mach-E in the lineup. These are two very different vehicles ostensibly sharing the marketing glow of the Mustang lineage. Then again, GM made the questionable decision of naming two of its cars Volt and Bolt . . .