1966 Shelby GT350H

Almost all car rental agencies have pretty cool cars as part of their fleets but one has to go back in time when renting a car meant being asked do you want full sized or bigger? Carroll Shelby came up with the idea to sell cars to Hertz Rental cars as part of a Sports Car Club and painted the first cars Black with Gold “Lemans” style stripes to match the colours of the Hertz companies first cars.
 Only 1000 cars were leased to Hertz so the program was not the total success it could of been but the rarity of the cars only adds to their allure but must have Driven Shelby crazy that a company that had 1000 locations as early as 1955 did not lease many more of these cars.


But these cars leave an impression. The Stunning Black with Gold stripes and the elusive “H” after the name makes these cars so desirable that after Allen Cheng of Langley sold his 427SC Cobra tribute car the GT 350H was the next car he had to have.


Cheng had always loved the cars produced by Carroll Shelby and starting in 1995 spent less than a year building a replicar 427 Cobra SC. After a few years he sold the Cobra and the desire to have a “Toy” to work on, play with and show lead him on a quest for a GT 350. The 1965 and 66 Shelby GT350 had been referred to as a clapped out race car for the street.The 65 and 66’s had the same race suspensions found on the infamous 1965 R-Models and the beautiful fastback styling of the original Mustang.

The only difference between the Street and Race models were the engines.  The 1965 Models had no backseat to aid in the Homogolation for racing so the 1966 was also the first year

that rear seats and automatic transmissions were offered (Ford wanted to increase the Shelby Mustang

sales for 1966 and automatics were beginning to take over). Out of the 2378 GT350’s produced in 1966, 1000 were the specially striped Hertz cars leased to the Hertz Company with predominantly automatic transmissions. Along with the black cars were red, green, white and blue cars with gold stripes if they did have the “Lemans Stripes”


 In the late Summer of 2002 he spent a lot of time surfing the web looking for a Shelby Mustang and finally found the right car on Ebay. Finding his future car was actually in Canada already, High River Alberta, the price was finally agreed upon after a bunch of negotiating. Picking the car up on the last dry weekend through the mountain passes was lucky and the work was started to make sure the car was perfect and fully roadworthy.

The menacing look (or classy, depending on your point of view) of the Black and Gold colour combo can’t be beaten, in my book.  This particular car served it’s rental duties at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  It was the 993rd of the 1000 cars delivered to Hertz.  When it’s rental duties were over, it was sold as a used car at Shelby’s Hi-Performance Motors in the Greater Los Angeles Area.  As part of the sale, the Koni shock absorbers (and lowered front A-arms) and 1966 Shelby Wood Steering Wheel were specified.   

Most later 1966 GT350’s came with stock shock absorbers and Mustang wood-grained steering wheel.  It still retains all the regular GT350 mods:  K-Code mechanical lifter engine, heavy duty radiator, export brace, Monte Carlo bar, Cobra aluminum intake manifold, Shelby exhaust headers, Shelby Cobra valve covers, Cobra 7 quart oil pan, larger front anti-roll bar, Shelby hood with scoop, front disc brakes, station wagon 2″ rear drum brakes, 3.89:1 ratio 9″ rear end with Shelby under-ride traction bars, functional side scoops and the 1966 only Plexiglas rear quarter windows which replaced the air extractors on the regular Mustang. 


The only change Cheng  made to the exterior is to remove and store the original  14″ chrome Magnum 500’s and replace them with a set of original 15″ Shelby Cragars (available on 1965’s and early

1966’s GT350’s) that were purchased from a Shelby collector in Florida in late 2002.  The frame, body (as it left the Shelby American plant), brakes, transmission, interior and sound system are all bone Shelby stock.  No mods whatsoever.  The engine is still standard bore and sports her original special K-Code automatic transmission.



The vehicle was partially “refreshed” by the last American owner (Montana) in 1989. As part of the getting the car completey roadworthy Cheng spent 5 days carefully wet sanding and polishing the car before he put it on the road.  He also replaced the fuel tank, had the carburetor rebuilt (by Darcy at Canadian Carburetors), took the motor apart and replaced head gasket and seals, had the seals in the tranny replaced and rebuilt the rear wheel cylinders before getting her on the road in early 2003. 

Since then, this Hertz has been driven and shown locally and in the US.  She has been as far as California Speedway (SAAC-30 in 2005),  Infineon Raceway (otherwise remembered as Sears Point for SAAC-35 in 2010) and at many venue in Washington state.  She has always been driven to shows, NEVER trailered, and always enjoyed!!  She has won 2 Best of Shows, 1 Participant’s Choice Award (as voted by almost 400 enthusiastic car owners at the 2009 City of Port Coquitlam Show and Shine) and numerous First Place awards from local and American Shows.  She has been graciously invited, and participated in, the Steamworks Concours d’Elegance, the Kirkland Concours and the new Crescent Beach Invitational Concours d’Elegance.


One cool story about this car is the time it went for a track day as part of the Shelby Owners Club and the previous owner got to go out with Dan Gurney at the Wheel. At very high speeds on the oval track the speed was a little much for the original side scoops and first the left and then the right decided to fly-off .


If only a GT 350 H is on your “to-Do” list then then the Shelby American Automobile Club is an invaluable resource helping  buyer’s do their due diligence before purchase. The breakdown of the 1000 Hertz cars (42% of all 1966 Shelby GT350’s):  about 730 Black/Gold (all with LeMansstripes), the rest are almost evenly broken into the Red, Green, White and Blue colours.  There is a White/Gold (originally Blue/Gold) Hertz in Cloverdale.  There is also a Blue/Gold Hertz undergoing restoration in Aldergrove.  That’s 3 original Hertz cars in the Lower Mainland!

Many years went by before Hertz Rental started to use GT350’sagain in their rental fleet and only bought 500 of the Classic Black with gold stripe version coupes in 2006 & convertibles in 2007 that are destined to be the “Pot of Gold” cars down the road.