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by Twain



Introduction
In 1966, Ford/Shelby worked out a deal with Hertz to rent a special weekend racer edition. 40 years later, they decided to do it again. Since I was born in 1966 I always wanted a mustang of that era. Driving this commemorative edition turned out to be a special thrill that didn't disappoint.
Pros and Cons
  • Outrageous power
  • Bullet proof feel
  • Surprisingly comfortable daily driver
  • Power (and noise) will get you in trouble
  • Vague front steering feedback
  • Cheap interior pieces
Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H

Click on any image to enlarge

Driving Impressions
When Derek told me he got the Shelby, I was excited. When I saw the car for the first time, I was REALLY excited. When I did the first burnout, my hands were sweating and heart was racing. Two hours later, even after turning the car back in, I was still grinning stupidly.

Build
This car can only be found at Hertz rentals. This one was definitely well used; it had over 20,000 miles on it. The wires for the tie-down hooks on the hood already had signs of rust and the air damn and rear bumper were already scratched. The trunk carpet was flopping forward off the rear seat area. And when driving, occasionally, noises would thump through from the solid rear axle. This being said, the car felt bullet proof and solid, as if the minor trim pieces didn’t really matter.


Ford Racing CAIfront seatback seat

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The interior had good points and low points. The rear seats fold down to open up to the reasonably spacious trunk. However the rear seats, while comfortable for your tush offer little foot/leg room. I am 5’11 and my head hit the ceiling while seated in the back. Up front, the leather seat was very comfortable and controls fell easily to reach. However, the seat had a manual ratchet recline with power up/down/back/forward. Wish the recline was power. The passenger side was all manual. Leg room was excellent and should accommodate a 6’4’’+ person. Gauges were retro but legible and the turn signal had a similarly retro sound. Head room was decent but it would be nice to have a sunroof to let more light in. The door panels were cheap plastic; definitely a detraction. The view over the bulged hood made it seem as if you were looking up and over; very difficult to see where the true front of the car is. Nice thick leather steering wheel. There was plenty of “hip room”; you can splay your legs out comfortably for long cruises. This is a much more livable car than say a Nissan 350z or Honda S2000—where you have to plop down into the cockpit. The Mustang lets you relax and enjoy the drive.

Performance
This car hauls butt with 325HP and 330 lbs. of torque. Holding the brake and flooring it provided effortless wheelspin. Turning from a 90 degree turn under full throttle also provoked a nice tail-out. But what’s amazing is the mid-range punch. From 30-100, the speed builds and builds. You come up on slower cars with frightening velocity and an awesome exhaust/engine note. Once you back off, though, it burbles pleasantly. Brakes seemed sufficient though the ABS was a bit soft on dirt roads.

Handling
Compared to my Audi A6, the Shelby was much jouncier on the freeway. It bobbed up fore and aft like a boat at 60+. This being said, after a few miles, you get used to it. The magnificent engine and stirring exhaust note made it fun to goose through traffic. Turns weren’t quite as great; the front end lacks steering feel and seems to float. You can’t get a good sense of how close you are to the limit—and it’s a bit unnerving to think about pushing the “loud” pedal too hard. The ride was plush despite the bobbing and, at the end of the ride, felt fairly comfortable. This could easily be a daily driver.

Ford Shelby MustangStyling
The car looks fairly menacing in black with gold stripes. Wheels aren’t too obnoxious; Ford did a smart job by putting on 235/55/17’s on torque-thrust wheels--the relatively tall sidewalls mean reduced curb scratches and a smooth ride. The hood and air dam look fantastic. The car definitely does its heritage proud. Only exception are its slightly lumpy rear quarters. Interior treatment continues the retro theme; all black with green dash lighting and retro looking shift lever.

Value
If you want a very fast 2-person thrill machine, it’s hard to beat this car. It’s a sports car for sure, but it’s surprisingly comfortable to drive. When you want noise and power, just floor it. When you want to cruise along, just crank the AC and let the 5spd overdrive automatic quietly motor along. Amazingly, we averaged 18 mpg, despite flooring it at every occasion which means it’s not that silly to own after all. For around $30k, this is a sweet ride.

Conclusion
This was a surprising car. Evil and loud at whim but amazingly docile and livable when cruising around. It's a tremendously fun car that returns acceptable gas mileage, even with fantastic acceleration.

Build
Interior
Performance
Handling
Styling
Value
Overall
Rating
3.5
3.5
5
3
4.5
5
4 / B

Who should buy it?
Buy this car if you have a commute with plenty of freeway and if you can afford a few tickets!.It will definitely wake you up on your morning commute more than a Starbucks coffee!

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