Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R — The best and wildest horse ever

By Jim Prueter

(May 9, 2016) Roman author Seneca once said, “Hang on to your youthful enthusiasms — you’ll be able to use them better when you’re older.” So to put it briefly, I’m taking his advice.
The 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang is the evolution of the Shelby Mustang GT350 first introduced in 1965, and the racing version, the Shelby GT350R, which followed shortly thereafter.

The name “Shelby” comes from the late legendary race car builder, Carroll Shelby, who partnered with Ford since the 1950s. The original Shelby was built by Carroll Shelby from 1965 to 1968, and then by Ford Motor Company for 1969 and 1970. After a 36 year hiatus, the nameplate was reintroduced in 2006.

Thanks to an all-new Mustang last year, the 2016 Shelby is the best Mustang ever, embodying that hotly burning flame of our youth, when anything – absolutely anything — is within our grasp.

The new GT350 comes in two levels: base ($48,695) and R ($62,195). The R features a larger front splitter, bigger rear spoiler, carbon fiber wheels, MagnaRide dampers, and a few visual trim tweaks, and eliminates the rear seat. 

To start with, the GT350R is fast, 526 naturally aspirated horsepower and 429-lb-ft torque asphalt-ripping, tire smoking fast. It takes you back to another era, to the Detroit muscle cars of your youth, when the closest you could come to owning a Hemi Cuda, Super Sport Camaro or Cobra Jet Mustang was hanging a poster of one on your bedroom wall.

From a standing start, 60 mph comes in just 4 seconds from the 5.2-liter, 90-degree flat-plane crankshaft V-8, and tops out around 200 mph. The flat-plane means the V-8 can rev higher has a 12:0 compression ratio and an 8,250-rpm redline. It’s matched to a six-speed manual shifter, limited-slip rear differential, huge Brembo brakes on ventilated rotors front and rear, all riding on foot-wide tires.

If Mustang is your thing and you have to have the ultimate, most powerful, this is the one to you want. It won’t be that easy to get, as production is limited and it instantly lands in collector car class. Base price is $62,195, and price as tested — $75,195.

Why can I practically imagine myself owning one of these completely irrational, impractical fire-breathing 526 horsepower license losers? Because Seneca was right.