Racer-turned-driving instructor was a key figure in the on-track development of the 1965 Shelby Mustang
Carroll Shelby’s “Original Venice Crew” is expanding its continuation car series, though only slightly, by offering two 1965 Ford Shelby GT350 Bondurant edition cars.
One of the cars will carry a 9-inch fixed-axle rear end while the other will be equipped with an independent rear suspension setup.
“Bob Bondurant and Ken Miles were the two primary development drivers for the first Ford Shelby GT350,” Jim Marietta, OVC chief executive, is quoted in the news release. “As a world champion sports car driver, Bob was instrumental in making the Shelby GT350 competition model a winner from its first race.
“We’re honoring his contribution to that amazing accomplishment with two authorized Bondurant edition continuation Shelby GT350 competition model cars built like the development vehicle that Bob drove.”
“We’re thrilled that Bob’s contribution to the birth of the Ford Shelby GT350 competition models will be recognized with these two Bondurant edition cars,” said Pat Bondurant, chief executive of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. “Bob’s incredible racing achievements often overshadow his amazing ability to help develop cars.
“The lucky two owners of these very special edition Shelbys will help keep Bob’s legacy alive by celebrating his accomplishments behind the wheel as both a driver and development ace.”
The Bondurant edition cars will be prototype versions of the ’65 Shelby GT350, lacking such features as a package try and rear quarter windows and thus duplicating the configuration in which Bondurant lapped Willow Springs Raceway while developing the car.
Special Bondurant graphics will be painted on the cars and Bondurant will autograph the cars’ dashboards.
“I’m honored to once again be part of the 1965 Shelby GT350 R program, Bondurant is quoted in the news release.
“Ken Miles and I took our experience developing championship caliber race cars to make the new Ford Mustang dominate on the track. I spent many, many hours refining the car at Willow, which propelled the Shelby GT350 into the winner’s circle and racing legend. It was a wonderful experience helping American cars gain international respect.”
Bondurant drove Shelby Cobra and Daytona coupes to seven victories in the 1965 to win the FIA GT World Championship.
The Original Venice Crew includes former Shelby American staffers Peter Brock, Jim Marietta and Ted Sutton. OVC will assemble its continuation cars at a Shelby facility in Southern California. OVC has licenses from Shelby and Ford for a run of 36 continuation cars. Prices will start at $275,000.