Like the differences between the classic style of Steven McQueen and the outrageousness of Alexander McQueen, flashy exotic supercars have a time and a place. But it’s hard to beat the iconic design and performance of America muscle cars, which is where this Mustang GT350 comes into play.
It’s a freshly built continuation of the legendary 1965 Shelby GT350 and it’s being produced by the team responsible for the original Mustang race car from the mid-60s — the Original Venice Crew. Ted Sutton, Jim Marietta and Peter Brock worked out of Shelby American’s original Venice location where that company turned wrenches and shaped fenders on the very first R-Model GT350 back in the ’60s. Now OVC is picking up where Shelby American left off and doing it all again for a new batch of 1965 GT350s.
OVC finds original K-Code Mustangs, strips them down to bare metal, cleans them back up and rebuilds them exactly as they were in the ’60s — as track-dominating performance cars. What’s more, because they’re legitimate Mustangs with actual VINs, it’s completely legal to drive them on the street. Still, OVC only plans to build 36 examples of these modern rendition 1965 GT350 competition-spec cars.
Under the hood of this 2,800-pound fastback is a reworked 289 cubic-inch engine with around 450 horsepower on tap (up from the original car’s 306 hp). All of that grunt is routed through a period-correct, four-speed manual gearbox and out to the rear wheels. Grab the thin-rimmed, wood steering wheel and you can skip the gym for the day, because there’s no power steering — this is your workout. On track, the GT350 is everything you hope and imagine it to be. The car feels simultaneously brilliant and brash, and the best way to drive it is to grab it by the scruff of its neck and wring it out.
This updated ’65 GT350 has a few more tricks up its sleeve compared to the original cars. For one, you can spec this Mustang with independent rear suspension, giving it modern handling characteristics and a more planted feel in corners. The OVC team also took the liberty of revising and updating the front bumper, rear window and rear quarter glass. The rest is as it was in ’65, replete with Wimbledon White paintwork, topped with classic blue racing stripes.
Open the door and feel the mechanical clunk of the button as the heavy metal door swings away from body of the car. The cockpit beckons you into its bucket seat and it’s almost as if you’re time traveling back a half-dozen decades. Turn the key and you can hear air being sucked in through Holley carburetor just before the engine barks to life. It’s an analog and raw mechanical process that’ll brighten anyone’s day: a race car on public streets providing a V8 rock concert to a five-block radius. It’s loaded with style and history, which puts it in a different league than any exotic that might cross your path.
It should be said, a car like this doesn’t come cheap. Should you manage to find an original 1965 Shelby GT350R, expect to pay anywhere around $650,000 and even over $1,000,000. If that goes over your budget, OVC will sell you one with a starting price of just $250,000 — since you’re actually unlikely to find a real GT350R, this is your best shot at owning one for far less. PLus, it’s essentially the same as the original anyway. Hell, the rear fenders are being hand-formed by the same guy who did so to the cars back in 1965.