WE WAITED 50 years for Ford to build its all-American muscle car with right-hand drive and bring it to Britain, but when we first drove it earlier this year we couldn’t help wondering whether the wait had really been worth it.
The latest Mustang wasn’t the shock-and-awe brute of legend, which ripped rear axles to shreds, but more of a hearts-and-minds softie, particularly the version that comes with a modest 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and good fuel economy.
Fortunately, Ford appears to have thought the same thing because it has now let its performance engineers loose on the standard car to produce a high-performance version: the Shelby Mustang GT350, unveiled last week at the Los Angeles motor show.
Tuned to deliver more than 500bhp to the rear wheels, the 5.2-litre V8 engine is the most powerful naturally aspirated unit fitted to a Ford production car, and it will have drivers shouting, “Yee-haw!” every time they floor the throttle. The car will easily be the fastest model in the Ford range.
Although fully road-legal, the car carries the name of Carroll Shelby — the late racing driver turned car tuner who was behind the first GT350 in 1965 — and Ford says it expects most buyers to be track-day enthusiasts.
It has racing brakes, quick-response magnetic suspension dampers and a more aerodynamic shape than the standard Mustang, and the sports seats should keep drivers pinned in place.
But there is bad news for British fans of Americana: as things stand, the GT350 won’t be crossing the pond, unless it is imported unofficially.
Then again, they used to say that about the standard Mustang. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait 50 years for this model.