- The legendary Hertz “Rent-A-Racer”
- One of 85 early examples delivered with a four-speed manual transmission
- Impeccably restored and maintained in show-quality condition
- Delivered to Hertz in St. Louis, Missouri
- Finished in Hertz’s iconic black and gold livery
- Documented in the SAAC registry
The original Shelby GT350 proved such a success that in September 1965, Shelby made a deal with the Hertz rental car company to offer his hopped-up Mustang as part of Hertz’s new Sports Car Club, cleverly promoting the new Shelby through what amounted to paid test drives by potential buyers. A total of 1,000 of the GT350 H models, most of which were finished in black with distinctive gold Le Mans stripes, were supplied to Hertz in 1966. It was not uncommon for the cars to be returned after a weekend rental with signs of racing numbers still on the doors.
Of the initial order of 150 cars, the most desirable GT350 Hs are the 85 examples that were originally delivered with a four-speed manual transmission. Hertz quickly notified Shelby that not everyone could drive a stick—not to mention clutches that also required replacement at an alarming rate—and so the remaining 850 cars after the initial delivery batch all featured automatic transmissions.
Chassis number SFM 6S568 is confirmed by the 1966 Shelby Registry to have been born as one of these rarified four-speed examples, and finished in black. It was ordered by Hertz on 15 November 1965 and shipped to Riesmeyer Motor Co. in Crestwood, Missouri, on 28 December 1965 for dealer prep, then delivered to Hertz in St. Louis, Missouri. The rental firm was invoiced $3,547, plus additional cost for a radio, brake booster, and chrome Magnum 500 wheels, for a total of $3,767.40. Upon arrival on 7 January 1966 the antenna required replacing as it had bent in shipping. On 13 January 1966 issues with the hood necessitated it being refinished.
The GT350 was eventually sold by Hertz to the general public. It is believed that this car remained in Missouri until approximately 2006 under various owners. The Shelby would eventually find its way to California and then Florida before being purchased by current ownership from Southern California in early 2014.
Today the GT350 H presents beautifully, having benefitted from a meticulous show-quality restoration overseen by Shelby GT350 expert Steve Beck of Checkpoint Automotive and completed in October 2020. Inspection reveals that beneath the fender tag is the original confidential VIN as confirmed by the Shelby American Automobile Club. The 289 “K-code” Hi-Performance engine is believed to be the original powerplant with proper stamping, backed by a correct-type aluminum T-10 transmission, and the rear axle is the correct nine-inch unit. The interior features three-inch lap belts, Ford push-button radio, a wood-rimmed steering wheel, and a dash-mounted Cobra tachometer. Included is a full-size spare in the trunk, as well as an accompanying glove box door appropriately signed by Carroll Shelby.
This memorable show ready Hertz “Rent-A-Racer” is a highly prized and rare example from a favorite chapter in the fabled history of the Shelby GT350.