What Is the Mustang Shelby GT-H?Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Andrew Boyle
The “H” in Mustang Shelby GT-H stands for, of all things, Hertz Rent-a-Car — although with the car’s performance pedigree, you’d be forgiven for thinking it means something entirely different. When the Shelby name returned to Ford’s stable of pony cars in 2006, a limited edition of 500 specially modified GTs were released to select Hertz airport locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Sounds crazy? In fact, this “Rent-a-Racer” promotion dates back to 1966, when Ford and Shelby tried the same trick with a number of GT350s.
For the 1966 model year, 1,001 Shelby GT350-H model Mustangs were produced and delivered to Hertz locations around the country. 100 of these featured a manual transmission and distinctive gold Le Mans stripe. The remainder of the order was equipped with an automatic gearbox and featured black paint with gold striping and an all-black interior. When the Hertz promotion ended, the cars were sold back to Ford dealers and offered up for public sale.
40 years after the success of the original “Rent-a-Racer” promotion, and with a new Shelby available in dealerships, the time seemed right to revive it. Again, Hertz dealers received a Shelby GT with distinctive black-and-gold Le Mans striping. Special GT-H badging was located on the front fenders, and each car had a numbered dash plate signed by Carroll Shelby.
Under the hood, the Shelby GT-H featured a Ford Racing performance pack that included a cold air intake, X pipe cat-back muffler kit and a performance calibration, boosting the Shelby GT’s already impressive output an extra 25 horsepower. Other upgrades included a unique front fascia, side scoops, painted calipers, and 17” performance tires. Each of the 500 units was equipped with Ford’s five-speed automatic transmission.
With the 50th anniversary of the Hertz Edition on the horizon, Shelby and Ford Performance teamed up to offer the iconic GT-H in 2016. With 140 available at various Hertz locations throughout the US beginning Spring 2016, this "Rent-A-Racer" is the perfect way to make your business trip or vacation car rental one-of-a-kind. The 2016 version comes with design details like unique a Shelby GT-H polycarbonate raised hood with heat extractors, Rocker Panels with Carbon Fiber Accent Plates, Shelby GT-H rear spoiler and exclusive upper and lower grilles. On the performance front, you can expect a Ford Performance Handling Package and matching Cat-Back Exhaust with Chrome Tips.
The GT-H Legacy
The 2006 and 2016 Shelby GT-H promotions certainly brought Ford a lot of press, although it’s unclear how many people will actually rent the vehicles. With rates starting at $150/day, it wasn’t exactly an economical choice for most purposes. As in 1966, after their rental life had ended, the GT-Hs were either sold back to dealerships or auctioned off for charity.
Image Credit: Hertz