and a 600+ HP RENT – A – RACERer… CAR

First impression:  Doug Stokes

Photos: courtesy Shelby American

The ages-old conundrum that was once pondered and argued endlessly (you know … the one about how many angels would be able to dance on the head of a pin) was renewed and updated just the other at the Shelby American offices in Carson where motorjournalism’s elite* were as assembled to see (at least) half a dozen new Shelby-badged automobiles (and all with Ford Motor Company birth certificates).

The array of Shelby’s was broad and frankly pretty damn beastly when came to performance numbers. None were designed nor destined for anything but world domination and all looked to have a very good chance to apply that trait on the street, the drag strip, the road course, or at the biggest darn “Coffee and Cars”** sort of pump-up one can locate.

We saw (at least) one each of the following (please note that all prices are very clearly marked: “starting from”).***

  • SHELBY F-150 (supercharged 755hp $109K)
  • SHELBY F-150 SUPER SNAKE (supercharged 755hp $105K)
  • SHELBY F-150 RAPTOR (535hp $117K)
  • SHELBY (MUSTANG) GT (480hp $61K)
  • SHELBY (MUSTANG) SUPER SNAKE (supercharged 700+hp $113K)
  • SHELBY (MUSTANG) WIDE BODY ($19,995) CONVERSION(this requires an ’05 or newer automobile to convert)

And then came the big news:

The international car rental company SIXT announced that it would be deploying 22 Shelby GT-S model Mustangs at “selected” (Southern California, South Florida, and Vegas for three) rental locations in the coming months. That’s 132,000 horsepower that will be decimating a lot of tire rubber in fine fashion one day at a time very shortly.

These GT’s are special versions built the specifications of the multi-national car rental giant with 2,200 locations in 105 countries across the globe. The bodywork is listed as “proprietary” (you can’t buy it) with many of the other features, such as the wheels, being unique to the SIXT rental car model.

With the kind of history that Shelby cars have rolled up since that first spindly AC Ace was stuffed full of a 260 Ford V8 in 1961, it is pre-certain that these first 22 rental cars will have been spoken-for long before they come out of service. Fully assuring that is the fact that each of the 22 will be anointed with a unique Shelby serial number and be included in the official “good book” of the movement: The Shelby Registry.

Déjà vu? As many more mature enthusiasts know, Shelby American actually built cars for the rental business once before back in 1965-66.  Hertz offered a “GT350H”Mustang model that had (almost) all of the hard-core go-fast stuff that the winning 350GT racing model had.

They bought 1,001 of them, and, if you were +25 you could be styling around town in a rock-solid Shelby “racer” for $17 a day and 17 cents a mile.

Many of the H-models (for “Hertz” natch) were rented be “enthusiasts” for short trips (like a quarter of a mile down the drag strip, or a couple of dozen miles around Riverside or Bridgehampton.

Today units in good condition regularly change hands for well over $100K, and somehow (… hmmm) it just seems like there are a few more than the original 1,001 350H’s out there now.

… Carroll Shelby, the failed poultry farmer from Texas, the racing driver with the bad heart, and finally the creator of a whole world of testosterone-fueled automotive wonderment that has no other purpose but to excite and thrill every time every machine is kicked over has made a mark that continues to this day.

My book says here’s not another name in the hot car business (save Ferrari) that matches the truth (and the legends) as well as Shelby. His legacy is very well-kept here and very alive. – DS

WHERE ELSE:  www.shelby.com

*How we got in is still a mystery, but we did, that’s the good part.

** I know, it’s the other way around, but I think that some smart ass has trademarked that name and LACar’s legal slush fund is at a pretty low ebb right now, so we’ll just go with a wink and a nod here …

***Which is official automotive brochure code for: “If you have to ask…”