The legendary Shelby GT350H Mustang, originally released as a limited edition for rental company Hertz's "Rent-a-Racer" program forty years ago, will return in modern form as the Ford Shelby GT-H. Only about 500 GT-Hs will be built, exclusively for rental through Hertz locations in California, Florida, and Hawaii, plus Denver, Phoenix, and Las Vegas--approximately fourteen in all.
All the cars will wear black paint with gold stripes, the most famous of the original car's color schemes. A number of performance enhancements will ensure that folks who pony up approximately $100 per day get their money's worth. Using the Mustang GT as their starting point, Ford's engineers hit the Ford Racing catalog hard, adding a cold-air intake and tweaking the engine-management and exhaust systems to up the 4.6-liter V-8's output to 325 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque--boosts of 25 hp and 10 lb-ft. A Ford Racing handling package includes new dampers, springs, and antiroll bars; a strut-tower brace and a 3.55:1 rear axle round out the mechanical upgrades. Exterior changes include a different hood, a new front fascia, and side air scoops.
All GT-Hs will have a five-speed automatic transmission, likely because someone at Hertz remembers the cost of replacing all the burned-out clutches in stick-shift GT350Hs. Most GT350Hs were rented for track use--or at least a hard night of street drag racing. Will this program carry on the "Rent-a-Racer" tradition and name? "Absolutely not," says Hertz. "We don't want to give the impression that that sort of driving is acceptable." So, remember, keep any track use to yourself, and make sure you don't leave your helmet in the back seat. (The optional insurance is probably also a good idea.)
Hertz plans to remove the cars from service after 16,000 to 18,000 miles, at which point the company will then sell them wholesale via auction houses. The program will roll out gradually, with all cars expected to be in rental fleets by early summer.