|1966 GT 350H
The 1966 Hertz Shelby Mustangs
by Dennis P. Begley
last update Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Peyton Cramer, Shelby American General Manager, heard that GM wasn't going to supplying the Hertz car rental company with Corvettes anymore. Hertz had a branch of the company that offered high performance cars. Original plans in 1965 were to build 500 Cobras and an equal number of Shelby Mustangs at the Shelby American airport plant. Those goals weren't reached, in fact fewer than half that number of Cobras & GT 350's were actually sold. As a promotional idea, Cramer thought he would see if Hertz might be interested in buying 50 Shelby Mustangs. Hertz loved the idea. Cramer walked out of the meeting with an order for 1,000 Hertz Shelby Mustangs. If you were over 25 and had a drivers license, you could actually rent a Hertz-Shelby Mustang, a GT 350H. The first Hertz Shelby's were all painted Raven Black with Gold stripes and a GT 350H rocker panel stripe. Other than cosmetics, the GT 350 H's were identical to the regular GT 350's.
Almost immediately, customers began complaining about the no frills rental Shelby Mustangs. The ride was too stiff. The rear end made too much noise. The car was too loud. And everyone complained about the stiff brakes. The warning sticker on the dash wasn't enough. So the engineers at Shelby American got a bigger master cylinder from Minnesota Automotive to lighten the brakes. The Mustangs started getting beefed up C-4 Ford automatic transmissions instead of the 4-speeds. A Motorola radio filled the radio slot in the dash.
The GT 350 H's were all leased to Hertz. Eventually Shelby American and Ford ended up with the cars. In those days you couldn't give away a Hertz Shelby Mustang. Most of them were well used. After all, the cars had been rentals and who knew where the cars had been and with whom. If we'd only known.... Ford told Shelby American to get rid of them. So they did and they them all pretty cheap. The things legends are made of...