Here’s Why The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Is Already A Collector Car

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The Ford Mustang GT350 originated in 1965, and only 521 models were produced into 1970. The Hagerty stats sheet shows that out of 866 sales, the most recent sale was $295,000, but the highest sale was 3,850,000! The lowest sale was $6,050, but no way that’d ever happen again. Although at the time the Ford Mustang was selling well, Ford was concerned that the pony car lacked a performance image, and the GT350 was the answer to this.


By enlisting the help of the legendary Carroll Shelby, Ford took a 2,800-pound fastback and fitted it was a V-8, modified to produce 306 horsepower along with 329 pound-feet of torque. The engine was mated to a four-speed manual transmission, which sent power to the rear wheels and propelled the car to a 6.5-second zero to sixty, with a top speed of 126 mph.

There was even a black with gold stripes Hertz rental car called the GT350H and an “R” variant, only the most limited and dominant GT350 of all. The GT350R produced 350 horsepower, weighed 75 pounds less, and featured an enlarged gas tank for racing.

Fast-forward to today and the S550 generation debuted the next GT350 in 2015, a car that stayed in production from 2016 until 2020. Built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original, find out what makes this special car already collectible.

RELATED: The Most Expensive Mustang Is Now a 1965 Shelby GT350R With a Price of $3.85 Million


S550 Ford Mustang GT350: Highest Production For A Shelby?

If you want to get your hands on the latest Ford Mustang GT350, well then consider yourself lucky, as 23,574 were made in total (GT350 & GT350R) over the five model years. This figure edges out the 2007-2008 GT500 production total, becoming one of, if not the most produced Shelby Mustangs in history. With a higher number designation, consider the GT500 the GT350’s bigger brother, the former car with a big-block engine originally.

Today’s GT500 carries a supercharged V-8 monster, known as the Predator engine, one with more output than the GT350 of course. Also, it was the latest GT500 that put an end to the last GT350, as Ford was making room for that car along with the return of the Mach 1. For during the S550 GT350 run, the previous GT500 existed only until 2014, before returning in 2020. There is a key difference from the S550 GT350 over the current GT500, besides the lack of forced induction, and that includes the transmission.

2020 Ford Mustang GT350 Vs. GT500 Specs

Ford Mustang GT350

Ford Mustang GT500

Engine

5.2 Liter Naturally Aspirated V-8 (Voodoo)

5.2 Liter Supercharged V-8 (Predator)

Engine Output

526 horsepower, 429 pound-feet of torque

760 horsepower, 625 pound feet of torque

Transmission

Six-speed manual

Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic

Curb Weight

3,760 (GT350)-3,717 pounds (GT350R)

4,171 pounds

Fuel Economy

14 city, 21 hwy, 16 combined, premium fuel

12 city, 18 hwy, 14 combined, premium fuel

Nevertheless, the last GT350 was more than just a placeholder until the next-gen GT500 arrived. The car sold out every year it was produced. A quick search on Edmunds reveals more than 350 available for sale nationwide, with prices ranging mostly between $40,000-$75,000, and many with low miles. This makes the naturally aspirated, six-speed manual only, S550 Shelby GT350 relatively attainable.

RELATED: Shelby American’s 10 Most Iconic Cars

Voodoo: A Black Magic Drivetrain

Ford Mustang GT350 Engine Bay
Mecum

The engine under the hood of the GT350 isn’t just some spooled up version of the Coyote 5.0 in the Mustang GT. This car carries the highest horsepower figures of any naturally aspirated Ford Mustang to date. Even the new Dark Horse prize GT of the next gen will be at 500 horses, not 526, with that next-gen 5.0. What’s more, the Voodoo engine is flat-plane crank (not cross-plane as the Predator), and carries an 8,250 rpm redline. This further distinguishes the Voodoo from the Coyote and Predator engines, as the Voodoo is the fastest beating V-8 heart in this lineup, one that is just built different.

2020 Ford Mustang GT350/R Performance Specs

Ford Mustang GT350

Ford Mustang GT350R

0-60 mph

4.2 seconds

3.8 seconds

1/4 mile

12.5 seconds at 117 mph

12 seconds at 120 mph

Top Speed

180 mph (drag limited, Ford claim)

173 mph (Ford claim)

Braking

149 feet from 70 mph

146 feet from 70 mph

Lateral Movement

1.08 g’s

1.11 g’s

Starting MSRP

$61,635

$74,630

One can see that there isn’t much difference from the performance of the regular GT350 and the R variant numbers-wise, although the price change is significant. The GT 350R is built specifically for the track, as a two-seat coupe, ditching the rear seats of the regular model and therefore weighing less. Two resonators are also removed from the exhaust, saving more weight, while creating another audible level of cold starts.

As the GT350 aged, the tuning improved, and the car just got better and better. Still, it came to a starting MSRP as an R variant that was $535 more than the new 760 horsepower GT500 at the time. Despite the carbon fiber spoiler and wheels of the GT350R, and the performance of the GT350 as a whole, things just didn’t add up unfortunately.

RELATED: 10 Things Every Enthusiast Should Know About The 1967 Shelby GT500

What Else Took Out This Special Shelby Snake?

2020 Ford Mustang GT350R
Mecum

So Ford was trying to create space for the upcoming Mach 1, and the next-gen GT500, so it seemed there was no longer a place for the GT350. Some things go out in their prime, and that certainly seems to be the case here. For one, the GT350 is historically a rare car in terms of production years and generations, with only two genrations over a total of 10 years or so across more than five decades.

It’s just something not seen much, and that it is special in its own right. Add to that the exceptional engine it carries, along with the performance and track orientation, and the GT350 was one special ride for sure. Include that performance cars with fire-breathing V-8s and manual transmissions are going bye-bye in terms of new production, and that creates quite the recipe for a short-term life.

For now, it’s worth noting that competitors like the Camaro ZL1 and Dodge Charger Hellcat may carry similar price points while offering more in terms of performance specifications. Ultimately, what makes the S550 GT350 special, isn’t enough on its own to justify the price tag. Not when rivals are faster and boosted for the same money, not when a regular Mustang GT is almost as quick, and not when the automaker itself is cleaning house.

RELATED: Honoring 7 Generations Of The Ford Mustang

S550 GT350: Still A Unique Beast Worth The Coin

To the true enthusiast, the facts just above may simply not matter, especially when one is considering the end goal of what they want their car to be. Sure it’s cool to have a boosted ride, whether it’s that supercharged whine, or turbo induced whistle. However, there’s still something to be said about that naturally aspirated exhaust note, one that revs a lot higher than a forced induction set up. The GT350 provides that adrenaline hit with the Voodoo. The GT350 was the first Ford vehicle with MagneRide suspension, and the GT350R became the first mass-produced car with stock carbon fiber wheels. An optional Track Pack added:

  • Engine, Transmission, and Differential Coolers
  • An Aluminum strut tower brace
  • More aggressive spoiler
  • Magnetorheological dampers (MagneRide)

Then the optional Tech Pack had:

  • Also MagneRide
  • Bigger Infotainment screen with SYNC 3
  • Seven-speaker premium audio
  • Six-way power adjustable front seats
  • Heated and cooling front seats

The GT350 is just a very specific car, Recaro racing seats included, with a specific audience in mind. It’s more than the top GT, and different from the GT500. It might have a stiffer ride as a two-seat GT350R version, but it’s targeting the same people that want a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, or a fifth-gen Camaro Z/28. These are all very purposed track and driver’s cars, the type that those enthusiasts will appreciate, and who’ll see the value of the GT350 overall.

Then there’s the reality of the situation, with the GT350 production over with, and the car market ever-evolving. In today’s car market, generally it is best to wait for your next normal car, but the GT350 is anything but that. So with the large number produced, and the several hundred available for sale now across the United States, now maybe just a good a time as ever to pounce on one.

As the automotive landscape keeps shifting towards hybrids and electric vehicles, and away from internal combustion engines and manual transmissions, cars like the GT350 will only become more rare and valuable. Perhaps pause a bit to acquire what you desire, but start seeking now, if the GT350 is the type of snake you want in your garage and driveway.

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