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Car and Driver: 2016 Ford Mustang GT-H: The Hertz Rent-A-Racer That You Definitely Shouldn’t Race

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In 1966, Ford and Carroll Shelby teamed up to produce a special run of rental cars. This would be an odd footnote in automotive history had the two companies gussied up a few Falcon sedans with stickers and a special weekend rental rate, but that’s not what happened. Instead, the Shelby GT350-H was created from the Mustang and dubbed the “Rent-A-Racer.” Offered through select Hertz rental locations, the GT350-H was an actual Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, only with a black paint job with gold stripes. We even rented one that year—$17 per day, $70 for the week!—and beat on it, er, we mean “tested” it. Fifty years later, Ford and Hertz are back at it, with a new Mustang GT-H.

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Before your eyes mist over with nostalgia for the good ol’ days when you could rent a legit race car from Hertz and sneakily track it for a weekend, returning the car on Sunday with Hertz none the wiser, you should know a few things. First, most of those tall tales were just that; second, even if they were true, Hertz has long since wised up. In 2006, when Ford reintroduced the the Rent-A-Racer (like this GT-H, it, too, was based on the Mustang GT, not a real Shelby), we rented a few and took them to Virginia International Raceway. This put us in a gray area with regard to the rental agreement, which explicitly forbade any “SPEED TEST, SPEED CONTEST, RACE, RALLY, SPEED ENDURANCE CONTEST OR DEMONSTRATION.” Lacking timing equipment and not wishing to demonstrate anything, we’re pretty sure we cleared Hertz’s test. The point is, the restrictions—and Hertz’s tabulation of all the special GT-H components fitted to the car when you return one after a rental—made clear that Hertz wasn’t about to let its retro-styled Rent-A-Racers be anything more than Rent-A-Racer-Lookalikes.

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That stance likely hasn’t changed. So you can’t race the 2016 Mustang Shelby GT-H or steal parts off of it, but then, why would you need to? The GT-H’s transformation from a regular, V-8–powered Mustang GT includes a Ford Performance cat-back exhaust, a Ford Racing Handling Package (with lowering springs, new dampers, sway bars, and 19-inch staggered-width wheels), and carbon-fiber front and rear spoiler. All of these items are available through Ford’s performance-parts catalog, leaving the paint job, the Shelby hood, and the various Shelby-branded badges and door sill plates as the only GT-H–specific components. And the temptation to put one of these on a race track would be stronger if Ford actually furnished Hertz with today’s track-ready, yowling Shelby GT350. If there’s a race this special-edition Ford will win, it’s the collectibility race. Just 140 GT-Hs will be built and provided to select Hertz locations nationwide starting this Memorial Day, but we expect that, as it did with the 2006 GT-H, Hertz will eventually sell the cars to private owners.

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2016-Ford-Mustang-Shelby-GT-H-REEL
-2016 New York Auto Show Full Coverage

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