Carroll Shelby’s Shelby GT350H

Knotty Nawadhinsukh Words by Knotty Nawadhinsukh
Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue instead of the GT350H's usual Black with Gold

A Shelby GT350 with an “H” designation, which stood for Hertz Rent-a-Car, has always proved to be quite a popular variant of the very first generation of the Ford Mustang among American musclecars enthusiasts. Built in 1966, it was one of the many of Carroll Shelby’s promotion campaigns to publicise his relationship with Ford on the performance side as well as to exemplify Shelby’s own racing successes during the most part of the 1960s. The late charismatic Texan racer and racing car builder had the idea of building around a thousand of them fitted with the powerful 289 cubic inches Ford V8 that had over 300 horsepower on tap. This was thanks in part to the Shelby signature touches of how to make a car go faster by installing “hi-riser” intake manifold with Tri-Y headers and then painting nearly all of them distinctively in black with twin gold Le Mans racing stripes across the top.

Rear quarter-panel windows were new for 1966, replacing the previous multiple vents, including scoops to cool rear brakes

Officially known as the Shelby GT350H, they were then made available to the public through Hertz rental car program called Rent-a-Racer (in which Ford already had a share in the company). Back then, anyone with a proper driving license can walk in, pay the fee and drive away what is essentially a race-spec sports car for use during the weekend if he or she wanted to. Aside from the engine mods the GT350H had larger drum brakes fitted in the rear, while the front had Kelsey-Hayes-sourced discs.

chassis number SFM6S707 had one interesting owner...

There had been stories told over the years that there were cases of stock Ford Mustang owners at the time who came up with the bright idea of renting several of these GT350Hs and swapping the Shelby-modded engine with their less powerful K-Code V8 (which had only 271 horsepower) before they returned them back—none the wiser. Whether how true these tales of misdeeds were, would be something that can be talked about again at another time. Because on the 18th this January, one of the stars at the first sale of 2018 for Bonhams in Scottsdale, Arizona is a special 1966 Shelby GT350H with a history that is very much intacted with its own unique provenance.

289ci Ford V8 delivers 306 horsepower, thanks to Shelby

Sold without reserve, this GT350H retains a rarer Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue paint scheme as it came out rather than the black with gold that is usually associated with the Hertz Rent-a-Racer. Aside from the colours this Shelby, chassis number SFM6S707, has the later 3-Speed automatic transmission and was upgraded in the beginning with chrome Magnum wheels, radio and a brake booster before being sent as another one of Hertz’s fleet. After its rental duties, the car was subsequent sold off and changed hands twice, where there was an addition of a tachometer and oil pressure gauge pod and R-Model style apron, valve covers, radiator, roll bar, wheels and a Berry Plastiglas rear spoiler by its second owner.

Three-speed auto shifter was a later option

However, what would overshadow over all of these modifications during the early beginnings of its life (the car has since returned to original specifications, by the way) and make the sale all the more interesting would be because Carroll Shelby himself was in fact the third owner of SFM6S707. Perhaps the car may have been in such a beautiful condition and was so appealing to the man who made it, that he may have thought it would be best to purchase it as part of his personal collection, where it had been displayed at Shelby Automobiles in Las Vegas for the last decade.

Didn't get the Paul Newman's Paul Newman? Maybe you can have a go at the Shelby's Shelby...

Maybe similar to Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Rolex Daytona that was sold last October, a “Carroll Shelby’s Shelby” could turn out to be another unprecedented record for a GT350H when it goes under the hammer. We anticipate that there could be a mad scramble for it in Arizona.

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