Rent-A-Racer: 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz

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The best known Hertz Shelbys were the 1966 models. It’s less well known that Hertz ordered Shelby GT350s for their rental fleet at least through 1968. This modified 1968 Hertz GT350 is said to be a barn find and can be found here on eBay in Littleton, Colorado with a Buy It Now price of $55,000 with the option to make an offer.

These 1968 Hertz GT350s had special markings that identified them as GT350s, but they did not have special Shelby engines installed at the Shelby facility in California. By this time, Shelby GT350 production had been moved to a firm in Michigan that did the conversions under contract, and the cars used standard J-code 302 V8s with 250 HP, although a Paxton supercharger was an option. Some sources say that all of the Hertz cars had automatic transmissions and that all or most also had power steering/brakes and A/C to better serve the rental market. The seller says that this car may have a 289 Hi Po engine block with 302 parts inside, but we would want some confirmation of that through the block markings.

According to the seller, this car has been modified for racing, and has a standard transmission, roll bar, 9 inch rear end, and changes in some suspension parts. The racing history of the car is not known, but the wide rear tires and traction bars suggest drag racing, although the seller believes that the car was used in track racing.

At the price asked it is important to know what you are getting, and this car appears to have the credentials. The VIN tag has a faded but correct Shelby Cobra logos and shows that the car is a genuine Shelby fastback 2+2 with 302 V8 with 4-barrel carb. A Mustang decoder website indicates that this car is the 10th Shelby unit in that model year. One of the tag rivets has been removed and the Shelby tag has been rotated to reveal the VIN stamped into the chassis. The stamped VIN matches the VIN on the Shelby VIN tag, so it appears that the car is genuine.

These 1968 GT350 Hertz cars are rare – only 224 were produced – but they don’t command the high prices of the early GT350s, perhaps because by 1968 the glory days of racing for the GT350 were in the past and the car had grown large and bloated with convenience features. But that doesn’t change the fact that these are rare cars and that they look terrific. Perhaps this Shelby Hertz could be bought a little lower than the asking price and turned into one cool rent-a-racer. What do you think it’s worth?

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  1. Bob Denton

    Whenever it comes to so called original Shelby cars, it’s buyer beware. Most are fake. Most of the Hertz cars, and there were not that many, got their Shelby engines swapped out very early on. People would rent them and swap out the engine and return them. I wouldn’t touch this one with a ten foot pole, as they say. Just a hunch.

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  2. Jeff

    Correct me if I’m wrong, 289 hipo’s were 271 hp. The Shelby ones were 305 hp 289’s. A 302 in 68′ is news to me. Thought 69′ was the first year. Wasn’t a solid lifter cam used?

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    • Todd Gregory

      289 HiPo K-code was available 1965-1967. 271 hp from Ford upgraded to 306 hp in a Shelby. In 1968 Ford switched to the 250 hp 302 and Shelby didn’t touch it. In 1969, Shelby was through and all GT350 fastbacks were ’69 Mach 1s with the all new 351 Windsor 4 bbl. In 1970 Ford went with a standard 351 Cleveland but all ’70 Shelbys were leftover ’69s with new vin and styling add ons so they still had Windsors rated at 290 hp.

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      • Dave @ OldSchool

        ” Shelby didn’t touch it ” …. the 351 motor couldn’t race in Trans Am , because the limit was 5.0 , which is why both Chevv and Ford built the 302’s
        By 68/69 everyone lied about hp because of the insurance companies, and the 302’s were way underated on the sticker

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    • David Montgomery

      You are correct about the 289 hipo’s 271 hp rating. The Shelbys had a different cam and intake manifold to produce 306 hp. The 302 engine did indeed appear in 1968. You may be thinking of the “Boss 302”, that made it’s debut in 1969. It was a 302 modified to accept 351 Cleveland heads, and a special intake. It was rated at a ridiculously low 290 hp, (probably for insurance purposes), and was a healthy performer, but would lose in a drag race with an earlier GT 350 simply because of the weight difference

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  3. Bob Denton

    As I said, most are fakes. I rest my case.

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  4. Bob Denton

    With a $55,000 buy it now, I think the seller suspects it’s a fake also.

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  5. Mark

    All 68 GT 350s were J code four barrel 302s, The same that came in Cougars and regular Mustangs, they were dressed in Shelby valve covers, air cleaner and intake.

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  6. Dave @ OldSchool

    All the ones I remember were black with gold trim and had GT350H markings .. not GT350 ..

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  7. Jesse

    Like this one Dave?

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  8. Bob Denton

    and I don’t think I saw anything other than a convertible with a big ass Targa bar.

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  9. Ricky Lawrence

    The 68 mustangs did come from the factory with a 302 engine. I know because my first car was a 68 mustang with a 302 4 barrel and I was the second owner. I had the build sheet,that I found under the back seat.

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  10. Jeff

    @Bob, I think ur talkin’ abt the 68/69′ GT500. I heard/read somewhere that 67′ was the last year of a true Shelby (Shelby input). Ford then bought the rights from him to use his name after that. After Shelby Ford started putting in 428’s.

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  11. DolphinAuthor

    Dave @ OldSchool:
    You are thinking of the *1966* Hertz GT350s. They were all black with gold. The 1968 GT350 Hertz cars came in many different colors including red, green, and other colors, but I have yet to find a photo of a 1968 GT350 Hertz in black. That’s not to say they do not exist, but I have not found one.

    Some discussion says that the 1968 Hertz cars did not have the H designation either.
    Have a look here:

    Here’s another non-black 1968 Hertz Shelby that was auctioned:

    I don’t know why the switch to varied colors (“Any color as long as it’s not black”?).

    As a guess, it might be that Hertz wanted bright colors to attract rental customers. They bought them to rent out, after all.

    Also, we know that Shelby was not too involved in producing the 1968 Shelbys and that production was contracted out. So it could be that someone other than C. Shelby had to make a decision about colors and said “Lets have some red ones, and some green ones, and….”. It could have been that arbitrary. After all, the Shelby model GT350 was so named because the distance between Shelby’s race shop and Shelby’s production shop was 350 feet!

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  12. Richard

    This car was definitely used for racing…..I’m wondering if anybody else noticed the opened up and widened fenderwells, meaning you’re already looking at replacing the front fenders and rear quarters before you even start digging into the car to see what else is wrong. As for engine availability, early ’68 Mustangs had the 289 (I have a friend with a ’68 coupe so equipped), later ones had the 302 (but all Shelby GT350s had the 302). GT500s started life with dual-quad 428 Police Interceptor engines in 1967, went to a single 4V 428 in early 1968, then moved to the 428 Cobra Jet for the KR version in late ’68. 1969 was the first year for the 351W engine in the GT350.

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  13. paul

    The J code 302 is correct for the 68 gt350. 1967 was the last year for the hi po 289. although the 289 was still available in 2 barrel,

    T = 200 1 V 6 cylinder
    C = 289 2 V
    A = 289 4 V
    J = 302 4 V (1968 Mustang only)
    K = 289 4 V high performance (1967 Mustang only)
    S = 390 4 V
    X = 390 2 V (experimental 1967 Mustang only)
    Y = 390 2 V (1968 Mustang only)
    W = 427 4 V (1968 Mustang only)
    Q = 428 4 V CJ (1968 Mustang only)

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  14. paul

    also 1966 Hertz models were built mostly in black but they also came in Wimbledon White, Sapphire Blue, Candyapple Red as well as Emerald Green.. the Hertz models also built in 1967 and 1968.

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  15. Stuart

    Hey ! In the background, it must be the last remaining first-generation T-bird that hasn`t been sold at Barrett-jackson.

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  16. Cobra Jet

    Note that within the Seller’s listing, he does state that this supposed Shelby is listed in the Shelby Registry.

    My guess is, that if it’s truly registered within the coveted Shelby Registry, that it’s not a “fake”. You would think the Registry folks would verify that any Shelby listed and/or registered within the Shelby Registry is confirmed, verified and in fact 100% genuine based on any historical manufacturing history/docs, etc.

    I’m curious as well with the low Buy it Now price of only $55k. Granted, the car is not in perfect condition – as noted, there is sheet metal “damage” due to someone opening up the front and rear wheel well arches – which the only fix is a tedious effort to replace rear 1/4 panel sheet metal and pull off existing front fenders to replace w/ used, reproductions or possibly NOS (if found). The interior also needs restoration and from what is seen from the chassis & engine bay pics, again, restoration is needed as well to bring the car up to either show quality and/or “showroom new”. There are parts missing, quite a few areas that have been modified, etc – not 100% ideal type of collector car for those who want to “go-n-show”. Not saying it can’t be driven/shown “as is”, however, most Shelby Enthusiasts are looking for a car that needs minimal work, may take trophies and one that has some type of confirmed history (if in fact a genuine “raced” Shelby).

    For anyone serious about buying – the car should still retain the matching windshield VIN tag and also the driver’s side door data plate w/ corresponding VIN as well (as well as other locations on the car having either full or half VIN as well). Engine block should also have partial VIN (if original to vehicle). Be sure to research thoroughly.

    I’d definitely contact the Shelby Registry or go on one of the Shelby Forums to ask more questions about this specific Shelby. Also note, this car has been listed more than once on eBay – without a sale – kind of puzzling too, as normally Shelby’s within fair to reasonable prices normally sell rather quick to collectors seeking a good candidate. But again, it could be the work/$$$/time needed to restore that is not only keeping the price down, but also keeping potential buyers from parting with their cash.

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  17. Chuck Luebke

    Hey folks, it is just a Mustang, rode hard and put away wet. Not my cup to $50k tea for sure!

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  18. paul

    the price is about right for a 68 gt350 in this condition. gt350s usually go for much less than gt500s for 68.

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  19. DolphinAuthor

    Starting bid set at $53K.
    No bids.

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  20. Aidan

    Dolphin,Keep it up making these Great finds!

    For Now

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  21. Grid

    It’s been almost 50 years since I was in Hertz management, but if I remember, all but one or two Hs were automatics. The Sports Car Club made drivers take a special test (that may have been a sales gimmick) and the cars rented for, if I remember, a wallet-emptying $25 a day. At the counter, the customers were “qualified” beyond the paperwork. The cars did not go out to scruffy looking people, meaning that unless there is engine-number proof, the Shelbys retained their original engines when they were sold back to FoMoCo.I hardly think Ford would take back one of their cars with a look-alike engine. It would be far cheaper to copy the Shelby specs than deal with a felony theft conviction at the Brooks Brothers level. I believe the first Shelbys were “guaranteed buy-back cars,” and because of their heritage, came in black and gold. Again, only a couple came in white and blue. As far as subsequent Shelbys, we started branching out into a variety of sports cars: Shelbys, AMXs, Cougar XR7-Gs, Chargers, etc. All were corporate leases, some for 4-6 months, some for a year. We got the colors the manufacturers put on their cars. Funny…I split ’68 between an orange AMX that burned points consistently, and a Shelby that I can distinctly remember as not having an H decal any longer, that had a marvelous exhaust note, that had an aerated seating system and A/C (actually it was a small luxury car with scoops) but to save my life I can’t remember the color! About that same time the cost of the lease to us plus the cost of maintaining high-test fuel tanks for those cars were identified as having a seriously negative impact of the bottom line, and were phased out pretty quickly. That was okay by me, as I have a Grand Marquis tush anyway, and drove one of those until we were renting so many cars I was relegated to a Pinto with one functioning wiper. How the mighty have fallen…

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