Shelby has been building limited-edition Ford Mustang rental cars since 1966 with Hertz, but now, the performance brand is partnering with another rental company, Sixt, to launch the latest in a storied line of potent ponies for hire: the 2019 Ford Shelby GT-S Mustang. (The "S," in case you were wondering, stands for "Sixt.")
Like the legendary GT350-H, the Shelby GT-S boasts significant performance credentials. Under the hood sits a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 pushing out more than 600 horsepower (versus the standard V8's 460 horsepower) through a 10-speed automatic transmission. Hauling down the rent-a-pony are model-specific Brembo front brakes, while upgraded suspension, wheels and tires from the Shelby GT help keep the GT-S stuck to the road.
In addition to special "Shelby GT-S" rocker-panel striping and "Sixt Supercharged" badging, the exterior will come in two color schemes: black with orange stripes or orange with black stripes. These livery choices are designed to match the rental company's colors, which are also echoed in the Mustang's interior.
The GT-S will be incredibly rare. Shelby will crank out only 21 units, 20 of which are slated for rental programs which begin this summer in Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas. The 21st car will be owned by Sixt USA CEO Sebastian Birkel.
"I truly hope that the customers will be as excited as we are of that newest addition, and we also hope that it's going to add the necessary adrenaline to what we need in order to fire up our portfolio," Birkel told Roadshow at a Shelby media event on Thursday.
Rental pricing has yet to be announced, but Birkel also told us he doesn't expect a daily rate higher than $200. At the same time, he's cautious to even offer that number due to the mercurial nature of car-rental pricing.
The first run of Shelby Mustangs created a substantial stir back in the 1960s. Shelby built 1,000 units of the Mustang GT350-H to kick off the Hertz "Rent-a-Racer" program. According to the official Hertz blog, the Rent-a-Racer initiative "inspired more customers to rent with Hertz ... while also creating more potential buyers for [the] Shelby Mustang."
Hertz adds that the "program was a huge success for its time, but eventually came to an end after the pattern of vehicle repair expenses became too high," and that, "some renters would take the GT350-H to the race track for a weekend of amateur racing, leaving much to be fixed upon return."
Still, apparently that wasn't enough to end the Shelby-Hertz partnership. Similar programs returned to commemorate the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the Rent-a-Racer program in 2006 and 2016, respectively.
Who knows? If this small-scale Shelby-Sixt program does well, perhaps these 21 specials will be the start of another glorious long-term relationship in rentable racers.