Mustang MonthlyCar Reviews
2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1 - It's Back! The 2003
Is It All That The Old Cars Are-Or Is It More? We Look At The Car, Drive It, And Let You Know
Wheels and Tire Specification:
17x8-inch Magnum 500-style (five-spoke)Goodyear 245/45ZR17 Eagle ZR45
How It Is
When we say Hoge put a great deal of thought into the Mach 1, we mean there are subtle hints-clues, if you will-to the car's origins. It is awesome to us that Hoge and Co. took the time and energy to make the Mach 1 retro enough to evoke images of the past without making a ham-fisted mess of it. There is just enough nostalgia that the vintage buffs will like it and plenty of go to make the late-model boys and girls happy too. Below is a list of the items that the Mach 1 pays homage to.
The Engine Code
When Hoge went after a Mach 1 look, he also wanted the whole package to reflect the past, to mirror what Ford has done. Therefore, the 32-valve 4.6 is coded in the VIN as an "R," just like the 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air cars of yore.
The code was something of a problem, too. It was not as easy to get that letter as one might think. According to Hoge, any new engine code is usually picked by the Ford corporate computer-not the design team. So when he asked for the "R" code he put a wrench in the Ford works, furthering the untamed reputation of the Mustang Team.
Though it is not a faithful rendering due to thicker lines and edges, the look and feel are definitely there, right down to the ribs on top. Ford didn't have to do this; it could have come up with a new-look Shaker. Certainly the younger crowd, on the whole, would not have known the difference.
There is no way to make the Magnum 500 work well on the new car. That's fine by us. So Hoge used these completely new wheels for the Mach 1 that have the flair of the original 500. A very nice update to a classic look. We like these wheels every bit as much as the Bullitt wheels from last year.
This is another place where Ford could have done as it pleased but decided to stay faithful to the original mark-well, not the "original," but the logo type that was used on the '70-up Mach 1s.
The new 32-valve 4.6 engine with its special cams and hot-rod airs is where the new zing of the Mach 1 is. Though the handling aspects of the car are stout, the 4.6 is where Ford has put the lion's share of its verve. The car is a blast to drive because of both the Shaker and the stunning low and midrange power. Gone is the boggy "4V Cleveland" feel of the older 4.6 Cobra four-valve. Power is pointed and sharp-sharp enough to have Paul Svinicki of Paul's High Performance smack down a 12.97/105.1 quarter-mile time. Even with the Ford guys pummeling the beast, it managed a raft of mid-13 second e.t.'s.