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Alan Douglas on Motors: If this was V8 Mustang’s last hurrah, it was fun!


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Motors
Motors

A review of the Ford Mustang Mach 1.

I know it’s daft... and on the face of it, so wrong. It goes against everything that we should be doing in the face of climate change, soaring fuel prices and global crises.

Who these days would buy a 5.0 litre V8 beast with a thirst, that sounds like a roll of thunder every time you push the start button?

Something capable of hitting 166mph and 62mph in five seconds that is bedecked with go-faster stripes on its Fighter Jet Grey paint-job with bright orange Brembo brake callipers tucked in behind huge black alloys?

It makes no sense, but...

It is a Ford Mustang and the mere mention of the name gets the juices stirring with any respectable petrolhead who’ll recall the glory days of muscle cars and Steve McQueen powering his green machine over the hilly streets of San Francisco in the film Bullitt.

Motors
Motors

This particular version is a modern interpretation and the folks at Ford have gone all out to celebrate the breed as this could be the last we’ll see as we bow to economic and environmental pressure.

With an all-electric future on the cards for the blue oval, this big beefy V8 will inevitably hand over the classic heritage to the Mustang Mach-E, but for the moment, I got the chance to experience good old muscly motoring behind the wheel of the Mach 1 Fastback.

I’m happy to say, it’s great fun as you listen to the rasp from the massive pair of twin exhausts and the throb of the rumbly roar of the 454 horses under the huge bonnet.

There’s just one drawback and that is you can’t really get the full experience of this car without taking it to the racetrack. Sadly I didn’t get that chance but I’m told that changes to the chassis and some clever work on the aerodynamics to create around 25 per cent more downforce than in the standard car make it quite something around a circuit.

There are also new front and rear subframes, stiffer anti-roll bars and front springs, specially calibrated MagneRide dampers and electric power steering.

Motors
Motors

Those modifications have added about £11,000 to the price but a serious enthusiast will think that’s a worthwhile investment. That grey paint job and go-faster stripes cost another £1400 but they do give the car a distinctive look.

On the public road it is remarkably well-behaved as long as you keep it under control and below the speed limit.

There was good weather while it was in my custody but I’m not sure how the rear wheel drive would have reacted to a Scottish winter and snow-covered back roads.

There’s the option of a 10-speed automatic transmission but the test car came with a precise six-speed manual gearbox which was fairly hard work, requiring hefty wrist action. Having said that, the big power unit is so torquey, it’s possible to skip some gears and move seamlessly from second to fourth and onto sixth without any complaint.

Consumption is what you’d expect from such a machine. Ford say you should average just under 23mpg but you can see the figure plummet if you force down the right foot.

The interior cabin is pretty much the same as the standard Mustang, apart from some aluminium trim, a Mach 1 chassis number plaque on the dash (the test car was 2828) and a white “cue ball” gear knob which is a throwback to the Bullitt Mustang.

There’s a big 12-inch digital dashboard with graphics that change according to the drive mode and retro toggle switches and analogue dials give it a classic feel.

The central touchscreen is simple and clear and apart from the two rear bucket seats with limited legroom, there’s plenty of space for a coupe-style fastback.

This is clearly a car with limited appeal but it is the last of a breed which before long will be a thing of the past.

Stats at a glance:

Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback 5.0 V8

PRICE: £56,955 (£59,255 as tested)

ENGINE: 5.0 litre V8 six-speed manual

POWER: 460 PS

TORQUE: 529 Nm

TOP SPEED: 166 mph

0-62MPH: 4.8 seconds

ECONOMY: 22.8 mpg

CO2: 284 g/km

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