Intoxicating Venom: 2017 Shelby GT350

By Matthew Keegan

Flat-plane crank V8 engine and all that.

A Ford Mustang by another name: Shelby GT350.

When is a Ford Mustang not a Mustang? Answer: when it is a Shelby GT350 (or GT350R).

Well, the Shelby is a Mustang, a special version bearing the name of the late Carroll Shelby, a racing driver and automotive designer of renown. Shelby’s name adorned some of the earliest Mustangs, returning in 2006 to do likewise for modern variants. The current iteration indicates neither Ford nor Shelby on the exterior. Instead, you’ll find the recognizable cobra insignia.

Yes, the Shelby line sits on the top of the Mustang pecking order, just above the GT. If you follow the Shelby line closely, then you’re aware that platform updates follow Mustang architecture revisions, but engineering changes may happen at any time. This means when the current and sixth-generation Mustang rolled out for the 2015 model year, new Shelby models followed.

2017 Shelby GT350.

Few mainstream models come with flat-plane crank. This Shelby does.

Voodoo You: Flat-Plane Crank

But the Shelby changes happen much faster and typically last only for a few years before an updated model rolls out. For example, beginning in 2016, Shelby replaced the enhanced version of Ford’s 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8 with a new engine displacing at 5.2 liters. Ford assigned a “Voodoo” appellation to the engine, perhaps to underscore its “magical” properties.

2017 Ford GT350

Shelby models replace the steed insignia with a cobra.

What’s special about this engine, which is also exclusive to Shelby, is that it offers a flat-plane crank. This means the V8 acts more like a pair of four-cylinder engines pushed together, delivering a sequential right-to-left firing order common to racing cars as well as to some exotics. There is a two-fold benefit here: the engine is louder than the typical cross-plane crankshaft and it revs higher — in this case to a whopping 8,250 RPM in the Shelby.

A trained eye can spot the differences immediately — the crank pins in cross-plane crankshafts are set 90 degrees to each other, while in flat-plane engines the positioning is 180 degrees. Got it? It took me a while to understand the difference.

No matter, the GT350 is a beast you’ll want to ride. The burly V8 cranks out 526 horsepower at 7,500 RPM and 429 pound-feet of torque at 4,750 RPM. It comes exclusively with a TREMEC 6-speed manual gearbox that shifts like butter — short, quick throws benefit your hand and foot action, although you can easily stay in second gear to reach the coveted 60 mph limit to gauge your times. A 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds is possible, with perhaps a slightly better time realized in the GT350R as it comes in 130 pounds lighter thanks to such deleted items as the back seat, air conditioning, carpeting along with employing other weight-saving measures.

2017 Shelby GT350

The Shelby serves up a simple, sporty interior.

The Best Handling Mustang Ever

Besides the flat-plane crank, the current Shelby offers an important departure from previous Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

Be Sociable, Share!