That which started in 1965, has just started all over again...52 years later! The Shelby American Original Venice Crew has come together to build 36 Shelby G.T. 350 R-model Mustangs as continuation cars. What you see here are a number of mementos that were part of the official unveiling and launch of the project.
So what would be a good location to make the announcement to the press? None other than at Carroll Shelby's old HQ, the Goodyear Racing Tire distributorship facilitiy in Gardena, California, on Figueroa Street.
Hosting the event was the Carroll Shelby Foundation (also located inside the facility) and Jenni Shreeves, Foundation Executive Director, along with many Shelbyphiles from the area.. But that's not all!
The event included a number of the Shelby American crew from the '60s...those who were THERE at the time. I likely can't recall everyone, but here's a few of the team, in no particular order...
Aaron Shelby, grandson of Carroll Shelby
Sherry MacDonald, wife of Dave MacDonald
Rich MacDonald, son of Dave MacDonald
John Sutton, son of Ted Sutton
Rick Titus, son of Jerry Titus
But let's get to the announcement event for Original Venice Crew Mustangs!
On the left, "98i", the OVC Mustang 'prototype', with independent rear suspension. This R-model, along with its mate, a solid axle versioni of same, debuted at Willow Springs in 2015 to celebrate the first win for a G.T. 350 in 1965.
The R-model on the the right is THE very R-model, 5R002, driven by Ken Miles...that won it's very first race over 50 years ago! Yes, THAT Shelby!
Below, 5R002, #98, in anger, in 1965, Green Valley race track, Ken Miles at the wheel...today, 98i commemmorates that very '65 Shelby!
...and some artwork by Bill Neale, also to commemmorate that Green Valley racing event.
If you'd like to see more of the Willow Springs debut from 2015, go here.
This is The Crew who built the two OVC prototypes: IRS & solid axle. From left to right:
Pete Brock, Randy Richardson, Duane Carling, Ted Sutton, and Jim Marietta. Photo at Pete Brock's in Henderson, Nevada.
And back to the OVC Mustangs launch event...
SFM5S013. Note the clever use of the Shelby American manufacturer's plate! Really cool!
SFM5R002. 32 gallon tank, Le Mans quick fill, splash shield, and SW electric fuel pump.
SW electric fuel pump.
Two R-models 50-some years apart...the more recent version has a number of refinements that the OVC crew didn't have time to do in the '60s. Hectic times, do doubt!
Pretty much twins...
Well, if Carroll Shelby can sign the wall....
Pete signing the wall...
Allen Grant (L); Jim Marietta (R).
ShelbyGuy got in on the action, too!
And there were a few other surprises. For example, Pete & Gayle brought along one of Pete's Aerovault trailers.
The Aerovault is, hands-down the most intelligent and well-built car hauler I've ever seen. The photos do not do it justice!
Workmanship is stunning!
Another surprise was this all-alloy, fully polished, 427-powered 'big' Daytona Cobra Coupe by Tom Kirkham. It's 'big' because it's been stretched to accommodate the big block engine...in a similar fashion Shelby American stretched a Daytona Coupe in the '60s for a 390 engine. The project, incidentally, was never raced and the Daytona was re-engineered back to its original wheelbase (90").
Most of what you see in these event photos has been recently remodeled with office space and workspace for the OVC Mustangs crew. Yes, workspace! Because right here, at Shelby's old HQ is where the 36 continuation R-models will be built!
I also had a chance to poke around the office space and found some nice art....
The event was teeming with excitement!
Who knew that Bruce Kawaguchi was just as fast in reverse?
There's that workspace in the back corner...
What's old certainly is new...again!