Here's why you should have one.
For the first time in several decades, Ford is selling two different Shelby-badged Mustang models at the same time. The Shelby GT500 is by far the more impressive performer with its 5.2-liter supercharged V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions but in many ways, it isn't our favorite Mustang. That honor goes to the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, which was the first Mustang to truly bridge the gap between classic American muscle and European sports cars.
With a rev-happy engine, manual transmission, and track-ready handling, the GT350 could quite possibly be among the best driver's cars ever to emerge from the USA. Rumors are circulating that the GT350 might soon be discontinued and even purchasing one new might not be enough to convince Ford to save it. So if we do have to prepare for a world without the GT350 in it, at least used examples are now pretty affordable.
The GT350 was the first Mustang to completely outclass is European and Asian rivals in terms of driving feel. The outgoing Boss 302 got pretty close but the Shelby GT350 took driving pleasure to a new level. It feels raw to drive, like a genuine racecar, while also setting blistering times around a racetrack. Its big brother, the GT500, is even quicker and feels more civilized out on the road. But the GT350's flaws are what makes it feel so special from behind the wheel. It feels so unlike any other Mustang we've ever driven, which is why even the most die-hard Mustang detractor should give it a shot.
A brand-new 2020 Shelby GT350 will set you back $59,140 to start, or $72,135 if you want the high-performance GT350 R version. The least expensive used examples we could find were priced just below $38,000 with around 50,000 miles. We also found a few examples with well under 30,000 miles for less than $40,000. Considering that a brand-new 2020 Mustang GT costs $35,630, it is pretty nice to know that a used GT350 is now in the same price range. GT350 R models are harder to find but we did manage to find a few starting around $45,000.
Unlike any other Mustang before or since, the GT350 is powered by a unique flat-plane crank called the Voodoo V8 displacing 5.2-liters. It produces 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque with a very European-like 8,250-rpm redline. The GT350 screams when pushed past 7,500 rpm - the hood and interior trim shake as if the engine wants to escape. Helping you control the Voodoo is an old-school six-speed manual transmission with no automatic option available. If you can get a good launch, the car hits 60 mph around 4.2 seconds.
Opting for the GT350 R adds wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, Carbon Revolution carbon fiber wheels, and additional aero bits. It also strips away the rear seats for weight savings. In 2019, Ford updated the car with new suspension, aerodynamics, and bespoke Michelin tires, putting the base GT350 more in-line with the original GT350 R.
Not much stands out on the interior of the GT350 compared to a standard Mustang. There are some Shelby snake badges and a red starter button but overall, it feels mostly the same. The biggest difference is the seats if you opt for the Recaros, which are different than the chairs used on the Mustang GT. We prefer these seats over the GT's Recaros because they are wider and softer.
If Ford does kill off the Shelby GT350, we will mourn its loss because this might be one of the best-driving cars ever built by the Blue Oval. The GT500 is the more impressive car overall but in the most crucial ways, the GT350 is more endearing. The GT350 makes you work harder for the speed and it rewards you more when you do get it just right. For just a bit more than the price of a new Mustang GT, a used GT350 offers buyers tremendous value.