For the past few weeks, we’ve been bringing you teasers that Ford prepared for an announcement on November 17th. Today is that day and yes, Virginia, the Mustang Shelby GT350 is a reality − just in time for the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.
“When we started working on this car, we wanted to build the best possible Mustang for the places we most love to drive – challenging back roads with a variety of corners and elevation changes – and the track on weekends,” said Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. Raj Nair. “Every change we made to this car was driven by the functional requirements of a powerful, responsive powerplant – nimble, precise handling and massive stopping power.”
Rumors of the Mustang GT350 being turbocharged were abound just last week, but that ain’t gonna happen. What you can expect, however, is a 500-horse 5.2L V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft. Ford touts the engine as the most powerful naturally aspirated Blue Oval motor ever. The unique powerplant is mated to a a six-speed manual transmission and a Ford-tuned Torsen limited-slip differential.
“Make no mistake, this is an American interpretation of a flat-plane crankshaft V8, and the 5.2-liter produces a distinctive, throaty howl from its four exhaust tips,” said the chief engineer of Ford Global Performance Vehicles, Jamal Hameedi.
Back in the day, American performance cars were meant to go, not stop (or turn). Today, things are (thankfully) much different: so, Ford gave the Mustang GT350 six-piston Brembo brakes with cross-drilled brake rotors (15.5 inches up front, 14.9 inches out back) attached to 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels (10.5 inches up front, 11 inches out back) shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.
The GT350 also receives a new lowered and sloped aluminum hood to help give it the “smallest possible aerodynamic signature”, according to Ford. See the hood outlet? It acts as a heat extractor while also reducing underhood lift at high speeds. Out back, that aggressive diffuser is functional, helping to increase downforce and provide cooling air to the optional differential cooler. Additionally, a subtle lip spoiler increases downforce without adding excess drag.
“Everything we changed on GT350 is purely functional-driven… with the goal of improving the overall performance of the car,” said Ford design director Chris Svensson. “We optimized the aero shape of the car, and then fine-tuned what was left to increase downforce and cooling airflow.”
It will be 50 years since Carroll Shelby introduced the GT350 to the public, creating a legend that gave Americans something to challenge the Europeans. And with the new Shelby GT350 Mustang, we’ll soon see how Ford challenges the Camaro Z/28.