The guys responsible for cranking out the original batch of competition-spec 1965 Shelby GT350Rs will begin producing a new round of the legendary race car, albeit with a few improvements.
Made up of Shelby American employees who were with the company from 1962 to 1965; Peter Brock, Jim Marietta and Ted Sutton, will begin building 36 brand new Shelby GT350Rs in the fall of 2017. However, this time the cars will feature improvements originally planned for the car back in ’65 but were squeezed out by time constraints.
“Much like Carroll Shelby’s original Cobra, the 1965 Ford Shelby GT350R changed the performance car landscape,” said Jim Marietta, CEO of Original Venice Crew Mustangs. “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.”
The improvements include a redesigned front valance, a reworked plexiglass rear window, and most importantly, an experimental Ford Advanced Vehicle independent rear suspension originally designed by Peter Brock.
Each OVC built continuation Ford Shelby GT350R will feature a spartan race bred interior like the original, along with a competition prepared cast iron block engine–supplied by the Carroll Shelby Engine Company–hooked to a period correct 4-speed transmission and an authentic Shelby shifter. All of them will be finished in Ford’s iconic Wimbledon White paint.
The OVC crew first got together back in 2015 and agreed to build the ‘R’ model that should have been. Testing of the one-off Shelby started at Willow Springs Raceway in the spring of 2015 as the team worked to develop the car’s suspension and refine its handling.
According to Sutton, people began to ask if the car was for sale. “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, making them the only company with such a pedigree. Each car will wear a Shelby serial number with documentation submitted to the Shelby American Automobile Club Registry, and the official Shelby American Registry.