Ford Mustang Shelby
Ford’s newest pony car on steroids, the Shelby GT350, is more than just a quarter-mile monster. Yes, the 5.2-liter V-8 can hustle it down the straight at a brain-melting pace. It’s not the 526 hp, the 429 lb-ft of torque, or the 4.3-second zero-to-60-mph run that has us drooling; it’s that Ford has finally built a muscle car that can hold its own through corners. True speed freaks can opt for the GT350R, which loses the rear seat, adds carbon fiber, and cuts 0.4 second off the zero-to-60 time.
Mustang lovers got sweaty, but as usual, the rest of the auto world just shrugged and moved on with evolution.
Ford says it’s different this time. It says thenew Shelby G350, is a light-year leap in sophistication and handling. It says the flat-plane-crank V-8 delivers 8000 revelations per minute, that the magnetic suspension and custom, cross-drilled brake system and Michelin superstick tires prove that the company is serious about achieving world-class handling.
Well, Ford says a lot of things.
With the six-speed slotted into gear and the surprisingly light clutch lifted, the GT350 leapt onto the asphalt of Monterey’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. First corner and first impressions: tight, tied-down, stable, maybe a little bit of push but, hey, the car’s cold and a bit heavy. Wind it out—wait, where’s the redline? Nowhere. It doesn’t exist! The sucker just keeps straining, keeps revving, keeps swelling with a glorious brassy, unmuffled, rhapsodic roar.
The anticipated upshift was forgotten as another corner approached.
The brakes—oof, such brakes!—chomp down, but the nose doesn’t dive. The car isn’t crossed up or squirming, it’s flat and stable and ready to turn right now! Less understeer this time, a perfect arc scribed from the white line to apex to white line. And it’s on the gas again, the sound flooding back—that addictive, dazzling, erotic exhale of lyric fire.
Yes. Yes, indeed. Ford is serious.