Shelby GT350 vs GT500

Shelby GT350 vs GT500

Last Updated January 5, 2021 | Meghan Drummond
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In 2020, for the first time since 1969, both the Shelby GT350 and the GT500 were available at the same time. It will also be the last year for the foreseeable future since the GT350 isn’t returning for 2021.

True to their roots, these two high-performance Mustangs cater to different driving experiences. So naturally, there are a lot of differences between their equipment and specs.

1967 GT350 and GT500

Shelby’s first Mustang, the GT350, launched in 1965. The GT350 was designed to be a corner carver. A smooth-handling, race-ready, powerhorse that felt like a sports car. Right from the get-go, the GT350 was also available in a race-ready form, the GT350R. The GT350R was a contender for the Sports Car Club of America’s B-class, and handles those curvy tracks appropriately.

The GT500 wasn’t introduced until 1967, but it was clear it offered a different experience. The GT500 was, according to Shelby, the first car he was truly proud of. Unlike the sophisticated experience of the GT350, the GT500 offered straight-line acceleration and speed. It was built to dominate the quarter-mile. With a 427 CID engine, the GT500 packed serious horsepower.

Comparison of a 1965 Shelby GT350 and a 1967 Shelby GT500

The GT350 and GT500 were both available in 1967, 1968, 1969, and now 2020. While we don’t know what 2020’s exact production numbers will be, classic GT350s and GT500s enjoyed a nearly identical amount of success. For all the years that both were produced, their production numbers were very close. Though there are production numbers for 1970, this was a carryover year.

Classic Shelby GT350 vs GT500 Production
YearGT350 ProductionGT500 Production
1967 1,175 2,050
1968 1,353 (Fastback)
404 (Convertible)
1,140 (Fastback)
402 (Convertible)
1969 1,085 (Fastback)
194 (Convertible)
1,536 (Fastback)
335 (Convertible)
1970 315 (Fastback) 286 (Fastback)

2020 GT350 vs GT500

The modern editions of both the GT350 and GT500 stay true to their original designs. Though it’s clear that these Mustangs share a pedigree, they each offer such a unique experience that they don’t compete directly. The 2020 GT350 remains a true drivers’ car, while the GT500 is practically made for the dragstrip.

A bright blue GT350 on one side and on the other a dark blue GT500
2020 GT350 and GT500

In many ways, the GT350 and GT500 look very similar. For either Shelby, your body style options will be limited to a fastback coupe. Both are available with Shelby’s signature Le Mans stripes. Other exterior details, like the HID headlights and LED running lights, are identical. They even share a spoiler. But a few exterior details make it clear that these are not the same car. That becomes even more clear once you start to look at the technical specifications.

Shelby GT350 vs GT500 Specs
SpecGT350GT350RGT500GT500 w/CFTP
Price $60,440 $73,435 $72,900 $91,500
0-60 mph 4.1 Seconds 3.9 Seconds 3.4 Seconds 3.6 Seconds
Quarter-Mile 12.3 Seconds 12.2 Seconds 11.1 Seconds 11.3 Seconds

Engine Differences

Both the 2020 Shelby GT350 and GT500 run a Coyote engine variant. In both instances, their engine is hand-assembled, signed, and constructed from aluminum. Their engines also have an identical displacement of 5.2L.

GT350 and GT500 Engine Specs
SpecVoodoo Engine (GT350)Predator Engine (GT500)
Horsepower 526 hp @ 7,500 RPM 760 hp @7,300 RPM
Torque 429 lb-ft @ 4,750 RPM 625 lb-ft @ 5,000 RPM
Redline 8,250 RPM 7,500 RPM
Displacement 5.2L 5.2L
Compression Ratio 12.0:1 9.5:1
Bore x Stroke 3.70 in. x 3.66 in. 3.70 in. x 3.66 in.
Firing Order 1-5-4-8-3-7-2-6 1-5-4-8-6-3-7-2

The Predator

A dark orange GT500 parked on a track

The Predator, the GT500 engine, is a more traditional cross-plane crankshaft V8. This means that it has a deep, rumbling V8 sound, more in-line with classic Mustangs. That sound is altered slightly by a supercharger.

Unlike the naturally aspirated GT350, the GT500 uses a supercharger to improve its stats. In particular, the use of a supercharger allows for greater low-end torque. This is one of the features the GT500 is known for, and it definitely helps with straight line acceleration.

The Voodoo

A dark blue GT350 on the track

The GT350’s engine is called the “Voodoo.” Its flat-plane crankshaft makes it one of the most unique engines in Ford’s line-up. Flat-plane crankshafts are more common in sports cars than in muscle cars. It’s this crankshaft configuration that gives the GT350 its unique sound.

The GT350’s engine sound is perhaps its most polarizing feature. While many associate V8s with a deep rumble, a flat-plane crankshaft sounds higher-pitched. That higher-pitched sound comes with some additional performance benefits. Flat-planes and cross-plane crankshafts offer different strengths. Flat-planes allow for a lighter engine and a higher rev limit.

The Voodoo is also a naturally aspirated engine, meaning it doesn’t use a supercharger or turbocharger for its power.

Transmission Options

The GT500 and GT350 each have only one transmission option. For the GT350, this option is a manual. The GT500 on the other hand uses a dual-clutch transmission.

GT350 and GT500 Transmission Gear Ratios
GearTremec 3160 (GT350)Tremec 9070 (GT500)
1st 3.253 3.14
2nd 2.233 2.05
3rd 1.611 1.43
4th 1.243 1.10
5th 1.00 0.86
6th 0.629 0.68
7th N/A 0.56

Tremec 3160

Tremec’s 3160 is a six-gear manual transmission specifically designed for performance vehicles. This makes it a great fit for the GT350. High strength steel components allow for a higher-than-average torque capacity. By using a multi-rail shift system, the transmission can be semi-remote. Moving the transmission allows for decreased noise, vibration, and harshness.

This transmission’s cone synchronizers are bronze, for durability even during extreme shifting.

Tremec 9070

The Tremec 9070 is a seven-gear dual-clutch transmission. While most dual-clutch transmissions fall into a “wet” or “dry” clutch system, the 9070 uses a hybrid model. This means that clutches are cooled with lubricant individually, and only as needed. This allows for the decreased drag of a dry system without the risk of overheating.

Dual-clutch transmissions are significantly different from traditional automatic transmissions. Even though they don’t have a clutch pedal, they still use clutches to change gears. A DCT can provide instantaneous shifts, which prevents a loss of momentum on the drag strip. It’s the perfect transmission for the GT500.

Other Performance Features

There’s a lot of performance equipment that’s shared between the GT350 and GT500. While the lists below contain performance equipment, both also have plenty of aesthetic features and comfort options.

Those who purchased a new GT350 or GT500 can also take advantage of Ford’s Track Attack program. It includes a one day complimentary driving training session at Ford Performance Racing School’s track.

Shared Features

  • MagneRide Suspension System
  • Track Apps to Record and Compare Race Performance
  • Red Brembo Brake Calipers (6-Piston Front and 4-Piston Rear)
  • Engine Oil, Transmission, and Differential Coolers
  • Aluminum Front Bumper Beam
  • Front Radiator Block Off Plate
  • Dual Exhaust with Electronic Valves and Quad Tips
  • Torsen Differential with 3.73 Rear Axle Ratio

GT350 Equipment

  • Aluminum Tower to Tower Brace
  • Leather-Wrapped Mechanical Parking Brake
  • 19” Aluminum Wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 Tires

GT500 Equipment

  • Carbon Fiber Driveshaft
  • Magnesium Tower to Tower Brace
  • Unique Hood with Hood Pins
  • 20” Aluminum Wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S

GT350R and Carbon Fiber Track Pack

The GT350 and GT500 both have one upgraded equipment package. For the GT350 that comes in the form of the GT350R. For the GT500, you can add on the Carbon Fiber Track Pack. The GT500 CFTP is already being referred to as the GT500R because of the similarities.

The GT350R costs $13,000 more than the GT350. The Carbon Fiber Track Pack is an $18,500 package. And yet people are lining up to pay for both. That’s because if you have your heart set on carbon fiber wheels, it’s way more affordable to get these packages than it would be to just buy the wheels. The rough estimate per wheel is $7,000. The rest of the equipment is just a bonus.

Four different wheels showing the standard and upgraded wheels for the GT350 and GT500
All Four Wheel Options

Here are the differences in the equipment for each.

GT350R Equipment

  • 19” Black-Painted Carbon Fiber Wheel
  • Carbon Fiber Rear Wing
  • Large Front Splitter
  • Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Tires
  • Rear Seat Delete
  • Unique Chassis Tuning
  • Wheel Locking Kit

A light silver GT350R, with tires turned to show off wheels

GT500 Carbon Fiber Track Pack Equipment

  • 20” Carbon Fiber Wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Tires
  • Adjustable Exposed Carbon Fiber GT4 Rear Wing
  • Splitter Wickers
  • Rear Seat Delete
  • Exposed Carbon Fiber Instrument Panel
  • Recaro Leather-Trimmed Seats
  • Wheel Locking Kit

A light silver GT500 with black stripes

Is the GT350 or GT500 Better?

Considering this is the first year we’ve been able to compare these two since the ‘60s, it’s natural for people to want to know who the “winner” is. The answer is we’re all the winners because we exist in a world with both of these vehicles.

The nature of their builds makes a true “apples to apples” comparison an impossibility. Instead, it’s easier to specify who each is built for.

Who is the GT350 for?

The most obvious answer is that the GT350 is for anyone who thinks manual is the only way to drive, or who prefers highly technical driving. It’s also for anyone who’s attracted to Mustang history. This year, the GT350 even came in a heritage edition that celebrated the first Shelby Mustang.

It’s a car for people who love driving. Or, who love engineering. The combination of the unique engine and the manual transmission is hard to pass up.

Who is the GT500 for?

The GT500 has faster quarter-miles and 0-60 times. Not surprising when you look at the horsepower difference between the two. That means that if you’re the type of person who loves to show off at the track, the GT500 is most likely going to be the better pick for you.

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Shelby GT350 vs GT500

The Shelby GT350 and GT500 share the Shelby name and both offer a performance driving experience. But they differ in terms of specifications, features, and available equipment. This means that these cars are truly designed for different driving styles, and one is likely going to be a better fit for you.

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