It'll be the top 5.0-liter Mustang but won't be quite as aggressive as the GT350.

The heavily rumored return of the Ford Mustang Mach 1 is really happening for the 2021 model year, and to show it off, the Blue Oval releases three photos of the camouflaged muscle car on the track. The company is making some lofty promises about what to expect from the latest iteration of the Mach 1.

"Mach 1 has a special place in Mustang history, and it’s time for this special edition to claim the top spot in our 5.0-liter V8 performance lineup and reward our most hardcore Mustang enthusiasts who demand that next level of power, precision, and collectability," Dave Pericak, director of Ford Icons, said in the company's official announcement of the new model.

Gallery: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Ford's images reveal that the Mach 1 has a revised front end in comparison to other Mustang models. There's a revised grille with two large, circular openings on each side and a trapezoidal mesh pattern between them. There's also a revised lower fascia with larger openings in the corners versus the GT. There's also a large section of mesh in the center but only part of it appears to be functional. A splitter is underneath it.

Looking through the window, there is a roll cage and Sparco racing seats. However, even for a track-focused Mustang like the Mach 1, these pieces seem too extreme to include on the production version.

There's a single shot showing the wheels that reveals there are Brembo brakes with large calipers. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires wrap around black wheels with a complex pattern of spokes.

At the back, the Mach 1 wears a wing that appears to have a fairly steep angle of attack. There's also a lip on the central portion that makes the piece look even more aggressive. There are a pair of exhaust outlets exiting out of each side of the rear. The pipes have a massive diameter and look fantastic.

"Mach 1 has always been that bridge between base Mustangs and the Shelby models," Ted Ryan, heritage brand manager at Ford Archives said in the announcement. "From a style and handling perspective, the original Mach 1 managed to stand out as unique, even in the Mustang lineup – and as the name implies, it could really move."

The top version of the Mustang's 5.0-liter V8 at the moment is the version in the Bullitt that makes 480 horsepower (358 kilowatts), versus 460 hp (343 kW) for the one in the GT. The company's statement that the Mach 1 is for customers looking for the "next level of power" makes us wonder if the engineers have further tweaks to push the output even higher than the Bullitt.

Ford's teaser doesn't offer a specific date for the Mach 1's debut, beyond the model going on sale for the 2021 model year. Starting the teaser campaign for the new variant suggests the premiere should happen before the end of the year.

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Mustang Mach 1 Returning for 2021 Model Year As Limited- Edition Pinnacle of Style, Handling and 5.0-liter V8 Performance

DEARBORN, Mich., May 29, 2020 – With speed, style and a name that embodies both, Ford today announces the Mustang Mach 1 is roaring back to life this year.

The iconic fastback coupe that debuted during the first golden era of muscle cars in the late- 1960s now returns for global Mustang enthusiasts looking for the epitome of naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 performance in a new golden age of power as a new choice in the lineup of the world’s best-selling sports car.

“Mach 1 has a special place in Mustang history, and it’s time for this special edition to claim the top spot in our 5.0-liter V8 performance lineup and reward our most hardcore Mustang enthusiasts who demand that next level of power, precision and collectability,” said Dave Pericak, director, Ford Icons. “Like the original, the all-new Mustang Mach 1 will be true to its heritage, delivering great looks and as the most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang ever.”

Continuing the legacy of Mach 1

Mach 1 debuted for the 1969 model year and immediately carved out its place in the Mustang lineup, delivering performance and improved dynamics with its GT handling suspension. In the years that followed, Mach 1 saw improved performance versus Mustang GT and was more attainable than Shelby and Boss variants.

“Mach 1 has always been that bridge between base Mustangs and the Shelby models,” said Ted Ryan, heritage brand manager, Ford Archives. “From a style and handling perspective, the original Mach 1 managed to stand out as unique, even in the Mustang lineup – and as the name implies, it could really move.”

Two years after its debut, Mach 1 with its competition suspension hit the streets in 1971 longer and larger than the original, with an assortment of powerful engine options. In 1974, Mach 1 again saw major changes, reimagined for the first time as a hatchback. This Mach 1 generation enjoyed a five-year run and beefed up its handling capabilities more with an optional Rallye Suspension Package.

Mach 1 returned for 2003 and 2004 model years, blending modern power with the nostalgia of 1970s-era Mach 1 design elements. Its unique Mach 1 handling suspension with larger Brembo front-disc brakes improved on-road performance, while its matte black spoiler and hood stripe helped the coupe standout.

Seventeen years later, the all-new 2021 Mustang Mach 1 is set to return as the most track-ready 5.0-liter Mustang ever, once again delivering design magic while adding to its performance legacy.

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