Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H Convertible

Ford and Carroll Shelby parted ways in the summer of 1969. By the early-1980s, he had teamed up with Dodge. This was at the behest of Lee Iacocca, the man at Ford responsible for the earlier Shelby Mustang, who was now President of Chrysler Corporation. There followed a litany of Chargers, Omnis, Daytonas, Shadows, Spirits, and even a few Lancers, that felt his touch by way of tuning or modified parts. From 1983 to 1989, another series of similar cars was produced at Shelby’s Whittier, California plant and sold under the Shelby name. Shelby was also a consultant on the Dodge Viper development, working with Executive Bob Lutz and Engineering Vice President François Castaing.

In the late-1990s, Shelby built a number of Series 1 roadsters using V-8 engines from the Oldsmobile Aurora. This effort, though sometimes delayed, managed to produce around 250 cars in 1999. Notably, this was the only ground-up performance car Carroll Shelby built. Additionally, they were very impressive automobiles, from their advanced styling to their under-rated engineering, and today, as collector cars, they continue to foster new appreciation amongst collectors.

Ford and Shelby made up in 2003. The first project was a new Cobra concept, shown at various venues. There followed a coupe version, called GR-1, but production never materialized. Then, at the 2005 New York International Auto Show, Ford rolled out a new GT-500 Mustang, along with Shelby himself to introduce it. Powered by a 5.4-liter modular Ford V-8, it became available the following summer. With four-valve heads and an Eaton supercharger, it made 500 brake horsepower, and production, which began in 2007, continues through today, with Shelby American converting those older cars to Super Snakes.

This, in turn, rekindled memories of the GT-350H Shelby Mustang rental car offered by Hertz in 1966. Shelby worked up a prototype for a reprise of that car in the modern idiom. Thus was born the GT-H, a modified Mustang coupe available at select Hertz counters. The engine was a 4.6-liter V-8 with an FR-1 powerpack from Ford Racing Performance Group. Horsepower was now 325, and the car had a custom Shelby hood. Most important, it had the iconic black color with gold racing stripes and the Shelby nameplate on the side. Introduction came at the 2006 New York Auto Show. Just 500 were built, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original GT-350H. A consumer version was produced in 2007 and 2008, with a limited run of just over 7,000. Called the Shelby GT, it used the GT-H engine but has upgraded suspension and the choice of manual or automatic transmission.

The Hertz GT-H coupes were retired at the end of the year. However, a 500-car run of a convertible version followed, prepared at Shelby American in the same fashion as the coupes. This car is the exact prototype for the Hertz GT-H convertible. It was built in 2006 for the start of the program. The remaining cars were all 2007 models. In the iconic gold and black colors, it is in excellent condition throughout. The interior is done in black leather.

Loaded with accessories, it has power steering, power brakes, power windows, and power door locks, as well as air conditioning. The tires are 275/35ZR20 Pirelli P-ZEROs, mounted on American Racing Razor wheels. A roll bar behind the cockpit supports an air dam, for comfort of front seat passengers. It has the requisite Carroll Shelby signatures on the dashboard and on the floor mats, which also bear the 40th Anniversary logo. This car was shown at the New York International Auto Show and driven by Car & Driver radio host Alan Taylor on the Bull Run rally with Shelby test driver Gary Patterson. In a recent conversation, Patterson recounted how much fun was had in the car, stating, “We were pulled over a few times but never arrested.”

Following the race, it became a Shelby executive car and was driven to company events for the media, dealers, and Hertz officials. With 11,905 miles showing, it is essentially a new car. With this outstanding provenance, it is a truly unique and singular example, and we encourage close examination of this unparalleled Shelby.

325 bhp, 280.7 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, five-speed automatic transmission, MacPherson strut independent front suspension, live rear axle with three-link soil spring suspension, and four-wheel power hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 107.1 in.

Part of the RM Auctions event for John Staluppi in December, 2012.

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Teddy Pieper

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