The Ford Mustang has been around since 1965, and while not all of its incarnations have been met with universal praise (third-generation Fox Mustang, we’re looking at you) the Shelby versions have usually tended to be a bit special. Not least the original Shelby GT350, which has become something of an American icon. This car, and the Shelby GT500 that soon followed, made names for themselves on drag strips and race tracks throughout the States, thanks to their uprated engines and suspension packages.
Our guide focuses on the modern interpretations of these classic cars. The S197 Mustang was first introduced in 2005 and the Shelby GT350/GT500 duo that arrived in 2010 were based on this design. With some serious drivetrain upgrades, much like the original Shelby cars, it offered bang up-to-date handling and power. Buying a good one second hand can be a life affirming thing, the power and noise making up for any lack of finesse compared to anything coming out of Europe at the time. Read on to see what to look out for if you have a hankering for some American V8 sideways action.
Which Shelby Mustang to buy?
The Shelby GT350 arrived in 2010 sporting some nostalgic features from the 65’ original, not least of which was the evocative soundtrack from the exhaust. Even the paintwork mimicked that of the original, with white being the only option in its first year of production and more colours being made available from 2011-on. Based on a standard Mustang the GT350 came equipped with a 5 litre V8 that could be had in either naturally aspirated 430bhp form or in either 525bhp or 625bhp supercharged versions. The latter specification voided the drivetrain warranty. It also probably necessitated a set of spare rear tyres to be kept in the boot for lead-footed drivers. An automatic transmission could only be specified with the non-supercharged versions which is as it should be. A convertible model was offered from 2012-on.
The Shelby GT500 for 2010 was closely related to the 2007-2009 model, with detail changes being carried out to the 5.4-litre supercharged V8 engine – now producing 540bhp with revised ratios from the Tremec six-speed transmission. 2011 models were much of the same, with a new aluminium engine block and a slight increase in power. The 2013 models however were thoroughly revised, with a 5.8-litre 662bhp V8 and serious revisions to the fuelling system, brakes and numerous other drivetrain upgrades. The bodywork also received a new look which was carried over until the end of production in 2014.
There’s no doubt that these cars are more about straight line speed than cornering finesse, but they are more than capable around a track, and their sideways antics and serious pace make for a very entertaining package.
Performance and specs
2013 Shelby Mustang GT500
Engine 5812cc 32 valve DOHC V8 Supercharged
Power 662bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque 631lb ft @ 4000rpm
Top speed 202mph
Fuel consumption 20mpg combined
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Dimensions and weight
• Fuel consumption, especially on the GT500, will have you checking regularly under the car for leaks... Driven gently things don’t get a much better, so factor this into your running costs.
• Modifications are common on these cars and as long as they have been done by a reputable tuner should not affect the reliability of the car.
• The Tremec manual transmission has come in for some criticism by owners, but they generally only give trouble on highly modified cars or ones that have seen too many drag strips.
• Parts are readily available, but some may have to be imported from the US, performance upgrades are also plentiful but generally also need to be sourced from across the pond.
• With up to 660bhp on the top GT350 and GT500 models, rear tyres and clutches tend to need replacing with alarming regularity. Unmodified, both cars are reliable but excessive abuse can take their toll on the drivetrain.
• There should not be any issues with rust or corrosion so any bubbling underneath the paintwork could indicate poorly repaired body panels.
2010: GT350 launched, initially available only as a coupe with white paintwork and blue stripes. Three engine options available with an automatic option available only on the entry level model. GT500 launched with minor improvements over earlier models. Power from 5.4l Supercharged V8 now at 540bhp
2011: GT500 gets an aluminium block 5.4L V8 which is lighter and marginally more powerful than before. GT 500 Super Snake offered with up to 750bhp. Shelby GT1000 introduced with a 920bhp street legal and 1100bhp track version. Three more colours offered for GT 350 owners
2012: Convertible GT350 and GT500 launched. All standard colours on the Mustang range are now available on the GT 350
2013: Big changes for GT500 including new 5.8l Supercharged V8 now pumping out 662bhp
2014: Both GT350 and GT500 continue with minor changes for the 2014 model year before the totally new model arrives in 2015 sporting an independent rear axle and flat-plane crank V8.
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.mocgb.net – Mustang Owners Club UK
• www.mustangandfords.com – Mustang Enthusiast site
• www.stangnet.com – Mustang Forum
Summary and prices
With limited numbers built, values have remained strong especially for limited edition models such as the GT500 Super Snake, GT1000 and 50th anniversary editions. These rarely come up for sale and can command a fair premium over the ‘standard’ cars when they do.
Depending on spec and year a Shelby GT350 can range between £35,000 and £70,000. Thanks to the higher numbers built, a late 2014 GT500 will set you back the equivalent of £40,000 before factoring in import costs. Getting your hands on one of these beasts will require a bit of searching as they were never officially imported into the UK.
A number of specialists do stock them, however if all else fails you could always import one from the US. Despite this, finding more firepower for less is going to be a tough job and that’s before you factor in that V8 soundtrack and driving fun these cars offer.
Words: John Tallodi