Ford, Shelby, and Hertz Team Up for Special Edition Racer
In a throwback to the famed Shelby GT350H “Rent-A-Racer” program from the 1960s, Ford Motor Company, Shelby Automobiles and The Hertz Corporation are partnering to produce a special run of performance-modified Ford Mustang GTs – designated Shelby Mustang GT-H, for “Hertz”.
Forty years ago, Carroll Shelby and The Hertz Corporation came up with an ingenious plan to help get a batch of high-performance, special-edition Shelby Mustangs into the hands of rental customers who also happened to be car enthusiasts. Ford supplied the new Mustangs with V-8 engines and mostly automatic transmissions, Shelby added extra performance and style, and Hertz gave the public access to the kind of unique driving experience that one would normally only find on a racetrack. Today, the story of the Shelby/Hertz “Rent-A-Racer” is legendary and surviving Shelby GT350H Mustangs are among the most sought-after collector cars in the world. To connect the magical past of the original Shelby GT350H with the modern capabilities of the new Ford Mustang, Shelby, Ford and Hertz have again teamed up, and – together with the Ford Racing Performance Group – have given the 2006 Ford Shelby GT-H a very classic, muscular look as well as some true performance credentials.
“Like the original Hertz cars, the Ford Shelby GT-H will be fun to drive,” said Carroll Shelby, CEO of Shelby Automobiles, Inc. “We started with a terrific Mustang and modified it with some Ford go-fast parts and gave it a distinct look for Shelby-style driving. Whoever gets the opportunity to rent one of these unique cars will get an experience of a lifetime.”
Like its predecessor, the 2006 Ford Shelby GT-H will be instantly recognizable – thanks to several eye-catching styling enhancements that are so much a part of the Shelby Mustang heritage. First and foremost, each Shelby GT-H will wear Black exterior paint set off with Gold racing stripes, a hallmark of Hertz’s vehicle history dating all the way back to the 1920s.
While it’s true that the Shelby GT350H was eventually made available in other color combinations, the Black-and-Gold combo is often referred to as “Hertz colors” by most Mustang aficionados. Shelby’s traditional “Le Mans” dual overbody racing stripes are combined with a set of rocker stripes that include special “Shelby GT-H” nomenclature. Each car will also wear a Hertz Edition emblem on the front fenders, and feature Hertz Shelby GT-H sill plates and a numbered dash badge with Carroll Shelby’s signature inside the cockpit.
To give a hint of the Mustang GT 4.6-liter 3V V-8 engine’s added capability, the Ford Shelby GT-H is fitted with a custom Shelby Performance hood with pins, and a brushed aluminum grille with running horse emblem. A unique front fascia with integrated lower grille, as well as a set of body side scoops – reminiscent of classic Shelby Mustangs is incorporated for a distinct look. To further catch the enthusiast’s eye, the Mustang GT brakes are dressed up with painted calipers, which can be seen through the GT-H’s 17-inch aluminum wheels wearing P235/55ZR17 performance rubber.
FR1 Power Pack
Ford Racing Performance Group is supplying its popular Power Pack (FR1) to add a genuine 25-horsepower Ford performance kick to the 300-horse Mustang GT 4.6L V-8/Five-speed automatic transmission powertrain and an increase of 10 lb.-ft. of torque. The package includes Ford Racing’s 90mm Cold Air kit, the Muffler Kit, a new X-pipe similar to the one used on the new Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, a performance calibration and a cat-back performance exhaust for that throaty sound that will make this car unmistakably a Shelby Mustang GT-H.
To put that extra horsepower to the ground, the Ford Shelby GT-H also comes with the Ford Racing Handling Pack (FR3) installed, including special-tuned dampers inspired from the FR500C, lowering springs, sway bars and a strut tower brace – plus a Ford Racing 3.55:1 ratio rear axle assembly for extra off-the-line acceleration.
The Fine Print
Approximately 500 units will be available through the Hertz Fun Collection at select airport locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii and Nevada. The Hertz Mustangs will be available by late April 2006, dispersed to 17 locations including Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Denver; Boston; across the Sun Belt; and Hawaii. The GT-H probably will rent for more than $100 a day and Hertz will take special steps to make sure the cars aren’t abused — or raced. Minimum age for drivers probably will be 25, instead of Hertz’s normal minimum, 21. The cars will be thoroughly checked when they are returned. When the Hertz Mustangs hit 16,000 to 18,000 miles in seven to nine months, they will be sold. Ford dealers will get the first crack at the used ones.