Sometimes you just have to make it official, and what better time to do it than on a day that celebrates your long history. That’s just what Ford did — on National Mustang Day — by officially announcing that the Shelby GT350 and GT350R will continue into the 2018 model year.
“The GT350 is in such high demand that it is difficult to get a hold of. Having worked on that vehicle program, I am very excited that Ford is actually extending the build into the 2018 model year,” Ehab Kaoud, Ford Chief Designer, said a video that commemorates the announcement with a look at his Mustang art.
Now, thanks to leaked dealer documents, we have long known that the GT350 would soldier on for at least one more year, but it’s still great news either way. What’s interesting is that the Shelby will remain unchanged and be sold alongside the newly refreshed Mustang GT, which emulates a bit of that Hummingbird style.
“It’s funny. You ask any little kid to draw you a car and, most likely, they will draw you a sports car. And, in many cases, it would be a Mustang,” Ehab said. “What’s exciting about the Mustang is just the visual entertainment that you get. The surfacing is so voluptuous. As a designer/artist, I have drawn Mustang on paper with a pen. I painted it in acrylic, oil painting, and for design we use markers. I like colors. I like positive colors. Colors induce energy.”
Just to induce excitement in buyers and keep things interesting for car show judges 20 years from now, the 2018 GT350s can be optioned with three of the new 2018 Mustang colors —Kona Blue, Lead Foot Gray and Orange Fury — so they will stand out from their predecessors.
From a functional standpoint, the cars will remain the same right down their 526-horsepower 5.2-liter engines and Magneride suspensions. Likewise, you can still order the Electronics Package to gain SYNC 3, voice-activated navigation and nine-speaker audio system, while the Convenience Package subs out the manual Recaro front seats in favor of six-way power, heated and cooled sport seats with Miko suede.
So, while it’s a little odd that the GT350 does get a styling refresh along with its Mustang cousins, there really is little reason to alter its already stylish lines. Let’s face it, this car continuing is a great thing for those still looking to get behind the wheel of one of these impressive Ford Performance machines.