When it comes to the current, sixth-generation S550 Ford Mustang, the two models that are truly worthy of the enthusiast’s attention are the Shelby GT350 and the Shelby GT500. Unfortunately, one of those models is not long for this world.
Ford Authority has exclusively learned from sources familiar with The Blue Oval’s product plans that the Shelby GT350 and its GT350R track-focused variant will be discontinued in the near future. Though we had our fare share of antics on Wednesday, this folks, is no April Fools’ joke.
It appears that two range-topping Shelby models makes for a lineup that’s just a tad too crowded, particularly for a product that has seen sales volumes gradually decrease over the years: Mustang sales totaled just 72,489 units for the 2019 calendar year, a decrease of over 40 percent compared to the 122,349 units sold in 2015.
The situation won’t be turning around for the better any time soon, as consumers continue to flock to crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks and away from sedans and sport coupes. For proof, look no further than the fact that the “traditional” Mustang will soon be joined by the Mustang Mach-E – a crossover-like hatch that also happens to be Ford’s first dedicated electric vehicle.
As for the Mustang Shelby GT350, there doesn’t seem to be enough of a reason for customers to go for the GT350 when the significantly more capable GT500 starts $12,500 higher (dealer markups notwithstanding). Though $12,500 might seem a lot at first glance, that’s not significant money when talking about high-priced pony cars that are often second or even third cars (read: toys) for their owners.
For that $12,500, the GT500 delivers more of everything: 234 more horsepower, 196 pound-feet more torque, and greater capability all around. And that’s not to mention the GT500’s various other qualities, such as massive 420 mm front rotors with an eye-popping 951.7 square centimeters of swept area, plus a unique front fascia that’s more aggressive than that of the GT350.
Of course, one of the defining elements of the S550-generation Mustang Shelby GT350 is the flat plane crank in its atmospheric 5.2L V8 Voodoo engine. Besides an exotic engine note, the unique crank configuration allows the motor to deliver an exceptionally wide powerband. Alas, the GT500 and its supercharged 5.2L V8 engine, internally known as Predator, uses a more traditional cross-plane crank, but still makes substantially more power, and healthy sounds, to boot.
The one key feature offered by the GT350 and not by the GT500 is a manual transmission. The former comes only with Tremec’s TR-3160 six-speed stick, while the latter is offered exclusively with a Tremec-sourced seven-speed dual clutch. It appears that those who wish to row their own gears in a 2021 Shelby Mustang will be out of luck.
There’s no official word about the Shelby GT350’s discontinuation just yet, but don’t expect it to be on the menu once order banks for the 2021 Mustang open in a few weeks, though the ordering process itself could end up being delayed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the current Mustang, in its EcoBoost, GT, Shelby GT500 and new-for-2021 Mach 1 flavors, is roadmapped to remain on sale through at least the 2025 calendar year. What happens thereafter is a bit muddy. Rest assured that we’ll be here to report more as it happens, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Mustang news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.
|2020 Shelby GT350||2020 Shelby GT500|
|Engine||5.2L V8 Voodoo||5.2L V8 Predator|
|Displacement (cu. in. / cc)||315 / 5,163||315 / 5,163|
|Valvetrain||DOHC, Ti-VCT, port fuel injection||DOHC, Ti-VCT, port fuel injection|
|Materials||Cast aluminum block and head with plasma transfer wire arc cylinder liners||Cast aluminum block and head with plasma transfer wire arc cylinder liners|
|Crankshaft||Forged steel flat-plane||Forged steel cross-plane|
|Power (hp @ RPM)||526 @ 7500||760 @ 7300|
|Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)||429 @ 4750||625 @ 5000|
|Transmission||Tremec TR3160 6-speed manual||Tremec TR-9070 7-speed dual clutch|