The Ford Mustang GT350. “Pure Fun,” that’s how I would describe the GT350. Having driven many cars over the years, since first acquiring my license at 15 1/2 (Ohio’s law), I have always been a Mustang fan. My first experience with the mustang, was a 1986 Medium Canyon Red GT, my best friend had received for his 15th birthday. Throughout high school, that car formed the basis for many hours of new heads, exhaust, gears, shifters, and other go-fast parts a teenage boy can get his hands on.
As I got older, my tastes changed, even though I had a 2002 Black Mustang GT in college, I shifted towards imports, owning Nissan 350Zs, Infiniti G37s, Corvettes and other sports cars over the years. However, the Mustang always had a place in my heart, even though I was not a fan of the S197 when it first debuted.
In 2015, when the S550 model line started being sold, I was in love once again with the Mustang. Then, I was sent a video of the Mustang GT350R being driven at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, and I knew I had to have one!
Here is a clip of the video in question:
After pondering getting a GT350 for a while, I decided to pull the trigger in late 2016, but which GT350 to get, the 2016 Tech or Track package…. My mind was quickly made up, NEITHER! After doing an exhaustive amount of research on the GT350, I decided to wait and purchase a 2017 or 2018, as I didn’t want to experience some of the cooling issues those with the 2016 Tech package were having, yet I wanted to features the option package included.
After some more time elapsed, mainly I got swamped at work for a while, I put my name on a list for a 2018 GT350 Electronics Package. Once I learned the dealer was going to charge me several thousand over MSRP, I quickly changed my search back to a 2017, and was able to acquire a gently used Oxford White (Black Roof) 2017 GT350 Electronics Package. The nice folks at Hines Park Ford, near Detroit Michigan were happy to assist me with my purchase, and did a phenomenal job on the sale of the vehicle.
After taking delivery of the car, and getting to experience the pure joy that it was to test drive, I had the pleasure of driving it back home to Cleveland, from Detroit. And ohhhh the fun it was to drive back!!! The car is simply a joy, and pure fun to drive. The 5.2L Flat Plane Crank Voodoo is a much different animal than the 5.0 Coyote motor. Prior to going to pick up the car, my good friend, and owner of the 1986 Mustang GT mentioned above, allowed me to drive his 2016 GT Performance Pack car for a bit, to get used to driving the Mustang once again. The car has a great feel, and does pull quite a bit on the highway, however the Voodoo is a different beast. The sheer ability to take the car to 8,250 RPM, on a V8 nonetheless, boggles the mind. When running through the gears, your mind is telling you to upshift, but the tach is only at 6,800 RPMs, and you have another 1500 to go. And the sound, oh the glorious sound. In normal mode, it just sounds like any normal choked up Mustang GT, but set the exhaust to sport mode, and the Voodoo bastard child awakens from its slumber. I will confess, immediately after getting the car, I drove to a local shop and had the stock resonators removed. This is one of the few powertrain differentiators of the GT350 and GT350R. After having the resonators removed, and cold starting the car, its just sounds pissed off, that’s the best way I can describe it.
Here is a good comparison of the Base GT350 with and without the resonators:
Back to the driving feel. The car is smooth, and the gearbox is quick. Its actually one of the best gearboxes I’ve ever used. Ford did a great job in selecting the Tremec TR-3160 for the GT350. The shifter is near perfect in feel and response. Its not the slushbox found in previous generation Mustangs. When running through the gears on a track, or a back country road, upshifts and quick and precise, and power delivery is smooth and expected. With 526 HP on tap, and being all-motor, the powerband is predictable and expected, vs having to deal with Turbo or Supercharger boost pressures. The only complaint I have on the driving experience of the GT350 is the clutch. Its one of the oddest clutch feels I’ve ever experienced. The clutch is extremely light, and is not a linear feel. The pedal almost drops to the floor half way down. I think I may go the Steeda clutch spring route to help with the overall feel of the clutch.
The car is just fun to drive. The massive 295’s upfront, and 305s out back help to give the car remarkable grip through the twisties. It feels planted and agile, with very little body roll. And the brakes, the brakes on this car are just amazing. Massive 6 piston calipers and 15.5 inch crossdrilled rotors up front, and 4 piston calipers and 15 inch crossdrilled rotor in the back. The car stops on a dime. Its stops better than any previous Mustang, or Corvette for that matter, I have ever driven. Several friends have compared the brakes to be on par, if not better than, the brakes on the Nissan GTR.
After many years of looking for the next car to purchase, and finally settling on the Mustang GT350, I’m happy to say, I’m 100% satisfied with my purchase, and look forward to driving the car each time I see it parked in the garage.