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open track car and a second car be-

came a SCCA road racer. He showed

dozens of pictures of his cars, depicting

the series of modifications as well as

the numerous color changes, some fol-

lowing off-road excursions when he

was street racing. All were accompa-

nied by humorous comments which

many audience members could relate

to. His remarks were well received.

The second portion of the program

was dedicated to Hertz. We started off

with SAAC’s Hertz Registrar, Greg

Kolasa, who shared some of the details

he has uncovered while researching

these cars. He served as something of

a “Mythbuster” to debunk some of the

“beliefs” that have grown up around

these cars. Probably the one that hit

home with most Hertz owners was the

invalidation of the “Rent-A-Racer”

designation. It was never used by

Shelby or Hertz when the cars were

new and he traced its use to beginning

in the early-1970s and the rise of or-

ganized Shelby enthusiasm. It turned

out that the stories of 1966 Hertz cars

rented for a weekend and in which roll

bars were installed so they could be

road raced, were not able to be proven.

They are the automotive equivalent of

“urban legends.” Likewise, Hertz cars

which “donated” 289 Hi-Po engines to

race cars and then after the race were

re-installed into the rental unit before

it was returned. Pure hokum.

SAAC racer Tom Yeager provided

a more modest Hertz story that was,

no doubt, true. He was campaigning a

‘66 Mustang notchback in a Trans-Am

event when he experienced a mystify-

ing carburetor problem. He spied a

GT350 Hertz car parked in the pad-

dock and before anyone knew what

was happening, he and a crew member

“borrowed” the carburetor from the

car, whose owner was nowhere to be

found. It turned out the car belonged

to SCCA official John Bishop. The car-

buretor was returned after the race.

Yeager decided to come forward only

because the statute of limitations had


Kopec couldn’t keep from jumping

in with one of his Hertz memories. To

make a long story short, basically he

and Mel Wentzel rented a Hertz

GT350 in Los Angeles and used it as a

tow car for Wentzel’s Cobra comp car

the weekend of the ARRC at Riverside

Raceway. A Sears trailer hitch was in-

stalled, the speedometer cable was

neutered, and they used the car for al-

most a week before returning it with

about 100 miles on it and running up

a rental tab of less than $100. That’s

his story and he is sticking to it.

No batch of Hertz stories would be

complete without hearing from Chuck

Cantwell. When GT350H rentals

started leaving the Hertz lots and

rear-ending cars in traffic with some

regularity, Cantwell was given the job

of coming up with a fix for the problem

and had to explain it to the DC DMV.

The third portion of the program

was the most exciting and that’s why

it was saved for last. Patrick Kriwanek

has written the screenplay for a movie

about Carroll Shelby, Phil Remington

and Ken Miles, the way they con-

tributed to the Cobra’s competition

success and how that led to LeMans

and Ford’s victory in the 1966 event.

He had a power-point presentation

which showed pictures of some of the

actors and actresses who were being

considered for roles.

This is not a documentary but a

serious drama about the interactions

of these people and the rest of the in-

dividuals who played a part in the

story; drivers and mechanics on the

Cobra Team as well as movers and

shakers at FoMoCo, from Henry Ford

II to Lee Iacocca and Jacques Passino.

Production is moving along and looks

to be finding its way to a major studio.

Shooting has not yet begun but an es-

timated completion date is about two

years from now. If the timing is right,

we’ve been promised a special preview

at the SAAC convention just prior to

its release.

As a special treat, Kriwanek read

the first six pages of the script to give

everyone an idea of what to expect.

One of the takeaways from the film

was that Ken Miles was robbed of the

victory at LeMans due to a public re-

lations decision by Ford’s top manage-

ment and an apparent error in the

official lap charts. There have been a

half-dozen other movie project about

this period in time and these players

but none has made it into production.

This one was approved by Shelby prior

to his passing. We’re looking forward

to it and will be providing SAAC mem-

bers with updates on its progress.


Summer 2016 39