An annual show of rare classic Shelby Cobra and Mustang muscle cars, normally held across town at the Petersen Automotive Museum, has shifted to the Santa Monica Pier this year.
The Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club Car Show, dedicated to the memory of the late car club member Tony Sousa, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, September 22nd, on the Santa Monica Pier, at the ocean end of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. Spectator admission is free.
The show is open to all Shelby designs, including Cobras and Mustangs, and all cars manufactured by Ford. Registration is $25 to $55 and includes a T-shirt and a dash plaque.
An awards ceremony for all of the car classes involved in the show and for best of show is scheduled for 2 p.m.
The Santa Monica Pier location for the show was secured through the efforts of Greb Barbiera, a local Shelby club member. Barbiera is also a Santa Monica police officer who patrols the area, says Steve Beck, a Shelby specialist who is the past president and a current member of the club.
Aside from owning a Shelby Mustang, Beck has for the last 16 years cared for and maintained a rare 1963 Shelby Cobra (said to be the sixth Cobra ever built) owned by jazz legend Herbie Hancock. Less than ten Cobras were offered and sold to the public in 1963, according to Beck.
In addition to the atmospheric benefits of holding the car show on the Santa Monica Pier, the local area holds a historic significance as well.
Shelby muscle cars were a limited edition series that were specially modified by former champion professional racer Carroll Shelby. His company, Shelby American, operated out of a facility on Princeton Drive in Venice from 1962 to 1964, when it relocated to a facility on Imperial Highway adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport.
Originally from Texas, Shelby began the company after he had to retire from his professional racing career due to health issues.
The first Shelby Mustang was offered in 1965, while the Cobras were in production by 1963. The vehicles were distinguished by their Ford “Wimbledon White” finish and some had Le Mans racing stripes.
Aside from a few early prototypes, the Shelby Mustangs were manufactured from 1965 until 1970, when Shelby terminated his agreement with Ford.
The Cobras were so hotly anticipated in the mid-1960s that they inspired a tune, “Hey, Little Cobra,” performed by The Rip Chords, that reached number four on the United States pop charts in 1963.
A new generation of Shelby Mustangs was introduced to the public last year.
The Shelby American Automobile club sprang up in 1975 with the mission of preserving, caring for and collecting information about the Shelby automobiles. The local Los Angeles chapter, the organizer of the upcoming car show, was founded 16 years ago.
This year’s car show is dedicated to the late Tony Sousa, a longtime Mustang and Shelby enthusiast and owner of a 1965 Shelby GT-350 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.
Sousa worked as a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney.
The grand marshal of this year’s car show is racer John Morton, who was involved with Carroll Shelby’s driving school.
Morton’s racing career has spanned five decades, and he says his most proud accomplishment was winning the 1987 Los Angeles Grand Prix GT event, the last official race at the Riverside International Raceway.
Information, (310) 729-9650 or www.lasaac.org/.