A 1966 Ford Shelby GT350H fastback that was owned and driven by the man himself, Carroll Shelby, will be auctioned without reserve January 18 during Bonhams’ Scottsdale auction.
The no-reserve sale of this iconic piece of Shelby history is a pretty safe bet since it’s about certain to attract a horde of eager bidders to drive up the price.
The GT350H, chassis No. SFM6S707, was originally sold as part of Shelby’s brilliant “Rent-A-Racer” promotional scheme with Hertz rental cars, in which customers could drive off in one of these performance beauties, race it all weekend, then return it to the store, all for a fairly modest price.
The idea was to raise the GT350’s profile while getting drivers hooked on the power and finesse of the Shelby-tuned Mustangs, thus bringing more buyers into the showrooms. This one is somewhat unusual in that it’s not in the Shelby/Hertz colors of black and gold but in the more-typical customer GT350 paint scheme of Wimbleton White with blue stripes.
The car comes to auction directly from the Shelby Automobiles Museum in Las Vegas, where it’s been on display since 2008.
The Shelby was originally rented out by a Hertz dealer in San Diego, California, then purchased by its first owner in September 1967. The car was later passed on to another owner.
“It was the car’s second owner, however, Mike Shoen of Vancouver, Washington, who would bring the GT350 to the next level by outfitting the car with a ’65 GT350 pod with tach and oil-pressure gauge, R-Model apron, valve covers, radiator, roll bar, R-Model wheels and a Berry Plastiglas rear spoiler,” Bonhams says in the catalog description.
“Carroll Shelby must have been very impressed with the car as he would go on to purchase it from Mr. Shoen. The car has remained in the Shelby collection ever since.”
While owned by Carroll Shelby, the GT350 was featured in Petersen’s Complete Ford Book and displayed at the Imperial Palace Automobile Collection in Las Vegas. In 2008, the car was placed in the Shelby museum, and since then has been returned to its original specifications.
The car is powered by the original Shelby-tweaked 289 cid V8 with a single four-barrel Holley carburetor, rated at 306 horsepower and linked with heavy-duty automatic transmission.
While most used cars that were part of rental fleets get dinged in value, the Hertz rental Shelbys are highly coveted and often command a robust value boost because of their historical provenance. But this car also should get quite a celebrity bump having been Carroll Shelby’s own street machine.
For more information about Bonhams’ Arizona sale, visit the auction website.