The 1966 Shelby GT350H: Rent-a-Racer Mustang That Eliminated the Necessity of Owning a Muscle Car

- in Cars

There’s no point in explaining Shelby madness; you should get its charm by now, and anyone who loves big rumbling engines should experience one of the icon’s creations before leaving this planet.

The beloved Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 has been a hit in the muscle car community since its debut in the 60s. The GT350H represents a special time in the storied Shelby brand history.

1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang front right
There was a time when these cars were unloved for their designation as “rental cars”, but these are cars that have all the race pedigree and history built into them while also providing a quite unique and interesting back-story as well.

Built for Hertz, the GT350-H was a powerful muscle car meant to be enjoyed by anyone willing to pay for it – for a day, two, or the rest of your life. The pony car is so popular that Hertz ordered 1,000 of the cars.

1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang rear left
Ultimately, 1,002 1966 G.T. 350H models were built: two prototypes and 1,000 production versions. The vast majority (nearly three-quarters) came in Raven Black with gold stripes, while others were delivered in Wimbledon White, Sapphire Blue, Ivy Green, and Candy Apple Red.

Hertz’s rates for the Shelby GT350H were $17 a day or $70 a week, plus 17 cents a mile in the New York Area. This made renting the Hertz Mustang quite affordable and it is why many were wrecked in their first few months as rental cars.

1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang front left
Mechanically they were very much like the other G.T. 350s built for the year, though there were some running changes. Featured a Cobra 289 cubic-inch High-Performance V8 engine outputting 306 hp and 329 lb-ft of torque, the 1966 Shelby GT350-H came with a three-speed automatic transmission (remember, it was a rental car—they had to make sure anyone could drive it).

1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang engine
According to a 1966 issue of Car and Driver magazine, the 1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang could do 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds. It could do a standing quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 93 mph. The top speed was 117 mph. Bottom line: this car was a serious machine both on and off the track.

1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang right
Years later the ones that are left are extremely valuable. Well cared and original, this iconic Ford easily net between $150,000 and $200,000 or more in auctions each year. Worth every penny!

1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang interior
Although the 1965 Shelby GT350 is what started it all, the 1966 Shelby GT350H is the car that delivered the message to the world.

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