MUSTANG MACH III CONCEPT
Jungle green pearl with grey leather interior
In early 1992, John Coletti (Chief Engineer, Special Vehicle Team Engineering) became aware that arch rivals from Chevrolet and Pontiac were going to introduce their new Camaro and Firebird during the January 1993 Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Shows. While Ford Motor Company and the Mustang team had been working on an all new design since 1990, code named SN-95, this was not due for release until 1994. A plan was hatched to steal GM's thunder by copying the success of the early Mustang show cars, which not only tantalized customers but frustrated competitors. Mustang I started the trend in 1962, with a fully operational race bred car that debuted on the Watkins Glen race track. This was followed by Mach I in 1967 and Mach II, the wild mid-engine concept car, in 1969. Coletti decided that for a Mach III concept, he should follow the trends set by the style of Mustang I and go for an open speedster and as before this model should be operational. Joe Laura, the Mach III concept project manager and Coletti immediately started work on the project.
Instantly recognizable as a Mustang, thoughtfully imbued with Mustang heritage, appropriately updated with future Mustang goodies, tastefully presented as a topless speedster, Mach III was a heck of a Mustang and an eye catching way to lead into the next generation which would be introduced in 1994.
The mechanical attributes were, perhaps, the easy part. Mach III was powered by the 4.6 liter double overhead camshaft V8 introduced in the 1993 Lincoln, a free-revving, lightweight, high efficiency engine no one doubted for a minute would soon find its way into the original pony car. Not to give anything away about future production, Ford elected to make Mach III a real powerhouse and under the direction of Advance Powertrain Engineering Chief Jim Gagliardi they supercharged this version. This was accomplished by fitting a Roots supercharger with liquid-air intercooler and dual exhausts to pump the modular V8 up to an attention-getting 450 horsepower, nearly 100 horsepower per liter. They backed it up with a 6-speed manual transmission. A little environmental sensitivity helps offset the rubber smoke that would be the natural result of all that power so Ford made Mach III fuel-friendly. A sensor in the fuel line detects the alcohol in the M85 alcohol-gasoline mix. The engine management computer uses that information to adjust the fuel-air mixture to regular power and emissions. The chassis is the Mustang production model's reliable and proven combination of independent front suspension and solid rear axle with 4-wheel disc brakes.
The Mach III concept's fiberglass composite body is as special as its powerplant. A true speedster, the Mach III concept has no provision for a top. The nose could be nothing but a Mustang, but with a large air intake under the small Mustang grille (identified by the traditional Mustang emblem) to feed 450hp worth of air to the engine and keep the radiator, taxed by both the engine's heat and the intercooler load, cool. A carbon fiber splitter defines the bottom of the intake. Ovoid transparent covers protecting the head and marker lamps are placed above brake cooling ducts. Two large ducts mark the back of the hood, their shape mimicked by the supports for the outside mirrors.
The windshield is low, with a body color frame that dips in the center where the integrated rear view mirror is placed. The windshield frame shape continues to the deck behind the seats which also is an active aerodynamic spoiler containing the center high mounted stoplight. The spoiler rises as the Mach III concept's speed increases. The rounded tail is flanked by three-bar silvered taillights that give a hint of the lights to come on the '94 Mustang. The dual outlet center-mounted exhaust pokes through an oval opening below the wraparound bumper. An aircraft-style fuel filler cap (leading to a racing fuel cell) is set flush into the rear quarter while the body sides have a prominent channel leading to a carbon fiber-pattern brake cooling duct inlet in the rear fender. Five-spoke chromed 19" alloy wheels wear P275/40R-19 front tires and big P305/35R-19s at the rear. In truth steel wheels were fitted to handle the awesome power and are cleverly disguised as alloys behind fiberglass covers which have been chromed.
The Mach III interior is done in rough finished heavy grey hides on fully adjustable and supportive competition-style seats. The driver grips a carbon fiber spoked leather rim Momo steering wheel. In addition to conventional seat adjustment the pedal cluster is moveable over a 3" range, giving enough flexibility in seat position and control reach to suit almost any driver. Driver and passenger have matching upholstered binnacles separated by a body color center stack and console with a round analog clock and timer pair above a round panel for the 1000 watt AM-FM-CD sound system. The driver's instruments have black graduations on plain white faces, giving quick readability that will be necessary as the tach spins across its range.
The Mustang Mach III concept was launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 1993. Just as John Coletti had envisaged, the public and press were captivated and it stole much of the attention within the same hall where Pontiac displayed their new Trans Am. Praise was universal and we are told that on at least one occasion the Mach III concept was loaned to a journalist for a magazine test which reputedly pitted the Mustang Mach III concept against a Dodge Viper with the Mach III showing the Viper the way home, however, at the time of cataloguing we have been unable to locate the article and confirm the validity of this story. So popular was the Mach III concept that several of the major toy model manufacturers shortly brought it out in scale.
Offered here, the Mustang Mach III concept is in excellent condition. Originally poppy red, it has been superbly repainted in jungle green pearl which exhibits a subtle color shift toward a yellow as light plays over the Mach III concept's contours. The paint is show quality however the rough finished leather seat coverings exhibit some water staining. Otherwise the interior shows scant evidence of wear or age. For show purposes the Mach III concept lights can be hooked up to an external AC power supply. Both the hood and trunk open electronically and reveal show quality finishes to the engine compartment and fuel cell/storage area. The Mach III concept honored the Mustang heritage, celebrated Mustang performance and suggested the future. This is an extraordinary chance to own a very special and unique part of the Mustang legend and is an automotive design package that we believe will send enthusiasts into sensory overload.