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.
The 300 SL was the first road-going car developed from the Mercedes-Benz race cars, and it was shown at the International Motor Sports Show at New York in January 1954. It was well-received. For one thing, the car had unique looks for the time, it sported two gullwing doors and the front of the car had a new, simple grille design that used a large Mercedes-Benz star. The grille design has been a Mercedes-Benz SL trademark since then. Production reached only a total of 1,400 units in its three year life span, 1954-1957, yet the effect the car had on the motoring world was phenomenal.
For those who don’t know, SL stands for “Sports Light.”
What’s that noise? It’s a Mustang! No, no, it’s one of those hot Mustangs that just came out! Oh my God, I want one – I gotta have one! Look at it go! Please, please God, give me one! I promise to be good, really! Really!
Sad to say, He never gave me one then, but 10 years later, I did pick up a beaten up 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350 Convertible for $700. Yes, everyone, especially my parents laughed at me, but I fixed it up according to my limited funds – and although it didn’t have to snarl of the 1965 Shelby, it did have the looks! So there!
Back to our story. The 1965 Shelby was a ground-breaker. There was no kidding around this car, this was the real thing. And while the later Shelby’s were pussy-footers, this car made no bones for what it was a true performance car.
1967 was a busy year for General Motors. It only took them close to three years to finally come out with a car that was comparable with the Ford Mustang- and they never did build a fastback styled Camaro, did they? Even today, they still haven’t so I guess ”it was not to be.”