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Shelby American's

1966 GT350476hangintree1 Rent-a-Racer

HERTZ

Pictured above is 6s476 Hertz GT350 featured in Shasmu's Classified Section!


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Just before Christmas 1965, Hertz ordered 1000 ''rent a racer'' Shelby GT350 fastbacks, most of which would be clad in it's company's colors of (Raven) Black with gold tape side stripes that read GT350H at each front fender and twin wide gold painted ''LeMans''stripes over the upper surface, front to rear. Automatic transmissions were most common by far, although eighty-five 4 speed equipped units did manage to slip through the cracks. Like all the other Shelby's built in 1965 and 1966, they were powered by Fords infamous 289 cid 4v High Performance engine. These Hi-Po 289s were rated at 271 horsepower from Ford, before Shelby's crew added engine upgrades that raised it's output to 306 hp.

It is generally accepted through what documentation exists, approximately two hundred units were delivered with other Shelby standard colors of Wimbledon White, Candy Apple Red, Sapphire Blue (actually a Thunderbird color), and Ivy Green. The ''Shelby American World Registry Books'' contain a wealth of information about all the Shelby Ford automobiles.

Certain modifications to the standard GT350s were performed before being pressed into rental duty as the newly designated ''GT350H''. Stock am radio was added by Shelby American. Some units were equipped with a tamper-proof speedometer cables, a few units sent to San Francisco had a flashing parking brake warning light that reminded the driver to release the handle. A warning label affixed to the dash or dash pad center warned of the extra pedal pressure required for the competition style brakes.

Extra brake pedal effort was not received very well by Hertz as many cars were being damaged by it's unsuspecting customers and lot attendants who quickly learned to push in the hand operated choke before driving to prevent a runaway vehicle!

Prospective renters were required to take a simple driving test before qualifying to become a bonafide ''Hertz Sports Car Club'' member. Members also had to be at least 25 years old prior to receiving the keys.

Running changes were a common occurrence, as the cars modified by Shelby were being built in small batches at a time. Building larger quantities of cars at a faster pace forced these changes as well as reducing labor to increase cost efficiency and therefore, profits for FoMoCo. Few people who ordered a new Shelby GT350 really cared about things like over ride traction bars, Koni Shock Absorbers or relocated upper control arms. Many owners found the nine inch 389:1 ratio ''locker'' differential a bit uncivilized and welcomed the conventional gears.

More than average rental car abuse was incurred as GT350H's were frequently seen on the local drag strips and racing courses across America!

After these fearless fillies served their rental service for about a year, Ford Motor Company dealerships, or Shelby's High Performance Motors would usually be their destination, to be sold to the public.

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A group of 18 standard Wimbleton White GT350 cars with blue side stripes were shipped late January- early February 1966.
11 of these were sent to ''S&C Ford'', a dealership in San Francisco who prepped them and shipped to San Fransisco's Hertz Office. They were to be used as a ''control group'' for the monitoring of alleged braking deficiencies. Another three went to Los Angeles, to Shelby's "Hi Performance Motors'' Dealership in El Segundo, California, which was located near Shelby American's L.A. headquarters.


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