When it comes to American muscle, you don’t get much more apple pie than Shelby American and Hertz. Once again, the two companies are teaming up to offer travelers across the United States access to a triad of new Mustang Shelby muscle cars with over 900 horsepower, invigorating their longstanding Rent-a-Racer program. this summer. But, is the price of $399 per day and the additional restrictions worth the price? For research purposes only, we took a quick flight to Las Vegas and the Shelby Museum to drive the GT-H convertible and monstrous GT500-H down a straight highway to Seven Magic Mountains and back to collect more data.
The GT-H comes in convertible and coupe form and starts with your standard Shelby GT, which is based on the Mustang GT Premium with the 5.0L V8 that puts out around 450 horsepower. Hertz and Shelby don’t yet have specific horsepower details for either vehicle, but when the cars reach Hertz airports across the country, the company will have those numbers buttoned up. The 900+ horsepower GT-H and GT500-H get special Shelby tips added for appearance and performance, including parts like Borla cat-back performance exhausts, offset-width wheel kit, 20-inch aluminum wheels with all-weather Michelin tires and a deep-draw hood, Shelby-designed upper grille, fairing fins and taillight panel. Convertibles get a special lightbar, and of course the coupe and convertible get those signature Hertz-gold racing stripes and Shelby serial numbers that will be added to the Shelby registry.
Indeed, Hertz and Shelby both hope these vehicles will continue to fetch high prices on the secondary market after they end their period in lessee hands towards the end of 2022. The 1966 versions, those that marked the first advent of the Rent-a-Racer/Hertz-Shelby combination, now fetches nearly $200,000 at auction. The 2006, 2007 and 2016 models are also priced high in the aftermarket according to Shelby and Hertz executives. Both Shelby and Hertz say giving normal people access to these powerful vehicles will “surprise and delight,” and the two companies have spoken at length about the sales and lease benefits they see as a result of the program.
“The Hertz deal in 2006 saved Shelby,” Patterson said in an interview with Autoblog. “The company had been mismanaged financially and the Hertz deal got it through.”
Shelby American and Hertz are no strangers to financial and business issues. Although Shelby isn’t in the same position it was in the early 2000s, the company said it has experienced production slowdowns due to pandemic shortages, especially as it relies on products from Ford. According to Shelby American, it ships about 1,200 cars a year to its customers. Hertz, on the other hand, has just filed for bankruptcy and is fighting a rather complicated legal battle after accusing thousands of renters of stealing Hertz cars.
The merger brings the two companies together for a three-year deal, and more cars are coming. The Mustang Shelby GT-H and the much more powerful Mustang Shelby GT500-H will be the first available for rental this summer. It’s possible that one of these additional new vehicles could be a Shelby F-150 and/or a Bronco, but no one at either company would confirm that. Shelby says the company’s production of Mustangs and F-150s largely mirrors Ford’s, and she’s considered making a Shelby Bronco, but the project is still up in the air.
We first hit the road in the GT-H convertible. It offers a comfortable ride and plenty of power to overtake timid drivers on the highway. The sonic note of the exhaust echoes through your body as you press the throttle and the brambles and desert brush fade away. Even at highway speeds, there’s still plenty of trail to easily push the car to go faster, especially in a straight line. Unfortunately, the route to the Instagram-famous Seven Magic Mountains landmark is as straight as an arrow, and given the very short time allotted for the journeys, there was no opportunity to really test anything beyond the straight-line speed in the GT-H.
At the layover, we stopped to take photos, do car-to-car shots, and swap vehicles. After all, the GT500-H is the monster we most want to drive and what most people will yearn to rent. There will only be 25 of these cars made – and they will cost a hefty daily price: $399 per day with a daily limit of 70 miles. Exceed this limit and you will be charged with an overage of $0.75 per mile. You also won’t be able to rent them one-way and like all rentals, you’ll need to be at least 25 years old with a valid license.
Hertz executives say there will be further restraints to stop the cars being forced out of the United States, although when pressed they did not share further details. Laura Smith, executive vice president of global sales, marketing and customer experience at Hertz, also did not confirm whether the vehicles would have active tracking devices in Shelby Mustangs, simply saying that Hertz wants to know more. ensuring customers are safe in any vehicle. they rent. Most rental fleets use limited GPS tracking to locate vehicles in the event of a breakdown or emergency, although they don’t actively track things like speed. In the GT500-H, that would be a real factor.
Beneath its black and gold paint job, the Shelby Mustang GT500-H looks a lot like the Shelby Mustang GT500KR – a 900+ horsepower powered beast, at least on paper. Based on the GT500, the GT500-H gets the supercharged 5.2-liter V8 with a massive 3.8-liter Whipple supercharger in gold, which is similar to what the GT500KR also gets (minus the gold paint). It also gets new half-shafts, a Borla cat-back exhaust, 20-inch staggered-width one-piece aluminum wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 performance tires, Brembo brakes painted gold and featuring the Hertz logo, and a number of special Hertz. and Shelby visual accents around the car. The GT500-H also gets the same dry carbon fiber hood with functional scoop and vents from the KR. According to Patterson, the suspension has been specially tuned to provide a balance between comfort and sportiness. Truth be told, all that performance gear is more than many well-heeled renters can handle or even know what to do with.
On the road, the whistle of the compressor is an invitation to push the accelerator a little more and it will appeal to muscle car enthusiasts. With an estimated output of over 900 horsepower, it goes without saying that you’ll never run out of power, even at highway speeds. Zero to 60 mph is obviously fast, and 70 mph and beyond is even faster. There’s no denying that the GT500-H brings a wicked smile to the faces of anyone who sees it speed past or gets the chance to ride it. It’s a big American muscle pushed to its maximum performance, and it’s a rocket ship.
Again, we couldn’t do more than head straight back south on I-15 in the GT500-H, which meant there was no chance of driving it on twisty roads. Rest assured, though, with so much power going only to the rear wheels, it will slip. In inexperienced hands, let’s just say that Hertz seems to have enormous confidence in the driving ability of the renter. Leaders seem unfazed by the challenge. Smith said that, like the program Hertz has with the 100,000 Teslas and 65,000 Polestars it buys, customers will have to go through some kind of digital training path before renting the GT-H and GT500-H so that ‘they understand just how much power they’ll be handling.
Ultimately, riding in a Shelby Mustang GT500-H isn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon – provided you have $399 a day to spend, don’t need to drive more than 70 miles and you visit one of the limited rental locations which include Las Vegas, Phoenix and four Florida cities. These are obviously all vacation spots, so it seems clear Hertz Shelby Mustangs are envisioned as an exciting part of a trip rather than just transportation during it. There is no denying that both will bring a memorable experience to renters across the country.