LA show: Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

IN YET another example of strange American priorities, Ford’s stupendous new Shelby GT350 Mustang garnered only a minor mention on its stand at the Los Angeles Motor Show yesterday, because the locals were even more excited about the new Explorer.

Or perhaps it’s fairer to say Ford was, which makes sense when you’re talking about a vehicle that’s been the top-selling SUV for 25 years – they’ve sold seven million of them so far, or one every two minutes since 1995.

What they did say about the GT350, which sat on the stand looking menacing in traditional blue and white livery, is that it will feature the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced, boasting “more than 500 horsepower” (370kW).

They’re not saying exactly how many horses yet, or how many they’ll build, but sadly they won’t make any in right-hand drive, despite the Shelby being built in the Flat Rock, Michigan, plant where global Mustangs are produced. That’s a damn shame.

Carroll Shelby, the legendary tuner who died in 2013, was aware of the car that would bear his name, but only would have seen it on paper. Looking at it in the flesh, we think he would have liked it.

Staying true to the original track-ready version meant no turbocharging, so Ford’s engineers took the 5.0-litre Windsor block and transformed it into what’s known as the ‘Voodoo’, a 5.2-litre version with a different block, cylinder heads and intake.

They also gave it a flat-plane crank and changed the firing order – no simple feat – to give it more high-revving power, just like a Ferrari 458.

“Only a few cars do what this car does,” Jim Farley, head of global sales, said.

The Shelby GT350 Mustang goes on sale in the second quarter of 2015.

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