Piloting his OVC Mustang through the roads and tracks of Europe, over four-hundred horsepower pushed Shelby mechanic Jim Marietta through the grand tour promotion of his car. The journey began in Norway and headed south with stops at Spa and Le Mans historic tracks. Touring Europe in a vintage GT race car would be a dream for some, but for Marietta, this is a reality. He was on a stop in Munich when HotCars contacted him. “I drove from Hamburg Germany straight to the track at Spa Belgium. The car is great on the track, but it also really shows itself as a road car.” The 1965 Shelby GT350 Competition Model Marietta was driving is one of 36 that OVC Mustangs is building the way the team originally intended.
Marietta, along with two of his early co-workers at Shelby America— Peter Brock, and Ted Sutton—are the Original Venice Crew “OVC”. They are building a second run of 1965 GT350 Competition Models. Starting at $250,000 the cars include modifications that never made it past the chalkboards and test cars to the rest of the herd. Like in the ’60s, K-code Mustangs are brought to the shop, strip down to their steel shells, and hand modified to competition specs. After rebuilding the 289 cast iron engine blocks, and adding aluminum heads the cars produced in the neighborhood of 440 hp. Mated to period correct four-speed transmissions, a Dana 44 center section transfers the power to the wheels through an independent rear suspension “IRS” system that Marietta helped develop and test in 1965. The IRS system never made it past the test tracks in the 60's due to added costs, and Shelby's driver Ken Miles never fully adjusting to it. Aerodynamic additions include a modified front valance along with new plexiglass rear and quarter windows. The “new” designs were drawn up for the car in the 60’s by Brock. He was sent to Europe to work on the Daytona Coupe project before the GT 350's completion and a number of drawings were misplaced, never making it to the final build. Intact with original 1965 Ford VIN’s, registered and tagged with a Shelby production number all thirty-six will be included in the Shelby Registry.
While the race pedigree that is included with an auction bought original might not be attached, there is an optional FIA licensed competition model for historic racing and hill climbs. Adding $39,000 to the price tag, the cars will not have IRS or any of Brock’s added designs; but extra labor, cost of original parts, and an FIA inspection make this option harder to build.
“A good set of cast iron competition 289 heads cost around fifteen-thousand dollars,” Marietta said when describing the task of completing an FIA model.
Hard to find aluminum transmission cases along with labor cutting and mounting traction bars that were installed on the 1965 models also add to the price and are all required by the FIA. The last few race documented Competition Models that spent time on the track fifty years ago have sold near a million dollars. At one-quarter of that price, OVC Mustangs has already sold four IRS cars, one FIA model, and have three under contract. If you are in the market for one of the meanest Mustangs ever built, Marietta and his crew can help you out. For more information visit ovcmustangs.com.