Sponsorship

Ford ups the horsepower at the Kentucky Derby, becomes multi-year partner of Churchill Downs

The Ford F-Series will be on display during the Kentucky Derby.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Every running of the Kentucky Derby kicks off with the crowd together singing "My Old Kentucky Home". Traditionally, the sun shines bright in the land of Churchill Downs, which is also where Ford makes the Ford F-Series Super Duty, Ford Escape, and Ford Expedition.

Ford has announced a new multi-year partnership with Churchill Downs, unseating Ram as the official automotive company of the famed horse racing track.

"With Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant practically in the backyard of Churchill Downs, Ford's participation in this uniquely American tradition is long overdue," said Matt Van Dyke, Ford marketing director. "While our workhorse trucks naturally play a huge role supporting the many aspects of the equine and racing industries, our legendary sports car is named Mustang and our much-anticipated off-roading icon is Bronco. Ford products capture the freedom synonymous with the relationship between a winning horse and jockey."

The new 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty will serve as featured vehicle of the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2, 2020.

As official truck, non-luxury SUV, car and van of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, Ford is hosting on-site activations throughout Derby Week, including special access for FordPass Rewards members plus celebrations for veterans and active duty military personnel.

Each Kentucky Oaks and Derby horse owner will also receive a Ford Explorer to use during the event.

In addition, Derby attendees can experience a wide variety of displays highlighting the Ford lineup, including the new 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty that recently began production at Kentucky Truck Plant and the 2020 Ford Escape, which is built at Louisville Assembly Plant.

"Our employees here in Louisville are proud to be building products that play an integral role in our customers' lives, and now for the great American tradition that is the Kentucky Derby," said Joe Bobnar, Ford director of manufacturing for Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant. "This partnership means something special to our thousands of dedicated employees, retirees and dealers in the Louisville community."

The company will also host a Ford Day during the 2020 racing season, granting Ford employees and their guests free admission to a race day at Churchill Downs.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Ford Mustang Mach 1 is the most iconic model lines in muscle car history.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor COmpany

The Mustang Mach 1 is making its return for the 2021 model year. The Ford Mustang Mach 1 has a rich history of being a powerful variant of the popular sports car and not costing as much as the Shelby models. Take a look back at the history of the car by scrolling through the photos below from the Ford archives.

Ford Mustang Mach 1: Concept car

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford spent time working on a concept (seen here) for what would eventually become the Mustang Mach 1 as the pony car gained popularity. The company was under direct pressure from Chevrolet and Pontiac to develop a car to compete with the Camaro and Firebird.

Ford Mustang Mach 1: Testing

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford tested the performance-focused concept at their proving grounds in Dearborn as they honed the car's performance traits and body styling. A new 7.0-liter V8 engine, dubbed the Super Cobra Jet, was developed as well, and would become the top-level offering when the Mustang Mach 1 debuted.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Mustang Mach 1 got its start as a performance package for the 1969 model. It debuted in August 1968. The car proved to be so popular that it lead Ford to discontinue its Mustang GT.

Ford made the Mach 1 package only available on fastback body styles of the Mustang. But, instead of calling them fastbacks, Ford referred to the style as a SportsRoof.

Enthusiasts can tell if a Mach 1 is an original model, rather than a restomod by looking for the 63C body style code on the car's door data plate.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For the 1970 model year, Ford changed up the outside of the Mustang to make the Mach 1 a true trim level. It got dual-beam headlights and recessed taillights with a black honeycomb rear panel. The side scoops behind both doors were removed and the car got new bucket seats, deep dish wheel covers, and fresh badging. Ford also further refined the engine lineup.

Mustang Mach 1 Advertising

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1: The First Real Facelift

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For 1971, Ford revised the content of the Mach 1. The list of standard equipment included a fastback roof with a "05" VIN code, honeycomb grille with black sport lamps, "Mach 1" badging, trundled decals, lower body accent paint, white sidewall tires, a dual racing mirror, honeycomb taillight, pop open gas cap, a competition suspension, and an available scooped hood.

1972 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The 1972 model was the least popular of the 1971-73 models. For the year, Ford droped the pop open gas cap and streamlined the engine offerings even further.

1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford again changed the Mustang Mach 1 for the 1973 model year. All '73s got wide body-side tape stripe from the front of the car to the rear wheel well. "Mustang" script made it way to the fender and the deck lid was revised. A two-tone hood treatment was offered and the engine lineup with further slimmed.

Because of new NHTSA standards, Ford had to redesign the car's front and rear bumpers which included moving lights and emblems.

1974-1978 Ford Mustang Mach 1: Second Generation

Ford downsized the Mustang Mach 1 for the second generation. It kept many design elements for the new generation while modifying them for the Mustang II design. As the years went on, Ford left the model mostly unchanged. Sales of the Mustang Mach 1 dwindled until it was discontinued in 1978.

2003-2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1: A new Mustang for a fresh generation

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford brought back the Mustang Mach 1 for a very limited time for the 2003 and 2004 model years. The car had a lot in common with the Mustang Bullitt and received a large performance gain over the Mustang's base GT model. Under its hood was a 4.6-liter V8 engine that achieved 305 horsepower.

For the 2004 model year, little changed about the model except for some minor aesthetic updates.

Ford has announced that they will revive the Mustang Mach 1 for the 2021 model year.

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Ford is bringing the Mustang Mach 1 back.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

It was from a stage in Detroit a few years ago that Ford's then-CEO Mark Fields stood in front of several thousand journalists and proclaimed that the Mach 1 name was making a return. Fast forward half a decade and one new CEO and today the company is making it official.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 will feature a 5.0-liter V8 engine giving global customers the option of buying a vehicle with a name that first shined during the golden age of muscle cars. Ford does not directly sell the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 in Europe so this new model could fill a hole in that market.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 teaser spy photo Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

"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."

The Mustang Mach 1 first debuted in 1969. It carved a niche for the buying public - better performance than the Mustang GT with a price tag that made it cheaper the the Shelby or Boss grades.

"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."

Ford changed up the Mustang Mach 1 in 1971 and 1974 even offering an available Rallye Suspension Package. Then, it disappeared.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 teaser spy photo Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The name was revived for the 2003 and 2004 model years and featured a blend of modern power and 1970s-era nostalgic design. Its 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.

While Ford hasn't released many details of the new coupe model, it did release some teaser images including a close-up of the car's wheel. In that photo, the Mustang Mach 1 is wearing Michelin Radial X Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires sized 305/30ZR19 (98Y)($442.70 each on TireRack.com right now) that fit on 19-inch wheels. The car is wearing red Brembo calipers and five-double Y-spoke black wheels.

The car looks to have unique front and rear fascia though most of the body of the vehicle is straight from the 2020 Ford Mustang playbook. The two circular objects in the front of the car on the unique grille are a new addition, likely for additional engine bay cooling however there's some historical precedent for those spots to inhabited by lights. There's also a sizable spoiler and quad exhaust that look like they're straight from the GT500.

Seventeen years later, the all-new 2021 Mustang Mach 1 is set to return. on official debut date or pricing has been announced.

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