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1966 Hertz Shelby GT350H - Rip Roarin' Rental
Randy Gillis Runs With The Big Dogs In A Legit 1966 Hertz Shelby GT350H
Randy figures to have logged at least 3,000 passes behind the wheel to date, which surely qualifies as one of the most raced Shelbys on the planet. On the other hand, a show car this isn't, as you don't have to look far to spot heavy patina in places. The engine compartment is purely functional for example, and yet that's part of the magic for this '66, which still wore original paint when Randy scored it so many years ago.
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So what's the recipe for running quick with a naturally aspirated short-deck Windsor-Shelby or not? Again, keep in mind that Randy's ride is no street machine, despite a near stock appearance. In this case, much of the performance is rooted in track-only features like 5.29:1 gearing, a 5,500-rpm stall speed, and a big solid-roller camshaft. Likewise it takes a sticky slick to hook hard enough to lift the wheels and run the number.
The suspension on Randy's Shelby is surprisingly simple and effective. Being a nostalgia guy, Randy is pretty keen on his 1965-dated Cure-Ride 90/10 front shocks, the same type used on Shelby American's factory GT350 drag cars (four in 1965, and four in 1966 according to the SAAC).
Randy's car doesn't wear them often, but '66 GT350Hs were originally fitted with chrome 14x6-inch Magnum 500s and raised white letter Goodyear Blue Streaks. Behind the front wheels are Ford experimental aluminum four-piston calipers with titanium pistons-just the trick for a hard running period drag car. Randy picked these up years ago from Doug Nash-the spoils of knowing the right guys!
The current engine formula is really quite simple, a testament to careful assembly, and years of trial and error. While the upcoming iteration will be aluminum Ford Racing Performance Parts-based, the current low-11-second beast is built around nothing more than a two-bolt, 289 Hi-Po block (the original is stowed away for safe keeping). A forged 3.25-inch Eagle crank helps build 331 cubes, while up top, owner-ported Edelbrock Victor Jr. heads with titanium valves flow plenty of air and fuel. Dual-quad induction comes from vintage Trans-Am pieces. The intake is from 1967, while the rare SK-tagged mechanical 720-cfm Holleys are from a year later.
We asked Randy if he thought he'd be faster with a modern, single four-barrel combination, to which he gave an unconcerned, "Hard to say" response. "I like the old nostalgia stuff, and have always been a two-4s kind of guy." Enough said. Randy still runs the original hollow lettered Cobra valve covers that came on 6S477, and amazingly they clear the Pro Power roller rockers. Hollow-lettered valve covers were used throughout 1965 and early 1966 GT350 production, after which they were replaced by the solid-lettered versions, which are commonly seen today.
Randy's penchant for racing is reassuring in a world where owners of many high-profile muscle cars are simply content to put a shine on their lustrous two-stage paintjobs. We don't mean to knock that sort too hard, but c'mon, winging an 8,000-rpm small-block in competition beats the show-n-shine thing any day! Give Randy a big thumbs up for bucking the status quo, and staying true to 36 years of unabashed performance cred. Better still, Randy has no plans to change course with his Shelby-that is other than installing a new all-aluminum 374-incher, which is expected to yield low 10s and new personal bests. To that, we say more power to ya brother-in more ways than one!