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Hold On To Your Hats: It's the 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1

All Photos Credit: Ford
All Photos Credit: Ford

There’s been a lot of wind whipping up the wilds of my heart. It could be this late summer heat. It could be a greater global anxiety. It could be the presence of the 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1, ripping a burnout into my mind.

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Illustration for article titled Hold On To Your Hats: Its the 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1

The Mach 1 of these years has stuck with me for some reason, plopped right at the beginning of my high school years. End of my middle school years? Whichever.

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Illustration for article titled Hold On To Your Hats: Its the 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1

I hated the Boomers then, already. I loved their original muscle cars, though. The old 454 Chevelles. The Ram Air Pontiacs. Cars like this Mach 1 seemed like a half measure, an affront.

Illustration for article titled Hold On To Your Hats: Its the 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1

It was such a retro move, anticipating the full-retro 2005 generation. I saw its shaker hood. I saw its purposeful stance. I did not believe in it. Well, I tried not to believe it, as Ford wanted me to see it. I couldn’t take it as something honorary. It just seemed strange. But, still, somehow, it sits with me.

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Illustration for article titled Hold On To Your Hats: Its the 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1

It made a claimed 305 horsepower from its 4.6-liter Modular V8, 320 lb-ft of torque, too. Ford says it was “cranking out” that horsepower. Yes. It did.

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Illustration for article titled Hold On To Your Hats: Its the 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Now I see them for what they are: tuned, quad-cam rear-drive performance cars, with three pedals and not much else. I can see past the retroism. I see only the burnouts. I see only the powerslides.

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Illustration for article titled Hold On To Your Hats: Its the 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Some 7,182 were made. Each one is an angel. I wish them to be, so that my Bush Years dreams are not nightmares.

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Illustration for article titled Hold On To Your Hats: Its the 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

“305hp and 0-60 in 5.6 seconds from a fire-breathing, rip-snorting V8? That’s cute.”
-2018 4cyl Mustang