Are you interested in a classic car that combines racing pedigree with an iconic historical legacy? Then look no further than the legendary 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz ‘Rent-A-Race’ Mustang! Thanks to Carroll Shelby’s tireless engineering and the marketing genius of Lee Iacocca, this car went down in history as one of the most successful historic automobile programs ever conceived.
In addition to being one of one million runs produced by Ford Motor Company, these original vehicles had distinctive features that made them stand out from their mustang brethren, including unique performance parts that set apart the “Rent-a-Race” cars. As part of our series on classic cars, we will be taking you through all aspects of these vehicles: from their history and origins, all the way up to present day value and restoration tips. So come along for a ride into automotive legend – it promises to be an exciting journey!
Table of Contents
An Overview of the 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race Car
The 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race Car, also known as the GT350H, is a special edition Mustang that holds a unique place in automotive history. Here’s an overview of this iconic vehicle:
– Collaboration between Shelby and Hertz: The GT350H was the result of a collaboration between Carroll Shelby’s Shelby American Inc. and Hertz, the rental car company. It was created to provide Hertz customers with an opportunity to experience the high-performance Shelby Mustang on the racetrack.
– Limited Production: The GT350H was produced in limited numbers, with approximately 1,000 units built. The limited production adds to the car’s exclusivity and collectibility.
– Performance Enhancements: The GT350H was based on the standard Mustang fastback, but it received various performance upgrades. It featured a high-performance 289 cubic-inch V8 engine, producing around 306 horsepower. Other enhancements included a dual exhaust system, performance suspension, and upgraded brakes.
– Distinctive Appearance: The GT350H had a distinct appearance that set it apart from regular Mustangs. It sported gold Le Mans-style racing stripes that ran along the length of the car, starting from the hood and continuing over the roof and trunk. Additional visual cues included GT350H badges, hood pins, and Shelby-specific emblems.
– Automatic Transmission: The GT350H models were equipped with an automatic transmission, specifically chosen for their rental car purpose. This allowed a broader range of drivers to enjoy the car’s performance without the need for manual shifting.
– Rental Car Heritage: As the “Rent-A-Race Car” nickname suggests, the GT350H was available for rent from select Hertz locations. Customers could experience the thrill of driving a high-performance Shelby Mustang on the street or even take it to the racetrack.
– Racing Legacy: While the GT350H was primarily intended for rental use, many were also used for racing. Some customers couldn’t resist pushing the limits of these potent machines on the track, earning the GT350H a reputation as a capable race car.
– Collectibility and Value: The GT350H has become highly sought after by collectors due to its unique history and limited production. Well-preserved and authentic examples command a premium in the classic car market.
The 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race Car holds a special place in automotive lore as a Mustang that bridged the gap between high-performance street machines and rental cars. Its distinctive appearance, performance enhancements, and connection to Hertz’s rental program make it a standout in the Mustang lineup and a symbol of the Shelby legacy.
The History of the Shelby GT350 and Its Role in Hertz’s Fleet
The Shelby GT350 has a rich history and played a significant role in Hertz’s fleet during a particular period. Here’s an overview of the history of the Shelby GT350 and its association with Hertz:
– Introduction of the Shelby GT350: The Shelby GT350 was first introduced by Carroll Shelby in 1965 as a high-performance variant of the Ford Mustang. It was designed to be a track-ready sports car that offered exceptional performance and handling capabilities.
– Partnership with Hertz: In 1966, Shelby entered into a partnership with Hertz, the renowned car rental company. The collaboration aimed to provide Hertz customers with an exciting driving experience by offering the GT350 as a rental car.
– Creation of the GT350-H: As part of the collaboration, a special edition of the Shelby GT350 was created specifically for Hertz. This edition was called the GT350-H, with the “H” standing for “Hertz.” The GT350-H models were built in limited numbers and made available exclusively through Hertz rental locations.
– Distinctive Features: The GT350-H featured several distinctive features that set it apart from the standard GT350. These included a black paint scheme with gold Le Mans racing stripes, Hertz badging, and Shelby-specific emblems. The interior also featured special touches, such as GT350-H floor mats.
– Availability and Rental Experience: Customers had the unique opportunity to rent a high-performance Shelby GT350-H from Hertz locations. The GT350-Hs were popular among racing enthusiasts and car enthusiasts who desired the thrill of driving a Shelby Mustang. However, due to the nature of the high-performance vehicle and the potential for misuse, Hertz implemented certain precautions and restrictions to ensure responsible usage.
– Impact on Automotive Culture: The Shelby GT350-H’s presence in Hertz’s rental fleet elevated its status and introduced a wider audience to the excitement of driving a Shelby Mustang. It played a role in popularizing the Shelby brand and cemented the GT350’s place in automotive culture.
– Continued Legacy: The partnership between Shelby and Hertz continued in subsequent years, with the introduction of the GT500-H and other special edition models. These collaborations further solidified the connection between Shelby performance cars and Hertz’s rental offerings.
The Shelby GT350’s association with Hertz created a unique opportunity for car enthusiasts to experience the thrill of driving a high-performance sports car. The GT350-H’s limited production, distinctive appearance, and connection to Hertz’s rental fleet have made it an iconic and highly sought-after vehicle among collectors and enthusiasts. It remains a significant chapter in both Shelby and Hertz’s histories and showcases the enduring appeal of the Shelby Mustang legacy.
Features of the 1968 Shelby GT350 That Make It Unique
The 1968 Shelby GT350 is a remarkable vehicle that stands out for its unique features and design elements. Here are some of the key features that make it truly special:
– Aggressive Styling: The 1968 GT350 boasts a distinctive and aggressive appearance. It features a fiberglass hood with functional scoops, a prominent front grille with integrated fog lights, and a unique front fascia. The iconic Shelby side stripes, GT350 badging, and Shelby-specific emblems further enhance its visual appeal.
– High-Performance Engine: The GT350 is powered by a potent 302 cubic-inch V8 engine, which was designed and built by Ford. It delivers impressive power and performance, generating around 250 horsepower. The engine is complemented by a high-flow intake manifold, a performance carburetor, and a dual exhaust system for enhanced output and a thrilling driving experience.
– Suspension and Handling: The GT350 features a specially tuned suspension system that includes heavy-duty springs, adjustable shocks, and thicker sway bars. This setup enhances the car’s handling capabilities, providing improved stability and responsiveness on both the street and the track.
– Functional Ram Air Intake: One of the standout features of the 1968 GT350 is its functional ram air intake system. The scoops on the hood direct fresh air into the engine, improving airflow and optimizing performance.
– Unique Interior Details: Inside the GT350, you’ll find a range of unique interior details that emphasize its performance-oriented nature. These include high-backed bucket seats with integrated headrests, a woodgrain steering wheel, and a Shelby-specific shift knob. The car also features a distinctive center console and a variety of Shelby badging throughout the cabin.
– Limited Production Numbers: The 1968 GT350 was produced in limited numbers, adding to its exclusivity and desirability among collectors. Approximately 1,053 units were built, making it a sought-after classic car today.
– Racing Pedigree: The GT350 has a strong racing heritage, and the 1968 model is no exception. It has been successful in various motorsport events, including the SCCA Trans-Am series, where it showcased its performance capabilities on the track.
The combination of its aggressive styling, high-performance engine, specialized suspension, and unique interior details make the 1968 Shelby GT350 a standout among classic Mustangs. Its limited production numbers and racing pedigree contribute to its desirability among automotive enthusiasts and collectors. The GT350 represents the passion and dedication of Carroll Shelby and his team in creating an unforgettable driving experience.
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How to Find a Genuine 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race Car?
Finding a genuine 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race Car, also known as the GT350-H, can be an exciting endeavor for collectors and enthusiasts. Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of finding an authentic GT350-H:
– Research and Educate Yourself: Start by researching the history and details of the GT350-H to understand its specifications, unique features, and distinguishing characteristics. This knowledge will help you in identifying genuine examples.
– Documentation and Verification: Look for proper documentation and verification of the vehicle’s authenticity. This may include original paperwork, such as the Hertz rental agreement, invoices, and Shelby documentation. Additionally, a thorough inspection of the VIN, Shelby identification tags, and other unique identifiers can help confirm the car’s legitimacy.
– Seek Expert Advice: Consult with experts or specialists who are knowledgeable about Shelby Mustangs, particularly the GT350-H. They can provide guidance and advice on how to authenticate a potential purchase. They may also be able to connect you with reputable sellers or resources.
– Explore Collector Car Auctions: Attend collector car auctions known for featuring rare and significant vehicles. Auction houses with a strong reputation for authenticity and thorough vetting processes can provide a trustworthy platform to find genuine GT350-H examples. Be prepared to do your due diligence and inspect the vehicle before making a purchase.
– Join Enthusiast Forums and Clubs: Engage with fellow enthusiasts on dedicated forums, online communities, or clubs focused on Shelby Mustangs. Members often have valuable insights and may be aware of GT350-Hs that are available for sale or can provide guidance in your search.
– Professional Pre-Purchase Inspection: Before finalizing a purchase, it is essential to have the vehicle inspected by a trusted and knowledgeable mechanic or restoration specialist. They can thoroughly examine the car, verify its authenticity, and assess its condition.
– Authenticity Certifications: Some GT350-Hs may come with authenticity certifications from reputable organizations or experts in the field. These certifications provide added assurance and can help validate the car’s originality.
– Purchase from Reputable Sources: Whenever possible, purchase a GT350-H from reputable and trusted sources. Established classic car dealerships, respected collectors, or documented private sellers with a proven track record can offer a higher level of confidence in the authenticity of the vehicle.
Remember, due to the limited production numbers of the GT350-H and its desirability, it’s important to be cautious and thorough in your search. Take your time, conduct proper research, and seek professional advice to increase your chances of finding a genuine 1968 Shelby GT350-H.
Maintaining and Restoring Your 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race Car
Maintaining and restoring a 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race Car, or GT350-H, requires careful attention and adherence to proper restoration techniques. Here are some tips to help you maintain and restore your GT350-H:
– Regular Maintenance: Implement a regular maintenance schedule to keep your GT350-H in optimal condition. This includes routine tasks such as oil changes, fluid checks, and filter replacements. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and consult with experts familiar with Shelby Mustangs for specific maintenance guidelines.
– Authentic Parts: When restoring your GT350-H, strive to use authentic and period-correct parts. Genuine Shelby and Ford components are essential for maintaining the car’s authenticity and value. Work with reputable suppliers and restoration specialists who can assist in sourcing the correct parts for your GT350-H.
– Preservation of Originality: If your GT350-H still retains original components, it’s essential to preserve them whenever possible. Document and catalog any original parts, and carefully evaluate the necessity of replacement during the restoration process. Retaining as much of the car’s originality as possible enhances its value and historical significance.
– Expert Assistance: Seek the assistance of experienced professionals who specialize in Shelby Mustangs or GT350-H restorations. They can provide invaluable knowledge and expertise throughout the restoration process, ensuring that your GT350-H is restored to its original glory.
– Historical Accuracy: Pay close attention to historical accuracy when restoring your GT350-H. Consult historical documents, photographs, and factory specifications to recreate the original appearance and details. This includes correctly replicating paint colors, decals, badges, and interior finishes.
– Proper Storage: When not in use, store your GT350-H in a secure, climate-controlled environment to protect it from the elements and minimize the risk of damage or deterioration. Regularly inspect the car for signs of corrosion, moisture, or pests, and take appropriate measures to address any issues promptly.
– Documentation: Keep detailed records of the restoration process, including photographs, receipts, and documentation of the work performed. This documentation not only helps you track progress but also serves as valuable evidence of the car’s authenticity and restoration history.
– Periodic Inspections: Schedule periodic inspections of your GT350-H to identify any potential issues or areas that require attention. This allows you to address problems promptly, preserving the car’s condition and preventing further damage.
– Join Car Enthusiast Communities: Engage with fellow GT350-H owners and car enthusiast communities. Sharing knowledge and experiences with like-minded individuals can provide additional insights, advice, and support during your restoration journey.
– Preservation Mindset: If your GT350-H is already in good original condition, consider a preservation approach rather than a full restoration. Preserving the car’s patina and originality can be highly desirable and may enhance its value.
Remember, restoring and maintaining a GT350-H requires patience, attention to detail, and a passion for preserving automotive history. By following these tips and seeking professional guidance, you can ensure that your GT350-H remains an authentic and valuable piece of automotive heritage.
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Conclusion: The Legendary 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race is a classic example of iconic American car culture. Not only did it influence generations of race cars, but it also serves as a reminder to never take for granted the powerful vehicles we drive every day. Many of today’s everyday performance cars owe their heritage and capability to this timeless classic. Whether you’re an avid collector or just dream about owning one, the 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race will always look good in every garage.
For those looking for a taste of nostalgia, or just wanting to make sure they don’t miss out on automotive history, the legendary 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race is an investment worth making. Go ahead and treat yourself—you won’t regret it! Experience American muscle and power like no other in the Legendary 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz Rent-A-Race — you won’t be disappointed!
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