In 1965 Carroll Shelby gave a Mustang performance modifications.
And the Shelby GT350 was born.
50 years later, Ford has a new Shelby GT350, I heavily modified new-generation Mustang.
And it is pure manageable muscle.
During a Ford sponsored event at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway I got to experience both the Shelby GT350 and the Shelby GT350R variants on the track and it was a revelation.
Quite a bit has changed in 50 years.
The 2015 Ford Shelby GT350 sports a 5.2 liter aluminum block V8 making 526 horse power and 429 pound Of torque without the aid of a turbo or supercharger.
Red line is all the way at 8,260 RPMs.
Ford noted the Shelby uses a flat plane crank shaft, which allows better exhaust flow from the cylinders and contributes to the tremendous engine sound from this car.
I was expecting a beast of a car, but the Shelby GT 350 turned out to be completely manageable.
Rolling out in Laguna Seca's pit lane I could Can easily modulate the power in first gear for a gentle start.
Flooring it up the tracks main straight, blowing through the gears from second to third and up to fourth I easily hit 100 miles per hour at turn one.
The grip was amazing making the GT350 feel less like a muscle car and more like a [UNKNOWN] full sports car.
Equipped with the track pack option GT350 also has a magnetic ride suspension, my favorite type of adaptive suspension system helping to hold the car flat in the turn.
The GT350R variant uses the same powertrain but has better aero-effect and comes with carbon fiber wheels knocking the wheel weight down by about half.
Putting this car through the turns, it felt light and easy, even more precise turning and strong grip.
As a performance car, the 2016 Ford Shelby GT 350 is a bargain, coming in at a base price of $48,695 delivered.
It is tremendously satisfying on the track.
And yet, easily manageable on the street.