If you like the idea of a rocket-propelled Mustang with an 8,000 RPM V8 engine and some of the most obnoxious exhaust sounds on the planet, then you may be considering a second-hand Shelby GT350 Mustang for purchase.
This high-performing Mustang variant rocked a 5.2-litre V8 engine, good for 526 horsepower. All models came with a six-speed manual transmission. The increased output from the exotic powerplant is supported by an arsenal of motorsports-validated chassis and aerodynamic upgrades, too.
The GT350 intended to turn in some of the biggest performance thrills of any Mustang to date. Feature content included a slick touch-screen infotainment system, a full driver computer with performance readouts, an electronic drive-mode selector, massive Brembo brakes, performance lighting, premium stereo systems, adaptive shock absorbers, and more.
Note that this Mustang model only came as a fixed-roof coupe, no convertible was available.
Weekend Racers Take Note
Many GT350 owners use their vehicles to partake in various forms of motorsports, including weekend drag-racing and road course lapping. Shoppers planning on such activities are advised to consider avoiding a 2016 model-year GT350, however, as the online owners community has documented issues with overheating, and associated engagement of a performance-squashing ‘LIMP’ mode, during extended periods of extreme use. Some owners have helped their GT350’s to keep things cool by adding aftermarket cooling parts, though these may compromise or void remaining warranty coverage.
This issue means that pricing may be more compelling on a 2016 GT350, though those shoppers set on motorsports use are best to opt for a 2017 model, or newer, which includes enhanced cooling hardware from the factory.
For best results, approach any used GT350 assuming that it’s in need of new brakes, new tires, and a new clutch, until you have proof to the contrary. Obtain an inspection from a qualified Ford technician if you’re unsure how to properly assess the condition of these components for yourself.
Also, unless you have access to full service records as proof of continual, consistent and timely maintenance, assume any remaining warranty coverage is void. Note that warranty coverage does not cover damage or wear caused by failure to adhere to maintenance standards, or, by the use of non-factory parts, electronics, or fluids.
Regular Oil Checks
Do you check your oil regularly? If so, you’re a rare breed, but an ideal candidate for GT350 ownership.
A small percentage of owners have complained of possibly-excessive oil consumption from the GT350’s engine, especially during aggressive driving. The owner’s manual also states that some oil consumption is considered normal, in certain situations.
Noting that most owners have not complained of excessive oil consumption, shoppers and owners are advised to check and adjust oil levels at each fill up, and to report any issues they suspect to a Ford dealer for assessment as soon as possible. This may help speed future warranty claims, in the unlikely event that they’re needed.
Carbon Fibre Wheel Caution
Optionally, the GT350 could be equipped with exotic wheels made of carbon fiber, a high-tech material noted for its big strength and light weight. These wheels can enhance the performance and handling of the GT350 incrementally, though they will result in hefty repair or replacement costs if they’re damaged, perhaps by a pothole strike. Some owners have reported replacement costs of over US$1,300 per wheel, and others say the wheels are almost impossible to repair if they’re damaged.
Most drivers should consider sticking to the conventional metal wheels, to help keep long-term costs down.
Test the AC
On your test drive, with the engine heated up adequately, turn on the air conditioner for a few minutes while you find an empty stretch of road suitable for an extended period of full-throttle acceleration (while obeying all traffic and noise laws).
When appropriate, apply full throttle through several sequential gears. Note the reaction from the air conditioner: a momentary pausing of the cold air flowing into the cabin is acceptable and normal, provided that cold air arrives once again, shortly after you’ve released the throttle.
If the cold air does not return, you’re best to have the air conditioner inspected by a Ford technician, before you buy. The problem may lie with wonky electronics within the system, or, the failure of a mechanical part. In any case, you’ll want to know before you buy.
Finally, spend some portion of your test drive fiddling with anything on board the GT350 that runs on electricity. Pay close attention to the touch-screen interface, windows and locks, and the steering-wheel mounted controls. Though reports are sporadic, some owners have reported issues with fussy or non-operation of certain electronics. Note that running a healthy and fresh battery, and all available dealer-installed system software updates, can go a long way to fend off frustration.
The information presented above is gathered from online owner discussion groups and collaboration with a network of automotive repair professionals. The above information is not a comprehensive list of all possible issues with the vehicle in question and is instead intended to draw shopper attention to possible trouble spots they may wish to investigate before they buy.
In most cases, problems listed above are reported with relative rarity in comparison to total sales volume. Shoppers are advised to have a dealer-performed pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle they’re considering for maximum peace of mind.