Hertz teases return of special edition Shelby Mustang

Between the purchase of 100,000 Teslas and 65,000 Polestars, Hertz will provide options for those who prefer to rent the battery-electric way. But the agency still has gearheads in mind, it seems. Last week the yellow hire car company tweeted something that looks a lot like the return of the famed Hertz Shelby Mustangs. The tweet caption is “Get ready to step behind the wheel of an American driving icon. We’re revving up something big May 10. Let’s go!” The image is of a current Mustang hood fitted with an aggressive trio of vents and a hood pin bearing the word “Shelby.” More telling, the color scheme is black with a pair of gold stripes running down the middle.

A black Mustang with two gold stripes, a hood scoop, and hood pins were the key identifiers of the Shelby GT350-H that kicked off the infamous “Rent a Racer” program in 1966. Hertz bought 1,000 of the Shelby-tuned Mustangs, which it called an “opportunity given to working-class people to rent dream sports cars through Hertz.” The program lasted a single year, when repair costs torched the intended profits and then some. Renters were not only racing the cars, they were stripping them; there were stories of cars being returned with underpowered Ford engines instead of the K-code 306-horsepower 289-ci V8s the cars had left the Hertz lot with. More innocently, some drivers weren’t used to how much pressure needed to be applied to the racing brakes in the GT350-H, leading to a spate of renters rear-ending other cars. They go for six figures at auction, the one above attracting a high bid of $120,000 in a 2013 Mecum auction before values skyrocketed.

There have been about ten more tie-ups since then for exclusive Hertz fleets like the Fun Collection and the Adrenaline Collection, such as two more runs of Shelby GT-H Mustangs in 2006 and 2016, and the Corvette ZHZ in 2008 and 2009. The most recent was between Hertz and Hendrick Motorsports in 2020, which resulted in a special edition Camaro ZL1 and Camaro SS in the fleet. The tweeted image looks like a current Shelby GT500 with a couple of extra vents and script on the hood pins. However, there have been some spruced-up Mustang GTs in the program, so this could be a GT given a front-end makeover. We’ll find out Tuesday. 

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