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Spied! Is This a Ford Mustang Mach 1 Prototype?

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/30/2016 Jason Udy

A prototype for what could be an S550-based Ford Mustang Mach 1 has been spotted running around Michigan. Our spy photographer managed to get several shots of the car, and a video posted to YouTube by Mustang6G has clear audio of the exhaust note.

From the video, the engine sounds like a rowdier version of the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 used in the Mustang GT, not the 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank Voodoo engine used in the Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R models. However, the quad exhaust tips below the hacked up Mustang GT's rear fascia look like those on the hardcore track-focused Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R models. We also notice the absence of a supercharger whine or the whoosh of turbocharger(s), suggesting the engine is still naturally aspirated.

If this is indeed a prototype for an upcoming Ford Mustang Mach 1, we expect the upgraded Coyote engine to split the difference between the Mustang GT's 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque and the Shelby GT350/GT350R's 526 hp and 429 lb-ft.

In addition to the exhaust tips and hacked up rear fascia, notable exterior changes include a GT350-inspired front splitter with heim joint supports, a Ford Racing decklid with integrated duckbill spoiler, and mismatched wheels. The black-finished wheels up front are the same style used in the GT Performance Pack, while the silver-finished rear wheels are similar to the wheels on the fifth-generation Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca. Although not visible in the images, our spy photographer said the mule has a beefier rear axle.

Ford Mustang Mach 1 Prototype rear three quarter 03© Provided by MotorTrend Ford Mustang Mach 1 Prototype rear three quarter 03

Rumors suggest that the 10-speed automatic jointly developed with GM and previewed on the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor and 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 could make its way into the Mustang by the 2018 model year, meaning the transmission could be available on this variant.

First used in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the first-generation Mustang, Ford brought the Mach 1 name back for the fourth-generation New Edge model during the 2003 and 2004 model years. That model was powered by a naturally aspirated 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 with 305 hp and 320 lb-ft, and slotted between the 1999-2004 Mustang GT with its 260-hp 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 and the 2003-2004 Cobra SVT with a supercharged 4.6-liter DOHC V-8 underrated at 390 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque.

Although Ford has indicated that it will offer special editions of the current-generation Mustang, it is possible that the automaker could be using the mule to test mid-cycle performance upgrades for the Mustang GT to compete with the more powerful and lighter Chevrolet Camaro SS/1LE.

Check out the images and share your thoughts on this Ford Mustang prototype.

Photo source: Brian Williams Photography

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