Follow the automotive business long enough and everything that's old becomes new again.
Since the reintroduction of the Chevrolet Camaro SS as a 2010 model, the old Ford-versus-Chevy "pony-car" wars have escalated to insane proportions, with the 2013 Chevrolet ZL1 and Ford's Mustang-based Shelby GT500 leading the way. And for 2014 there will be a road-race-ready Camaro Z28 and an all-new 2015 Mustang is in the works.
Indeed, for muscle-car lovers, these are the good-old days and they just keep on getting better, or so it seems.
As if this embarrassment of retro riches wasn't enough already, the Hertz Corp. has upped the ante once again for its rental-car customers. If you're old enough to remember - fondly, no doubt -- the original 1966 Shelby GT350H Hertz Rent-A-Racer program, then you're going to love this.
Hertz is now offering up for rent a new special edition Mustang known as the "Hertz Penske GT."
Based on the Mustang GT, the new Hertz Penske GT features a whole host of upgrades: Performance enhancements include a quad-tip exhaust system, an air intake and computer tuning upgrade, 3.55 rear-end gears and heavy-duty Brembo brakes. On the inside, there are black Recaro racing seats, a "Laguna Seca" gauge pod, Limited Edition interior dash and engine bay plaques, custom floor mats and door sills, as well as Ford's touchscreen entertainment system with GPS and back-up camera.
Naturally, the exterior is heavily tarted up as well, finished in black paint Hertz yellow racing stripes, Boss 302 front splitter, GT500 rear valence, custom graphics package, and custom Hertz faux gas cap.
Add it all up and it's a distinctive Mustang that certainly pays stylistic homage to the original 1966 Shelby GT350H and the 40th anniversary 2006 Shelby GT-H. No performance specs were released, but it's clear this will be a car with tremendous capabilities.
"It is terrific that a classic American car is being transformed into a one-of-a-kind vehicle inspired by Penske Racing," said Roger Penske. "The Hertz Penske GT makes us even more excited for what is in store for our multi-year partnership with Hertz, and we are thrilled that our fans and Hertz travelers will have the opportunity to rent this special car."
Alas, drivers will not be able to take these on the track, and they are a little pricier than your typical Ford Focus rental: Prices are $180 per day, and mileage is capped at 100. After that, additional fees kick in.
The new Hertz Penske GT is part of the rental-car company's Adrenaline Collection, which also includes the Ford Mustang GT Premium, Chevrolet Camaro SS (hardtop and convertible), Corvette Convertible and Dodge Challenger R/T. These cars are only available at 15 airport rental car locations in the United States.
As part of the deal, Hertz has signed a multi-year deal to sponsor one of team Penske's Ford Mustangs in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, with the first appearance of the No. 22 Hertz Penske GT-liveried Ford Mustang coming last month at the New England 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H. on July 13.
Interestingly, the new car carries the Mustang name and the Penske name, but not the Shelby name. Rumors abound on Mustang forums that when the 2015 Mustang rolls out, the top-of-the-line model will not carry Shelby badging, either.
Hertz has not yet announced any Adrenaline Collection locations for Canadian customers, but it does have an interesting alternative: the Hertz Green Traveler Collection offers discounted prices on a wide range of fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrids, diesels, electric cars and even one powered by natural gas.
WHERE'S MY CHARGER?: Statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Administration show that the most stolen car in the United States during 2011, the most recent year available, was the Dodge Charger. The Mitsubishi Galant and Hyundai Accent were next on the list.
RIDING A SALES HIGH: Sales of new cars and light-duty trucks in the United States topped 7.8 million in the first six month of 2013, the best result since 2007. Sales were up 2.2 percent for the same period in Canada, with a possibility that this year could see sales exceed the record of 1.73 million units set in 2002.