Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Turn Back The Clock: Shelby GT-H Production Begins

Last Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show, Ford's Mark Fields brought out the 2007 Shelby GT-H Mustang (with Carroll Shelby riding 'gun), saying it represented two tiers of Ford's new performance strategy: personalized performance and Ford Racing Parts.

The Shelby GT-H is a modern take on the Shelby GT350H that appeared in 1966. These original Rent-A-Racers could be taken out for $17/day and $0.17/mile, and they were as nasty at the track as their non-Hertz Shelby bretheren.

Fast-forward 40 years . The new Hertz Mustangs are a limited run of 500, and they share the classic black and gold livery of their 1960s forebears. A modified front fascia, special badging, Shelby hood, side scoops, and a 335-horsepower V8 modified with Ford Racing Performance Parts complete the package. In a Monday press release, Shelby Automobiles announced that production of GT-H has officially begun at its Las Vegas facility.

Hertz's Joe Alesandro was accompanying GT-H prototype at NYIAS, and I asked him how the company would be handling the introduction and eventual removal of the cars from the rental fleet.

He informed me that when they're ready, the GT-H Mustangs will be added at a rate of approximately 50 per week over 10 weeks. Cars will be retired based on mileage and time in service (figure around 15,000 miles and/or 6 months). The first few cars out of service will go to Barrett-Jackson, where they will be auctioned off to set market value. The remaining cars will be made available to Ford dealers via closed sales. Those dealers will then sell the cars to the public for presumably exorbitant sums of money.

Rent 'em while you can, because once they're gone, you won't be able to touch one without backing up a truckload of cash first.

Oh, and the GT-H prototype? It'll join the '66 GT350H that currently greets visitors in the lobby of Hertz HQ.

Additional Info

Here are some more photos we took of Carroll and his 'Stangs at NYIAS. To see and/or download higher-res (1024x768) versions, just click on them. Enjoy.

There's some more where those came from up at the NoonzWheels Flickr site. Also, be sure to check out Autoblog's coverage. They've posted really nice high-res pics of both the 2007 car and the classic GT350H.

Photos: Chris Cerreta, Alex Nunez