LOS ANGELES -- With the newest Shelby GT350 Mustang, unveiled Monday in the garage of the late Carroll Shelby in Gardena, Calif., Ford Motor Co. is aiming to lure a new breed of customers who want the kind of performance normally found in Porsches and Ferraris at a bargain price.
“We believe GT 350 changes the dialogue about performance within Ford," Jim Farley, Ford's executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service, said during the introduction. "It brings world class performance to larger audience. This is a very special car for all of us at Ford.”
Farley believes the GT350 will be regarded in the same say as cars such as the Porsche 911 GT3, a standout among sports cars with a $131,000 price tag. Ford has not set a price yet on the GT350, which goes on sale next year. The last Shelby Mustang, the GT500, started at about $55,000.
“There are only a couple of brands that are truly different and have that secret sauce. I’d say the 911 and the Mustang are two," said Farley, who races a 1965 GT350 in historic sports car races. "The GT350 is similar in character to the 911 GT3.”
While Ford is going global with the stock 2015 Mustang, it will not sell the GT350 outside North America and the Middle East. Engineering issues made it impractical to build a right-hand-drive version of the GT350, said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, who presided over Monday’s unveiling.
Harkening back to the original 1965 GT350, Carroll Shelby’s creation, the new car will have a naturally aspirated engine.
Ford says the motor is a new high-revving 5.2-liter V-8 engine with a flat-plane crankshaft that generates more than 500 hp and peak torque of 400 lb. ft. Ford claims it is “the most powerful naturally aspirated Ford production engine ever.”
Combined with suspension and brakes bred for the track, Ford says this will be the most athletic Mustang ever.