Volumes could and will be written about SAAC-27. My comments are only a small part of what this event proved to be according Rick Kopec a "Great Convention" and "One of the best" in 27 years! And, yes they will be back for the 30th in 2005. Photo at right is Kopec’s car photographed by Bob McClurg. Some stats: almost 5000 attendees, exceeding SAAC’s expectations. 250 cars in the popular vote, 27 concourse and 44 Cobras for the photo shoot….. 17 Cobras (including 5 CSX4000 challenge cars) and 56 Shelbys and their replicas entered for the race…..a record for SAAC ….and 128 trophies for the car show and race.
Thursday offered THE tour and what a memorable event: …Princeton, Airport (Race shop and Shelby Production), Gardena (Goodyear), Moon’s, and Riverside…a piece of the turn 9….if you missed it, you probably won’t see it again.
1042 Princeton Cobras "Home" Mike and Bernie Dean Moon’s shop
Riverside International Raceway still standing sign
There were original Ford and Shelby parts and memoribilia vendors throughout the show.
Friday we were introduced to one of the best tracks in the World….the excitement of pitting there and placing your car where the greats of CART and NASCAR put their footprints before….the swap meet area and the Shelby’s cars in attendance….the excitement of the first lap on the 2.88 mile track. The dinner….600 sat down to a great meal and enjoyed the memories of former Shelby American Employees…. hosted by Rick and Bernie.
Janet , Mike Davis and Boris Said at the luncheon
Linda Vaughn was a very personable entertainer
A very well known face in all racing circles Bob talked and autographed right along with the crew.
Saturday….my favorite day….the luncheon with over 60 Legends attending and sharing their experiences and signing your memorabilia. Rem, Bondo (pictured), Cantwell, Johnson+++ and ALL the craftsmen that made it happen…the ole man calling from home and Linda Vaughn (the Queen of Motorsports and a Hall of Famer)….truly a once in a lifetime event for us Shelby nuts…..It just doesn’t get any better….A big THANK YOU to the reunion pit crew: Bernie and Diana (crew chief), John and Janet, my wife Sammie and Lewis and Terry Downs from NORCAL and our sponsors: Shelby American Enterprises, Ford SVT Division, Vortech Engineering, JBA Headers, Applied Computer Solutions , Tony Branda Performance, Motorsports Int’l, Orlando Mustang, SWB Studios and Steve Moriety of Chicane Auto Racing Productions. A special thanks to Rick Titus and Jay Dalton (pictured) for bring their Drivers Talk Radio Program to the Reunion. Some say this was the best…maybe, we’ll see!
Roy Gammell (lt) and Phil Remington (rt),both 82 share a moment
Then it was off to the group picture hosted by Lynn Park against an outstanding background of 44 Cobras and the California Speedway straight and position tower.
Photos by Bob McClurg
The Dinner….800 sat down to enjoy the meal and hear more memories Once again Bernie at the Mike. A couple of us were surprised at the dinner and some us gathered around one of the most dedicated and talented Cobra/GT350 driver/mechanic/restorer ever for a chat…It’s not often Dave Dralle leaves the shop to attend a social event.
Sunday….the big race…
Some bad boys with their bad toys them on the grid and went for it. I’ll let the guys in it describe it, but the West coast prevailed with Gary Underwood winning the Cobra race. Some may disagree, but those CSX4000 Challenge Cars are in a class by themselves. The "GT350" race was won by another West coaster, Dan Luckow. I suspect the rules and grids will change to match like against like in years to come, just a guess? I finally got to drive Sunday and what a hoot…..that track was delicious. All turns were great fun, but diving into the chicane at turn one was best for me.
I didn’t attend the car show, but someone donated a CD full of pictures…..some great cars showed up and the winners are posted on saac.com with the race results.
SAAC’s Annual Convention….what is it? Well you can read about it or here stories from others, but if you attended the four days at the 27th annual, you found out first hand and you will remember and talk about it for the next decade. For those not attending, it happens every year in July, so stay well, save your money and plan on a pilgrimage to the East next year…..where the slower cars run!
Bernie’s friend, Tweedy…..and if he asks me one more of those "What’s the difference between a this and that" joke, again I’m going pack it it……..
Photos by Bob McClurg and Bob Shaw
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