For muscle car fans, there is truly nothing like the sound of a big V8 clamoring through the open air. It’s the undeniable soundtrack of American motoring, but sometimes, in the name of performance, you have to make sacrifices.
Ford’s highly anticipated Shelby Mustang GT350 was just announced, and a new report by Road & Track suggests that the 500-plus-horsepower pony car will live on as a coupe only.
This is perfectly logical from the standpoint of efficiency, as removing the roof would decrease the structural rigidity Ford’s engineers worked so hard to achieve. This is a pure sports car after all, with a free revving, naturally aspirated engine and electrically charged magnetic dampers.
But remember, the outgoing GT500 Mustang was featured as a ragtop, so fans of the convertible may be left feeling like there’s something missing … or not missing.
According to Road & Track’s sources, a ragtop “was never in the product plan.”
One of the GT350’s main competitors, the Chevrolet Camaro Z28, features a similar closed roof-only layout, with an output of over 500 hp coming sans forced induction. The suped-up Camaro’s claim to fame thus far has been a 7:37.40 lap of the Nurburgring, which trumps top-dollar sports cars like the Lexus LFA and Porsche 911 Carrera S.
That’s a lofty benchmark for the flat-plane cranked Mustang to chase, but reinforcements are coming in the form of an even more rigid GT350R.
Rumored to debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, Ford and Shelby are looking to squeeze the last ounces of comfort and refinement from the aggressive muscle car, with laser-like precision and race-bred character being the result.
Specifically, you can expect beefier brakes, upgraded aerodynamics, stickier tires, and some marginal weight savings, however that fantastic 5.2-liter V8 is likely to stay largely untouched.