— A 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang lawsuit alleged the "track-ready" cars are in fact nowhere near ready for racetracks because the transmissions and rear differentials overheat within 15 minutes of track driving.
The overheating sends the cars into limp mode to protect the cars from damage, drastically reducing power and speed without warning.
The proposed class-action lawsuit includes all current and former owners of the 2016 Base and Technology Package Shelby GT350 Mustangs.
According to the plaintiffs, Ford marketed the cars as “all-day track cars” at the same time more than 70 percent of all owners claimed the cars were not ready for the tracks and can sometimes go into limp mode during routine driving.
Ford is allegedly aware of the defect in 2016 models because in the 2017 model of the Shelby, Ford "fixed the defective Track-Ready powertrain system by installing coolers for all trim levels." In addition, Ford has allegedly advised Shelby owners to buy rear differential and transmission coolers for their 2016 cars at their own expense to make the cars ready for the track.
However, the lawsuit alleges the overheating issues cannot be fixed by installing inexpensive coolers. Furthermore, Ford has allegedly admitted using these recommended aftermarket repairs may also void the express warranties.
The plaintiffs say that Ford cannot place its warranty obligations onto Shelby Mustang owners due to the automaker leaving out transmission and rear differential coolers.
Many of the named plaintiffs never experienced any problems with their cars, but sued because they heard stories about other Shelby owners who allegedly had problems.
According to plaintiffs George and Diana Tershakovec, they purchased a 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang with the Technology Package from a Ford dealer in Texas. The Tershakovecs say they still own the Shelby, but they didn't know the cars allegedly had problems with the powertrain systems.
The car is equipped with a flat-plane crank engine designed for very high revolutions such as found in track racing, a "MagneRide suspension, enhanced electric steering, performance braking system and specific driver tunable software settings including a setting specifically marked for Track Use Only." In addition, the car has “Track Apps” and a heads-up tachometer display.
The plaintiffs received their car in February 2016 but in May or June 2016, they allegedly read online about other Shelby owners who experienced limp mode within minutes of being on a track. The plaintiffs say they also read stories from other drivers about problems that occurred during normal highway driving.
The plaintiffs say they never took their car to the track and they never allege they experienced any problems with their Shelby. However, they do say they contacted Ford about their concerns about the car and to "seek relief."
According to the lawsuit, "At no point during these telephone or email conversations did Ford provide any resolution to address their concerns or provide satisfactory relief."
The plaintiffs claim they researched the alleged problems and estimated the resale value of their car diminished to the point "they would incur a loss of $20,000 if they tried to sell their Shelby—in addition to the $10,000 premium they paid over MSRP."
George and Diana Tershakovec also say they have never been contacted by Ford about any potential repairs or aftermarket modifications that would "repair the overheating issue and render their Shelby safe to drive on public roadways, or during occasional track use, that would also be compliant with Ford’s express warranties."
The plaintiffs also complain about the express warranties that came with the Shelby GT350. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs were "not aware that executing any of the aftermarket repairs specifically recommended by Ford, such as the addition of transmission or differential coolers, could void the express warranties for the entire Shelby."
While multiple plaintiffs never claim to have suffered the alleged defect while driving, Illinois resident Frank Porter, described as as "avid sports car and tracking enthusiast," says his Shelby went into limp mode multiple times.
Porter says he purchased a $59,174 model year 2016 Shelby Mustang with the Technology Package in April 2017 from an Illinois Ford dealer. The plaintiff says he conducted research from his home and attended an auto show where he talked with a dealer and received Ford promotional materials.
Mr. Porter says he visited the Ford website for details about the car and also spoke with Ford salespeople at the Chicago auto show about his intent to use the Technology Model 2016 Shelby for occasional track use. The plaintiff says he was never told he couldn't use the car on a track.
Mr. Porter says he learned of the problems in his Shelby in mid-2017 while driving his car on a track when the Mustang allegedly went into limp mode. The plaintiff says the car lost power and had to be pulled off to the side of the road. In addition, Porter says the Shelby has went into limp mode several more times while on a track.
The plaintiff says Ford has offered no solution, and like the other plaintiffs, Porter says he didn't know that installing aftermarket parts such as new transmission or cooler kits could void the express warranties for the Shelby.
According to the proposed class-action lawsuit, a giant red flag that Ford allegedly knew the 2016 cars have transmissions that overheat is the change that took place for 2017 Shelby GT350 models.
In April 2016, Ford allegedly announced that one of the biggest changes for the 2017 Shelby was the 2016 "Track Package" would now come standard on every new Shelby, meaning all 2017 Shelby models now include rear differential coolers and transmission coolers.
In addition, Ford allegedly now includes all associated engineering and parts needed to make these coolers work with the design of the cars.
The plaintiffs claim this is another clear admission by Ford the 2016 Shelbys were not track-ready as sold. Court documents say the 2017 Shelby, complete with the transmission and differential coolers, cost about $3,000 more than the 2016 Shelbys.
Although the lawsuit was previously dismissed by the judge, the plaintiffs say they are confident this second amended complaint will survive any future motions to dismiss filed by Ford.
The 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida - Tershakovec, et al, v Ford Motor Company.
The same attorneys filed a similar lawsuit that made the same claims about overheating transmissions and rear differentials, except that lawsuit names the Corvette Z06 as the culprit.