Michael Johnson Associate Editor
January 1, 2004
Photos By: John Roper

Horse Sense: Largely due to the Mach 1's success, 1969 was the last model year of the Mustang GT-at least until it made a comeback in 1982.

Ford's original Mach 1 was designed to battle the likes of Camaros, Chevelles, 'Cudas, and GTOs. Bridging the gap between a ponycar and the pure definition of a musclecar, the '69 Mach 1 was available with either a 351 Windsor, a 390 big-block, or a fire-breathing 428 Cobra Jet big-block, all with your choice of an automatic or standard transmission. The Mach 1 was designed to be a comfortable musclecar, in contrast to the street-legal Boss 302 and Boss 429 race cars, which were built for homologation purposes for SCCA Trans Am and NASCAR, respectively. Lasting through the 1978 model year, the Mach 1 left an indelible mark on the musclecar scene.

With as nice a package as this '03 Mach 1, there's not much you can do to improve on it. The D&D Performance tubular K-member, control arms, and springs lower the front end slightly, but everything else is as-delivered, and that's fine with us.

Evidently, Ford remembered the Mach 1's success because-to the delight of everyone-it reappeared in 2003. The Mustang-buying public scarfed them up like Chip Havemann in the Hostess cake aisle. As did the '69 Mach 1, the '03 model carved a niche for itself right down the middle of the Mustang GT and the supercharged '03 Cobra. When people began screaming for a Four-Valve stick-axle Mustang, what better name was available than Mach 1? Ford also wanted to get some excitement going until the '05 model arrived, and the Mach 1 nameplate has done exactly that.

The '03 Mach 1 has been so successful, it's returning for 2004. But Jeremy and Amanda Robertson couldn't wait that long, so they grabbed up this Torch Red example from Bob Brock Ford.

"The car was originally planned to have some bolt-ons and a 100 shot of nitrous," Jeremy says. That was the plan-until Jeremy found the Web site for Pro Turbo Kits (www.proturbokits.com), which builds turbo kits for Mustangs as well as other vehicles. Jeremy sent the company an e-mail inquiring about a Mach 1 single-turbo package. "They were excited about the idea," he says. So much so that Pro Turbo Kits ended up using Jeremy's Mach 1 as its guinea pig. "I knew my car would be the first turbo-charged Mach 1 in the world," Jeremy says. "My wife and I were so excited."

Pro Turbo Kits' Keith Campbell says, "We had quite a bit of interest for a Mach 1 kit, but Jeremy was the first to step up with the money." The turbo on Jeremy's Mach is a Precision Turbo-built unit using Garrett GT-40 turbocharger components. The torque peak begins at around 3,400 rpm and flat-lines from there on up. Keith says that a new turbo designed to lower that number to 2,800 rpm is now available for the kit. This turbo features a redesigned compressor wheel and different trim to enable the turbo to spool up more quickly. Not surprisingly, Keith says the rods and pistons are holding up the quest for more boost. He thinks 8 pounds of boost might be the limit with the Mach 1 Four-Valve since it boasts a 10:1 compression ratio. Jeremy plans on adding a bolstered short-block in the near future to really be able to turn up the boost.

So how does the car run with the turbo? Jeremy's wife, Amanda, drives the car more than he does, and she can attest to its power-and evidently so can a lot of F-bodies.

"It's pretty cool when my wife calls me and says, 'I spanked another Ram-Air today,'" Jeremy says. "She's the greatest." He adds, "The car is a neck breaker. Everyone stares when we drive it. I'm sure the Pro Turbo Kits windshield sticker makes a lot of people wonder."

Yeah, one stab of the gas pedal and they'll wonder where the red Mach 1 went.

Stitched to replicate the original Mach 1's Comfortweave seats, the '03's seats look nothing like those of a GT or Cobra. Likewise, the gauges were designed to confuse the driver into thinking it was 1969 again, although we don't know of many '69 Mach 1s needing a boost gauge.

Though the engine remains bone stock at the moment, Jeremy plans to add a built short-block to allow higher boost levels. Even with the stock engine gulping pump gas, Jeremy's Mach 1 made 396 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. According to the boost gauge, he was seeing a little less than 5 pounds, so he installed a boost controller and set it at 5 pounds. "Wow, what a difference," Jeremy says. The car made a best of 440 hp and 482 lb-ft of torque. You heard right. That's from a single turbo and exhaust-and don't forget those numbers came from just 5 pounds of boost. Jeremy's lone trip to the track resulted in a best of 11.8 at 117 mph, and that was in 4,500-foot air.

5.0 Tech Specs
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAINtuned by Mike Murillo
Cylinder Heads 
CamshaftsFront Suspension
Intake ManifoldD&D Performance
Throttle BodyD&D Performance
Power AdderTokico
Pro Turbo Kits single turboWheels
Pro Turbo headers, BBK H-pipe,Brakes
Warlock mufflers, stock tailpipesStock
Fuel SystemRear Suspension
03 Cobra fuel pump, stock linesSprings
and rails, 42-lb/hr injectors, stockStock
fuel-pressure regulatorShocks
Stock 3650, stock clutch andWheels
flywheel, Steeda Tri-Ax shifterStock
Stock 8.8, 3.55 gearsNitto NT555R Drag
Engine ManagementChassis Stiffening
Stock Mach 1, Autologic chip,Stock Mach 1