Original Venice Crew Announces Challenge for Charity, Reviving a Historic Rivalry with Jaguar and Aston Martin
LOS ANGELES – May 17, 2018 – The Original Venice Crew (OVC), which builds the official continuation 1965 Ford Shelby G.T. 350 Competition Model, has thrown down the gauntlet in the name of charity to Aston Martin and Jaguar. During a press event in Southern California today, OVC CEO Jim Marietta reignited the rivalry with these two European automakers. The Original Venice Crew is challenging them to race their continuation heritage classic cars against the classic Shelby continuation model.
Marietta is asking both Aston Martin and Jaguar to bring their continuation builds to Willow Springs Raceway in Southern California. There, with drivers designated by their respective teams, the three cars will compete for 10 laps, winner take all. If either the Aston or Jaguar beat the 1965 Shelby OVC G.T.350, the Original Venice Crew will donate $100,000 to the charity of the winner’s choice. And if the Original Venice Crew were to win, the OVC team will donate $35,000 to the Carroll Shelby Foundation among other charities.
“During an illustrious racing career where Shelby drove and won in anything and everything, Carroll developed a profound preference for cubic inches over cubic money,” said Jim Marietta. “That preference was infused into every vehicle rolling out of Shelby American’s shop, beginning with the Cobra and soon thereafter, the Shelby G.T. 350. It is with Shelby’s ‘everyman’ sensibility that we issued a challenge to both Jaguar and Aston Martin. The field of play is a race course, the proceeds go to charity, and while we can’t go back in time, we intend to relive the history.”
The group who built the first series of Shelby American racecars based on Ford’s iconic ‘65 Mustang fastbacks and hail as the “Original Venice Crew,” is producing a limited series of the famous racers in Southern California. These new, specially-authorized versions of the 1965 Shelby G.T. 350 Competition Models can be optioned with a race-focused independent rear suspension originally designed in 1964 by Ford Advanced Vehicles. Only 36 of these very special cars will be built, each incorporating several aerodynamic and design enhancements by the Shelby American designer Peter Brock. The continuation cars are licensed by both Carroll Shelby Licensing and the Ford Motor Company.
“Much like the first Shelby Cobra, the 1965 Ford Shelby G.T. 350 C/M changed the performance car landscape,” said Ted Sutton, one of the Original Venice Crew. “By adapting lessons that our team learned racing Cobras and Daytona Coupes, we turned a ‘mule into a racehorse’ as Carroll Shelby said. Three of us who created the first Shelby G.T. 350 Competition Model in the Venice, California, race shop reunited in 2015 for a very special project. We agreed to build the car that we envisioned in 1965, but couldn’t due to time, expense and other restraints.”
At roughly the same time as OVC began reconstructing Shelby G.T. 350’s, enthusiasts at Jaguar and Aston Martin were revisiting their competitive histories. The results of those examinations are continuation examples of both the Le Mans-winning D-Type Jaguar and Aston Martin’s DB4 GT.
Some 62 years after the last D-Type Jaguar was built in 1956, Jaguar Classic has restarted production of the iconic D-type race car in the Coventry factory in England. From both a design and alphabetical standpoint, Jaguar’s D-Type served as a bridge between Jaguar’s Le Mans-winning C-Type of the early ‘50s and the production E-Type, which made its debut in 1961. Dominating the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1955 thru 1957, the D-Type Jaguar serves as a reminder of Britain’s postwar success. It also illustrates how racecar design – at that time – could influence the engineering of a production car. Just 25 examples of the D-Type will be built, fully a third of the 75 original D-Types completed. Notably, Carroll Shelby had little direct experience with the D-Type, other than the occasional dusting of one.
Shelby was much more closely connected to Aston Martin, having shared the 1959 Le Mans win in an Aston Martin DBR-1 with driver Roy Salvadori. However, it is not the DBR-1 that Aston Martin is recreating. The DB4 GT continuation car is the quintessential grand tourer built for competition, providing an absolutely unique combination of performance and luxury. It was a car rarely, if ever, equaled at the time of its introduction in 1959. And like Jaguar, only 75 examples were built between its launch and the end of ‘production’ in 1963.
With cost of both the continuation Jaguar and Aston Martin well into seven figures, the price tag of the OVC Shelby Mustang, which starts at $250K, is modest in comparison. The ‘us vs. them’ and cubic inches vs. cubic money are only two of the pillars for the challenge proposed by the Original Venice Crew.
Regardless of who wins the event, the OVC challenge represents a unique way to turn back the clock, a chance to revisit a moment in time, like Camelot, when only dialog was analog. While the world still has, and hopefully will always have, classic Astons, Jaguars and Shelby Mustangs, the intervening 50 years have civilized the resulting vehicles. While the challenge is intended to recall the past, the planned proceeds will go far in moving the selected charity forward.
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 cars during in 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 at www.ovcmustangs.com.