Picking Up My New 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
If there’s one perk to working in the magazine industry, it’s vehicle testing. In the past 20 years, I’ve been lucky enough to have track tested basically every new Mustang Ford has built. This includes SVT Cobras, Cobra R models, GT500s, Bosses and all the base models. And let's not forget the mass of Roush, Saleen or Steeda Mustangs. These special Mustangs always took performance to a higher level. I’ve also driven a few prototypes including a special V10 Mustang that you may have not heard about, the supercharged Super Stallion, the big-block Shotgun 1994 Boss and the current crop of Cobra Jets.
Most recently, I slipped into the new Shelby GT350 and the GT350R and I was fortunate enough to makes laps at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, known for its all-mightly corkscrew corner. The corkscrew is one of the most challenging in all of racing, but the GT350R ate it up.
I was mesmerized by the sound of the 526 horsepower flat-plane crankshaft V8 engine. Its noise was euphoric as it poured its guts out emitting a wicked howl. The GT350 is also nimble and athletic. After a few laps at the I press launch, I realized this "taste" of the GT350 wasn’t going to fulfill my desires.
To be honest, I’d never been so in tune with a Mustang, at least not since purchasing my original 1987 5.0 LX. Sure, the 662 horsepower of the 2014 Shelby GT500 had my attention, but I’ve always been a bigger fan of naturally aspirated engines, and Ford simply nailed with this one. The GT350 is refined and plenty fast. Frankly, I had to have one.
My chance came months later, when I ordered my 2016 Shelby GT350 from Buhler Ford in Eatontown, New Jersey. The price was right, so I began on ford.com, building the car “my” way. There’s not a ton of options to select from: you can choose between the base car, a Technology Pack, Track Pack or the R version.
Knowing I would drive my Mustang often and hit the track, I went with the GT350 with the Track Pack. This would give me the desired on-track performance thanks to the engine, transmission and rear-end coolers, plus the awesome Recaro seats and Magneride suspension would add to the raciness. As for colors, I selected Deep Impact Blue with black stripes.
As luck would have it, I was in Detroit the week my Ford rolled down the line, so I even had the chance rare to watch my Mustang being built at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant. But nothing compared to the day I arrived at the dealer to pick it up. I was thrilled to see the car, finally complete. It didn’t seem real, until I signed on the dotted line and drove it away. I was ready to drive this Mustang, so I hopped it, picked up my buddy Mike Ficcaci and headed home to Florida.
My GT350 now has 1,300 miles on it and I plan to keep it rolling. Next stop is the NMRA event in Bradenton on the first weekend in March and I plant to hit all the local shows—you may even see me at Brothers Performance for dyno days and the spring car show.