Forget the 1960s: Today is a great time to be a horsepower fan. OK, don’t completely forget the ’60s — the Big Three clearly haven’t; in fact, they’re partying like it’s still 1969. The Mustang is selling like crazy, the new Camaro is giving it a run for its money, and the Dodge Challenger is the biggest bruiser on the market, with an available 707-horsepower V8 to boot. Hell, Ford is even running GTs at Le Mans this year!
So as far as American muscle is concerned, we’re living in a late-’60s version of the 21st century — one that thankfully doesn’t include HAL 9000, the wrath of Khan, or a trip to that awful planet of the apes. Instead, we’ve got blue-collar iron that approaches supercar territory, and it manages to do it without sending you to the poor house. Chevy’s recent Camaro Z/28 showed the world that Detroit could build a muscle car that could hang tough on the track, but it disappeared after 2015, opening up a vacuum for Ford’s new Shelby GT350 to pick up right where its rival left off.
Of course, this isn’t the first modern-day Shelby. Ford officially revived the name in 2005, and the 2013-’14 GT500 was a drag-strip special in classic mid-century tradition: 662 horsepower, 631 pound-feet of torque, 200-plus miles per hour, and God help you in the corners. But for 2015, the Mustang was all-new, and it was lighter, leaner, and — finally, after 50 years — had a fully-independent suspension. It’s on these good bones that Ford Performance built its range-topping Shelby, and to say that it’s impressive simply doesn’t do it justice.