I’ve seen this picture before and its one of my favs with all sorts of genuine Muscle cars,(even multiple Fury GTs, holy crap!) but I always wondered if this was actually an Avis fleet given that I cannot imagine they were renting out Cudas Roadrunners, Challenger and Charger R/Ts, right? Maybe it’s my modern perspective of rental cars that are mostly humdrum models or low trim sporty models at best. Could this actually be an image of Chrysler’s infamous sales bank?
All those musclecars was my first thought, as well. I just can’t feature an Avis Road Runner rental.
OTOH, with the Sales Bank program, might not be all that far-fetched, either. Maybe Avis played the same game as the dealerships and waited until model year’s end when Chrysler was desperate to sell off Sales Bank cars and let them go for far under invoice.
I’m old enough to remember when the major rental car companies only rented domestic brands, and each company used only one (1) brand exclusively. Hertz rented only Fords, Avis was a Chrysler store, and Budget was your go-to store for GM iron. Which was ironic, because Hertz was the largest rental car company, but used the number two brand, Ford. Avis used number three Chrysler, even though their slogan was “Avis: We’re number two, we try harder!” (no bathroom jokes, please, LOL!). Budget, the lagging stepchild, was third in the “Big Three” rental car company pecking order, but used cars sourced from the world’s largest automaker, GM! Go figure!
My father had business dealings with Hertz. In the 60s and 70s, car dealers and manufacturers didn’t offer leasing, so if you wanted to lease a fleet of company cars, Hertz, etc. were who you did business with. After all, a lease is really just a long-term rental, right?
So any time he needed a rental car, for business or family travel, he went to Hertz. The irony of which is that Pop didn’t really like Fords, but the rates he got with Hertz were so much cheaper that he was compelled to rent a Ford anyway.
I worked for Hertz while an undergraduate, as a transporter in ’77 and ’78. At least our location (which I think was pretty typical) rented mostly Fords back then, the LTDII and the Grenada seemed to be the most common rentals (for some reason I never drove a Maverick nor a Pinto for them). I think we had more MOPAR (I think all were Dodge) than GM (mostly compact like the Omega). Even had a few AMC and a couple Toyota (Corolla liftback) and Datsun (510, the late 70’s version).
My Dad eventually bought a couple Dodges and his first car was a Plymouth, but otherwise we didn’t tend to buy them…Dad had the first of 2 full sized Ford wagons in a row in 1970.
When I got out of school and started working, the company I worked for had a relationship with Hertz so when we travelled, we went through them.
Good for remembering the links of the major rental car companies with the manufacturers.
I’d add that National was the other major rental company – and they were a GM dominant fleet. I’m not sure if they were exclusively of one make, but certainly Hertz – Ford, Avis – Mopar, and National – GM.
There’s also consolidation in the rental car industry – Avis is hooked up with Budget today, and Enterprise + Alamo + National.
They did switch around though, in the ’80s/90s/00s it was Hertz and Budget-Ford; Avis and Enterprise-GM with Thrifty the main Mopar fleet.
Part of that was fleet contracts expiring and part was the Big 3 buying up rental companies.
The company I worked for had a National contract, so it was GM cars, good (DeVille) and bad (Corsica) on my trips to DC. At National Airport there was an after hours kiosk where I could pick a car and it would dispense the key. The Cadillac was available that time.
Hertz had the Shelby GT-350 as a rental, IIRC (black with gold stripes). Another example of goin’ wild in the streets for a few hours.
The rental companies offered different makes through the years. IIRC, Hertz in the early 60’s used GM cars. Here are several early 60’s Hertz ads featuring supermodel Suzy Parker; she was featured in a number of these ads from that era, always with GM models, usually Chevrolet or Cadillac…
Pity the poor schmoe who wants to rent either of the striped Roadrunners in the center of the second and third rows! 😉
This photo brings back some mostly good memories. I earned my drivers license in a ‘70 Fury III two door.
That 300 looks like the Challenger’s father.
Was 1970 like today where you reserved the “RoadRunner or equivalent” and when you showed up there was an A100 van waiting for you?
You mean like Jerry Seinfeld? Here’s a link:
While an Imperial would have been nice, and quite the novelty, I’d be very happy with one those well equipped Furys.
A good looking fleet!
Ad would have been more appealing in full colour IMO. Better highlighting the variety of choices. More individuality. The repetitiveness of the design, increases the sameness.
Man, that’s a lot of steel!
If this was like “Emerald Isle”, I’d take one of the Challengers in the first row. Just choose your car and go.
On frequent trips to SAN FRANCISCO, I always used Hertz to Put Me in the Driver’s seat. Generally had no problems UNTIL one special occasion when I had a confirmation for a Lincoln Town Car (as usual). When I got to the desk, I was told they were sorry but the only available cars were a Taurus or a Camray. With long history of Dad working in steel mills, I reluctantly took the Taurus. 🤮. That was my last business with Hertz. I suppose now you have to take a SUV or Crossover. What ever happened to CLASS?
Most American business lost whatever “class” it may have had a long time ago. Now its lie, cheat, and steal. Screw the customer any way you can get away with.
In the last few years, reserving on line with Costco, the economy category has never been the cheapest, supply and demand. I often end up with an SUV, either confirmed or an unexpected upgrade when I pick it up. One company did try to sell me a paid upgrade at the counter and I refused. That was all that was available and I got it for free. Be careful of those commissioned counter people. BTW, American Express has the best rental car insurance program, optional, but covers as primary, not secondary, coverage. When I present the AMEX card at the counter, insurance upsell stops.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Copyright 2011 - 2023 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.