If you’re in the market for a relatively-new performance car, Hertz’s recent financial troubles may be a blessing. Missing from that list, though, is the Ford Mustang. Hertz is selling its special-edition Camaro ZL1s and Corvette Z06s, as well as a host of luxury cars. But the Mustangs it’s offering aren’t any different than your average Ford dealer offers. There’s not even a Roush-tuned version among them. However, even just a few years ago, you could’ve driven away from the Hertz lot with a Shelby Mustang. Just like you could’ve in the 1960s.
The 1966 Hertz Ford Shelby GT350H Mustang
The original Ford Mustangs, Petrolicious reports, weren’t necessarily all that fun to drive. That was why the original Shelby GT350 made such an impact: it truly was a race-worthy Mustang. And the 1966 Ford Shelby GT350H Mustang, Hagerty reports, was a genuine Shelby product. So much so, the GT350H became known as the “rent-a-racer.” That ‘H’, of course, stood for ‘Hertz.’
1001 of these Shelby Mustangs were available for rental through Hertz for $17 a day and $0.17 a mile. That’s the modern equivalent of $135/day and $1.35/mile. For that, renters got a 306-hp 4.7-liter V8, front disc brakes, larger rear drums, upgraded front suspension, and quicker steering, Hemmings reports.
Most, Hagerty reports, were fitted with a 3-speed automatic. But a few early builds were manuals. These GT350Hs were available in a few colors, including white, blue, and red. But the vast majority, Road & Track reports, were black with gold stripes.
And these Shelby GT350H Mustangs were indeed raced. It wasn’t unheard-of for them to come back to Hertz with evidence of anti-roll bars having been welded in.
These GT350Hs were available in a few colors, including white, blue, and red. But the vast majority, R&T reports, were black with gold stripes. That livery became iconic, as did the GT350H itself. So much so, Hertz and Shelby revisited it several more times.
The later Hertz-edition Shelby Mustangs
For the original GT350H’s 40th anniversary, Hertz and Ford brought the car back. The 2006 Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H wasn’t quite a GT350, Motor Trend reports. However, it was at least upgraded over the standard car.
Under the hood, the GT-H has a 4.6-liter V8 equipped with a Ford Racing Power Pack. This adds a cold-air intake, different mufflers, and an ECU tune. The result is 325 hp, up from 300 hp. All of the 500 GT-Hs produced had 5-speed automatics. However, to improve acceleration, the rear axle is completely different. The Power Pack also gives the Shelby Mustang GT-H stiffer springs, Multimatic dampers, a strut-tower brace, and stiffer anti-roll bars. It’s not quite a race car, Automobile reports, but it is a fun car to drive.
And it proved popular enough for a sequel. In 2016, Ford, Shelby, and Hertz once again came together to produce a Mustang GT-H. As before, the 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H got a few upgrades over the base ‘Stang. Handling mods, Car and Driver reports, include stiffer and lower springs, stiffer anti-roll bars, and upgraded dampers. The car also has carbon-fiber front and rear spoilers and a Ford Performance cat-back exhaust.
The 5.0-liter V8, though, didn’t make any more power. But with 435 hp, the automatic-only 2016 GT-H is still fairly quick, Hagerty reports. However, the only real Shelby components were the vented hood, black-and-gold livery, and a few Shelby-branded badges.
The latest Hertz-style Shelby Mustang, though, is an all-Shelby production.
Shelby’s own GT-H
Unlike the GT350H and 2006 and 2016 GT-H models, Hertz wasn’t involved in the 2019 Shelby Mustang GT-H, MT reports. Instead, the 2019 model is merely “inspired” by older models.
Based on the 2019 Mustang GT, the Shelby GT-H has both more power and better handling. A Borla cat-back exhaust boosts the 5.0-liter V8 from 460 hp to 480 hp, Car and Driver reports. Once again, Ford Performance’s stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are also included.
However, buyers can also spec it with Ford Performance dampers and struts, a short-throw shifter, as well as upgraded radiator and coolant tank. And, if you really want some added performance, you can get the 2019 Shelby Mustang GT-H with a supercharger, giving over 700 hp.
Pricing and availability
The 2019 GT-H is available directly from Shelby for $75,499. This includes the cost of the base Mustang GT.
Unfortunately, Hertz leases all of its cars, Jalopnik reports. So even the 2016 Shelby Mustang GT-H isn’t available for purchase directly from the agency. The cars do occasionally appear for sale, though. One sold at Barrett-Jackson in 2018 for $55,000.
The original 1966 GT350H, though, is significantly more expensive than any of these. As of this writing, there’s a 5-speed-manual-swapped listed on BaT for $85,000. Other examples have sold for as much as $110,000.
Not bad for a former rental car, huh?
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