10 Things Muscle Car Fans Should Know About The 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350H
FordThe 1966 GT350H is one of the most coveted early Shelby Mustangs, born out of the deal between Shelby and Hertz. Initially, the plan was to build 50-100 units of this special Mustang as rental cars, but it became an instant hit, so Hertz kept ordering more. ’66 Mustang Shelby GT350H were often booked weeks in advance and frequently visited racetracks and drag strips.
When the buzz around the GT350H died down, the rental program was eventually canceled, as no one wanted a rental car that had taken a beating. A significant number of 1966 Shelby GT350H Mustangs were scrapped or wrecked, but surviving ones rose to popularity in the ’90s and today cost as much as $150,000, according to Hagerty. Here are 10 interesting things to know about the 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350H.
ten Built by Shelby and Hertz
Renting a sports car from the Hertz Sports Car Club was more expensive than renting a regular sedan and associated with limited passenger seating, so the Sports Car Club struggled to survive in the early 1960s. In an effort to save the Sports Car Club from total collapse, Hertz Corporation teamed up with Shelby Carroll to build a batch of special-edition high-performance Shelby Mustangs for rent.
Ford has equipped the Mustang Shelby with a powerful V8 engine with extra performance that driving enthusiasts can only find on a track.
9 No significant difference between GT350 and GT350H
The 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and the special Hertz variant are nearly identical. Even though they are considered two different designs, the only notable distinction between them is the paint pattern. Most 1966 Shelby GT350H Mustangs are available in black with gold striping.
The paint colors are similar to the Hertz logo. A limited number of 1966 GT350Hs are available in Wimbledon White, Sapphire Blue, Ivy Green and Candyapple Red.
8 Hertz Rent-A-Racer Program
The partnership between Shelby and Hertz Corporation led to the production of 1,001 Shelby Mustang GT350H vehicles. These Mustangs with the “H-series” designation were specifically built to promote the Hertz Rent-A-Racer program, which was open to Sports Car Club members over the age of 25.
Renting a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350H is $17 a day, with an additional 17 cents for each mile. In the 1960s, it was a tempting affair, and it appealed not only to performance-minded people, but also business travelers and vacationers.
seven Hollywood history
The 1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang became an iconic classic muscle car that not only found its way into the garages of TV stars like Jay Leno, but onto TV shows as well. The 1966 Shelby GT350H Mustang was featured in the 2005 American sci-fi action film War of the Worlds.
The film stars Hollywood stars like Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Channing Tatum, and Miranda Otto. A two-tone Shelby GT350H Mustang is seen in a garage in the film.
6 Heavy brakes
The 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350H was equipped with competition brakes, which was quite unusual for many tenants in the 60s. To make the competition brakes suitable for heavy racing, they were fitted with a pad and a metal brake lining. But these brakes are not hot enough to use for normal street riding.
Ford placed a stick inside the Mustang Shelby GT350H to let drivers know the vehicle is running on competition brakes, which may require more brake pressure.
5 Focused on the track
The moment the 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350H left Shelby’s shop, you knew it was a monstrous machine ready to take over the track. The V8-powered road cruiser was designed to be very light, with a curb weight of 2,780 pounds.
The “H” may stand for Hertz, but the Shelby GT350H is quite “homologated”, as all 1,001 examples made met the FIA’s minimum production requirements. At the time, the Shelby GT350H was driven as a production-class vehicle at SSCA events and a regular sight on the drag strip.
4 Manual/automatic transmission
The combination of Shelby and Hertz has led to the creation of over a thousand Shelby GT350H Mustangs. Of these, only 85 units were fitted with a 4-speed Borg-Warner T-10 manual transmission. The remaining Shelby GT350H Mustangs were 3-speed automatics.
Carroll Shelby is believed to have kept the very first 1966 GT350H produced for himself. Acceleration times for the 3-speed automatic compare favorably to those of the 4-speed manual.
3 Welcoming interior
The 1966 Mustang Shelby GT350H became a legend the moment it left the factory, and it wasn’t just because of its performance, but also because of its impressive design. The interior features vinyl seats with a Ray Brown competition-style lap belt.
On the dash, Stewart Warner instrumentation includes gauges that measure amperage, fuel pressure, oil temperature, and oil pressure. The doors have a minimalist look, with bulletproof mirrors and plexiglass rear windows.
2 Folding rear seats
Another impressive feature of the 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350H is the folding rear seat, which is not in the 1965 iteration. The rear seat can accommodate two passengers, making the 1966 Mustang Shelby GT350H the ideal muscle car for a family of four.
However, you may have noticed that 1966 Shelby GT350H Mustangs do not have headrests. Indeed, headrests weren’t exactly considered important safety features back then.
1966 Shelby GT350H Mustangs are mechanically identical to the regular GT350. They are powered by a high-performance Cobra 289 K-Code V8 that develops up to 306 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 329 lb-ft of torque.
The muscle car sprints to 100 km/h in 6.6 seconds and covers a quarter mile in 15.2 seconds. The GT350H with its high-wound 289ci V8 engine hits at least 137 mph before losing its breath.