Many people know the tales and allure that surround the odd partnership between the “go fast” Texan Carroll Shelby and the national car rental brand of Hertz. Shelby delivered right around 1000 of his race bred pony cars to the rental company throughout 1966. This fabled partnership however has its roots almost eight years prior in 1958 when Hertz began a national program entitled the “Hertz Sports Car Club”. The innovative new idea behind this club was to provide the traveler looking for rented transportation, a more exciting option then the standard array of droll four door sedans that are and were common place on most rental lots. The adventurous renter would have had his choice of a number of sporty two-door, low slung sport cars in the form of Triumphs, Jaguars as well as the Corvette. It was an innovative idea but the large upfront cost of purchasing the sports cars translated into increased rental costs, which unfortunately led to a decrease in the number of renters. The program struggled its way through many years barely hanging on, waiting for an infusion of excitement and power.
It was in 1965, shortly after winning the SCCA B-Production Championship, that Shelby America had an idea which turned out to be a brilliant marketing ploy. The outstanding idea was to approach Hertz rental cars with the prospect of providing their ailing Sports Car Club with a little pumped up muscle in the form of the Shelby GT350, fresh off its national victory. The Shelby GT350 was being sold at select ford dealerships across the country but their reach was still limited. By providing one of the nation’s largest rental car companies with their product and essentially letting would be renters test drive the car, they were able to put more butts in Shelby seats and as everyone knows, the test drive is where the sale occurs! After much back and forth, it was settled that Shelby would provide their honest to goodness race cars to Hertz who would keep the cars in their rental units for an agreed upon 9 months after which time Shelby would purchase the cars back so they could deal with the sale to the public and therefore attempt to fix the price of their product. The cars were available to rent at over 50 Hertz rental locations across the country for a mere 17 dollars a day plus 17 cents a mile, as long as you were a member of the Hertz Sports Car Club that is!
The car on offer here, serial number 6S1152, was originally delivered to J.D. Ball Ford in Miami, Florida for dealer prep on 2/28/66 in the same color it wears today, the striking Ivy Green with standard black interior. At the time of delivery they were invoiced a total of $3,853.09. It arrived to the Hertz location in Miami, Florida on 3/16/66. While part of the Hertz rental fleet it maintained a fairly normal life for a car of this breed. The Shelby registry has noted that on 6/15/66 the oil pan gasket was replaced and on 8/15/66 the LeMans stripes were repainted. At the end of its 9-month service period, the car was shipped back to J.D. Ball Ford on 5/31/67 who at the time was invoiced $2,650. The car received air conditioning; a rare option at the time for these race-bred ponies, and was then sold to a mister Jerry Jackson of Miami Florida on 5/11/67. The story goes that Mr. Jackson was a pilot for American Airlines at the time and had rented this specific car multiple times. He enjoyed it so much that when its rental service period ended, he tracked the car down and purchased it from the Ford dealership. 6S1152 was then sold to James Martin, also of Miami, on 4/10/69. From here, the car moved north, selling to Michael A. Smith painted white with brown striping for the measly some of $1400. During his ownership, Smith repainted the car classic Shelby racing colors of white with blue striping. The car was then sold to Frank Bishop of Los Altos, California on 9/30/78 with the mileage being recorded at 61,560 miles. The car then made its way back East ending up in Pleasant Valley New York, purchased on 5/22/83 for the price of $4000. Three years later, in 1986, the car was purchased by Blaney and Patricia Blodgett of Middlebury, Vermont. The Blodgetts kept the car until 7/01 when it was inherited by George and Shanna Farrell of Dover, New Hampshire. The Farrells chose to repaint 6S1152 back to its original color of Ivy Green. The car was then listed for sale on the SAAC website on 8/30/08 with 72,000 miles and an asking price of $135,000 or best offer. It was purchased by Rolland Cassidy of Carroll Street Auto located in Manchester, New Hampshire in September of 2008 and then sold to the current owner on 6/29/09 who decided to embark on a full restoration of 6S1152.
The complex and comprehensive restoration of 6S1152 was undertaken by marque specialists, Glazier Nolan Mustang Barn of Souderton, Pennsylvania. The entirety of the car was meticulously documented and disassembled at which time the engine was removed, the body was stripped of paint, media blasted and taken down to bare metal and placed on a restoration rotisserie. When returned from blasting, the car was step-by-step meticulously repainted in its original and striking Ivy Green color. All components of the car were either cleaned and refreshed or replaced with new proper and correct parts. The total of the restoration receipts comes in just shy of $100,000 and is a testament to the thorough nature of the restoration. There is comprehensive documentation on the entirety of the restoration available.
Approaching the car, the first thing one takes notice to is the striking color combination of the beautifully applied Ivy Green paint with the perfectly accentuated gold striping. The paint displays just as it should from the recent restoration with plenty of shine and luster. The Ivy Green is a rare color, with only 50 GT350H’s finished in this color, which is almost a shame because the combination is understated but truly remarkable and striking at the same time. If one was to take things to a scientific level of nitpicking there is a one-inch section of imperfection in the paint on the rear section of the trunk lid but this is quite literally the only spot of notice on the car and is quite hard to spot. The chrome shines beautifully from front to back with only the smallest of imperfections on the bumpers, barely noticeable unless under serious scrutiny. The front lower valence is clean of any imperfections or scratches, alluding to the fact that this car has been extremely well cared for since the completion of its restoration; the rear lower valence is of similar condition as well. The glass is all very clean and clear with the exception of a small scuff on the upper right corner of the original rear window. All rubber gaskets on the exterior of the car are installed well and look to be new with none displaying any drying or cracking. Panel gaps and fitment are superb from front to back and most likely better then when 6S1152 left Shelby American’s Los Angeles based warehouse in 1966. The doors fit superbly and open/close with ease, sounding a solid ping as they slam shut while you climb inside.
Stepping into the car one first takes notice to the smell of fresh restoration that still faintly lingers in the air. The typical black finish is exquisitely refinished and there are no real imperfections present. The seats are finished accurately, with the proper amount of stuffing and chrome hardware that shines beautifully. The rear seats are a similar story, very well done with nothing but positive things to report. The proper 3-inch racing seat belts in the front are present and in excellent condition both cosmetically and mechanically. The iconic dash mounted tachometer is perched high on the cleanly finished dashboard which is free of any cracking or fading and which has excellent fitment. The dash is highly correct including the golden warning sticker that alludes to the performance nature of the braking. All switches and toggles are finished nicely with none displaying really any signs of age or usage. The gauges all function well and are bright and easily readable. The odometer at the time of writing stands at 73,604 miles, which is believed to be the original mileage from new. Gripping the iconic, thin, three-spoke Shelby steering wheel is an experience in itself. The wood is smooth and the finish is still dark while the contrasting metal bits shine with a luster egging you to go ahead and try to hang on as you mash the accelerator pedal. Looking up, the headliner fits tight and displays no fading or pulling.
Popping the hood and moving to the engine bay reveals the fabled heart behind this iconic stallion. The engine bay as a whole is very clean, displaying limited usage since the finishing of the restoration. The iconic “cobra” valve covers are very clean and the air cleaner has the correct “289” sticker applied over chrome that shines beautifully. The correct Y-Type headers are present and in excellent condition. The firewall and inner fenders are finished in the correct black paint and all panels fit amazingly well. The Shelby VIN tag is present, reading S61152, as well as all the typical Ford stampings, helping to corroborate the validity of the car. The engine casting number reads: C6AE-C015-C with a casting date of 6A19. All factory stickers and finishes are present among various components in the engine bay. Attention to detail is present everywhere right down to correct spot welds, factory seam sealers and little markings and methods that duplicate the work at the factory.
Turn the key and the engine starts without hesitation. This car runs and drives exactly like a car that has had this much attention. At first the powerful V8 barks to life and then settles down into a smooth and calm idle. Applying pressure to the throttle reveals a quick and direct response with no pedal dead spot. The automatic transmission shifts into gear buttery smooth and car moves away effortlessly. The steering is quite heavy at first, very typical of a car of this age and pedigree. As you build speed however it lightens considerably and becomes much more direct. It is quite apparent by the steering feel alone that this is not a car made to go slow but is truly the race bred monster that legend has made it out to be. Applying pressure to the throttle proves this to be true even further, facilitating a hasty response from the engine, causing both the speedometer and the tach to climb at an alarming rate. The engine pulls strong throughout the rev range, seeming to rev harder and faster the higher into the numbers you go. The shift between gears is smooth and deliberate and gets better the more the throttle is applied. The brakes work adequately with the proper pressure applied while cold and get gradually better as they begin to heat up. This is truly a car that likes to be driven which is very apparent in its driving characteristics.
The underside of the car is exceptionally clean, again showing that the car was very well cared for post restoration and driven quite sparingly. The underside is highly correct with the proper primer applied and Ivy Green over spray in places, exactly as it would have come from the factory. The correct 1-inch sway bar is located up front and all suspension components look clean and show minimal usage. Lastly the trunk is superbly finished as well with the correct plaid matting placed over a clean and well-painted interior area. The spare tire is present in the back and is accompanied by the refreshed jack for the car.
The GT350H represents a special time in the storied Shelby brand history. There was a time when these cars were unloved for their designation as “rental cars”. As of recent however, the Hertz edition GT350s have a made a stunning comeback and for all the right reasons. These are cars that have all the race pedigree and history built into them while also providing a quite unique and interesting back-story as well. The example on offer is of the highest quality Shelby’s available today, documented, and award winning. It will no doubt prove to be a worthwhile investment and quite simply a blast to own.
Available Documentation: (Please click on the links below to view the file)