Alternate History: The Mustang Mach III is a Supercharged Time Warp to the '90s
In the last few months Ford has debuted two different Mustang models with the designation "Mach" in their names. One is the all-electric Mustang Mach-E crossover that is poised to take the Mustang brand in an entirely new direction starting later this year, and the other is the return of the iconic Mach 1 nameplate as a track-ready version of the traditional V8-powered Mustang Coupe.
Back in the early 1990s there was another "Mach"-branded Mustang that never reached production but nonetheless left its mark on the lineage of America's iconic pony car—the 1993 Mustang Mach III Concept.
With the boxy Fox Body Mustang showing its age, Ford was hard at work on bringing the car in a new direction, and the Mach III concept was one example of that. Stylistically, With its heavily rounded roadster body, the Mach III was about as far from the Fox Body as you could get.
While its look almost suggested a mid-engined sports car, the Mustang Mach III sat on a traditional front-engine Mustang platform, but its two-seat cabin, low profile windshield and large side scoops gave it a fresh, exotic vibe.
The Mach III Concept also had the power to back up its looks, packing the double overhead cam 4.6 liter V8 from the Lincoln MkVIII topped with an Eaton supercharger. Output was said to be 450hp and the transmission was a T56 six-speed manual.
A similar powerplant would eventually find its way into a production Mustang, but not until a decade later with the debut of the 2003 Cobra with its blown "Terminator" V8.
Being built in 1993, development of the next generation SN95 Mustang was already well underway by the time the Mach III debuted, and it seemed that the two-seat roadster was a preview of a possible additional version of the Mustang rather than a complete transformation of the car.
Two hand-built examples of the Mach III Concept were commissioned for the auto show and media circuit, but it doesn't appear the idea ever got very close to production. On the other hand, plenty of its styling elements did in fact make their way on to the production SN95 Mustang including the headlight shape, side scoops and the basic dashboard layout.
Despite never really getting close to production, the Mustang Mach III nonetheless inserted itself into the lexicon of mid '90s car culture. It's made appearances in video games, has been recreated in both diecast and plastic model form.
It not might not be beloved in the way some concept cars were, but its presence was hard to ignore.
These days, with the automotive industry moving further away from speciality cars and especially ones with two-doors, the likelihood of the Mach III formula making a comeback seems low. But that won't stop the 1993 Mustang Mach III Concept from being an interesting footnote in the history of the legendary automobile.