Ford Honors Racing Tradition With Heritage Edition Shelby GT350R Mustang
55 years ago Ken Miles set lap records at LeMans in a Shelby Mustang GT350 and it put Ford and their pony car on the map in the racing world. These cars were designed by Carroll Shelby and his team. The impact the Shelby Mustangs had on the Mustang’s overall success is unquestionable.
“Looking back on it, what Ford and Carroll Shelby created back in the mid-’60s was so important to Mustang,” said Jim Owens, Ford Mustang marketing manager. “With their authentic exterior livery, unique appointments and performance Ken could have only dreamed of, the Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R Heritage Edition Package vehicles are a meaningful tribute to the legacy of the Shelby brand.”
Wimbledon White Mustangs
In the early development of the Mustang, Carroll Shelby contacted Lee Iacocca about collaborating on the new Mustang. According to Mustang designer Gale Halderman, in the book Mustang by Design, “Carroll had a big influence, not only on the Mustang, but other cars we were doing too. It was a partnership that benefited both of us. The timing was certainly right for him and the Mustang.”
Shelby was given a small budget and 100 Mustangs to modify. The end result was Mustang Shelby GT350 which had a 306-horsepower 289 cubic inch V8 engine in it. Each car was painted Wimbledon white with a blue racing stripe over the middle. As a result of Shelby’s efforts, the Mustang got registered with the Sports Car Club of America, making it eligible to compete in races against vehicles like the Corvette.
Now for 2020, Ford will produce a limited amount of Heritage Edition fastbacks in the same Wimbledon White with the Guardsman Blue striping as an homage to the original Shelby-developed Mustang GT350. Other styling cues for the Heritage Edition include front and rear exterior badges finished in the Guardsman Blue and a badge on the dashboard. Plus all the GT350R models will feature all-black seats with red accent stitching, according to Ford.
Pricing and Specs for 2020 Mustang Shelby GT350 R
Certainly, this 2020 Heritage Edition Shelby GT350 Mustang will have significantly more power and performance than Carroll Shelby’s original. The Heritage Edition Shelby GT350R will have a 5.2-liter V8 engine with 529 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. This track-ready car will offer an amazing growl and show to be comfortable on the street thanks to the MagneRide suspension which offers amazing aerodynamic components resulting in improved ride, stability and handling for both road and track, according to Ford. This Shelby GT350R will also receive a redesigned high-trail steering knuckle, new steering rack and a recalibrated electric power steering control.
According to Ford, the 2020 Shelby Mustang GT350R has a starting MSRP of $73,435, plus taxes, title, delivery and license fees. The Heritage Edition Package is available for an additional $1,965. Dealers are taking orders for Heritage Edition Package vehicles now, with cars slated to ship this spring.
Carroll Shelby played such an important role in Mustang heritage. During this period of flux for the Mustang brand, this is a great move by Ford and will surely attract enthusiasts.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. In addition to being a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, Jimmy has been published in a compilation book about children growing up with disabilities, where he shared his own very personal experience. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.