Keeping interest in the Mustang alive
Ford must be crazy, and Hertz Rent-A-Car is insane. In a world gone mad with lawyers and litigation, these two companies announced at the 2006 New York Auto Show that they are teaming up to offer a limited-production run of about 500 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H muscle cars for rent through selected Hertz airport locations. Getting your hands on a Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H isn’t going to be cheap, and the handful likely to survive will probably sell for big bucks after a variety of indifferent drivers and Hertz lot attendants have had their way with them.
What’s the point? Forty years ago, you could walk up to a Hertz counter and rent a Shelby GT350H, take it to the track, run the rubber off the tires, and bring it back. The handful of GT350H’s that didn’t get wrecked are rare and increasing in value. The 2007 version is based on the standard Mustang GT with an automatic transmission, painted black with gold racing stripes like the original GT350H. A Shelby Performance hood with pins, a brushed aluminum grille, a unique front fascia, and body side scoops differentiate the GT-H from a regular GT.
Under the hood, the GT-H gets a Ford Racing Performance Power Pack good for 25 extra horsepower and 10 lb.-ft. of torque. The Power Pack includes a cold air induction kit, a special muffler, and a cat back exhaust system. The GT-H is also equipped with a Ford Racing Performance Handling Pack including lowered springs, revised shocks, bigger anti-sway bars, a strut-tower brace, and a 3.55 rear axle ratio for improved off-the-line performance. The rent-a-racer rides on stock 17-inch Mustang GT wheels equipped with P235/55R17 Z-rated tires. The 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H will be available in larger cities around the country and in Hawaii later this year. Contact Hertz for reservations.
Also recently announced were two other special-edition Mustangs. The 2007 Ford Mustang GT/CS is a modern interpretation of the classic 1968 Mustang “California Special,” and it arrives late this summer as a $1,895 option package available in five colors. Highlights of this special “feature car” include restyled front and rear fascias, side scoops, a unique bodyside racing stripe, and chrome rolled-tip exhaust outlets. Ford fits polished 18-inch wheels to the 2007 Ford Mustang GT/CS, and if you order the optional GT Appearance Package, you’ll get a hood scoop, too. Inside, there’s plenty of aluminum and chrome accent trim, black leather seats with Dove or Parchment GT/CS inserts, and embroidered floor mats. And finally, under the hood, there’s a special engine cover that Ford says gives the car a custom appearance.
The 2007 Ford Mustang GT/CS doesn’t get any engine or suspension modifications, but Ford reminds buyers that Ford Racing Performance offers a variety of aftermarket equipment designed to improve the Mustang’s power and handling. The GT/CS will be available as a coupe or convertible in Redfire Metallic, Performance White, Vista Blue Metallic, and Black. A Valencia Yellow will be added to the product mix after the car arrives.
The other special-edition Mustang is the Stampede Edition, on sale now but only in Oklahoma and Texas. Ford is building just 500 examples of this car, which gets unique stripes, painted 17-inch wheels, and chrome Pony spinner caps. There’s also a chrome Pony grille with fog lights, chrome exhaust tip, a rear spoiler, and special badges. Inside, there’s a distinctive brushed chrome script on the floor mats, and a serialized badge.
Obviously, Ford gets it. To sustain interest in a two-door sport coupe or convertible like the Mustang, even one with such a loyal and fanatic following, special-edition models like these are almost a requirement. In 2006, Ford brought back the popular Pony Package for the Mustang V6 and announced a new pavement killer called the Shelby Cobra GT500. This year, it’s a return of the Rent-A-Racer and California Special. Wonder if we’ll be seeing a new Boss, Bullitt, or Mach 1 in 2008?
Photos by Ron Perry