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In 1966 Hertz teamed up with the legendary Carroll Shelby to launch the Rent-A-Racer program. I recall the 1966 Hertz Shelby’s were black with gold stripes; had a GT350-H rocker panel stripe; Hertz plates behind the front wheel wells; and an italicized ‘H’ on the wheel centers.

I remember thinking, “Oh, to have had the chance to rent one of those!”

I first learned of the Hertz Rent-A-Racer program in 2004 at the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. The Dream Cruise is a venue every car enthusiast should list as a “must see; must do event.”

Shelby-1

“Mustang Alley” – from the 2004 Dream Cruise with inset: the 1966 GT350-H

My chance arrived this week in San Francisco and becomes this week’s semi-regular installment of Travel Can Be Interesting.

This spring, Hertz and Shelby re-created the Hertz edition Shelby and the re-launched the rental program from 40 years ago as part of the Hertz Fun Collection. (See www.shelbyautos.com for more info about these amazing cars, and the Hertz Rent a Legend page for rental program details.)

Shelby-2

Ford Racing Performance Group’s Power Pack (FR1) on the 4.6 liter V8, and the Ford Racing Performance Group Handling Pack (FR3) on the Mustang GT give the car 325 horses and the means to control it on the road.

The handling is superb; the sound is wonderful.

The roar of the dual exhausts bouncing off the buildings in downtown and echoing through the tunnels that at the end of the Bay Bridge was incredible. Letting the big V-8 walk it out on Highway 24 toward Concord was a near-religious experience.

Drivers of BMW M3s, Corvettes, Mercedes SL’s and vintage Mustangs took notice as well. Gunning engines side-by-side reminded me of my high school street racing days.

(‘Purely — ahem — hypothetical’ personal experience tip: Don’t try to out-fast the Saleen Mustangs from the stoplights. The Saleen S281 Extreme is rated at 550 bhp and 480 lb-ft of torque; the Saleen S7 is rated at 750 bhp and 700 lb-ft of torque.) See Saleen.com for more muscle car eye candy.

. . .

Rumor has it that Hertz will auction these cars for resale by dealers only once mileage reaches 18,000. The secondary market should be great for this limited run of just 500 cars.

Update: digital pix!

Shelby 1

Shelby 2

Shelby01Shelby02Shelby03Shelby04Shelby05Shelby06Shelby07Shelby08Shelby09Shelby10Shelby11Shelby12Shelby13Shelby14Shelby15

Just.Too.Cool.




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