Why did they refer to the Hertz 1966 Shelby GT350H as the “Rent-A-Racer?” By 1966 the Shelby GT350 was so ubiquitous in the American dialogue that even Hertz Rent-A-Car took notice and offered their special Hertz Sports Car Club members the opportunity to drive one as a new car rental. For $17 a day any member could drive off the Hertz lot in the 306 hp performance Pony car which became an American icon. The Hertz 1966 Shelby GT350H Rent-A-Racer program is one of the most amazing marketing plans ever invented by an American car company.
You’ll find that the 1966 Shelby GT350H shown here in photos is an excellent representation of the Hertz program cars in 1966. It is being offered for sale by Fillback Ford of Richland Center, Wisconsin. Follow this link for more sales information on this 1966 Shelby GT350H Rent-A-Racer. It is a real Hertz rental program Shelby, not a clone. The Rent-A-Racer Shelbys are the most likely to be cloned out of any of the top muscle cars.
When Ford Motor Company came out with the Ford Mustang in late 1964 it became an instant success. This new Pony car’s popularity had been predicted by Ford to the point where they actually recruited Carroll Shelby to create a Shelby Mustang racing program to compete in SCCA Trans Am racing. Shelby did for the Mustang what he had successfully done for his Shelby Cobra in SCCA Production A and FIA events. Shelby American General Manager Peyton Cramer came up with the idea to promote the Shelby Mustang brand through a major car rental service. He created the Hertz 1966 Shelby GT350H for Hertz Rent-A-Car, America’s biggest new car rental company. If you were a Hertz Sport Car Club member and were at least 25 years of age, you could rent one of these race-ready performance cars.
The Hertz Rent-A-Racer program produced 1,001 1966 Shelby GT350H fastbacks, all with the Cobra 289 ci HiPo V8 factory rated at 306 horsepower. Hertz Corporation admitted that it did a great job of promoting Hertz car rentals. But the program proved very expensive just to keep the cars in the rental fleet. There were lots of anecdotes about racing enthusiasts renting the Hertz 1966 Shelby GT350H rental cars and taking them to the track. They say the Hertz cars were offered mostly in warm weather locations. Not all Hertz locations had them.
Of the 1,001 Hertz 1966 Shelby GT350H Rent-A-Racers built the majority of them were finished in unique Raven black paint with gold Lemans racing stripes. But there were also 50 Candy Apple red GT350H cars, 50 in Wimbeldon white, 50 Sapphire blue and 50 Ivy Green. Two of the GT350H models were prototypes. All were built in the Shelby American airport facility in Los Angeles. The first 100 Hertz Shelbys all came equipped with a 4-speed. The remainder of the cars produced all had automatic transmissions per Hertz request. Hertz found out that they were burning through clutches. All of the 4-speeds were Raven black.
The Hertz 1966 Shelby GT350H, based on the Shelby GT350, featured a Cobra 289 High Performance V8 engine producing 306 hp and 329 lb-ft of torque. Although most of the cars did not feature power brakes, a power brake booster was added to some of the vehicles per Hertz’s request. It seems many of their clients found the braking to be too difficult and complained to the company.
A unique feature of the Shelby GT350H are the center caps for the 5-spoke Shelby wheels. The Hertz Sports Car Cub logo was used for the center cap. Other special features include functional fiberglass scoops used to cool the rear brakes, a red, white, and blue Cobra gas cap featuring the Shelby emblem, a tachometer mounted on the dash, and Plexiglas rear quarter windows. Of note, about 100 of the 1966 Shelby GT350Hs did not feature the fiberglass hood found on regular GT350s. They featured an all-steel hood
The 1966 Shelby GT350H would do 0-60 in 6.6 seconds per tests by Car and Driver magazine. They said it could do a standing quarter-mile in 15.2 seconds at 93 mph. They recorded the top speed at 117 mph. These Pony cars were extremely quick.