This web page was started for my Shelby Mustang. But since I have both cars, it might be interesting to compare these two Mustangs?
Someone asked me, which car is your favorite? It’s not unlike having a couple of children and you’re asked which is your favorite. Can’t have a favorite. There are things about each of them you love.
Both of these cars are part of the Mustang evolution. The 1968 Shelby Mustang was state of the art in it’s day. The Shelby version of the Mustang has some extra parts on a stock GT suspension. It was the second generation Mustang. But by today’s standards, it is a pretty basic Mustang. There have been many steps in between these Mustangs.
Handling comparison? This newer Mustang with the Performance Package has the street version of a race car suspension. My ’68 Shelby also has a street version of a racing suspension. Read about my Shelby’s suspension.
The 2017 Mustang has an independent rear suspension (IRS). Each rear wheel operates independently of the other. This gives a better ride and more control over the handling of the car. One wheel hitting a bump does not cause the other wheel to react to that impact.
Prior to 2015, the Mustangs all had a fixed, live axle suspension with a solid beam between the two rear wheels. When one wheel hits a bump or pot hole, both rear wheels are affected. On the uneven streets the IRS is a better choice. For drag racing, a fixed live axle works better than an IRS.
The 2017 has far superior braking to any prior Mustang. The bigger the discs the better the braking. The Wilwood’s on the front of my Shelby are 11.3″, the 2017 Brembo’s are 15″. My Shelby has drum brakes on the rear. (Read about my Shelby’s brakes.) The 2017 has rear discs. The front brakes do the bulk of the braking but the rears are also important.
My Shelby has a pretty good suspension especially with it’s upgrades. A fixed, live axle is not an obsolete rear suspension. A live axle is much simpler to tune and maintain than an IRS. The stock Mustang rear suspension had 4 leafs, my Shelby has 4.5 leafs. Read about my Shelby’s suspension.
Engine wise the Coyote 5.0 is something that dreams are made of. If you were wanting a hot engine in 1968, you wouldn’t even have dreamed of asking for what the Coyote comes from Ford with. It has a all aluminum block and heads. It is a Double Over Head Cam (DOHC), 4 valves per cylinder, port fuel injection, adjustable timing all ran by a little computer under the dash. Red line is 7,000 rpm. And it pulls all they way there. Read about the Coyote 5.0 engine.
When I picked the car up, I signed the papers and they handed me the keys. Off I went. It didn’t take long for me to come up with lots of questions. The last car I purchased new got me a 30 minute introduction to it, and it was a SUV with an automatic. I purchased a 435 HP 6 speed Mustang street race car and no one discussed the car with me. Anyway, I had to take it back to the dealer to install some locking lug nuts that had been left in the trunk. When I got there I asked the front desk lady if I could talk to someone about this Mustang. She told me where to find the coffee and said she would have someone available when I returned. As I walked up she introduced me to the service manager, he said, “Are you the guy that bought that red, race car?” That’s right. I bought a red race car as defined by any prior standards. The target for this car with the Performance Pack was to match or exceed the 2012 Boss 302. The 2012 Boss Mustang is a race car you can drive on the street.
Side Note: In the Mustang world, believe this or not, you can purchase a even more powerful and better handling Mustang. The 2019 Mustang GT has 460 horses and offers a suspension package that is a superior to the Performance Pack I got, Want more? Step up to the 2019 Shelby GT 350. 560 horse, cross plane crank, 8000 rpm engine. A road race car you can drive on the street. Ford offers a real racing version of this car. Want more? How about the Ultimate Mustang, the 2020 Mustang GT 500? It has 760 horse with a suspension above the new GT 350. Does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds.
So which car is best?
- The Coyote 5.0 engine with 435 HP is a far better and more exotic than a ’68 310 HP 302.
- The brakes on the ’17 GT Mustang are far superior to almost any other car on the street. You’d have to turn to a far more expensive sports car to find better brakes
- Suspension? Driving on the street or a track, the ’17 with IRS and the Performance Package & summer tires is far superior to the ’68 and most other cars.
- Creature comforts? The ’17 Mustang has all the creature comforts including heated and cooled seats, AC climate control, very nice seats, adaptive cruise, all the music you want with Sirius XM and Android sync and one heck of a sound system. The ’68 Shelby doesn’t even have AC or a working radio. The seats are pretty nice though.
- The ’17 Mustang is much faster. The 0-60 in 4.5 secs is very fast. I would guess the ’68 might do 0-60 in about 7 secs. Top speed on the 2017 is limited at 160 MPH. I’d expect a top speed on the 1968 to be in the range of 120 MPH.
The 2017 Mustang is the superior car in almost every aspect. No, it is not the favorite car. Both cars have things about them that I love.
The reason I decided to ask my engine builder for 350 HP this summer was how spoiled I’d become driving that 435 HP Coyote engine. One of my car shop client’s told me “Horse power is addictive.” I understand.
In the latest issue of the SAAC news magazine one of the editors wrote a piece about the new Ford Shelby GT 350. He tells what an awesome car it is. But he also said the old Shelby Mustangs and Cobras were driver’s cars. There was no rev limiter or cruise control or even A.C.. To drive one of these old cars you had to be 100% present. If you over revved it you could break it. The car is not going to keep you from doing that. “The cars back then required a lot from the driver. They made you pay attention and forced you to exhibit some hand-eye coordination.” He goes on to say,”There is a reason why Cobras and original Shelbys don’t have cup holders. Driving them is a serious commitment and requires all your attention.” Yes, it does.
On the last warm day we had, I decided to go for one more drive. I grabbed the keys to the ’17 and took it out. What a great car. But then I came back and got the old Shelby out.