Ford plans to revive the Shelby name and the infamous GT350 that started it all rolling with the introduction of a new Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang. They aim for an “all-day track car that’s also street legal.”
The original Shelby GT350 Mustang was introduced in 1965 and was the first Mustang that was widely considered a true performance car. Production Mustangs, which themselves created the “pony car” craze, were rarely considered “performance cars” by sports car lovers. Although muscular and generally speedy (in some formats), standard production Mustangs were not all that great around corners or on the track. Then came Carroll Shelby.
His GT350 changed the Mustang forever and created a slew of high-performance tuning and factory-built offerings that persisted throughout the Mustang’s history. Now, in tribute to the man who began the pony car performance journey, Ford is unveiling a new Shelby GT350 Mustang engineered to be the best of breed for the new-generation Mustang.
This starts with the engine, which is Ford’s first-ever flat-plane crankshaft-driven block. The 5.2-liter V8 has evenly-spaced crank pins at 180-degree intervals. Normally, a traditional V8 will have them attached at 90-degree intervals. The 180-degree angle is often seen in high-end European sports cars as it’s a very balanced way to turn the crank, but it also requires a lot of engineering to do correctly.
The big advantage to that 180-degree change is exhaust pressure pulse overlap reduction. The 180 setup means that firing order can alternate between sides, so that exhaust release is opposing rather than next to the firing cylinder. This means better breathing which results in better output. For the Ford 5.2L, it will mean over 500 horses and better than 400 lb-ft.
Other enhancements for the car include a lightweight six-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential, increased torsional stiffness (28% better than current), a carbon-fiber grille opening, and optional tower-to-tower bracing. Spring rates and bushings are all recalibrated as well, lowering ride height.
Also rare on any car, let alone the Mustang, are two-piece brake discs supplying the most stopping power any Mustang has ever had. 394mm and 380mm rotors are set front and back, respectively, with six pistons up front and four in the rear. Extra-stiff aluminum alloy wheels (19-inches) help with road holding and braking as well. MagneRide dampers also appear on this new GT350 Shelby, the first time they’ve been used by Ford.
Design changes for the all-new Mustang are also seen, mostly in the hood and grille as well as the driver’s cockpit area. Aluminum is used extensively on the bodywork, especially in the new hood and front fenders, with their race-ready look.
“We took the best Ford Mustang yet and massaged every aspect of the car that affects the performance driving experience,” said chief engineer Jamal Hameedi, Ford Global Performance Vehicles. “We tested endlessly on the most challenging roads and tracks in the world, and we believe serious drivers will love the Shelby GT350 Mustang.”
It’s a beautiful rendition of the new Mustang and a great homage to the man who’s most famous achievement, among many great works, was the Mustang which holds his name. Shelby.
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