Looks like the Shelby GT500 won't be killing it off just yet!
Mustang6G, a Mustang owner's forum, has gotten hold of a document that reportedly confirms the existence of the 2018 Shelby GT350/GT350R. Said document is a copy of a form titled the "2018MY Shelby GT350 Program Enrollment." It's addressed to all Ford dealerships and details the changes for the 2018 GT350s as well as when the enrollment process needs to be completed by. Spoiler alert: The only changes coming next year will be to the exterior paint colors offered.
This runs contrary to an earlier Mustang6G report that said a dual-clutch transmission would be added to the mix. Which one is it, Mustang6G? Get your stories straight! Anyway, if this report is true, don't kill Ford for standing relatively pat with the new GT350 and GT350R. The automaker did a ton of tinkering this year, making certain packages standard and other previously forbidden features optional in an attempt to make the car a better buy, and in the GT350R's case, to make it more livable. The document doesn't say when the 2018s will go on sale but it does say the enrollment period for dealerships interested in selling the cars ends on February 27th, 2017. As such a reveal at the 2017 New York Auto Show in April sounds about right.
While this news may not seem groundbreaking at first glance the lack of updates to the Shelby GT350s is intriguing. The Mustang is getting a refresh next year after all. According to Mustang6G the new base models will be updated to look more like the top-tier Shelbys. However, should the styling differ it could signal that the 2018 MY will be the last one these two track monsters ever see. Remember that a new Shelby GT500 has been caught testing and was even spotted on Google not so long ago. If it debuts with styling that matches the refreshed Mustang it could be a subtle sign that the torch has been passed. While we love these cars a short run may not be the worst thing in the world for them.
Ford has plans to put its new 10-speed automatic into the Mustang, but that transmission is clearly incompatible with the enthusiast oriented (as in manual-only) GT350. The GT500 on the other hand is said to make over 700 horsepower and is likely being built with the 10-speed auto in mind. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves and start eulogizing the Shelby GT350s, especially when the story is that they've been confirmed for another model year! As always we'll reach out to Ford and report back if they offer any comment of substance.