Original Shelby Crew reunites to produce 36 'new' 1965 Ford GT350R Mustang units

Article by Christian A., on August 21, 2017

It is quite common to revive classic cars if you have a lot of extra money. Models like the Jaguar XKSS and Aston Martin’s DB4 GT have been upgraded to suit the current market. The classic Shelby has been around for many years. And now, it is the latest classic to receive a series of continuation specials. But what makes it even more special is that the people who revived the 1965 GT350R Mustang are the same people who build the original Shelby decades ago.

CEO of the Original Venice Crew company, Jim Marietta, said that the Shelby team learned a lot from racing Cobras and Daytona Coupes and adapted their experiences to revive the 1965 Shelby classic by turning it into a race horse like Carroll Shelby’s Cobra. He told us that three of them were part of the development of the first Shelby GT350R in California. They recently got together two years ago and has since decided to do this special project. He explained that in 1965, they had envisioned an ‘R’ model but could not build one because of some restraints like time and cost.

The crew acquired full licensing from Carroll Shelby and Ford, and will only recreate 36 examples of the “new” 1965 GT350R Mustang. These will match the number of originals from that year, and will come with a Shelby serial number.

One thing you must know is that these Shelbys will not be a carbon copy of the 1965 model due to some mechanical upgrades. The 2017 version will be getting an independent rear suspension, while the rear and quarter windows will be in Plexiglas. There will also be a different front valance according to Peter Brock. Furthermore, it will be given some tweaks that will improve airflow into the engine and into the cabin, to keep both the machine and the driver cool.

Just like before, the revived model will come standard with a 289 cubic inch (4.7 liter) V8 paired with a four-speed manual gearbox. For them to be able to do this project, the company will have to get original 1965 Mustangs that will be donated to them. This lets them register the car as a street legal and a track-ready model. The team plans on working on these by fall of this year.

The first ever 1965 Shelby will be put on display at a few Monterey, California locations during the Collector Car Week sometime this month.

The Original Venice Crew (also known as OVC) members include Peter Brock, Jim Marietta and Ted Sutton. These guys, originally from Shelby American, worked there between 1962 and 1965.

Press Release

Original Venice Crew Begins Production of Genuine 1965 Shelby GT350R Competition Cars with Independent Rear Suspension

The group who built the first series of Shelby American racecars based on Ford’s iconic ‘65 Mustang fastbacks, dubbed the “Original Venice Crew,” will begin production of a limited series of the famous racers in Southern California. These new specially authorized versions of the 1965 Shelby GT350Rs will feature a race-focused independent rear suspension originally designed at Ford in 1964. Only 36 of these very special cars will be built, each incorporating several experimental enhancements designed by Shelby American designer Peter Brock. These upgrades were not implemented in 1965 due to time constraints. The continuation cars are licensed by both Carroll Shelby Licensing and the Ford Motor Company.

In 1964, Shelby American started with a "K Code" ‘65 Mustang 2+2 and proceeded to convert Ford Motor Company's mild-mannered Mustang into a heart pounding, fire breathing racer that dominated road race circuits all over America. Of the 562 built in the 1965 model year, just 36 were officially designated as competition models; this was denoted by the “R” in the Shelby serial numbers.

“Much like Carroll Shelby’s original Cobra, the 1965 Ford Shelby GT350R changed the performance car landscape,” said Jim Marietta, CEO of the Original Venice Crew. “By adapting lessons that the Shelby team learned racing Cobras and Daytona Coupes, our Crew at Shelby American turned a ‘mule into a racehorse’ as Carroll Shelby would say. Three of us who created the first Shelby GT350Rs at the Venice, California, race shop reunited in 2015 for a very special project. We agreed to build the ‘R’ model that we envisioned in 1965, but couldn’t due to time, expense and other restraints.”

The Original Venice Crew (OVC) is comprised of former Shelby American employees (1962 to 1965) Peter Brock, Jim Marietta and Ted Sutton. They began with the same 1965 Mustang, K-Code, equipped with a 289 c.i.d. engine and Borg Warner 4-speed that was the basis for the Shelby GT350 that year. This time, however, Brock finally had an opportunity to refine and integrate some of the components originally deleted. These include a redesigned front valance, refined Plexiglas rear window and Plexiglas quarter windows. The OVC Crew also incorporated a very special experimental Ford Advanced Vehicle independent rear suspension originally intended for this model.

“The revised shape of the window improves the car’s interior aerodynamics by promoting better airflow for driver comfort while the new front valance has a much closer identity with the original Mustang front-end while increasing the efficiency of airflow to cool the engine,” said Brock. “While these changes may look subtle, they combine with the new suspension to dramatically change the character of the car.”

Competition testing of the first car was conducted at Willow Springs Raceway in the spring of 2015. The test team included Vince LaViolette, Shelby American’s current test driver, and Rick Titus, son of Shelby Trans Am winning driver Jerry Titus. Former Shelby American driver and Le Mans winner John Morton was recruited to help develop the car’s suspension and refine its handling.

“During track testing, people began to ask if the car was for sale,” said Sutton. “After a landslide of inquiries, we decided to see if there was a good case for offering a limited run of them.”

While evaluating the program, OVC secured licenses from Carroll Shelby Licensing and Ford Motor Company to build the cars. This allows OVC to badge them accordingly and give each a Shelby serial number. Documentation for the cars will be submitted to the Shelby American Automobile Club Registry, as well as the official Shelby American Registry administered by Carroll Shelby International.

The new company will put the car into production in the fall of 2017. Each OVC built continuation Ford Shelby GT350R will be authentic from its spartan race bred interior to the mechanicals and cosmetics. Each car will feature a competition prepared cast iron block engine supplied by the Carroll Shelby Engine Company, which will be coupled to a period correct 4-speed transmission with an authentic Shelby shifter. The car bodies will be fully reconditioned and built to 1965 “competition” specs before installation of a new Brock designed front valance, refined rear window, quarter glass installation and finished with Ford’s iconic Wimbledon White paint.

Production of the cars will be in Southern California, just as Carroll Shelby and the OVC team did in 1965. Since the authentic Shelby GT350R cars begin with a 1965 donor, they can be raced as well as registered for street duty.

The first car will be displayed at several Monterey, California, locations during Collector Car Week in mid-August. These include the Carmel by the Sea Concours, McCall's Motorworks Revival, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Concorso Italiano. Several of the OVC team will accompany the cars to reminisce and talk about this new Shelby. Those interested in a Shelby from OVC can call (424) 346-3664. Additional information is available at www.ovcmustangs.com.

About the Original Venice Crew

Founded by Jim Marietta, the Original Venice Crew (OVC) is the only company authorized by both Carroll Shelby Licensing and Ford Motor Company to build continuation Ford Shelby GT350R Competition Models with the optional independent rear suspension and SFM series serial number. Founded and operated by three of the people who built the first Shelby GT350R (5R002) over 50 years ago, the company will manufacture just 36 of these new “competition model” 1965 cars in Southern California. Each car has production versions of experimental parts designed by Peter Brock but not integrated into cars during the 1960s. Documentation of the cars will be submitted to the Shelby American Automobile Club Registry and Shelby American Registry administered by Carroll Shelby International. Additional information is at www.ovcmustangs.com.

Source: Original Venice Crew

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