Lisa, also know as Bavarian Missile on the site, recently visited the U.S. and sent us this review. CarAdvice presents, the 2007 Shelby Hertz GT350H.
Forty years ago, Carroll Shelby and The Hertz Corporation came up with a rather ingenious idea to create a set of high-performance, special-edition Shelby Mustangs just for rental customers who also happened to be car enthusiasts. Ford Motor Company, Shelby Automobiles and The Hertz Corporation decided it was time to do it again, and this time, we were keen to get a drive!
I am not one to be fond of anything that comes from the land of the Stars & Stripes. If any of you guys have been here, you would know what I am talking about. Americans aren't famous for making good cars, hell not much at all really.
Except for the stuff that came out in the 70s, just like our homemade muscle cars of the same era, loud in colour and noise, cool and highly collectible. Oh and the GT40 of course, Ford's revenge on Ferrari for not selling out in the fifties. Ford built the GT to win the 24 hour Le Mann's and really stick it up Ferrari, and that they did!
I must say when I first came to the States over 12 years ago I thought the Yanks were 10 years behind us in technology and 20 years ahead in violence, not much has changed, except that Volvos were the nerd car here then with their oversized bumpers (everything has an upgrade here) and a 35 year old housewives and 3 kids in the back seat.
These days, there is not a Volvo to be seen in a supermarket car park, the whole place is full of bloody Priuses! Jeremy was right when Billy Bob took a Bazooka to one in the Arizona Desert (click here to watch that video) and blew it to smithereens.
Enough history, back to the story, after-all, we came here to drive a Shelby Mustang! So we start the day at San Francisco airport, and are dropped of at HERTZ. The cars are all parked out the front, including a Convertible. We get the paper work done and sign all the "you cant sue Hertz for anything, drive at your own risk and any chemicals ingested whilst in California may kill you" forms.
Just when we thought the forms were done, we were met by a large black lady that continued to fill out yet more paper work. She checked the mileage, fuel, scratches ect, nothing new here, then she lifted the bonnet and began ticking boxes on the check sheet.
I guess some people may wish to remove the engine when they rent it so they have an engine security seal, as well as a check box for Shelby engine plate, cold air intake, Shelby dash plate, Door sill plate, and the traction control off switch. I guess there was only 500 of these made for 2007. Hertz expects to sell some of them after their estimated 16,000 miles for around $90,000 USD. The number 1 car off the assembly line was auctioned for $250,000.
Finally we were set to go, and what a beautiful day it was. After the uneasy feeling of driving on the other side of the road and remembering to keep the yellow line on the left of you went away, (harder than you think sometimes), we headed for highway 101...
You quickly learn that Speed limits are not obeyed in the States, we were meant to be doing 55 mph (88km/hr) but after speaking to the people we knew here we fast realised no one followed the speed signs. Simply stay with the flow and should you get booked by a cop, don't worry, there is no point system in California, you just pay the fine and get right back to it.
Think of it this way, this is not a smart car, this is not an advanced car, it's the absolute definition of all things American, rather stupid, yet big and powerful, and it looks it. This is definitely a head turner, even in the States. Hertz recommend we hand wash it. The console lid has a lock on it unlike the BA Falcon's that moves each time you lean on it.
Dash decal is signed and looks budget from Shelby but you feel special thinking this is a Shelby. Seats feel like there out of an XY GT with no side bolster and a head rest that angels into the back of your head so you can't sit back into the seat properly, but they look like they should go with rest of the interior. Made for fat yanks I guess.
The noise is loud, I am not fond of that auto drone you get from a normal V8 with a slow shifting auto, but this is just sooo loud. Transmission flares on hard acceleration. Converter locks between 2500 & 3500 RPM. The transmission really lets the engine down. There is one thing this car shares with the likes of BMW, windows that shut in two stages. First when you shut the door, then as it is frameless, it moves up into the rubber to seal those wind whistles.
Anyone ever heard the noise a 6-litre turbo diesel in a Ford F250 makes? That's the noise this made when you stuck your foot to the floor, nope not that fast we thought, looking at each other. They say it will do a 13.9 1/4 mile, pity we don't have the time to check it out. We turned off highway 101 to take the more scenic route down the coast. Loads of corners so we thought we'd see how it handled compared to the BA GT we have back home.
Overseer was the first thing we came across booting it around corners, we tried the rule we play in Perth, when you see a sign post coming into a corner that recommends a speed, double it! Works if you have a car that handles, but this didn’t. I'd hate to think what it would be like without that massive front swaybar on it, and considering the tyres were no poverty pac rubber option (P ZERO Neros), it was a bit of a handful.
A few hundred miles down the road we came to the bottom of hill looking towards the first straight for some time, all of a sudden, a loud thump, thump, thump could be heard from the rear. I though that maybe we pushed it a little hard through that last section (being chased by a Mini Cooper) and something had let go, I was right, it was a tyre. It was destroyed! I couldn't believe it, only a few hundred miles into the trip and my second flat tyre in 24 years of driving...
Of course the space saver in the boot had never been out! 15 minutes later and with a 50 mph (80km/h) limited wheel on the back right we continued on to Hurst Castle. We stopped the night at Morro Bay with no tyre joints open till the next morning.
In the mean time Brett did a little investigation on the Traction Control button he had read about. There is a little clip that Hertz stick under the switch to stop you disabling the system, for ….obvious reasons. Took the clip out, not that that was much help with a spacer saver on the rear.
Up bright and early to one of the 3 tyre joints in the town to be yet disappointed that no one in town had a tyre like it or even in a similar size. I must say though, Americans in general are a friendly bunch, not too smart but very polite. They did enjoy the close up look of the Shelby, I guess with only 500 around they don’t see that many, got the thumbs up everywhere we went, including the next town down the road, approximately 50 miles away.
We decided to give a local Hertz a go just in case they could swap a tyre from another Stang over to our rim. NOPE! Becoming a little peaved by now, after spending around $600.00 USD for 2 days of assumed fun, it was developing into a nightmare. They did find a similar tyre at yet another joint down the road, so we headed in that direction. Finally, a second hand Pirelli on the rim for $25.00, yep, cheap.
So we had more or less done three quarters of our trip on a space saver and were now heading into the outskirts of Los Angeles and running out of time to get to the Airport that night.
80 miles out and the entire population of L.A was sitting on 80 mph and 4 car lengths from each other. Rather nerve racking, I've got to say. I know I am a control freak normally but I don’t follow people that close doing 130 clicks, its like driving on a 4 car race track trusting everyone around you can drive and stop as well as you. Just as well there 300 million of them there.
It was an interesting trip, disappointing in the fact we couldn’t thrash it as much as we would have hoped, but it is an icon to them. We found out it's not even remotely as good as the Falcon GT and I imagine GM will have a great deal of success with the VE clone Pontiacs here.
Interestingly, the Yanks are still reporting Australian cars as badly built, talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Should Ford Australia export even the current BF it would nail the factory stuff that Ford makes in the States currently, let alone when the new Falcon (Orion) comes out.
At the end of the day, the Shelby was great fun, good pose, but made for straight lines ……….still!