1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang - 19(ish) and Holding
Paul Elliott Plays To His Shelby's Vanity And Unique History
The stories are legion about the GT350H cars. Many were supposedly raced while being rented, although neither Mustang Monthly nor the Shelby American World Registry have any "documented" accounts of this. What we are sure of is that the Hertz cars were put through much of the same abuses as any rental car is today. And the cost, at $17 a day plus a mileage charge of 17 cents a mile-or 70 dollars a week-wasn't exactly chump change in 1966. To put that in today's perspective, we used an inflation calculator and came up with a whopping $87.41 a day. The Hertz mileage charge of 17 cents goes up to 87 cents a mile or $359.94 for the week. This could get really expensive-in a hurry. Add to that the age factor: Hertz wouldn't rent to anyone under 25, assuming folks 25 and over are more responsible-riiiight.
Many of these Hertz rent-a-racers sat on the lot after their useful time was expired. Why? Well, it probably had as much to do with that reputation we talked about as anything. Back in the day, who'd want to buy an ex-rental car-even a Shelby-that had been put through the rental paces? Not many.
Even so, Ford developed a program called the "Visibility 500" to move the cars. It involved getting district managers to unload as many of the Shelbys as they could. A fellow named Marvin Neely, then a Ford district manager, figured out how to referb these well-used GT350Hs and get them sold. He did so well, in fact, that Ford asked him to do his magic in other districts as well. That is where the story on this Shelby picks up.
When Marvin was looking over some cars in New Jersey, he came across this car, sitting less than pretty at 10,124 miles. It had a dent in the door, a bent bumper, and scratches all over. So Marvin fixed it up, added the 10 spokes, then kept it for the next few years and finally sold it. After going through several owners, it landed in the hands of Paul Elliott of Lexington, Kentucky, with slightly over 19,000 original miles.
Although the first 85 Hertz cars were four-speeds, this car falls among the more mundane (if any Shelby could be called mundane) cars equipped with the C4 automatic, chrome 14-inch Magnum 500 wheels, AM radio, and a rear seat rather than the package shelf with spare tire. It also hauled around with the 289 Hi-Po, 4100 Autolite carb (due to the automatic), Cobra hollow letter valve covers, and tri-Y headers. Out back of the Hi-Po C4 was the standard 3.50 rear gear. The only change made somewhere along the way was the addition of the Holley that is correct for the four-speed.
It's kind of an anomaly among its Hertz sibs because many fell prey to the crusher or salvage yard. So it is reasonable that someone like Paul Elliot, the current owner, play to its vanity and let it stay 19 (ish) for the foreseeable future.