GT350 and the Day that the Mustang Broke the Internet
This was a huge week in the Mustang world. To say that Ford “broke the internet” might be understating what happened on Monday with Ken Block’s Gymkhana 7 and the amazing “Hoonicorn” Mustang.
Then there was Ford’s unveiling of the GT350.
Inevitably, when something as amazing as the new Shelby GT350 comes out, you get the “I’VE GOT TO HAVE THAT!” feeling. Such was my day on Monday when the images and details hit the web. How could I not want something that sounds so good, looks so good, and probably was going to be fast as heck?
Of course, no pricing details were revealed and availability on Ford’s website is tagged as “Fall 2015”.
A few days of thought and despite more pretty pictures and glowing articles, reality sets in that this thing is going to be expensive. Which got me to thinking…
If the main competitor, the Camaro Z/28 is $70k, what’s Ford going to price it? If you take away the Camaro’s carbon-ceramic brakes, you get to what, maybe $65k? The cost due to the engines is a wash in my opinion, the Z/28 has a dry-sump LS7 stolen from the Corvette and the Mustang gets a bespoke, first of a kind, flat-crank V8. That’s a lot of car for the money, but it’s also a lot of money!!
It’s hard to make that new car fever go away, even when you’ve already got a car that’s probably got 75% of the performance of the GT350 and it’s almost paid off! My 2012 GT is already an awesome car and on paper it seems like I could get most of the GT350’s performance, for a whole lot less money… Let’s examine!
Looking at this, a few things stand out.
Powertrain is sexier on the GT350, but it’s not as crazy as something like the GT500. Vorshlag’s 2011 Mustang makes 430 WHP with basically bolt-on parts and a dyno tune. For about $2000 in parts, I could get my 2012 GT to 500 HP at the crank.
Suspension on the GT350 is a clear advantage. A fully independent setup is hard to beat unless the surface is absolutely flat. Likewise, the technology in the MagneRide shocks is pretty amazing. That said the braking system on the 2012 can be upgraded to more or less match for not too much money. The wheels and tires can be made equivalent for around $2600. Shocks can’t be matched for anything considered reasonable, but there are plenty of upgrades out there to get more performance out of the 2012, perhaps not the same level, but good. For around $2200, I could upgrade my 2012 GT with a great package from Vorshlag replacing the shocks/struts with Bilstein units, lowering springs, caster/camber plates, upgrading the sway bars to adjustable White Line parts and changing out the Panhard Bar to an adjustable White Line part. All this can be done without a huge sacrifice in ride quality and a major upgrade in performance.
Curb weight on the 2012 is hands down going to be lighter than the GT350. Much has been made of the weight on the new S550 chassis and while it isn’t as high as many feared, it’s still higher than the S197 cars like my 2012 GT. How much heavier remains to be seen. Dimensionally the cars are so close, they don’t really bear and discussion.
Interior in the new S550 chassis is really nice, but to be honest so is my 2012 GT. If there’s a gripe I’ve got on my GT, it’s that I don’t much like the factory seats. Good news though is that I can pick up a set of the excellent Recaro seats from the Boss 302 (in cloth…) for about $2800.
So instead of spending roughly $45,000 on a new GT350, I could spend about $10,500 (excluding labor and including a few parts not mentioned) and have nearly the same level of performance on a car that’s just about paid for!
Of course it isn’t going to sound quite like that GT350 and I have to get my wife to agree…