Mustang GT350 is official

  • AFP
  • Updated: Nov 18, 2014 11:47 IST

The original Shelby GT 350 was a legendary car and Ford promises that the new model, which comes 50 years after, will only build on that status of being a street legal track racer.

In Hollywood remakes and reboots are very much en vogue. Some, like "Star Trek," have been embraced by existing fans for staying true to the essence and sprit of the original while adding something genuinely new. But many are panned for being unimaginative ways of trying to capitalize on a valuable brand and boost sales.

And it's a similar story in the automotive industry, where companies are busy dusting off old, beloved brands and attempting to breathe new life into them.

However, the original Shelby GT350 Mustang wasn't simply loved, it was worshipped. A blue-collar supercar disguised as a family fastback -- 50 years on surviving examples change hands for astronomical amounts.

Therefore, building a new car that carries such an important nameplate is not a decision that can be taken lightly and the resulting car had better have a similar impact to the Carroll Shelby-designed original.

Ford promises that the new car, which will greet an eager public for the first time later this week at the LA Auto Show, is one of the most potent factory-built Mustangs in history.

It will be powered by an all-new naturally aspirated -- i.e., no superchargers or turbochargers -- 5.2-liter V8 that can output more than 500hp. Although the company won't confirm exact figures until the official unveiling, it is certainly the most powerful engine of its kind Ford has ever built.

It will also be one of the stiffest. Ford has done everything it can to ensure the car is light on its feet, doesn't flex or yaw in the bends, and doesn't go shooting off into a ditch when the throttle's opened.

For instance, it's the first ever car from the company to use MagneRide dampers. They use a combination of hydraulic fluid and iron particles that react to an electric charge to change the car's ride and handling characteristics thousands of times a second and are pretty much standard kit on Italian supercars. And now they're a standard feature on the mass-produced Mustang.

"We took the best Ford Mustang yet and massaged every aspect of the car that affects the performance driving experience," said Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Global Performance Vehicles. "We tested endlessly on the most challenging roads and tracks in the world, and we believe serious drivers will love the Shelby GT350 Mustang."

The car has also had a slightly more aggressive exterior makeover. It sits lower, is wider, and weight has been shaved off thanks to aluminum in the hood and side panels and a carbon fiber molded nose.

"Everything we changed on GT350 is purely functional-driven design, with the goal of improving the overall performance of the car," said Chris Svensson, Ford design director, The Americas. "We optimized the aero shape of the car, and then fine-tuned what was left to increase downforce and cooling airflow."

Expect it to be one of the stars of the LA Auto Show. The event opens its doors to the public on November 20, following press previews on November 18 and 19.

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