Historic Rent-A-Racer Proves That At One Time You Could Rent “Cool!”

One of the coolest things ever done by an American automotive company happened in 1966 when the Hertz Rent-A-Car Corporation bought a thousand Shelby GT-350s and made them available to the public. For 17 dollars a day and 17 cents per mile just about anyone could get behind the wheel and burn the tires off of one of the baddest street machines of the era. 

Most of these historic vehicles have long since been converted to scrap metal. However, once in a while one of these rare beauties makes an appearance. At the 2013 Mesquite Motormania show, owners Chuck and Adele Gronbach of Hermosa Beach, California, brought out their pristine ’66 GT-350H survivor and shared it with the rest of the world.

Like most of the Hertz Shelbys, this one came from the factory with a high performance Ford 289 small block that produced a whopping (for the time) 306 horsepower. It hit that high mark with the aid of hi-po solid lifter cam, tube exhaust headers, hi-rise aluminum manifold and 715 CFM Holley carburetor.  It also came with a C-4 automatic transmission, a fiberglass hood complete with fresh air scoop, front disc brakes and air ducts to keep the rear drum brakes cool! 

But what makes the Gronbach’s car particularly unusual is the color. It is one of only 50 which were delivered to Hertz painted in Wimbledon White. This color combination along with the GT 350 gold racing stripes and accents makes it all the more desirable.

The specialized Hertz edition was given the designation GT-350H and their sales and ownership records are well documented. This particular vehicle was sold to Hertz in Miami, Florida, on March 16, 1966, for $4174.85.  After a year of service in the Hertz fleet it was shipped back to Shelby for refreshing and the car was then resold to Barrington Motors in Los Angeles on April 28, 1967, for $2600. Fast forward to the present and the asking price of a comparable GT-350H (according to the owners, this one isn’t going anywhere) is in the range of $150K. Not a bad investment, especially when you consider being able to drive around in one of the most iconic and desirable cars ever to hit the road over the last 50 years!

About the author

Paul Lambert

Paul Lambert is an independent writer who grew up during a time in Southern California car culture when big horsepower and high speed were celebrated above all. He now understands that turning, stopping, appearance and comfort are equal in importance...almost! Paul tries to find something likeable and interesting about anything with wheels and thinks that the people, history, and culture of hot rodding are often as important to the story as the cars and events being featured.
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