Some Shelby GT350 Mustang owners are seeking class-action status for a lawsuit saying that the performance model is not the "hot rod" they wanted because the cars overheat and lose power.
The lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Miami. Hagens Berman, a law firm famous for filing class-action litigation against big companies, is handling the case.
"When Ford marketed and sold these Shelby GT350 Mustangs, it knew exactly how to appeal to track-enthusiasts: it marketed enhanced performance in a limited-edition iconic vehicle that has been associated with racing for generations," Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said in a statement. "We believe that Ford induced purchasers with its "track-ready' marketing, when in fact it knew that this defect would ultimately bar these Mustangs from ever being the hot rod consumers paid for."
The owners are suing Ford in federal court for about $228 million. The suit contends the affected Shelby Mustangs have faulty transmissions and rear differentials that can overheat in as little as 15 minutes.
The suit claims that Ford fixed the problem in 2017 vehicles, but told owners to make the fixes on the 2016 cars themselves, which they claim is a breach of the car's warranty.
The lawsuit so far has four named plaintiffs, and estimates about 4,000 owners are affected. It says the cars are worth about $57,000 each, so damages could reach $228 million.
Ford said Thursday, March 23, that it not yet been served.
"Ford is committed to providing our customers with top-quality vehicles," A Ford spokesman said in a statement. "However, we do not comment on pending litigation."
The Shelby GT350 Mustang went on sale near the end of 2015 and features Ford's most powerful naturally aspirated engine ever made. The 5.2-liter flat-plane crankshaft V-8 gets 526 hp, and is Ford's highest-revving eight-cylinder, topping out at 8,250 rpm.