Just joined the GT350 club

Mr. Maboomba

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I took delivery of my GT350 today. It's a 2019 model in Ford Performance Blue with Electronics Package, Carbon Fiber Interior and Recaros. It has 15K miles but not a single ding, scratch or stain on the body, wheels or interior.

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This is my first Ford and first non-BMW vehicle in 19 years. (I've owned a 1998 328is, a 2008 335xi, a 2009 DINAN3, a 2014 320i, a 2012 X5 50i and a 2019 X5 50i.) I have seen a lot of Porsche and BMW owners on this forum and it's a credit to Ford that they have made a car that appeals so broadly.

How I got here: Sixteen months ago I did my first driving event in a long time, a HPDE at Laguna Seca, using my wife's BMW 320i sedan. I had fun but that base-model, 200 hp, automatic transmission sedan was not fit for purpose. That ignited an interest in adding a fun sporty car with a manual transmission back to my fleet. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down all driving events and threw a lot of things into question so I didn't shop for any cars right away but started to look seriously this spring. At first I was going to buy a used 2018 M3 Competition, then a used 2018 M3 CS, then a new 2021 M2 Competition, then a new 2022 M3. After three months of waiting for a 2022 M3 production spot I got fed up and started looking outside the brand.

I looked at a lot of options but narrowed it down to two finalists in the end: a 2016 Porsche GT4 or a 2019-2020 GT350(R). Both vehicles are track-ready manual-transmission sports cars with a lot of character and distinctive looks. They deliver equal performance outcomes based on all the major measurements (0-60 acceleration, 70-0 braking, skidpad, 1/4 mile, Nurburgring times, VIR Lightning Lap times) though they clearly take two different approaches to deliver it.

American muscle cars have never been on my radar as an object of interest but based on everything I read and watched this car seemed different. All of the reviews I watched were positive and all of the owners I heard from said it was a special vehicle, a true sports car full stop, not just "good - for a Mustang." If there was one video that "hooked me" it was Ford GT350R Canyon Run - Magnificent Voodoo V8 Exhaust Note. If you haven't seen it, you've got to invest six minutes in it. What's better than watching a GT350R tear through the Northern California countryside?

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Choosing between the GT4 and the GT350 was very difficult. This is not a credit to myself but I definitely stayed up late too many nights watching (and rewatching) every review on YouTube, comparing every fact, crowd sourcing my decision and generally tying myself up in knots. I decided on the GT4 a half dozen times and I decided on the GT350 a half dozen times. I made offers on both cars. I even reached out to Matt Moran of Obsessed Garage for input because he is also a BMW guy who owned a GT350, has driven a 981 GT4 and now owns a 718 GT4. He made a good point about the opportunity to be intentional about car progression (leaving yourself future room to move up toward better and better cars) which resonated with me - I don't need to get the most car I could afford or my penultimate car and there's a lot of value in just having a different experience. (Matt and other reviewers have said publicly the GT350 is as close as you can get to a modern take on the E92 M3, which I take as a big compliment to the car.)

In the end, I concluded that the GT350 felt more special to me. The model-specific high-revving flat-plane crank Voodoo V8 and Tremec 3160 6-speed gearbox and valved factory exhaust set this car apart. I love that it only comes in a manual and offers full bucket seats (like the GT4 in both cases). It has track-ready Brembo brakes on par with what you'd find on a X5M or M5 and you can get it with a carbon fiber dashboard. The GT350 scored some practicality points the GT4 didn't via its modern headunit (including support for CarPlay and Android Auto), a backup camera, rear seats and a warranty. It doesn't hurt that I saved $30,000 either. :)

My dealership provided awesome service getting the car in concours condition for me. They removed some aftermarket carbon fiber appliques from the interior, thoroughly detailed on the car (buffing out any imperfections in the paint), refurbished light curb rash on one wheel, filled it up with gas and delivered it to me at my house. They even filled out my Track Safety Inspection Form for an upcoming BMWCCA HPDE at Thunderhill where I'll put the car to the test.

I had a few pangs of self-doubt watching Porsches drive by during dinner in Sausalito. But then I ripped it to 8000 rpm getting on the interstate, going through the Robin Williams Tunnel in Marin and across the Golden Gate Bridge on the way home and felt better about my decision.

I look forward to being part of your community!

 
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Carbide

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Awesome story. Enjoy the car!
And I agree. This is a special car. Ford got it right....for the most part.
I could've lived without dealing with getting panel gaps adjusted at my dealership, but when I'm behind the wheel I forget all that.

Beautiful car!
 


DrumReaper

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Good read. Enjoy! You have to put some dough into a Porsche to get the character and rawness of the GT350. I believe you made the better choice.

Let us know your thoughts on that first HPDE.
 

460Fred

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Good on you OP, congratulations!
Your story if very familiar to a lot of us, it was a process deciding on a GT350.
 

brokenblinker

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Congrats! Looks like this was the one at Audi Oakland. I actually liked this one a bit more than the black 2019 I ended up picking up, but I just couldn't quite get there on price.


Looks sweet, hope to see you out and about! Maybe at a trackday in the area in the future.
 
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Mr. Maboomba

Mr. Maboomba

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Congrats! Looks like this was the one at Audi Oakland. I actually liked this one a bit more than the black 2019 I ended up picking up, but I just couldn't quite get there on price.
Yep, that's the one! As we talked about in the other thread, they came down several thousand on their asking price and it seemed like a fair deal for the current market conditions. Would be happy to meet up sometime.

Let me know if you find a good Bay Area mechanic. I saw some people ask the question on here in the past and not get any replies. While the car is still under warranty I don't want to go to the dealer for stuff like brake jobs.
 

brokenblinker

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Yep, that's the one! As we talked about in the other thread, they came down several thousand on their asking price and it seemed like a fair deal for the current market conditions. Would be happy to meet up sometime.

Let me know if you find a good Bay Area mechanic. I saw some people ask the question on here in the past and not get any replies. While the car is still under warranty I don't want to go to the dealer for stuff like brake jobs.
I honestly think you got the better deal. My budget was supposed to be 50K, I stretched to 60K to get a 2019. My wife would kill me trying to stretch it again haha.
 

sk8ermoo

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I'd be real conflicted if a 981 GT4 was on the table when I was looking for my next car. I was looking at the 981 GTS, BMW M2, and GT350 when shopping. Anything that you preferred about the GT4 that you wish was in the GT350? Besides the obvious like vehicle dimensions and feeling much lighter, what else did you factor GT4 vs. GT350?
 
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Mr. Maboomba

Mr. Maboomba

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I'd be real conflicted if a 981 GT4 was on the table when I was looking for my next car. I was looking at the 981 GTS, BMW M2, and GT350 when shopping. Anything that you preferred about the GT4 that you wish was in the GT350? Besides the obvious like vehicle dimensions and feeling much lighter, what else did you factor GT4 vs. GT350?
I think the GT4 wins on prestige, build quality, reliability, interior design and materials quality. There also seems to be a much more robust community of Porsche racers in my area - lots of people to ask for advice, lots of social forums, and lots of great independent mechanics - which is important. In one post on Rennlist I saw a half-dozen names of good mechanics and the first one I called spent 20 minutes on the phone with me giving advice. I've seen several people ask for Bay Area mechanic recommendations on this forum and there haven't been any suggestions at all.

The 981 GT4, GT350R and 2019+ GT350 deliver almost exactly the same performance outcomes (0-60 acceleration, 70-0 braking, skidpad, 1/4 mile, Nurburgring times, VIR Lightning Lap times) so it was hard to say I was getting a more capable car for the money. I think the GT4's distinguishing characteristic is its balance and mid-engine dynamics - that the car feels like it's rotating around you in turns. Unfortunately that wasn't something I could really get a sense of during test drives.

In the end, I felt like the GT350 and GT4 would be equally capable as sports cars but the GT350 would likely be more fun at 4/10s (where I drive most of the time living in a city) whereas I'd need to push the GT4 to 8/10s or more to experience what makes it special.
 

PP0001

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Congratulations on a well informed decision but more importantly purchasing an outstanding performing Shelby Mustang GT350 Pony Car and in a very cool color!

From an overall performance standpoint and bang for the buck these GT350/R's are about as good as it gets.

Add to that the fact that these 2nd generation GT350/R's will continue to do well from a future value standpoint, that is just icing on the cake!

:clap:
 
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Johnnydarkgt350

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We were at Carmel, pebble beach and Monterey last weekend. Did we see you there? You have achieved one of the GOAT “ based on Car and Drivers selections. Happy for you especially that these are out of production now. Your car is already establishing its place as a head turner for hi performance car lovers.
 

 
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