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The new Ford Mustang Dark Horse has big shoes to fill. It’s the spiritual successor to the now-discontinued Mach 1 and tops the range before the return of a Shelby model. However, the muscle-bound Mustangs from the previous generation will give the all-new badge a run for its money. Enter the Shelby GT350, a one-of-kind alternative to a brand new Dark Horse. The Shelby Mustang might be one of the best pony cars ever made.

A Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is a unique alternative to the new Dark Horse

The 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse drives through a tunnel.
2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse | Ford

The all-new Ford Mustang Dark Horse promises to forge a new path for the beloved Blue Oval nameplate. However, the now-discontinued Mustang Shelby GT350 from the S550 generation can be had for a similar cost with numerous benefits. 

With a flat-plane 5.2L Voodoo V8 up front, the GT350 produces 526 horsepower. That’s 26 more ponies than the Dark Horse. However, the magic isn’t how much power the Shelby produces; it’s where. Specifically, the Shelby screams up to 8,250 rpm to make its might, 1,000 rpm higher than where the Dark Horse’s Coyote produces peak power.

Furthermore, much of the Shelby model’s track-ready components trickled down to the Mach 1 and the Dark Horse. For instance, all three cars shrugged off the problematic Getrag MT82 manual transmission for the stouter TREMEC TR-3160. 

A set of Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 models in a photo shoot.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350s from two generations | Ford

What’s more, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is a cheaper option than the new Dark Horse. The 2020 model, the final S550 GT350 before Ford discontinued it, is worth an average of $55,421, per Kelley Blue Book (KBB). That said, the S550 Shelby Mustang ran from 2016 to 2020. As a result, fans can get an earlier model for less. For instance, a 2016 model has a KBB value closer to $37,069.

Shelby GT350N/A 5.2L Voodoo526 hp429 lb-ft$55,421
Dark HorseN/A 5.0L Coyote500 hp418 lb-ft$60,865

I will caution you, dear reader. You’ll have a difficult time finding one of these high-revving pony cars for the above values. In fact, a cursory internet search will reveal late models with price tags above the car’s original MSRP. Still, the Shelby is a unique proposition among Mustangs and one of the finest performance models in Ford’s history.


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