The intersection of two closely-held American institutions, Ford Mustangs and class action lawsuits, have collided in an unsavory manner. A federal judge has recently certified a class action lawsuit originally filed back in 2017. Law firm Hagens Berman, who represents the group of S550 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 owners, says that, “Ford has failed to disclose that the absence of a transmission and differential coolers can greatly diminish the vehicle’s reported track capabilities.” While the S550 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 was marketed as a sharp tool for the track, the group reports that the cars’ transmissions and differentials routinely overheat, spurring the Mustangs to retreat into limp mode.
It’s Not All Ford Mustang Shelby GT350s
To be clear, only the 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Base or Technology package models are listed under Hagens Berman’s affected vehicles. the ones that were optioned with the additional $6,500 Track package, which includes transmission and differential coolers, don’t seem to have this overheating problem. And you might remember that the 2017 model year Ford Mustang Shelby GT350s all came with a Standard Track package which did include the necessary cooling components. That little tidbit will surely be used in court.
The GT350 Class Action Lawsuit Is Viable
Federico A. Moreno, the federal judge representing the Southern District of Florida has upheld the plaintiffs’ claims in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Washington, Missouri, Texas, Oregon, and Tennessee, certifying classes of statutory fraud, common fraud, implied warranty and Magnuson-Moss laws. While it’s up to the justice system to determine whether or not Ford intentionally left out critical cooling components to force attentive customers to pay for the Track package, the whole situation seems icky on Ford’s end.
Anyone who participates in track days knows the shame and embarrassment of dealing with an incapable, overheated, and limped-out car. That’s especially the case when you show up with a high-end Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, marketed by Ford as a capable track weapon, only to have it crap the bed. But perhaps the Track Package is called exactly that for a reason. It would help the GT350 perform optimally at the track.
Regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome, the it feels like the rumored quality issues of the S550 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and its screaming flat-plane crank V8 have boiled over. Even though the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 got the early axe before the rest of the S550 generation, and wrapped up production at the end of last year, the Ford Mustang still charges forward. The direct replacement of the S550 GT350, the new 2021 Mustang Mach 1, will have to play a large part in offsetting any further bad press for the Mustang name.
According to Hagens Berman, the initial trial date is coming up in September.