Updating an icon is never easy.
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 is back after a 17-year market absence and the Blue Oval knew from the get-go that updating the icon was going to be a huge challenge. Not only did the new Mach 1 have to be extremely track-capable, but it also had to look the part. We already know a lot about its cool new exterior design features, but there's another element Ford gave serious attention to: the Mach 1 logo. In fact, the automaker assigned the task of modernizing it to a whole team of graphic designers led by design manager Dave Mahoney.
What was their starting point, aside from the original logo? They took inspiration from their exterior and interior design colleagues who also had to pay homage to the Mach 1's past while looking ahead.
"From a brand standpoint, that vintage Mach 1 logo has such a classic look, there was a lot that we didn't want to lose," said Mahoney. "The unique letters, the outline - it was important to keep those features. What we did do is make it more modern, which really suits the new car."
While the new logo pays tribute to the original with the lowercase "h," Ford didn't want these graphic designers to come up with a completely retro badge. It had to be modern yet instantly recognizable. Easier said than done. Ford also made the decision for the logo to appear in numerous locations through the muscle car, such as on its hood stripe, front fenders, and rear end. It can also be found on the strut tower brace under the hood and even the door sills.
Inside, 'Mach1' can be spotted on the instrument cluster and center stack touchscreen during startup. There's also a dash badge that includes the logo as well as the vehicle's serial number.
"When a nameplate like a Mach 1 comes back, you need to play up the heritage, but we didn't want this to be a retro badge," said Dean Carbis, Ford's chief designer. "We wanted it to be modern, while still calling back to the original. I think the team nailed it."
The 480 horsepower Ford Mustang Mach 1 will arrive in dealerships next spring.