The SHELBY AMERICAN
In 1968, Carroll Shelby was
poking around for new projects that
would allow his company put to use
the experience they gained building
and racing Cobras and guiding
Ford’s GT40 program from teething
in 1965 to victory at LeMans in
1966 and 1967. His Trans-Am team
won the championship in 1967 and
in 1968 he stuck his toe in the Can-
Am pool, and even built an turbine-
powered Indianapolis racer. When
he heard that Toyota was building
a sports coupe that they intended to
export into the US in 1967, Shelby
contacted them and convinced them
that he could turn their Toyota
2000GTs into winners in SCCA rac-
ing in the hotly contested C/Produc-
tion class which was dominated by
Porsches and Triumph TR4s.
Even though the Shelby-prepared cars won their first races, the 2000GT street cars were on the expensive
side and the car was ahead of its time. Toyota only built 351 cars and of that number they only exported 62 cars
into the U.S. before they ceased production in 1970. That decision would come back to haunt them when they lost
that potential market to Datsun when the new 240Zs were brought into the U.S. in 1970. Because of their low
price, sold like hotcakes. The cars dominated SCCA’s C/Production class for the next ten years.
Did Shelby jump from Toyota in 1968 to Honda in 1969 when the company predominantly known for motor-
cycles started building mini-compact cars to export to the U.S.? They were powered by 600cc engines, only slightly
larger than the biggest Honda motorcycles, and they were said to get upwards of 40 mpg – back when American
manufacturers bragged when their cars got 15 mpg.
Rumor has it that Shelby was sent a prototype Honda 600 which was immediately painted blue and given
white LeMans and rocker panel stripes with “GT600” designations. Between 1970 and 1972, 40,568 Honda coupes
and sedans were sold in the U.S., mostly in Hawaii and California. No Shelby model was ever produced as far as
anyone knows, and only one photo of the prototype has ever surfaced. Shelby reportedly lost interest in the car
when he was not able to squeeze into its cockpit.
SAAC-41 - 2016: The Year of the Hertz Car
Here are some clues about SAAC-41 at Mid-Ohio: the convention t-shirt will be black with a
‘66 GT350H on it. The convention hats will be black. There will be lots of Hertz stuff at
the evening program. We’ve made inroads at the Hertz Corporation; look for them to
play a role. How about a parade lap session open only to ‘66 Hertz cars (at no charge).
If you have a Hertz car, this would certainly be the year to bring it. And if you have
one that is presently undergoing work, you have about six months to get it running.
It’s not important how it looks, as long as it runs. We’d like to see a long line of, oh,
maybe a hundred black and gold GT350 H’s (along with a sprinkling of red, white, blue
and green cars). And we have more ideas percolating. Got a ‘68, ‘69 or ‘70 Hertz car? You
won’t be forgotten. The fifty year anniversary of the GT350 Hertz car is something you
will not want to miss. And if you do, you’ll be sorry for a long time. Don’t let that be you.
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