The Ford Mustang has been the flagship muscle car in the USA since 1964 till today. While there are other cars in its class such as the Dodge Challenger and the Chevrolet Camaro, the Mustang has been at the top of its class. There are two models of the Mustang that have the biggest following, the 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 and the sixth generation Mustang GT S550, which is the current model being sold.
Let’s take a look at both models as we make a direct comparison to show how far the model has come, and an indication of where it’s heading.
The engine is the heart of any vehicle, and Mustangs are known for having big hearts.
Mach 1 Drivetrain
The Mach 1 was available to American consumers with a wide range of engine options; however, we’re looking at the most popular of the lot, the 351 cu. Windsor V8 engine. This engine, which was made of cast iron, churned out a figure of 250hp with 355 lb. ft. of torque at 2,600 RPM. These small block V8s were fitted with either a 2-barrel or 4-barrel carburetor setup, with the latter bumping up the power and torque figures to 290hp and 385 lb. ft. at 3,200 rpm.
Gearbox options were the 3-speed automatic, 3- and 4-speed manuals, with the automatic variant perfect for cruising, and the manual options more for those who wanted a more exciting ride. The manual transmissions were perfect for breaking into the high 14-second ¼ mile times, which was quick for that time.
GT S550 Drivetrain
The sixth generation Mustang GT S550 (S550 is the chassis code) is the latest model that’s available to the public, and unlike the Mach 1, this version of the Mustang is technologically advanced enough to compete with European and Japanese models in the compact executive class. The Mustang GT is known for its gen 3 5.0 Coyote V8 engine which was designed to compete with GM’s LS3. The modular design meant this engine could produce similar power figures as its competitors, but with a much smaller displacement.
The gen 3 engine features a slightly larger engine bore and produces 460hp and 420 lb. ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm. The 2018 model also differs from the 2017 model as sprayed-in engine liners were added to the aluminum engine block. This engine also has a 7,500 rpm redline and a compression ratio of 12.1. With the S550, you have the option of a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic, and while the purists will opt for the manual, the 10-speed automatic is perfect for those who are after straight-line speed.
Body Style & Interior
With both of these Mustangs offering exceptional bodylines and great interiors, it’s only natural for us to look at what both of these cars have to offer.
Mach 1 Body & Interior
Starting with the exterior, the Mach 1 was known for its coupe fastback body style with its long hood and short tail-end with its sloping rear. The 63C chassis was given a variety of performance and visual enhancement modifications such as the iconic “shaker” hood that had a huge hood scoop for drawing in more air. Competition suspension was also something that was added, which not only affected the general stance of the car but also made it more manageable around corners. Goodyear Polyglas tires were fitted to new cars, along with plenty of chrome dressings, such as spoilers and exhaust tips.
Unfortunately, the late ’60s weren’t known for high-end interiors, and the Mach 1 featured a standard wood grain and teak interior with bucket seats. Sound deadening proved to be vital and this was added to every model after the Mach 1.
GT S550 Body & Interior
The Ford Mustang GT S550 has a beautiful exterior that’s based on the Ford Evos concept that features a fastback coupe body style. The only version of this car that doesn’t have the iconic fastback design is the Mustang Convertible. The aggressive styling is seen throughout the exterior with sharp body lines and a low stance thanks to the MagnaRide suspension.
The interior of the Mustang features plenty of luxury items such as an advanced infotainment system that allows you to monitor different parts of the car and even keep track of performance figures. For a sports car, the S550 Mustang GT has a lot to offer, such as ambient lighting, a premier sound system, enhanced voice control, and much more. The seats are extremely comfortable, but the rear doesn’t have enough legroom for one adult.
With performance figures, we’ll be looking at acceleration times, ¼ mile times, top speed, and braking distances.
Mach 1 Figures
This version of the car featured the F70 Goodyear Polyglas tires, a 2-barrel carburetor setup with 250 hp and 355 lb. ft. of torque, and a 4-speed manual transmission. The car hit a top speed of 122 mph and achieved a 0-62 mph time of 7.5 seconds, which is decent, but shows how unrefined the engine was at the time. A standing ¼ mile of 14.78 seconds at 92.5 mph was achieved. With the brake test, the Mach 1 managed 256 ft from 80-0 mph.
GT S550 Figures
This version of the car featured Michelin Pilot Sport tires and a 10-speed automatic transmission. 0-60 mph was done in 3.8 seconds, with the standing ¼ mile done in 12.1 seconds. The top speed was limited to 156 mph, with 70-0 done in 156 ft. It’s clear the Mustang GT S550 is a superior car, but it lacks the soul the Mach 1 has, as the old school vehicle came with a noisy engine, a beautiful body, and an interior that reminds us of our grandma’s living room.