The Shelby American and Hertz partnership is one of the coolest marketing ploys ever devised. This partnership was little more than business play, but it gave folks who could otherwise never get seat time in one of the hottest performance cars of the time a chance at playing Steve McQueen, even if only for a weekend. Even cooler still was the fact that they had unique paint schemes and extremely rare performance specs like this Supercharged Shelby Mustang GT350-H.
What was the coolest Hertz Mustang?
According to Joe Conway, Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and CEO of Shelby American, “The 1966 Ford Shelby GT350-H became a legend from the moment it was introduced.” MotorTrend reports only a handful over 1,000 examples of the Shelby GT350-H were made for Hertz. Even rarer still was the addition of a Paxton supercharger paired with the four-speed manual transmission, like the one we see here. Given the rarity and performance leaning of the GT350-H cars, many people who were lucky enough to buy these cars after Hertz was done with them added the period-correct supercharger.
Back in ’66, there weren’t specialized companies looking to rent supercars to people by the day. Nowadays, that concept seems downright commonplace, but back then, driving race cars was a dream only realized by very few of the most wealthy or talented drivers. The Shelby and Hertz collab was a truly innovative idea, hence its phenomenal success.
As the 1966 brochure explained, “These cars are available to business travelers who want a change of pace in motoring, to sports car owners away from home, and to vacationers who consider driving an enjoyable sport.” The marketing angle worked like gangbusters, according to MotorTrend. Hertz got plenty of positive press, as well as many new consumers wanting a Shelby of their own after getting a taste.
What was special about the Hertz Shelby Mustangs?
The Hertz-issued GT350-H Mustangs were just like the ones in the dealer lots and also had the K-code Cobra 289 high-performance V8 engines that put out 306 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque.
Like the normal factory GT350s, the Hertz editions could rip a 0-60 mph sprint in only 6.6 seconds and finish a quarter-mile run in just under 15 seconds. This was serious performance for the average driver in 1966. Most Hertz cars came with automatic transmissions to be more widely accessible, but a few came with the four-speed.
However, unlike the mustangs in the dealer lots, the Hertz cars have the coolest paint scheme ever devised by human beings: the black with gold-striped livery. Aside from this impossibly cool color scheme, they even more rarely came in Candy Apple Red, Sapphire Blue, Ivy Green, and the Wimbledon White and gold shown here.
Take this one home with you
This particular car is a rare setup indeed. The Wimbledon White with gold paint job paired with the four-speed, and the (not factory but period correct) supercharger is unicorn status.
This car has been completely restored, and it is a verified “rent-a-racer” Shelby GT350-H. This fabulous car is heading to auction through Mecum in Orlando, Florida.