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It took about six hours to fill the

ballroom because the cars had to be

unloaded and pushed inside, one at a

time. The first one in, sheerly by coin-

cidence, was a white ‘67 Shelby. The

rain had begun, so trailers were

backed just inside the large door. You

don’t let cars like this sit outside in the

rain while they are waiting to get in.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The SAAC-40 story began back in

January when we were discussing a

location for our fortieth get-together.

While a 40th anniversary is certainly

a milestone, we really didn’t see the

need to make it into a Big Deal: the

kind of event that inspires fireworks,

a cake with 40 candles or party hats

on each table at the dinner. There was

even a suggestion that Howard Pardee

jump out of a large cake. That idea

was quickly tabled, but it’s likely to be

reappear for our 50th anniversary.

In May of 2014 we had a discus-

sion about organizing the 2015 con-

vention as something very close in

concept to SAAC-2, back in 1977; pri-

marily a social event surrounded by a

lot of cars. In fact, Hershey, Pennsyl-

vania was even suggested as a possi-

ble site. However, the thought of

having a SAAC convention without an

open track really didn’t gain much

traction. The location would, however,

be in the northeast.

With major tracks like Watkins

Glen and Lime Rock booked years in

advance, SVRA once again came up on

our radar. They were holding an event

at Pocono International Raceway in

mid-August and they invited us to join

them. We kicked it around and one of

the downsides we saw was that it

would be the same week as the re-

cently announced Monterey Motor-

sports Reunion which would be a

tribute to the GT350’s 50th Anniver-

sary. After some back and forth, we de-

cided that with 3,000 miles separating

the two venues, it wasn’t likely that

the number of people choosing Mon-

terey instead of SAAC would put a no-

ticeable dent in our attendance. To

someone in the middle of the country

it might be a tough decision, but not

many on either coast would have a dif-

ficult choice. All things being equal,

most people will go to the closer event.

But all things were not equal. As

they do at Monterey, they were plan-

ning to make the GT350’s 50th a

major splash. Ford had unveiled a

2016 GT350 model which included an

open track version they called the

“GT350R.” It was clearly an homage to

the original R-Model, to the point

where only 37 cars would be built for

the first year. More would follow in


While we would not be competing

directly with Monterey, sharing the

date would mean that we couldn’t ex-

pect any attention from Ford. All of

their public relations and promotional

eggs would be put in the Monterey


We decided that Pocono was cer-

tainly in the right location for us and

the August 13-15 date was acceptable,

so we signed on and started making

plans. Howard Pardee stepped for-

ward to be the pointman on the hotel

(actually, when he was distracted

everyone else took a step backward).

Initially he looked into the Split Rock

Resort which was about fifteen min-


Fall 2015 271