HomePick of the DayRent-A-Racer Hertz Mustang SVO in low-mileage survivor condition

Rent-A-Racer Hertz Mustang SVO in low-mileage survivor condition


In 1985, Hertz attempted to reprise its Shelby Mustang GT 350 “Rent-A-Racer” program of the 1960s by purchasing 60 high-performance Ford Mustang SVOs and turning them into rental cars. The SVO was chosen because it was a special sports model and because Shelby Mustangs were no longer being produced.

The Pick of the Day is a 1985 Ford Mustang SVO, one of just four Hertz cars in Sage Green that still exist out of the 10 originally bought by the rental car company.

Bi-level rear spoilers were a signature feature of the SVOs

Mustang’s top model at the time, priced higher than the V8-powered GT, the SVO was an all-out sports coupe with a 2.3-liter turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder engine, linked with a close-ratio 5-speed manual transmission and Traction-Lok rear. Cementing its performance creds, the SVO had the first four-wheel disc brakes on a production model Mustang.

The turbo-4 produced a high-revving 175 horsepower, which might not sound like much these days but was impressive in the mid-80s, especially in such a lightweight coupe.

The turbo-4 engine is a spunky performer

Viewed today as a highly desirable version of a Fox-body Mustang, the SVO was introduced in 1984 to compete with sport coupes from Europe and Japan. The car was set up for enthusiast driving, optimizing driver control for back roads and race tracks, with such tweaks as the gas and brake pedals properly spaced for heel-and-toe downshifts.

Factory equipment includes adjustable Koni rear shocks, leather-wrapped Hertz shifter, an offset hood scoop that feeds the intercooler and a pair of bi-level rear spoilers.

This Hertz Mustang SVO is an “unbelievable, all-original, time capsule” with just 67,648 original miles, according to the Rockville, Maryland, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.

The interior was designed for enthusiast drivers

Besides the SVO performance mods, which include 16-inch wheels, the Mustang is fully equipped with power steering, brakes, locks and mirrors, plus air conditioning, audio system and full factory gauges with an 8,000 rpm tachometer. Documents include an Elite Marti Report of authenticity and a copy of the original window sticker.

The Mustang SVO is an extremely cool sports coupe with a great look and sparkling acceleration and handling.  Like the Hertz Shelby Mustangs of the ’60s, which command a premium as collector cars, the Hertz Mustang SVO is a rare bird that should be recognized as a future classic.

The asking price for this one is modest enough at $19,990.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. My father was working for Hertz in 1985 as a Vehicle Maintenance Manager in Pittsburgh. I wonder if he ever saw this car or any of the other SVO’s pass through his shop?

  2. Ive owned a few SVOs and never heard of Hertz doing this back in the day.
    Id love and take another SVO over a 5.0 anyday

  3. I remember both of Hertz "Rent-A-Racer" Programs. People rented these for one reason only and that was to thrash em. So I hope the owner of this one is not trying to sell this as a gently used car in excellent condition. I remember back in the 60’s, people would rent the Hertz Shelby and then swap out the engine with a stock one and return the car.


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