The annual Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club Car Show will return to the historic Santa Monica Pier from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11.

Admission is free. The car show is dedicated to the memory of the late car club member Tony Sousa, a longtime Mustang and Shelby enthusiast and owner of a 1965 Shelby GT350 and FIA Cobra who passed away in 2005.

Sousa was an active member of the National Shelby American Automobile Club and secretary of the local Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club. He also worked as a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney.

Randy Richardson, club president, said the Santa Monica Pier is an exceptional location for a car show.

“Southern California is known for being a symbol of some of the most iconic vehicles ever produced,” Richardson said. “Who wouldn’t want to cruise down Pacific Coast Highway in a performance vehicle on a sun-baked day? What better place to view some of these cars than the end of Route 66, the Santa Monica Pier.”

Shelby “muscle” cars were a limited edition series that were specially modified by former champion professional racecar driver Carroll Shelby. His company, Shelby American, operated out of a small shop on Princeton Drive in Venice from 1962 to 1964, when it relocated to a facility on Imperial Highway near Los Angeles International Airport.

The Princeton Drive shop was the origin of the Shelby Cobra. The Cobras quickly developed from a light-weight sports car powered by a small block Ford V-8 to a “fire breathing monster with bulging fenders covering massive profoundly sticky Goodyear tires,” according to the Shelby club. The street competition Cobra was capable of going from 0 to 100 miles per hour and back to 0 in 12.5 seconds, the club notes.

After Ford approached Shelby to develop a race version of the newly introduced Mustang, the Shelby Mustang GT-350 was born in 1965 and immediately began breaking records on road race tracks, club members said.

The Shelby Mustangs continued until 1970 when Shelby terminated his agreement with Ford, until 2007 when Shelby agreed to once again build Shelby Mustangs from his Las Vegas facility. Just this year Shelby unveiled his 2011 Mustang version of the iconic GT-350 with over 500 horsepower.

“Our car show on the pier has developed into one of the best Shelby Cobra/Ford car shows on the West Coast,” Richardson said. “We have some high quality vehicles and some with a distinctive history or race heritage that makes our show unique”.

The special guest of this year’s show is former Shelby employee Bernie Kretzschmar, who was one of the early Shelby employees and one of the Southern California “hot rodders” that worked at the Venice shop.

One of the Trans Am race cars that Kretzschmar helped build, a 1967 Cougar sponsored by Southern California Bob Estes Ford, will be on display at this year’s show. Also on display will be jazz legend Herbie Hancock’s 1963 Cobra (the sixth Cobra built), which Hancock purchased new in New York, as well as several original 1965 Shelby GT-350s and 289 and 427 Cobras.

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