Saturday, May 28, 2011

1966 SHELBY GT-350H: HERTZ RENT-A-RACER

Shelby-American’s Peyton Cramer could have probably sold Hertz the Brooklyn Bridge along with the GT-350H program!
Peyton Cramer couldn’t have picked a better time to pitch a Shelby Mustang program to senior management at Hertz Car Rental Company. Hertz had switched to Ford from Chevrolet in 1965 and had already established its Hertz Sports Car Club. Selected rental car outlets throughout the country stocked Corvette Sting Rays that members could rent. To become a member all you had to do was be 25 or over and have a valid driver’s license! The switch from Corvette to Mustang was a simple matter for Hertz.

The original Shelby-American pitch was for 25 or 50 305-horsepower GT-350H Mustangs in limited edition livery (originally Raven Black with Bronze Power Gold LeMans stripes; other colors came later), four-speed (later cars had modified C-4 automatics) and popular Shelby GT features. Cramer flipped out when Hertz bumped the order to 1,000 GT-350Hs. Carroll Shelby was a very happy man!
Most early cars had chromed Cragars and finned aluminum sumps; later ones rode on Magnum 500 wheels and had stock metal oil pans. Goodyear supplied high-speed rated Blue Streak street tires. The Stevenson Screen Print Company created the G.T.350H side stripes. Shelby’s GT-350H program lasted until the end of the 1966 model year and (very) used GTs were sold off by Hertz and Ford dealers.

Actual production of 1966 GT-350H models is a little cloudy. The original order was for 1,000 cars, but the Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC) shows production at 936 in Rick Kopec’s excellent SHELBY BUYER’S GUIDE printed in 1981. The GT-350Hs were built in batches of 10 or 20 vehicles. It should be noted that the Hertz cars have been referenced in a variety of ways: GT350H, G.T.350H, G.T.350-H and GT-350H.

Obviously a successful “loss leader” for the daily rental car business, Hertz came back to Shelby and Ford in 1968 and put stock production Shelby GT Mustangs in service for almost two years.

To read more about the Hertz Rent-A-Racer program, check out Mike Gulett’s My Car Quest blog,
http://mycarquest.blogspot.com/2011/05/1966-shelby-gt-350h-h-is-for-hertz.html

For the ultimate information source on Shelby vehicles, please visit, http://www.saac.com/

1 comment:

Higear said...

Nice, and thanks for sharing this info with us.
Good Luck!

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