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Ford needs a replacement for the Bullitt, and this may be it

Spy shots circulated late Friday suggest that the Ford Mustang Mach 1 revival we've been hoping for may finally be near. This V8-powered mule appears to be an ideal fit between the current GT and Shelby GT350, slotting into the space currently occupied by the limited-edition Bullitt, which is slated to go away after this year.

Rumors of a revival of the Ford Mustang Mach 1 nameplate hit a fever pitch in the months leading up to the unveiling of the Mustang Mach-E crossover. With the identity of Ford's electric Mustang crossover cemented, anticipation of a new Mach 1 seemed to dip. Today, we may just have cause for more excitement.

Perhaps it's best to eliminate the possibilities we can easily rule out. It's unlikely we're seeing updates to the run-of-the-mill GT, which was just extensively updated for the 2018 model year. The GT350 also received several updates in advance of the introduction of its bigger brother, the GT500, which is brand-new.

With those possibilities eliminated, it's reasonable to assume that the camouflage on this development car is covering up the key elements of a new GT derivative, and with the Bullitt exiting the lineup after 2020, there's plenty of room for a new, warmed-up variant based on the standard 5.0L GT.

This prototype appears to tick all the boxes. The front and rear ends are both covered, hiding any unique body work. It appears to be equipped with the corner hardware from the GT's available Performance package, including meaty Michelin Pilot Sport tires, upsized Brembo brakes, and a set of wheels big enough to clear them.

If previous rumors are true, this prototype is probably rocking the second-tier Performance package, which is difficult to spot from the outside without close-up views of the tires, but its most important addition is the MagneRide adaptive suspension.

We don't really know what to expect from a potential Mach 1 power-wise, other than to surmise that it will offer at least as much as the Bullitt and less than the GT350, which leaves us somewhere in the 480- to 525-horsepower range. We suspect the final answer will start with a 4 out of respect for the 5.2-liter, cross-plane V8 that powers the Shelby.

Out back, this mule is rocking a quad-tipped exhaust similar (but perhaps not identical) to the one found on the GT350 (and available as an option on the GT), lending even more credibility to the theory that this new model will slot between the two.

Given how clean this prototype looks and the fact that Mustang Week typically falls right before the New York Auto Show, we'd be willing to bet that it won't be long until Ford tells us exactly what's cooking under this vinyl. Stay tuned.

 
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