The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is the best new sports car that I’ve ever driven when evaluated on a per-dollar basis. Viscerally, it’s an absolute powerhouse of sensory stimulation that makes the world a better place with each degree that rev needle climbs. Sadly, this magnificent beast is getting the axe this spring. And I’m here to tell you: Sometimes it’s ok to let the tears flow.
One of my very first assignments as a writer was to drive to a racetrack, meet with Ford PR people and engineers, and be driven in circles in a 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R. Having just left the world of engineering and with little journalism experience, I had no clue what the hell I was doing, but one thing became clear by the end of that event: Whatever I was doing was right. (Read the article my fledgling-journalist-self wrote here).
That’s because the GT350R made all the right sounds. It navigated corners in a way that a vehicle of its girth shouldn’t. Its shifter — I would learn four years later when I piloted 2020 (possibly 2019) models around Los Angeles’ fabled Angels Crest Highway — felt like true mechanical perfection. I could go on and on, but you’ve heard it all. The GT350 is a masterpiece.
But soon it will die.
Here’s what Ford has to say about the fall departure of the lovely sports coupe:
“With the 566 kW Shelby GT500 now in full stride, we will finish production of Shelby GT350 and GT350R this fall as planned. This makes the way for new additions to excite our passionate Mustang fans for 2021 model year – including the limited-edition Mach 1.”
- GT350 returned to Mustang lineup for the 2015 model year and ran six model years total
- The Heritage Edition package is the best-selling version of GT350 this year
- The upcoming limited-edition 2021 Mustang Mach 1 comes standard with the GT350’s Tremec 3160 6-speed manual transmission
This isn’t a bad breakup like the Ford Focus RS, which only got three model years despite being an awesome little hot hatch. No, the GT350 was around for six whole model years, and you know what? That’s pretty solid. It was a good run, and I think we can all look fondly upon what Ford did with its Mustang to really bring it to the next level.
The thunderous 8,000+ RPM 5.2-litre Voodoo engine, the huge brakes, the carbon fibre wheels, the awesome cooling system, the beautifully-tuned suspension — it all came together to turn a regular pony into something more. And for that, every car enthusiast should be grateful.
On the positive side, as Ford points out, the GT500 will remain, but if I’m being honest — after having driven one — I can say without a doubt that the GT350 is the better machine from a driving enjoyment standpoint.
Still, you’ve got six model-years to choose from if you want a used GT350. So go ahead and finish your crying, but everything is going to be ok.