Designed and built to homologate the wildly successful Mustang for SCCA competition, Carroll Shelby’s original GT350 is a legend of Ford’s all-out “Total Performance” corporate racing campaign and endowed the trendsetting new pony car with an unbeatable high-performance image. On track, the GT350 was immediately dominant, securing three straight SCCA B-Production National Championships for 1965 through 1967 and humbling its Corvette archrivals.
Taking advantage of production capacity offered by Shelby American’s move to larger facilities in the old North American Aviation plant at LAX, Shelby General Manager Peyton Cramer identified the Hertz rental car company as a potential fleet buyer for the GT350. Cramer rightly figured Hertz would be receptive since it had just switched from Chevrolet to Ford. Since Cramer also knew that Hertz built its own cars until 1927 in black and gold livery, he pitched a special GT350 for Hertz in similar colors. An initial order for 200 cars quickly grew to 1,000 units, representing nearly 40% of total GT350 production for 1966.
The Hertz program generated massive publicity for Shelby and drew thousands of potential Ford buyers to dealer showrooms. In 1967, Hertz advertised its 1966 Shelby fleet for sale, with some sold directly from Hertz and a number sold via Ford dealers. Shelby continued to supply Hertz through 1969, and these cars remain highly collectible and famous—perhaps infamous—as “Rent-A-Racers.”
Numbered SFM6S1559, this GT350H is one of 999 produced for 1966. Originally shipped to West Ford Sales in Newton, Massachusetts, it’s the result of a nut-and-bolt rotisserie restoration that left it correctly finished in Raven Black with Gold Hertz striping.
The period-correct HiPo 289/306 HP V-8 engine is backed by a floor-shifted automatic transmission, and other highlights include a factory-style red-oxide undercarriage finish, black interior, dash-mounted tachometer, wood-rimmed steering wheel and Magnum 500 wheels. Offered with history listed in the Shelby Registry, this GT350 is a true Shelby legend.
This 1966 Shelby GT350H Fastback is slated to cross the auction block at Mecum Auctions’ Monterey event this August 17-19 and is valued at $220,000 – $240,000.