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Home/Technical Info/Ford/11. Car Models Described/2000s/ 2003/
2003-2004 Mustang Mach 1 Overview - Reborn and not dilluted

Great shot used in the 2003-2004 Mach 1 Ad.
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2003 Mustang Brochure - with Mach 1 2003_Mustang_Brochure.pdf
2004 Mustang Brochure - with Mach 1 2004_Mustang_Brochure.pdf

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Enter the new Mustang Mach 1

With GM's withdrawal from the "Pony Car wars" in 2002, Ford had a free hand in the market. They then created what was arguably the fastest stock Mustang up to that point in time with the 2003–2004 SVT Cobra. But concerns over a price gap between the Mustang GT and Cobra, as well as interest in keeping sales up before the release of the all new 2005 S197 Mustang prompted the creation of  the 2003 and 2004 Mach 1.

Following the success of the 2001 "Bullitt" (the lightly modified 2001 GT, named for the famed chase Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the film Bullitt) Ford saw the continuing value of history in the Mustang name. Therefore, as a follow up,  they decided to revive the famous "Mach 1" name for 2003.

While it also used the Cobra's 13 in (330 mm) Brembo front brakes, unique Tokico gas shocks and struts, and lower and stiffer springs, the Mach 1 received a huge performance gain over the base GT and even the 265 HP Bullitt in the form of a unique variant of the DOHC 32-valve 4.6 Liter Modular V8. Commonly known by Mach 1 owners as an "R" code DOHC, (for the unique VIN engine R code) this all-aluminium engine features the same high flow heads as the 2003–2004 SVT Cobra.

The engine also has intake camshafts sourced from Lincoln's 5.4 Liter "InTech" V8 to provide more mid-range torque. The Mach 1 engine used a 10.1:1 compression ratio in contrast to the 1999 and 2001 Cobra's 9.85:1. and the Mach 1 was equipped with a Windsor Aluminum Plant or WAP block similar to the 2001 Cobra but unique from the Teksid aluminium blocks used in the 1996–1999 Cobras. The Mach 1 featured a high engine redline of 6,800 rpm (5-speed cars) and fuel cut off at 7,050 rpm or 5800 rpm  for the 4-speed automatic. On paper the 305 HP rating seemed a loss when compared to the 1999 and 2001 SVT Cobras which produced 320 hp, in practice the Mach 1 engine produced similar peak horsepower and substantially more torque.

Further differences from the 1999-2001 Cobra was the use of Ford's 8.8-inch solid rear axle with a 3.55 final ratio vs. the Cobra's independent rear suspension. Unlike the Cobra, a 4 speed automatic was available in addition to the Tremec-sourced 5 speed manual. Factory steel "Box" cross-section subframe connectors were also added to increase chassis strength for both the added handling and to deal with the additional torque over the stock GT.

The Mach 1 styling was distinct from other 2003 Mustangs as there were attempts to relate the car to 1970 Mach 1. In addition to the matte black spoiler and hood stripe, flat black chin spoiler, Mach 1 rocker panel stripes and Mach 1 badging on the rear, there were also Ford 17×8 wheels designed to appear like the Magnum 500 polished alloy wheels.

A retro themed interior was included with well bolstered dark grey leather seats featuring 70's style "Comfort Weave" textures, a 1970s style gauge cluster and a machined aluminium shift ball. An optional 18G interior upgrade package included stainless steel pedals, a 4-Way head restraints, aluminum finished shift boot trim ring and door lock posts, and aluminium look bezels on the dash.

But the most noticeable difference visually from other Mustangs was the bulging hood with cut-out and the "Shaker Hood". While physically identical in placement and function (the scoop was said to be built on the same tooling as the 1970 Mach 1) it only provides a portion of air to the motor routing to the air box ahead of the MAF. It does function well as a cold air "snorkel" and a partial Ram Air at speed.

2003 Mach 1 owners had a variety of colors from which to choose. Originally, the cars were offered in Black, Dark Shadow Grey Metallic, Torch Red, Zinc Yellow, Oxford White and the Mach 1–only Azure Blue. In 2004, Zinc Yellow was dropped as an option and replaced with a more vibrant yellow called Screaming Yellow, as well as an all new color called Competition Orange.

With such improvements in power and a relatively light curb weight of 3,380 lb, the 2003 Mustang Mach 1 posted test numbers that were impressive. Motor Trend published numbers from 13.88 seconds at 101.9 mph for the automatic equipped 2003 Mach 1 with a 5.6 seconds 0–60 mph, as well as the five speed's blistering 13.5 seconds at 105 mph with a 5.2 second 0–60 mph time. Also, the car pulled 63.5 mph  on a 600-foot slalom and 0.85 g's on the skidpad.

Originally the Mach 1 originally was advertised as a one year limited run model with production set at 6,500 cars, however a limited run of Mach 1s were produced. These2004s saw only minor cosmetic changes to the Mach 1 which can be identified by bare aluminium finished valve covers, as opposed to the 2003's black finished covers. Outside, 2004 Mach 1's wear 40th anniversary tags ahead of the doors while the 2003 has the traditional Mustang Running Pony and Tri-Color bar. The lone interior change was the deletion of the overhead "cargo net" mounted on the headliner. Horsepower and torque ratings were not increased in 2004.

Limited in production, the 2003 and 2004 Mach 1s ended the New Edge body platform with 9,652 2003 Mach 1s and 7,182 2004's being built.

See the 2003-2004 Mustang Ads - Click Here!

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A Stylized look at the front

From th erear, the blacked out spoiler, harking back to the '70 Mach one is evident.

The shaker hood scoop also mimics the '70 Stang

While not the originals, the wheels look like Magnum 500s

It's 2003 Mustang, but significant effort was expended to give it the feel of the 1970 car.

The Mach 1 engine had its roots in the 1999-2001 Cobra, but somehow more HP was extracted.

The 2003 Mustang Mach 1 at its NY Auto Show debut.















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