Eric English
June 29, 2011

Old or new, you wouldn't call any Shelby product a "cheap thrill" today, but it's just the description that initially drew Scott Wahl to the car you see here.

"I was a junior in high school in 1974, and drove a '66 Mustang coupe with a 289 and automatic," explains Wahl. "It was a nice car that I bought from my mom for $600, but it paled when compared to the GTOs, 442s, Roadrunners, and Z28s that filled the school parking lot. A close friend had recently shown me a 1972 Motor Trend magazine article entitled 'Cheap Thrills,' which highlighted several '60s muscle cars that could be had for affordable prices. The list included early 442s, '64-'67 GTOs, '67-'69 Formula S Barracudas, and the '65-'66 GT350s. Motor Trend described the GT350 as "sort of a Cobra with a roof," and touted that the more abundant '66 model could probably be picked up for $2,500-$3,500. I was definitely interested." Fate was with Wahl at a youthful 17 years of age, for he was about to score a '66 GT350 for much less.

"Not two weeks after reading the Motor Trend article, I was walking with the same buddy through the campus parking lot when we spotted a white Mustang fastback. As we got closer, we picked up on the all-important visual cluesùlower sidescoops, rear quarter-windows, and hoodscoop. Strangely, it had no stripes, but on closer inspection we could see that a cheap paintjob had been painted over the rocker stripes."

Wahl went on to describe how he and his friend waited for the owner to return--a teacher applying for a job. He wouldn't score the car right away, but after working on the owner for several months, a deal was consummated for just $1,000. Remember this was the era of OPEC oil embargos and long gas lines, and the teacher articulated being interested in a car that would get better fuel economy--perhaps a Karmann Ghia. Big mistake!

Wahl proceeded to drive the GT350H for the next 10 years--enough seat time to become entrenched in a "drive it" mentality that continues to this day. It was about a year before he realized the car was originally a red Hertz car, and much later that he came to understand that only 50 or so of the former rentals had been bathed in the Candyapple hue. A multitude of modification and restoration phases have occurred over the years, but rather than get bogged down in relating the ins and outs of such, we'll stick to reporting on the current state of affairs.

You can probably predict that Wahl isn't a concourse nuts and bolts guy if his car is featured in the pages herein. You'd be right, but the owner also has a healthy respect for what Carroll and company churned out of their Los Angeles airport digs so many years ago. The result is predominately old-school, but with enough new to create a blend which is hard to argue with. The return to red was an easy decision, but rather than the exact factory color, Wahl opted for Porsche Guards Red in a single-stage PPG Delstar--as applied by Kelly Taylor Restoration in Sammamish, Washington. The Porsche color pops in a way that the original does not, and just as on day one, makes its statement sans over-the-top LeMans stripes.

The addition of an R-model front apron is the only deviation from stock sheetmetal, and combines with lowering springs and 16-inch V45s for an aggressive look. The in-cabin view is likewise near stock, but altered enough to please Wahl and offer an even better performance vibe than original.