Flying to Fort Lauderdale? South Florida is a great place to rent a convertible or a car that might not be available in much of the United States year round. The city is within an easy drive (well outside of rush hour) of many other coastal cities including Miami and West Palm Beach. Like the rest of South Florida, there are many places to see and be seen in a stylish car -- we ended up driving a 275 HP Chevrolet Camaro Convertible RS from Sixt after our originally-assigned 455 HP SS Convertible had too much pre-existing damage.
Arriving at Fort Lauderdale, a rental car customer might be surprised to learn that the airport has four distinct terminals yet only one consolidated rental car facility (CONRAC). Yet the term CONRAC is a misnomer at many airports and the Fort Lauderdale CONRAC isn't exactly consolidated; it contains all of the providers except Sixt and Fox. As those two companies are located off-airport, a customer arriving in terminals 2, 3, or 4 might need to take a double-shuttle (one to the CONRAC and another to the off-airport site).
A customer with a flight into or out of Terminal 1 has an easy walk, directly across the street to the CONRAC via Level 2. If a customer walks from Terminals 2, 3, or 4, the walk will likely take place on the Departures level, descending down to Level 2 to cross over from Terminal 1. Alternatively, a customer can ride a shuttle from Terminals 2, 3, or 4, with the entrance on Level 3. When returning a vehicle and departing from Terminals 2, 3, or 4, a renter has to be aware there are two different shuttles -- one bus serves Terminals 2 and 4, while another serves Terminal 3.
Catching the Shuttle
In our test from Terminal 3, the shuttle transit time from arriving at the bus stop was 15 minutes with an additional 13 minutes for a shuttle to Sixt. As these terminals all have sidewalks on the departures level, we may have saved a bit of time walking from the terminal to the rental car facility. Arriving shortly before 5 p.m. on a Monday, we did have to wait for a second shuttle bus (as the first was full). The signage for the rental shuttle is fairly straightforward --
From Terminal 3 baggage claim, all shuttles are to the left.
Then simply find the stop for the rental car shuttle bus.
Once at the rental car facility, the provider counters and vehicles are located on three different levels:
- Level 2: Alamo, Enterprise, National
- Level 3: Advantage, Avis, Hertz
- Level 4: Budget, Dollar, E-Z, Payless, Thrifty
The on-airport rental cars are spaced across three levels.
Renting from Fox or Sixt? Remember there's still another shuttle to take once you arrive at the "Rental Car Center".
Upon return, vehicles come back to the same location unless renting with Sixt or Fox -- those providers require going back to the original pickup location. The nearest gas station with reasonable pricing (at the time of our visit) appears to be the Chevron at 2330 S Federal Hwy (also known as A1A or US-1), Fort Lauderdale.
What to Do in Fort Lauderdale
There are a number of car-related activities in Fort Lauderdale but our recommendation is the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum at 1527 Packard Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida . I refer to it simply as the Packard Museum. Why? The only vehicles one will find at the museum are Packards, although there's automotive memorabilia from all manufacturers.
The website for the museum says it's open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The sign at the door says 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After ringing the doorbell, I was greeted by a staffer willing to let me enter early, except the museum's entry fee is cash only. After a quick detour to an ATM, I had the entire museum to myself -- even after the normal "opening" hours, exploring and asking questions at my leisure.
What's there to see? Packard automobiles -- including trucks and limosines -- from 1909 through 1950, including some real beauties. Although the founder of the museum (Mr. Arthur Stone) is now deceased, he had an excellent eye for automobiles and memorabilia, including hundreds of horns, headlamps, gear shifters, oilers, and even the tire-themed ashtrays I recall from my youth.
I thought the tire ashtray at my grandfather's was a one-off; it was actually an advertising standard for decades.
Each automobile in the museum is accompanied by a binder with details about the vehicle plus a placard that also notes significant innovations that first appeared (or last appeared) with each model. And in a few cases, there are even the original child pedal car equivalents of the vehicles!
Packard automobiles were always designed to be the luxury model in the market. Henry Ford was focused on making vehicles the masses could afford but that wasn't really a consideration for the folks at Packard! For instance, the 1918 Packard Twin 6 cost $5,400 in 1918 and also managed to weigh 4,750 pounds -- a full thousand pounds more than the Ford Crown Victoria still in use by some police forces. Just how much was that $5,400 dollars in 1918? It was almost $2,000 more than the median reported income for the year and the equivalent of $87,000 today (accounting for inflation). Your everyday Packard wasn't exactly an everyday car!
The museum is an excellent example of automotive history, from the right-hand drive 1909 to the 1915 Packard truck with rubber tires, no shock absorbers, and a maximum, bone-rattling speed of 14 mph, while 1922 saw the introduction of the first electric starter and the 1924 model was equipped with an exterior sun shade.
Our personal favorite? It can only be described as the "Silver Beast" - a 1939 Packard Model 1707 Convertible (#15 of 20) that was the last year Packard built vehicles with a V-12 and the first vehicle with the column shift familiar to children of the 60s and 70s. Why did Packard stop making the V-12? The engines were too expensive by Packard standards.
This car has both pre-WWII and enduring style.
Ready to create your own adventure in Fort Lauderdale (or anywhere else in the world)? Request your quote now!
Airport Rental Car Guide
|Advantage||On-airport||800-777-5500||Sun-Sat: 5 a.m. - 1 a.m.||Link|
|Alamo||On-airport||888-826-6893||Sun-Sat: 24 hours||Link|
|Avis||On-airport||954-359-3250||Sun-Sat: 24 hours||Link|
|Budget||On-airport||954-359-2400||Sun-Sat: 24 hours||Link|
|Dollar||On-airport||800-800-4000||Sun-Sat: 24 hours||Link|
|Enterprise||On-airport||954-760-9888||Sun-Sat: 6 a.m. - 1 a.m.||Link|
|Fox||Off-airport||800-225-4369||Sun-Sat: 24 hours||Link|
|Hertz||On-airport||954-712-5200||Sun-Sat: 24 hours||Link|
|National||On-airport||954-359-2550||Sun-Sat: 24 hours||Link|
|Payless||On-airport||954-359-0303||Sun-Sat: 5:30 a.m - 12:30 a.m.||Link|
|Sixt||Off-airport||888-747-7498||Sun-Sat: 24 hours||Link|
|Thrifty||On-airport||877-283-0898||Sun-Sat: 24 hours||Link|
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