Welcome back to My Wheels, Faris. The last time we saw you (issue 443), you had a race red 2011 Mustang GT 5.0. You spent a lot of time and effort customising it but sold it last year. How sad did you feel to let it go?
First of all, thanks for featuring me for a second time in my favourite car magazine. In answer to your question — I was very sad indeed! But, I did it because I had the opportunity to buy this 2016 Shelby GT350.
I had a call from the dealership last year to see if I would be interested in the new Ford and being a loyal Mustang fan for 24 years, I couldn’t resist. The car would be here on the 28th of February but I needed to part with my GT 5.0 to help fund the deal. I found a buyer last December, a pilot from Etihad Airways, and felt really sad with the enthusiasm he showed in wanting the car! I was torn between selling it or keeping it but eventually gave in knowing I’d have the brand new GT350 soon. But then, there was a problem…
There always is! What happened?
The new car was delayed until 30th March.
Wait, it gets worse! I had another call from the dealer telling me there were issues with the shipment from the US and that the car would now be here on the 30th of April! I felt sick to the stomach having let my car go and facing the prospect of being without a Mustang for such a long time. I used my brother’s BMW X5 for almost four months but as nice as it was, it just wasn’t me. I felt old driving that SUV and even stopped going out in my free time! Driving a Mustang makes me feel young and energetic and I needed to have that sensation again.
What is it about the model you like so much?
It is the history and the racing heritage. When Caroll Shelby made the first GT350 back in 1965, it became an automotive legend. And this 2016 Shelby GT350 is the best ever Mustang Ford has built. When I got my first Mustang back in 1992 after graduating from high school, I knew I wouldn’t want to drive any other car. Sure, rivals like the Camaro and Challenger are great cars, but the Mustang — which has been in continuous production since 1964 — has a special place in my heart.
How long in total did you have to wait until you got your car?
Nine months — but it felt like nine years! When I finally saw it, all my pain disappeared. In hindsight, I should have just waited a little bit; the delay was only on the first shipment of cars and now if you want one, they’re in the showroom. Oh well, you live and learn.
But it’s been worth the wait...
Absolutely. I am so happy with it; I could honestly talk all day about Ford’s first-ever flat-plane crankshaft (similar to Ferrari) 5.2-litre V8. What an engine. That naturally aspirated unit makes 526bhp and 580Nm of torque, and it can propel the car to 100kph from rest in just 4.0 seconds. It handles like a Porsche 911 GT3. The Track Pack adds all-new adaptive magnetorheological dampers which allows you to corner totally flat, the huge Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres provide loads of grip and you get terrific stopping power thanks to the Brembo brakes. I love the Tremec short throw six-speed gearbox, and the Sport mode. It’s clear this car was built to decimate the track — but it doubles up as a nice cruiser for the road too.
I guess your friends still call you ‘Faris Mustang’…
Haha yes they do — but now some have added ‘Shelby’ to that nickname! They know how much I love Mustangs and I’ve been driving this one all over Abu Dhabi and Dubai since getting my hands on it. It’s awesome — in fact my kids love this car more than my previous Mustang.
It’s the first white GT350 in the UAE which I am very proud of. I specified this colour because the first Mustang back in ’64 and the ’65 Shelby GT350 were white (the latter had blue stripes) and I wanted to replicate that original look. And, you know that I love to customise and modify my cars and I will probably do so with this one, but not just yet.
It was a dream to get this car and now that I have it, I will enjoy it for four or five years, or until the GT500 arrives...