The Shelby Rent-A-Racer Program Could Return for 2012


shelby_3.jpgby Patrick Rall

Shelby Automotive has twice issued high performance, tuned Ford Mustang models for rental services with Hertz Rental Cars and rumors suggest that there could be a new Shelby GT-H or GT350H.

Even though Shelby didn't offer up its first Mustang until 1965, the company was officially founded in 1962, so in 2012 they will celebrate the company's 60th birthday. And what better gift could they give than a high performance Mustang that is available to the general public through the same rental agency that introduced the Rent A Racer program in 1966?

Shelby built 1,001 GT350H models for Ford in 1966. These rental models were based on GT350 Mustangs while the 2006 models wore the name GT-H, since they were based on the standard Mustang GT and not a GT350.  There has been no official news as to exactly what we can expect from the next installation of the Hertz-Shelby Mustang, but based on the current Mustang and the history of these rental edition Mustangs, we can make a few guesses at what we could see for the 2012 model year.

While it is more likely that Shelby will commemorate their 60th anniversary with a modified version of the standard Mustang GT, we are more likely to see this called the GT-H like the 2006 models, but it should be kept in mind that Shelby currently offers a highly tuned GT350 post-title package.  This would enable them to offer a 2012 Shelby GT350H with a supercharged 5.0L V8 making 525 horsepower and a Ford Racing suspension package combined with a Baer brake kit, all wrapped in a sleek modern Shelby body kit, but the problem there would be the price.  The 2012 Shelby GT350 comes with a starting price of $70,109, so you have to wonder how many they would really build, and just how much it would cost to rent a $70,000 Mustang.

However, it would be far easier for Shelby American to go the route of a 2012 Shelby Mustang GT-H, based on the standard Mustang GT with a suspension and brake upgrade package improving the performance of the standard Mustang GT.  This would entail the Ford 5.0L V8 offering at least the 412hp made by the Mustang GT. Based on the possibilities of the addition like a cold air intake, high flow exhaust system and tuning measures, we could see slightly more power without the addition of a cost feature like forced induction.  Figure that the 2006 Shelby Mustang GT-H made 8% more than the standard Mustang GT and a similar increase in the current Mustang GT would raise the output to the range of 445hp.

Of course, we can expect any new Shelby Mustang to feature some body mods and the 2012 GT-H/GT350H likely will not be any different.  Should Shelby go the route of the GT-H, we can expect modest items like a paint scheme, badging and some stripes, but a 2012 GT350H would likely carry over the unique look of that pricey post title package.



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