My Car Quest

October 14, 2019

The Kindness of Strangers

by Buddy Pepp –

The Carmel-By-The-Sea Concours is held the Tuesday of Car Week. It is a wonderful show comprising approximately 200 cars in numerous classes. The great thing about the show is it’s free….to the spectators.

This year I entered my 1966 Shelby GT350H….the “H” designating Hertz. The car is not a trailer queen. It’s a very nice fully restored black/gold example that has received awards at SAAC events but is driven on a regular basis.

Buddy Pepp and his 1966 Shelby GT350H

Buddy Pepp and his 1966 Shelby GT350H – photo by Mike Gulett

I’m relaxing in my folding chair behind my car when a gentlemen comes up to me with his 13 year old son and asks me a number of questions about the car. I was thrilled to impart my knowledge about the Hertz GT350 but it was apparent that the father had as much or possibly more knowledge about the 1966 Hertz cars than me. It turns out that his father was a district manager for Hertz in 1966 and told him all about the Hertz/Ford/Shelby program.

After about 15 or 20 minutes of chit chat, the total stranger told me that he had a Hertz Sports Car Club(HSCC) logo bag in pristine condition in his garage that his father gave him decades ago.

Hertz Sports Car Club

Photo by Buddy Pepp

Gulp…..are you kidding me? I heard about the bags that were either sold or given to special Hertz Sport Car Club members but I have never seen one nor ever known anyone who possessed one. After I regained my composure, I asked the total stranger if he wanted to sell it and his immediate the response was “no”. Totally understand.

Fast forward another 15 minutes or so, the “total stranger” is now my NBF….new best friend. We talked about cars, kids, schools, sports, Car Week and other topics. Next thing I hear my NBF say is, something to the effect, “I won’t sell you the Hertz Sports Car Club bag but I will give it to you as long as you promise to keep it with your beautiful Shelby”.

Hertz Sports Car Club

Photo by Buddy Pepp

I’m suddenly overwhelmed and unbelievably appreciative of his generosity. “How can I repay you” is my response and the answer comes back…”not necessary”.

The gentlemen and his son live in San Jose, about a 1-1/2 hour drive from Carmel. He said that he and his son would return to Carmel the next day and give me the bag. We agreed on a place to meet and sure enough the next day father and son appear with the bag. Remember the bag was described as “pristine”…turns out it was far better than that!

Hertz Sports Car Club

Photo by Buddy Pepp

We sit down and the father puts the Hertz Sports Car Club bag on the table and he carefully unzipped the top and inside are six HSCC double old-fashioned glasses in the original box….never been used. Each glass has the HSCC logo. Each glass has a different race track depicted. I never knew that Hertz produced these glasses. One has to wonder how many are left after 53 years. Probably very few.

OMG, I’m ecstatic, overwhelmed and truly appreciative of the gifts. After a handshake and hugs, father and son depart and I’m holding two priceless items that could have very easily been sold on eBay.

I plan on keeping my Hertz GT350H for a very long time but should I ever decide to sell the car, I will never part with the two rare HSCC items that were given to me by a “total stranger”.

My wife and I and the “total stranger” and his wife and kids have since dined together in Northern California. We plan on keeping in touch.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

THE AUTHOR: Buddy Pepp has been an automobile enthusiasts since childhood. For the first 19 years of his life he lived next door to a 76 Union Oil Gas Station where he spent a lot of time working on cars to the detriment of the Three R’s.

After four decades manufacturing various products Buddy spent 2 1/2 years as the executive director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.

Since retirement from the Petersen Buddy has been devoting time to his car collection, family, golf and travel. He has been married for more than 50 years with three children and six grandchildren.

 

 

1966 Shelby GT350H

1966 Shelby GT350H – photo by Mike Gulett

Hertz Sports Car Club

Photo by Buddy Pepp

Summary
The Kindness of Strangers
Article Name
The Kindness of Strangers
Description
We sit down and the father puts the Hertz Sports Car Club bag on the table and he carefully unzipped the top and inside are six HSCC double old-fashioned glasses in the original box....never been used.
Author

Comments

  1. …but you promised to keep the bag with the car. That was his only request rather than sell it to you (wink).

    Great story. Isn’t Monterey Car Week magical?!

  2. What a GREAT story.!
    Just another example of “car people” being car people. He saw a reason to pass it on and chose you.

  3. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story Buddy. “Car Guys” are the best.

    BTW: Was your car on the field at The Quail? If so, it was one on my featured cars in one of my Car Guy Chronicles Monterey Car Week reports. If it was and if it’s OK with Mike I’ll post a link to the report.

    Best Regards, Jim

  4. SKIP HINOJOS says

    I REMEMBER WHEN HERTZ RENTAL CAR USED TO RENT THOSE SHELBY CARS, PEOPLE WOULD TAKE THEM HOME , PULL THE ENGINES AND REPLACE IT WITH A SHOCKER ENGINE, AND RETURN THE CAR TO THE RENTAL AGENCY.

  5. imwithstoopid says

    Yes, and the stories of those name brand race drivers and others that took them to the track and raced them.

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