Vintage & Classics

Throwback: History of the Ford Mustang Mach 1

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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A diamond mesh grille fronts the 2022 Kia K8.

PhPhoto courtesy of Kia Motorsoto courtesy of Kia Motors

Goodbye, Cadenza. Hello, K8. The Kia Cadenza is one of those cars that is easy forgotten about (if you ever knew about it in the first place) and frequently passed over in favor of the Toyota Avalon or the like. Still, most every automotive journalist who has driven it likes it.

So, Kia's taking the lessons learned from the Cadenza and some from the K5 and Stinger, and rolling them into a new large sedan, the 2022 Kia K8. This week the company unveiled the first official images of the car ahead of its debut. This is the first vehicle named the K8 in Kia history.

2022 Kia K8 The K8's headlights have integrated turn signals.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

2022 Kia K8

"Following our recent company rebrand, we keep moving toward our new brand values with a new model – the K8. This modern sedan has been designed with innovation and elegance at its very core," said Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design Center. "While paying homage to the K7, the K8 looks to the future. Its progressive exterior takes on character and emotion, and combines those qualities with an expressive looking front and a dynamic swooping rear, giving the K8 a high-quality, premium presence that takes direct inspiration from some of the world's most technically advanced yachts."

As seen in the photos, the car wears Kia's new logo on its badging, and has design lines reminiscent of the vehicles it has taken lessons from. There's a frameless tire nose grille with diamond lattice, turn signals integrated into the headlights, an elongated side profile, chrome finish along the bottom of the doors, and a roofline that trails off into the trunk. It's all very much from the Kia sedan lineup.

Kia promises that the car will have a "first class" interior that establishes "new benchmarks in premium quality". The sedan will deliver a high-performance driving experience yet be comfortable to ride in, according to Kia messaging.

The rear of the Kia K8 features elongated taillights.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia K8 is expected to arrive in showrooms later this year but the U.S. might not get it until after it's arrived in Korea and Europe.

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The Nissan GT-R probably isn't the first supercar that comes to mind, but it's worthy of consideration if you're not all about being seen.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

You put the pedal down. A confident growl busts out the back end. The wheels may squeal, and you might too. It's not all about the power, though it has plenty. The 2021 Nissan GT-R delivers the type of drive experience that you're never going to get from an electric vehicle - and it's magnificent.

Godzilla has been in production since 2007 with nips and tucks and add-ons here and there along the way. It's not as sleek or stylish as the Audi E-Tron GT or even Audi's R8. There's no giant wing out back à la McLaren and certainly nothing Italian about it. The GT-R is it's own man.

Even areas of the country that are supercar-heavy, aren't heavy with GT-Rs. A Ferrari or Lamborghini is a bigger status symbol for adoring eyes. It's the real drivers out there who know that a GT-R is perhaps the better investment for someone who wants a supercar to drive, not just to be seen in. Its unique looks are subtle but properly athletic.

2021 Nissan GT-R Premium The car is capable as a daily driver but it can also push the limits during a track day.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

2021 Nissan GT-R Premium

The reason for that starts but doesn't end with Nissan's 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6. It rests below the hood, not behind your ears, and delivers 565 horsepower and 467 pound-feet of torque creating a visceral acceleration experience. It's enough to satisfy you, bring a smile to your face, impress those around you, and make you realize that Godzilla really is a beast.

The six-speed dual-clutch transmission in the GT-R Premium ($113,540 base price) manages the power nicely and shifts relatively smoothly - it's no Ford 10-speed automatic and that's okay. If you want a GT-R with a manual transmission, you'll have to upgrade to the NISMO model. Don't "save the manuals" me. So few people are buying them that they're becoming extinct despite your bumper sticker saying and hashtag. Most supercars don't have them. Nissan is just simply following an industry trend and the DCT is perfectly fine for drivers not spending the majority of their time on a track.

All wheel drive is standard on the model, meaning that the GT-R sticks to the road as you put it through its paces. That also means that you don't need to head home every time there's rainfall or snow in the forecast, and you can take corners a little faster than the local constabulary may prefer.

The car has athletic looks despite not conforming to the typical supercar design language.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

2021 Nissan GT-R Premium

Proper engineering has made the GT-R a great daily driver. It's fun to push it around the twisties on a winding road in the country during a long weekend, but it's also not a bad car to commute or run errands in (it has a real trunk!). Like any good supercar, the GT-R goes right where you want, when you want it, whether you're doing slow speed maneuvering around a neighborhood or putting the throttle down on the highway. The speed-sensitive steering calibration is spot-on.

Parts of the interior are dated, especially when compared to other vehicles in its price point. But none of those parts are enough to make the GT-R even the least bit undesirable. The seats are surprisingly comfortable and the ride isn't too harsh. Analog dials are a nice break for the eyes.

But the real reason you're in the GT-R isn't because of the the amenities. It's because you love to drive. Because you're confident enough to go with Godzilla rather than a flashy Italian or German. Because you understand that the car nicknamed after a fictional monster, and its gasoline-powered ilk, are in danger of going extinct as carbon neutral priorities seem keen on removing the type of visceral fun that internal combustion engines provide.

The car has analog dials in front of the driver.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If we're going to have to make concessions to make the air and water cleaner, it would be nice if, on the other end of the spectrum, the powers that be let us keep having the muscle of the GT-R.

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