As a Mustang enthusiast, Gary Hanson knew exactly the type of car he was after when he retired from Honeywell.
For all those years of hard work, Hanson was after something special, a Mustang that was practical for use and yet unique enough that it would be a conversation piece at local and national Mustang shows.
Through a bit of research, Hanson found what he wanted: a Shelby GT-H, designed by the legendary designer Carroll Shelby and of which only 500 were made in 2006 for Hertz car rentals. Shelby, who passed away in 2012, was known for the Mustang-based performance cars he developed for Ford Motor Company, among other things.
Most of the Shelby GT-H cars were rented on the East coast, West coast and Texas in 2006 and 2007.
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“Hertz, by contract, was supposed to take the cars out of service and sell them to Ford dealers, and Ford dealers resold them to the public,” said Hanson, who lives in Lee’s Summit and is president of Mid America Mustangers.
Hanson figured most of these Mustangs were on the coasts. But he found one at Max Motors in Butler, Mo. Once Hanson viewed the black Mustang with a gold stripe, he knew he had found his retirement present.
It took one phone call for him to learn the car was available. Hanson bought it the next day.
“For a rental car, it was in real clean condition,” Hanson said. “A lot of them get beat up.”
The one Hanson bought was No. 153. It had 15,000 miles on it and was used at San Francisco International Airport from June 2006 to August 2007.
The Shelby GT-H Mustang made specifically for Hertz is different from the ones made for the general public in 2007 when 5,682 were made and 2,300 made in 2008.
“They have a different hood, different grill,” Hanson said. “They lowered it 1½ inches and changed the suspension. They put a different exhaust on it.”
The limited-edition Shelby GT-H has a power pack booster for its 4.6-liter V-8 engine. The car also has black and gold body styling, incorporating a gold-plated Hertz nameplate on both sides of the car.
The black and gold was the final selling point for Hanson.
Hanson and his wife, Cheryl, are graduates of the University of Missouri and are enthusiastic fans of the Tigers.
When asked if he would have bought the Shelby GT-H had it been available in only crimson and blue, Hanson gave the correct answer for anybody who bleeds black and gold.
“No,” he said.
Hanson and his wife enjoy driving their Shelby GT-H Mustang to car shows. They have been to four so far this year. Most recently, they drove 1,000 miles to a show in Corpus Christi, Texas, and were delighted when their car was put on a deck of an aircraft carrier.
“A lot of people have them but don’t drive them,” Hanson said. “We put almost 40,000 since we owned it.”
They are delighted by the looks they get from people when they are cruising down the highway.
“The kids look at it,” Cheryl said. “Why can’t I have a car like that?”
Hanson jokes that his son, also a MU graduate, looks at the car with a wanting eye.
“Jason wants this car,” Hanson said. “I told him he will probably get it, but I won’t know when he gets it. It is a long time away.”
As Hanson talks about the car, it is easy to see how much pride he takes in owning it.
“It just stands out,” he said. “It attracts a lot of attention, more so because it is a Hertz Mustang.”
Do you have a car, truck, motorcycle or other vehicle you would like to see featured in Fun on Wheels? If you do, email your idea to David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com