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by Derek Mau

Ford Shelby GT-H
Click on any image to enlarge

Ssshh. Don’t tell my boss, but I can be such an impulse shopper sometimes. Originally, I walked into Hertz with the intent to rent a Ford Mustang. What caught my attention was the black and gold Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H prominently displayed in the front parking lot. “Hmmm, that would be fun to drive.” (Later I would learn what a huge understatement that was)

I timidly asked the lady behind the counter, while crossing my fingers, legs and toes, if the Shelby was available. A few minutes later after checking with a couple of supervisors, the response was “Yes, the Shelby GT-H was available for my rental period. Wow. Somebody was looking out for me that day. I had tried reserving the car on-line, but always got the response “Sold-out this pickup date.” Now I had the opportunity to find out what all the hoopla surrounding the GT-H and a 325 BHP engine built by Carroll Shelby Motors.

Editor's note: The Shelby Mustang GT-H can be built up starting with the Ford Mustang GT. With 325 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, the GT-H boasts a moderate 25-hp, 10-lb-ft improvement over a stock 4.6-liter GT. Under the hood the Shelby GT-H packs a 90mm cold air intake kit, performance oil filter and engine computer recalibration, courtesy of Ford Racing. In fact, with the exception of some cosmetic alterations, all parts necessary to build your own GT-H from a stock GT are available online from Ford Racing: Power Upgrade Package, Handling Package, rear race brake pads and a performance X-pipe.Other go-fast goodies include an upgraded 3.55 axle, faux side air scoops and a very prominent air scoop for the hood.

If you really want a Mustang that packs a whallop, then the Shelby Mustang Cobra GT500 with a 475-horsepower, supercharged, V-8 is your E-ticket for a wild ride.

shift gatePros and Cons

  • Lots of power and torque to play with on the road
  • An engine and exhaust note that sounds like serious business
  • Lots of nice styling queues (outside/inside) from the original ’66 Ford/Shelby/Hertz “Rent-A-Racer”
  • Perfect for a fun weekend getaway car
  • Stiff suspension not good on uneven pavement and rough roads
  • Too much oversteer in slow speed turns
  • Rear end squats and front end feels light under hard acceleration

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics

Immediately upon settling into the driver’s seat I notice the gauge cluster with all the gauges nicely displayed neatly within the driver’s line of sight. Ford’s design engineers did a very good job blending a classic style with modern features. Little things such as the font used for the gauges, the tri-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel and even the tick-tock of the turn signal bring back images of the ’66 Mustang.

CSM serial numberShelby GT-H door sillcockpit view

Driving Impressions

Firing up the motor sends a tingly sensation down my back as I listen to the deep exhaust note. A blip of the throttle hints at the fun hidden underneath the hood. I pull out of the parking lot slow and easy allowing time for the car to warm up gently. After five minutes or so of easy (timid) driving, the GT-H is properly warmed up and ready for action. Stompin’ on the “go” pedal just puts a huge smile on my face. The big solid feel of a muscle car is in total harmony with “bigger than Arnold” V8 engine.

The pleasant surprise is the suspension setup – no crazy swaying when changing lanes quickly and the rear end keeps its place when turning in aggressively. Understeer is relatively mild at mid-level speeds, but progressively becomes worse in turns requiring slower speeds. I did some driving on some tight twisty roads and the car was pushing hard when trying to accelerate out of slow corners. The understeer becomes less noticeable as the corner and exits speeds increase.

The Shelby GT-H is definitely not a luxury or economy car. Road noise and rough pavement could wear a person down on extended road trips. Although, one could fight off the weariness by pressing hard on the accelerator for a few seconds, wake up to the roar of the V8 engine, pass a few cars, and then settle back to a respectable, law-abiding speed. Warning: the power and acceleration can be addictive. Whether it’s from a standing start or from 60 MPH, getting up to 80 – 90 MPH happens all too quickly. I have to keep reminding myself to ease up on the throttle. Otherwise, those pesky flashing red lights might appear in the rear view mirrors.

trunk badgeShelby GT-H

Omigosh! Driving the GT-H was a huge thrill each time I got into the car. Just the experience of getting into the driver’s seat, starting the engine and anticipating the driving experience – all before leaving the parking lot – made me excited as a comic-book fan boy meeting Angelina Jolie for the first time. Leaning hard on the throttle, having the acceleration pressing you back into the seat, and listening to the roar of the engine is purely addictive. My daily driver is a hi-revvin’ 4-cylinder Japanese import. You have to imagine the huge smile on my face each time I felt the torque of a big-block motor pull me away from traffic.

4 / B

Ford Shelby GT-H

Who should rent it?
Be aware that renting the Shelby GT-H is a “pleasure” expense. I might be regulated to testing Honda Civics and Toyota Yaris’ after I submit my expense report, but the fun factor of driving the GT-H is HUGE. If you love driving fast cars or even want to experience something totally different than your daily driver while traveling someday, then renting the GT-H is your ticket. Let’s just hope it doesn’t equal a speeding ticket.


>> We found this promotional video of the Shelby Mustang GT-H in action

>> View more video clips of the Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H in action

>> See all of the Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H photos in our photo gallery

>> Read more Ford Mustang reviews submitted by the CarREVIEW.com community

>> Listed below are links to more Editor reviews (on other sites) about the Ford Shelby Mustang GT-H

Mustang Performance for Rent: Ford, Shelby, Hertz Team Up on Special Shelby GT-H

Edmunds: 2006 Ford Shelby GT-H

Car and Driver: 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-H Rental-Car Challenge

RSPORTCARS.com: specs and wallpapers

How Stuff Works: 2006 Ford Mustang and Ford Shelby GT-H Overview

The Mustang News: Hertz So Good: 2007 Shelby GT-H Convertible debuts at Barrett-Jackson
The Hertz Rent-a-Racer Story Part II

Automobile Magazine: 2007 Ford Shelby GT-H

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