RENT-A-RACER RETURNSThe 2006 Shelby GT-H Mustang reignites the opportunity to experience the power of an American icon
Forty years ago, Carroll Shelby and the Hertz Corp. came up with an ingenious plan to help get a batch of high-performance, special-edition Shelby Mustangs into the hands of young-professional rental customers who also happened to be car enthusiasts. Ford supplied the new Mustangs with V-8 engines and automatic transmissions, Shelby added extra performance and style, and Hertz provided the kind of unique driving experience that one would normally find on a racetrack by allowing customers to "Rent-a-Racer."
To connect the magical past of the original Shelby-Hertz GT350H with the modern capabilities of the new Ford Mustang, Shelby, Ford and Hertz have again teamed up and — with the Ford Racing Performance Group — have given the 2006 Shelby GT-H a classic, muscular look as well as some true performance credentials.
"Like the original Hertz cars, the Shelby GT-H will be fun to drive," says 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 distinctive Shelby look. Whoever gets the opportunity to rent one of these unique cars will get an experience of a lifetime."
The 2006 GT-H is pure Shelby, inside and out. The Ford Racing Performance Group Power Pack boosts the 4.6-liter, 3V V-8 by 25 ponies, to 300 horsepower. The package includes Ford Racing’s 90-mm 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 the throaty sound that will make this car unmistakably a Shelby Mustang GT-H.
To put that extra horsepower to the ground, the GT-H also comes with the Ford Racing Handling Pack (FR3) installed, including special-tuned dampers inspired by 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 GT-H wears the distinctive Shelby/Hertz black paint with gold stripes across the decklid and the custom Shelby Performance hood with pins. A brushed-aluminum grille backs the 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.
The stories linked to the original 1966 GT350H Shelby/Hertz Rent-a-Racer are legendary. Offered for rental at Hertz stores in major cities across the United States, some of the 1,000 Shelby, American-built rental units were rumored to have been returned to Hertz with evidence that they had been driven, well, with more enthusiasm than one would typically attempt on a public road. Today, surviving Shelby GT350H Mustangs are among the most sought-after collector cars in the world.
Ford Racing will work alongside engineers and technicians at Shelby Automobiles’ assembly facility in Las Vegas during the build of the 500 units, which will be delivered to Hertz rental fleets across the country later this year.