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Shelby considering the return of Rent-A-Racer

Shelby American has twice offered modified Ford Mustangs through Hertz rental car agency, first in 1966 and then again in 2006, and if rumors are true there could be a new Shelby/Hertz rental Mustang available in the coming year.

Shelby didn’t lay their hands on the fabled Ford Mustang until 1965 but the high performance automotive brand was officially founded in 1962. Next year the company will celebrate their 60th anniversary and it is rumored that 2012 will bring us the next installation of the Shelby Rent-A-Racer program featuring the 2012 Ford Mustang GT. This program was originally introduced in 1966 when Shelby built 1,001 high performance GT350H Mustangs – with the H standing for the affiliation with Hertz rental cars. In 2006, Shelby built a new batch of 500 special edition models for Hertz, this time naming them the Shelby GT-H (shown on the right) since it was based on a standard Mustang GT and not a GT350 as it was in the 60s.

We can also expect the 2012 Shelby-modified Hertz rental unit to be based on the Mustang GT, with the 5.0L V8 under the hood. All of the previous Shelby GT-H Mustangs were automatic transmissions since so few people these days are coordinated enough to drive a manual transmission and sadly, we can expect that the 2012 Shelby Hertz Mustangs to also have the automatic transmission. The 2006 GT-H saw an increase in power by about 8% thanks to a cold air intake kit and a full exhaust setup including Ford Racing’s crossover “X-pipe”. Should the 2012 Shelby GT-H receive a similar percentage increase in power, the output would jump from 412 to 445 horsepower – although with the willingness of the new 5.0L to make extra power with a few modifications we could see more power from the modern Rent-A-Racer. Helping to ensure that the next Shelby-Hertz Mustang handles as well as it accelerates, we can expect some sort of suspension upgrade; possibly using a Ford Racing handling package similar to that offered on the 2006 models.

Shelby Mustangs are known for making big power and great handling but they are also distinct in their styling – something else that we can expect from the 2012 Shelby GT-H. The 1966 Shelby rental units were offered mostly in black with a scarce few other options but in 2006, only black with gold stripes was available. We can expect plenty of black and gold units but rumors suggest that there will also be white and gold 2012 Shelby Hertz Mustangs. Next, the previous Shelby GT-H included a unique grille, hood, wheels and badging – all of which we can expect for the next era of the Shelby/Hertz Rent-A-Racer program.

One sticking point is that Hertz currently offers the Ford Mustang GT Premium as a part of their “Adrenaline” rental lineup so Shelby will have to make sure that the rental model that they design to commemorate their 60th anniversary stands apart from the current Ford Mustang GT. Shelby currently offers a GT350 post-title package (meaning that its not available from a dealership – you have to send your car away to have it transformed into a GT350) and while it would be amazing to see a modern GT350H, the current GT350 carries a price tag in the neighborhood of $70,000…we aren’t likely to see an affordable rental option based on this Mustang-based supercar.

Source: Automotive News

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