Ford chose the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach auction as the venue at which to reveal the Shelby GT-H Convertible to the public. The car was driven onstage while draped in a blue, Ford-emblazoned cover and surrounded by a team of Ford and/or Shelby employees (including Shelby Automobiles president, Amy Boylan) dressed in matching bowling shirts. Ford's Mark Fields, a Barrett-Jackson fixture the last couple of years, orchestrated the formal unveiling from the auctioneer's stand, which culminated with Carroll Shelby popping out of the car's passenger door and ambling up to the stand to join Fields and the other B-J dignitaries for the auction of the car.
As for the car itself, it's basically the mechanical twin of the GT-H coupe, with 319 willing horses ready to go under its bulging, pinned-down hood. Changes for the convertible, aside from the obvious folding top, include a rollbar and black-painted "Bullitt"-style wheels, as first seen on the black Shelby GT customer cars. Other features are carried over from the GT-H coupe, such as the the black-and-gold paint/stripe scheme, Hertz badging on the front fenders, horizontally-slatted aluminum grille, and an automatic transmission. As was the case with the closed-roof GT-H, only 500 will be built. The 499 rental units will be auctioned away after their stints at Hertz outlets come to an end.
Car #001 ultimately sold to collector Ron Pratte for $250,000, the proceeds of which will go to the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF). As is his wont, Mark Fields paused the auction so that he could sweeten the pot and add extra goodies to drive up the car's sale price. These included a one-off Shelby GT-H Fender Stratocaster from the Fender Custom Shop (see it in the gallery), vehicle delivery at Shelby's Las Vegas facility, and the shirt off his back (literally). We're hoping Ford brings the droptop Rent-A-Racer to New York with the GT500KR next week so that we can get a good look at it in person.
Press release after the jump.
[Source: Ford, SPEED TV]
FORD, SHELBY AND HERTZ TEAM UP FOR SHELBY GT-H "RENT A RACER" CONVERTIBLE
* New Shelby GT-H is the first convertible in the history of Shelby/Hertz "Rent-A-Racer" program
* 500 convertibles will be available for rent through the Hertz Fun Collection at select airport locations
* Shelby GT-H packs Ford Racing performance and handling parts in the classic Black & Gold Hertz livery
* The convertible GT-H makes a live debut during the Barrett-Jackson Auction on SPEED on March 31, as CS VIN #001 is sold for $250,000, benefiting the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation
Palm Beach, Fla., March 31, 2007 – Lightning has struck again, the Ford Shelby GT-H "Rent-A-Racer" program from Ford Motor Company, Shelby Automobiles and The Hertz Corporation has returned with a special run of convertible versions of the performance-modified Ford Mustang GTs for rent exclusively through Hertz. Unveiled and sold for $250,000 on the block at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in West Palm Beach, Fla., the companies announced that approximately 500 convertibles, a first for the GT-H program, will be available through the Hertz Fun Collection at select airport locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Hawaii, later this year. Proceeds of the sale will benefit the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation.
The Shelby GT-H Mustang program was launched in 2006 to commemorate a plan by Carroll Shelby and The Hertz Corporation in 1966 to help put high-performance, special-edition Shelby Mustang coupes into the hands of racing enthusiast-minded rental customers. Ford supplied the new Mustangs with V-8 engines and automatic transmissions while Shelby added extra performance and style. Hertz gave the public access to a unique driving experience. Those Shelby GT-H Mustang coupes are being retired from the fleet, and are in the process of being auctioned off to Ford dealers. Some of the early GT-H coupes to reach auction have achieved impressively high prices – in the range of $60,000-$90,000 – which underscores the desirability of the Shelby GT-H program.
The program was so popular that Shelby, Ford and Hertz have again teamed up to create the first Shelby GT-H Mustang convertibles. The 500 cars will be built at Shelby Auto's facility in Las Vegas for delivery to Hertz.
"The Ford Shelby GT-H was so much fun to drive that people literally begged us for more," said Carroll Shelby, CEO of Shelby Automobiles, Inc. "The Mustang program never stands still, so we created a Ford Shelby GT-H convertible that gives people another unique driving experience. It's a genuine American pony car that delivers open air motoring."
Hertz Fun Collection
Highlighting its position as a leader at U.S. airports in the leisure car rental market, Hertz's Fun Collection features vehicles tailor-made for travelers seeking exciting driving experiences. The Fun Collection, with cars that can be reserved by specific make and model, adds more entertainment to the driving experience as each car comes equipped with SIRIUS (Nasdaq: SIRI)* Satellite Radio.
The 2008 Ford Shelby GT-H Mustang convertible will be available at select airport locations that feature the Hertz Fun Collection including Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco, California; Denver, Colorado; Maui and Honolulu, Hawaii, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
"We're excited to be offering a special edition Shelby GT-H Mustang convertible," commented Joe Nothwang, Executive Vice President and President of the Americas and Pacific for Hertz. "Customer reaction to last year's Shelby GT-H Mustang was so positive that we felt it only natural to offer yet another exclusive car through Hertz's Fun Collection. Once again, customers can experience the thrill of renting a high-performance car that provides the utmost in driving experiences while adding a splash of fun with its open roof capabilities."
Consumers can check-out the Shelby GT-H convertible which will be on display in the SIRIUS booth, booth CP-9 (Crystal Palace 9), at the New York International Auto Show April 6 – 15, 2007.
With the addition of the Shelby GT-H Mustang Convertible, Hertz now offers 14 Fun Collection cars that can be specifically reserved. More than 40,000 Fun Collection vehicles are available at approximately 20 major airport locations in the United States.
Like its 2006 Shelby GT-H Mustang coupe, the 2008 convertible will be instantly recognizable. Clad in black exterior paint set off with gold " Le Mans" dual racing stripes and "Shelby GT-H" rocker stripes, each will wear a Hertz Edition emblem on the front fenders and feature Hertz Shelby GT-H sill plates. A numbered dash badge with Carroll Shelby's signature will be inside the cockpit.
The Shelby GT-H Mustang convertible will be fitted with a unique hood with pins and a brushed aluminum grille with running horse emblem. A unique front fascia with integrated lower grille, as well as a set of body side scoops will be incorporated. The GT-H's 18-inch black aluminum wheels will be shod with P235/55ZR18 performance rubber. To give the car additional stiffness, a stylish light bar and supplemental bracing will also be added to the convertible.
Ford Racing Performance Group's Power Pack (FR1) will kick up the 4.6L V-8/Five-speed automatic transmission powertrain to 319 horsepower. To put that extra power to the ground, the Ford Shelby GT-H will feature the Ford Racing Handling Pack (FR3) including special-tuned dampers, lowering springs, sway bars and a strut tower brace – plus a 3.55: 1 ratio rear axle assembly for extra off-the-line acceleration.
"Any Mustang touched by Carroll Shelby has a head start on becoming a legend, and a highly desirable collectible, but they're all designed to be seen, heard and driven hard" said Cisco Codina, group vice president, Ford North America Marketing, Sales and Service. "That's why demand is so high in our showrooms, and on the auction block."
With total production expected to number only 500 units exclusively for Hertz rental fleets, this special-edition Shelby GT-H Mustang convertible will give Hertz customers a truly exclusive driving experience.
"This GT-H project was a tremendous success and demand for the sexy pony car led Shelby Autos and Ford to offer a retail version to the public," said Amy Boylan, president, Shelby Automobiles Inc. "Working together with Ford and Hertz, we look forward to creating history with the first Shelby GT-H Mustang convertible. This car will deliver the looks and performance expected of a high-performance Shelby-ized Ford Mustang. It will give Hertz customers the opportunity to enjoy a rare muscle car with real top-down driving excitement."
Hertz Fun Collection
The Hertz Fun Collection features convertibles including the Ford Mustang, Mazda Miata, Toyota Solara, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chrysler Crossfire and Nissan 350Z; coupes/roadsters including Ford Mustang (hard-top), Chrysler Crossfire, and Nissan 350Z; and SUVs such as the Ford Edge AWD, Jeep Wrangler, and Hummer H3. For Shelby GT-H or other Hertz Fun Collection reservations, or to see which vehicles are available, visit www.hertz.com. The Hertz Fun Collection may also be reserved through travel agents or by calling the Hertz toll-free at 1-800-654-3131.
About Shelby Automobiles, Inc.
Founded by legend Carroll Shelby, Shelby Automobiles, Inc., manufactures and markets performance vehicles and related products. The company manufactures authentic continuation Cobras, including the 427 S/C, 289 FIA and 289 street car component vehicles. In 2007, the company partnered with Ford Motor Company to launch the new Shelby GT, which is based on the Mustang. For more information about Shelby Automobiles and to see the build of a 2008 Shelby GT500KR, visit www.shelbyautos.com.
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With more than 280,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Aston Martin and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.
* SIRIUS is a registered trademark of SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Inc.