The Shelby Mustang was a big hit, no doubt, in 1965, but did it sell? Not really. It was much too much of a race car than anything else. So for the 1966 model, the boys at Shelby thought, “Why not a sell a Shelby as rental car to Hertz?” A customer might not have enough money to own a Shelby, but for a weekend? Sure, that was doable. A customer could actually drive a race car, and have a lot of fun doing it, too!
But they made the Shelby GT350H (H is for Hertz) a little more tractable for the typical Hertz driver. The bulk of the GT350Hs came with the Ford three-speed automatic transmission, and a Ford 460 cfm carburetor replaced the Holley 715. The smaller Ford 460 cfm carb did reduce the Shelby by about 20hp- but it still ran well. The less expensive chrome Magnum 500 wheels were standard on these cars, too. And the folding rear seats were used on the Shelby, just like the standard Mustang. The 1965 Shelby were delivered without a rear seat, just a fiberglass shelf. No doubt to keep that racecar image.
There were other options or standard features which were eliminated from the Shelby as a cost cutting measure in 1966. In the interior, the standard Mustang five-dial gauge panel was used, which eliminated the center dash pod. In its place stood a 9000 rpm Cobra tachometer. The standard steering wheel was the Mustang optional Deluxe wheel, but with a GT350 logo.
To make the Shelby GT350H more noticeable, most of the 1000 Shelby GT350Hs were painted black and most got gold stripes. Other colors used on the GT350H were Candy Apple Red, Ivy Green and Sapphire Blue.
The Shelby turned out to be a media lover-fest. It really caught on. Did the Shelby GT350H turn out to be a car that was abused? After all, there are lots of articles that showed the GT350H being raced.
Actually, the car held up pretty well, and although they weren’t advertised like the 1966 version, Hertz continued to provide rental Shebys until 1969.