The Original Venice Crew is a team of automotive and modification experts, namely Peter Brock, Jim Marietta, Ted Sutton, and Shelby history experts, Randy Richardson. They founded a company with a name that fits with Shelby’s headquarters in Venice, California. Their first sustainable project was a modification of the 1965 Ford Shelby GT350R COmpetition, or more commonly called the Shelby GT350R.
Initially, the idea of assembling a GT350R Competition car came from Jim Marietta, when he was 71 years old. Jim was a teenager when he worked at Shelby in the 1960s. He already knew Peter Brock and Ted Sutton first, then Randy Richardson joined them and founded the Original Venice Crew. And here are some of the best modifications they have ever made.
- INDEPENDENT REAR SUSPENSION
In 1965, a team, together with Ford Engineering, had spent a considerable amount of time testing the independence of the rear suspension when developing a Shelby GT350 Competition car model. Ken Miles, testing the configuration that already exists in Willow Spring on the GT350R (5R002). Unfortunately, until the end of the test, the IRS was never approved for use in the competition because Ford decided that the IRS was too expensive to be included in the production process. Ken Miles who did a test drive on the model did not feel comfortable with the model. Jim Marietta, who was also part of the team working on the IRS project, was looking for one of the four original set-ups. Based on the rear end of Dana 44,
- UPGRADE MACHINERY
To provide power to vintage cars, the Original Venice Crew carried an original 289ci K-code and main engine block with 4 bolts, and sent it to the Caroll Shelby Engine Company which produced engines for Shelby cars produced in 1965. Original Venice Crew managed to give a much better performance on the Shelby GT350. The engine used can now produce up to 440 horsepower with a compression ratio of 11.4: 1. This amount is about 100 hp more than that produced by machines produced fifty years ago. This modification did invite pros and cons, but Jim Marietta himself said that the modification they made was a modification that would most likely also be done by Shelby’s official race shop.
- REAR DISC BRAKE
This solid rotor brake disc is part of the IRS set-up. This section is equipped with a front disc, and modifications made by the Original Venice Crew give a completely new touch to the disc brake Shelby GT350R. This option was never offered by Ford because of lack of funds during the production period at the time, but this option was one of the determining factors in the competition car. The 1965 Chevrolet Corvette and Jaguar B Production Class E-Type have been using four wheel disc brakes since 1961, so if the same read disc was used by Shelby at that time, it would be considered an unrealistic step.
- RE-DESIGN FRONT VALANCE
Because called to Europe to work on the Cobra Daytona Coupe project, Peter Brock had to leave his team while the car they were working on was not finished. However, some of the original designs by Peter Brock were used on the Original Venice Crew assemblies. Changes to the body of the car are considered more pleasing to the eye and more efficient for its aerodynamic system. The redesigned front fascia gives the car a more effective brake cooling compared to the standard version and this also allows better engine compartment cooling.
- RE-DESIGN WINDOWS REAR PLEXIGLASS
Another element of the original design that Peter Brock didn’t particularly like was the original rear window humpdeck, so this one was the element that had been replaced in the Original Venice Crew modified car models to match their initial plans. The rear glass in the Original Venice Crew Mustang has been slightly reconfigured to allow the driver to look outside the car better and improve the aerodynamics of the car. Ventilation for air exchange in the interior of the car has not changed at all in this modification, but this element is indeed very small so it is quite difficult to see the difference.
- PLEXIGLASS QUARTER WINDOW
In addition to previous modifications, Peter Brock also made changes to the quarter vent aluminum block off plates from the GT350 Competition. This change had already appeared before in all 1966 Shelby Mustang models, which added plexiglass sail panel windows to the modified cars. This modification might be seen as a small modification, but it is most noticeable. This modification also allows the driver to see more clearly.
- FUEL TANK BLADDER
One other update for safety regulations. The original model of the GT350 Competition gas tank consisted of two Mustang tanks in one. Because the Original Venice Crew used to modify the car by keeping the car as much as possible with the original, the modification team did not want to install an aftermarket gas tank, but could not launch a modern race car on a modern race track without changing its design. They decided to maintain the original shape of the gas tank on the outside, and use foam filling and fuel bladder on the inside. This design allows the car to maintain its original appearance but has the same safety standards as modern cars.
- FIBERGLASS REAR BUMPER
Initially, to reduce the weight of the car, the GT350 Competition was not fitted with a rear bumper. To refine the appearance of the original Venice Crew modified car, the rear bumper was re-installed, but the team decided to use a new rear bumper made of fiberglass, to keep the weight light. Painted in white with a blue line, this car maintains its original design which is loved by automotive enthusiasts.