Ford gave birth to the GT350 nameplate in 1965, the same year when Carroll Shelby was commissioned to build high-performance versions of the first-generation Mustang. Built in 1965 and 1966, the initial GT350 was not just lighter than a regular Mustang , but more powerful too. Originally rated at 271 ponies, the ’Stang’s 4.7-liter V-8 was uprated to deliver 306 horsepower at Shelby American’s shop, where it would also be equipped with heavy-duty rear axles, larger rear drum brakes, and front disc brakes. All 1965 models were painted Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue stripes, while the 1966 model year brought more colors to the car. The GT350 continued in 1967, 1968 and 1969 with more cosmetic changes that performance updates. The GT350 moniker disappeared until 2011, when it returned for the fifth-generation Mustang. As the redesigned pony rolls into dealerships for the 2015 model year, the GT350 is about to make yet another comeback as a track-prepped version of the sixth-gen Mustang.
Set to arrive for the 2016 model year, the first Shelby Mustang GT350 to feature an independent rear suspension is shaping up to be Dearborn’s answer to the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 . Details are still under wraps as of September 2014, but the GT350 has been spotted roaming the streets and lapping the Nurburgring track numerous times. Read on to find out what we know about Ford’s upcoming muscle car .
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350
July 15, 2014 - Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 testing for the first time at Nurburgring
The GT350 made an unexpected appearance on the Nurburgring track.
Rumored ever since the redesigned pony was unveiled in December and caught testing on several occasions in the U.S., the high-performance version of the sixth-generation Mustang made an unexpected appearance on the Nurburgring track. Now wearing less camouflage, the upcoming Shelby GT350 is finally showcasing its aggressive, aerodynamic body kit and some of the goodies that will help increase its credentials on both the road and track.
The spy shots we just received from our paparazzi reveal Ford is indeed testing a more powerful iteration of the 2015 Mustang. Up front, a redesigned bumper puts a new intake configuration and a massive splitter to the muscle car’s front fascia, while a hood scoop, wider and vented fenders, and prominent side skirts complete the track-ready feel of the car. Around back, a sportier diffuser with a twin-exhaust configuration replaces the regular unit, while a subtle spoiler sits atop the trunk.
A sportier suspension decreases the vehicle's ride height and keep it planted on those tight Nurburgring curves.
Moving onto the sides, the prototype taking hot laps around the ’Ring is equipped with lightweight, multi-spoke wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, larger-than-usual brake calipers and cross-drilled rotors. A sportier suspension decreases the vehicle’s ride height and keeps it planted on those tight Nurburgring curves. Granted, this Mustang is ready to handle a lot of power and it appears it needs only a roll-cage to become a full-time race car.
Speaking of power, details surrounding the engine hidden underneath that sexy hood are still in the vault. However, Ford has unwillingly revealed it will be dropping a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V-8 under that hood. We expect output to sit in the 500-horsepower area, making the GT350 at least 100 ponies more powerful than the 2015 Mustang GT.
Judging by the looks of its aerodynamic body kit and the rumored 500-horsepower output, the Shelby GT500 could be an alternative to the track-prepped Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. Devel oped as a no-nonsense machine with lightness and track capability in mind, the Camaro Z/28 comes with a naturally aspirated, 7.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 505 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque. Albeit less powerful than the supercharged ZL1, the Z/28 benefits from a stripped interior and a chassis tuned to deliver optimum performance on the race course.
All that power is routed to the rear wheels by a six-speed manual transmission and enables the muscle car to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in only 3.8 seconds. Keeping the Z/28 on its best behavior is set of 19-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires, adjustable spool-valve dampers, and Brembo carbon-ceramic brake rotors and calipers. The Camaro Z/28 is definitely a worthy competitor to the upcoming GT350, but only as long as you don’t have a look at its eye-watering, $75,000 price tag.
Gallery Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Revamped for the 2015 model year, the Dodge Challenger takes on the sixth-generation Mustang with a 1971-inspired exterior, an upgraded interior and very few powertrain upgrades. In terms of output, the 6.4 HEMI V-8 model sits closest to the GT350 with 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque on tap. On the other hand, and despite the race-bred chassis updates coming with Dodge’s Super Track Pak, no Challenger is actually ready to compete with a beefed-up Mustang that’s not only lighter, but comes with an independent rear suspension as well.
But if you’re only interested in having as many ponies as possible at the rear wheels without all the technology needed to lay them on a tight track, Dodge is offering the Hellcat SRT , a 707-horsepower machine already regarded as the most powerful, factory-built muscle car. The Challenger 392 starts from around $41,000, while the Hellcat SRT is expected to fetch in excess of $65,000
Gallery Dodge Challenger
Completely redesigned for the 2015 model year, the sixth-generation Mustang is distinguished by brand-new body work, a revised interior, upgraded technology, and an independent rear suspension. Design-wise, the pony now includes Ford ’s trademark, trapezoidal grille, but retains a number of details seen on the first-generation ’Stang. The signature gills that are now LED units, the taillight configuration, and the fastback body are there to reminds us that Ford is still aware of the Mustang’s fantastic heritage.
However, the Blue Oval decided to finally drop the live rear axle and replace it with a new independent suspension system. The unit enhances the Mustang’s handling on the street and track, and moves it closer to the foreign sports coupes it will encounter in Europe and Asia. The pony’s traditional engines have also been revised for the new generation. The 3.7-liter V-6 will deliver more than 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of twist, while the 5.0-liter Coyote will generate at least 420 horses and 390 pound-feet. All-new to the range is a turbocharged, 2.3-liter EcoBoost, a four-banger that’s set to churn more than 305 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque.