Geoff Stunkard
August 1, 2001

It's been more than 30 years since Joe Penn of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, acquired this car. Purchased then for $1,200, this machine was white with blue stripes, a radical departure from the way you see it today. That's really about all the changes you'll notice. After all, how many people will change the elements of the car that made it better?

Joe has a self-professed love for Mustangs and Shelby cars. He has also been the owner of a '67 Shelby Cobra. This deal here was too good to pass up. It got even better when the restoration began when Richard Nixon was halfway through his first term as President of the United States.

It wasn't until the process began that Joe started doing the research into the car he had. Lo and behold, this car, number 839, was a Hertz car. In December 1965, the rental car giant started a plan to put 1,000 Shelby Mustangs in its rental fleet. The deal was announced and promoted in January 1966. This particular car was sent to Larsen Ford in White Plains, New York, on February 10, 1966. It was here that dealer prep took place, with the car going on to the New York City Hertz office. It eventually found its way to Owen Ford in Vineland, New Jersey, before Joe became the owner.

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No one can be certain of the kind of life this car had before Joe brought it home. There are legendary stories about what happened to Hertz-rented Shelby Mustangs-- some true, some not so true. The cars have the distinction of being the only ones put together by Shelby American for a rental fleet.

Joe used the services of Cobra Ranch of Hanover, Pennsylvania, for the restoration work of this car. It was in good condition when he purchased it, so you can see how the good got better.

The engine remains stock with the 306hp 289 beneath the hood. The Ford 9-inch rearend drives the power to the stock 14-inch wheels (which had been originally 15-inch wheels, but Hertz changed the plan).

Joe clearly enjoys his car, and it’s easy to see why. The fact it’s a Hertz special makes it more unique, but doesn’t really add to the appreciation. That comes when onlookers realize the work of art that rests before their very eyes.