HomeGarageOriginal Venice Crew will build for Shelby Legendary customers

Original Venice Crew will build for Shelby Legendary customers


If you buy a continuation Shelby Cobra, Daytona Coupe or GT40 from Shelby Legendary Cars, you have the option of having the vehicle completed by the Original Venice Crew, a group of Carroll Shelby’s original employees, Shelby Legendary Cars has announced.

“OVC is giving enthusiasts the opportunity to add incredible authenticity to their Shelby Cobra,” Lance Stander, chief executive of Shelby Legendary Cars and Hillbank Motor Company, said in the news release. 

“Ted Sutton (of the Original Venice Crew) was among the people who built the first Shelby cars during the 1960s. Since Hillbank already offers their OVC built 1965 Ford Shelby GT350 competition cars through our Irvine (California) and Tempe (Arizona) showrooms, it was natural for Ted and the team at OVC to finish Cobras for customers who purchased through us.”

Shelby Legendary Cars is officially licensed to build the continuation vehicles. The first project under the new program for the Original Venice Crew will be an Essex Wire Cobra tribute roadster with a big-block V8, Shelby Legendary Cars said.

Essex Wire was a major Ford supplier in the 1960s and raced at Shelby Cobra for a year (switching to a GT40 for the following season). Even after Essex Wire sold the car, white with orange stripes, continued to race into the mid-1980s and is considered the winningest of all the Shelby Cobras.

Shelby, Original Venice Crew will build for Shelby Legendary customers, ClassicCars.com Journal
Continuation Shelby cars at Hillbank headquarters

Under the new program, if a customer so opts, “Shelby Legendary Cars dealers will supply an assembled body and chassis to OVC. The customer will then specify the exact drivetrain and accessories. The new owner can choose to leave the final build at OVC in the capable hands of the same team who prototyped the original Cobras over fifty years ago.”

The Original Venice Crew members built the first series of Shelby American Ford Mustang-based race cars and several have reunited to build a limited series of the cars in Southern California that are licensed by both Carroll Shelby Licensing and the Ford Motor Company. 

“Rarely has ‘now’ so convincingly converged with ‘then’,” Jim Marietta, chief executive of the OVC, is quoted in the news release. 

“For someone investing in a continuation big block, FIA or small block street Cobra, the smallest of details can add up to a huge difference in the finished vehicle. Since we were part of the build of Cobras in the 1960s, we understand the nuances of these very special cars.”

“An OVC finished Shelby Cobra is like owning a time machine, but one distinctly different from the version dreamed up by H.G. Wells,” added Ted Sutton. “Instead of building the car in the present moment, each and every assembly will mentally start around 1964. It’s as authentic as you can get.” 

“By tapping the talents of the Original Venice Crew, whose membership includes Shelby alumni Sutton and Jim Marietta, a customer not only benefits from the mechanical expertise of today, but the historical perspective earned from a World Manufacturers Championship and Le Mans victory. These guys are true pioneers. It’s a heady mix, and something that cannot be found anywhere else.”

The Original Venice Crew recently announced it would do special Bondurant tribute Mustang GT350s.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts