Ford Just Killed the Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R

Ford just killed the Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R, and with them goes the incredible 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank V8 engine. They won’t return in 2021. So, if you hoped to have that flat-plane sound in a new Mustang 2020 is your last chance. This also means the GT500 is the only Shelby-badged Mustang left. 

None of the car companies give much in the way of future product info. So we don’t know if the flat-plane-crank 5.2-liter Voodoo engine will make a reappearance sometime in the future. One can only hope. Here’s Ford’s statement, “With the 760 hp Shelby GT500 now in full stride we will finish production of Shelby GT350 and GT350R this fall as planned. This makes the way for new additions to excite our passionate Mustang fans for the 2021 model year-including the limited-edition Mach 1.”

The GT350 and GT350R were unique and special within the Mustang universe

three Mustang GT350s. A red one and dark blue with a candy blue 2017 Ford Mustang in the foreground
2017 Ford Mustang GT350 Shelby | Ford

While the return of Mach 1 will be a nice addition it seems like a hollow one without the GT350 and GT350R. These were unique and special within the Mustang universe. With 526 hp and an 8250 rpm redline, there just hasn’t been anything like it ever. From the Brembo six-piston caliper disc brakes to the unique carbon-fiber core support and aluminum panels there was nothing like it. 

In 2019, it saw some upgrades to the suspension, Gurney flap added to the rear wing, Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires, and a few other improvements. It seemed like everything was right with the original GT350 but these changes just made it that much better. While it could be an animal on the track, with the MagneRide set to the comfortable mode and exhaust wound down as well it could easily function as your daily. 

Most GT350s will have seen track time and virtually all GT350R models will

2020 Shelby American Ford Mustang GT350 Anniversary Edition | Shelby American

With production in the 4000-7000 range each year (except for the first year of 2015 when only 137 GT350 and GT350R Mustangs were made) they’re limited production but not unattainable. Yes, there were a few issues with oil consumption. But that seemed limited to a few bad apples early on and not indicative of the GT350 in total. Most GT350s will have seen track time and virtually all GT350R models will have. If you are interested in owning one that can’t be a factor. 

Yeah, the GT500 has over 200 more horsepower. But there has never been anything like the naturally aspirated flat-plane-crank winged up to 8250 rpm. The sound is glorious and so is the performance. The unique six-speed manual transmission just made it that much better. 

From a dry product standpoint the limited, high-performance Mustang segment was getting a bit crowded

Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang is seen during the official opening ceremony of Los Angeles Auto show
The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 | Getty

Ford Blesses Us With Another Year of the Mustang Shelby GT350

From a dry product standpoint the limited, high-performance Mustang segment was getting a bit crowded. So, we get that looked at that way killing off the GT350 makes sense. But there is just something about this combination of components, weight, and performance that can’t be overstated. These are special automobiles. 

We can only hope that the thumper V8 will find its way into future products but in our gut, we know it probably won’t. Consumers, environment, and development dollars are rapidly changing how companies like Ford make future decisions. But the electricity of tomorrow will be nothing like the pounding sound and snap of Ford’s Voodoo engine in a lightweight Mustang today.