Original Venice Crew “Dream Team” To Offer Restoration, Upgrade and Repair Services

January 7, 2019
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To meet the tremendous demand for classic car expertise, the Original Venice Crew (OVC) has formed a “dream team” and begun accepting a limited number of heritage Ford performance vehicles for restoration, repair and upgrades. The all-star members of OVC, who build the official continuation 1965 Ford Shelby G.T.350 Competition Model, were involved with many of the world’s greatest sports and competition vehicles in the 1960s including Shelby Cobras, Ford GT40s and Shelby Mustangs. 

“Over the past year, many discerning collectors and enthusiasts have approached us to maintain and restore their performance car,” said Jim Marietta, CEO of OVC. “It is becoming very difficult to source the knowledge, talent and parts necessary to maintain these special vehicles. Since Ted and I were at Shelby American when many of these cars were introduced during the 1960s, they were anxious to secure our services. So we’ve begun accepting a limited number of these special machines. This makes OVC perfect for people who really care about authenticity, reliability and most of all, winning”

In addition to gaining access to the talents of the OVC team, Marietta has created an unprecedented team of experts who are available for collaboration on projects:

  • World champion Bob Bondurant will provide historical information, handling suggestions and race prep consulting services
  • Veteran Shelby racing driver and Le Mans winner John Morton, who tests the Shelby continuation cars, will provide handling and race prep input, including on track testing
  • Cobra and GT40 mechanic from the Shelby Le Mans and world champion team will provide fabrication, repair and installation consulting services
  • Shelby engine guru Jim O’Leary can oversee engine builds and provide historical input

The roots for OVC date back to a reunion when former Shelby American employees Peter Brock, Jim Marietta and Ted Sutton decided to create a one-off 1965 Ford Shelby G.T.350 Competition model car. All three worked on many key projects at Carroll Shelby’s Princeton Drive facility in 1965, including the first Competition Model, (“R-Model” Shelby GT350, 5R002). Brock designed key features for the continuation car when Marietta and Sutton formed the “Original Venice Crew” in 2014.

“In addition to playing a key role in creating the first competition model, Ted Sutton installed the first 427 into a Shelby Cobra when he worked at Shelby American in the 1960s,” said Marietta. “He also helped create the prototype Daytona Coupe and Sunbeam Tiger.”

With the OVC team’s tremendous experience, they agreed to offer completion services to those purchasing a continuation Shelby Cobra, Daytona Coupe or GT40 from Shelby Legendary Cars.

“We did not set out to become the ultimate Shelby Speed Shop,” said Sutton. “But since that announcement with Shelby Legendary Cars, we’ve quietly accepted a handful of special projects from the many inquires that poured in. In addition to offering expertise on heritage performance cars, we’ve also supplied parts and consulting for installation of our proprietary, authentic IRS system.”

OVC will limit the number of special projects it accepts as it is still in full production for the 1965 Ford Shelby G.T.350 Competition model cars. These cars are assembled at the Shelby facility in Southern California, just as Carroll Shelby and the racers did in 1965. 

Each OVC-built Shelby GT350 Competition Model begins with the same “K Code” Mustang that was the basis for the cars in 1965. The car bodies are fully reconditioned and built to American “competition” specs. Customers can choose between the traditional 9-inch fixed rear end or independent rear suspension. All feature an engine supplied by the Carroll Shelby Engine Company  that is coupled to a period correct 4-speed transmission and authentic Shelby shifter. Customers can also choose between an FIA model and Bondurant edition car, as well as the standard model. 

OVC has licenses from Carroll Shelby Licensing and Ford Motor Company to build a run of 36 of the continuation 1965 Ford Shelby G.T.350 Competition Model cars. OVC is the only company with this dual authority. 

The sports cars receive an OVC/Shelby serial number. Documentation is submitted to the Shelby American Automobile Club Registry, as well as the official Shelby American Registry administered by Carroll Shelby International. 

Those interested in a Shelby or for restoration services from OVC can call (714) 305-8578. 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 G.T.350 Competition Models with the optional independent rear suspension and Shelby series serial number. Founded and operated by three of the people who built the first Shelby G.T. 350 Competition Model (5R002) over 50 years ago, the company will manufacture just 36 of these new “Competition Model” 1965 cars in the Shelby facility in Southern California. Each car has production versions of aerodynamic and design enhancements by Peter Brock. These new enhancements were not integrated into the cars during 1964/5 due to cost considerations and market timing pressures.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 atwww.ovcmustangs.com.

Jonathan Lamas has a passion for the Ford Mustang that spans more than 30 years. In addition to his work as an automotive journalist, Jonathan has spent quality seat time in countless Mustangs as both an owner and an enthusiast. He's also a member of the Mustang Club of American. He's owned more than a dozen Mustangs over the years, and is the proud owner of a 2008 Bullitt Mustang.

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