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expected to commemorate this an-

niversary this year. Copying them

would have made us look like just an-

other tag-along. Second, with all of

these other GT40 commemora-

tions, our chances of attracting

very many of these historic cars

would be somewhere between

slim and none. And as they say,

Slim just left town.

We chose the 50th Anniver-

sary of the GT350 Hertz model

because in the panorama of

Shelby American history, it rep-

resents something unique. As

far as automobile production is

concerned, 1,000 cars is a drop

in the bucket, but when viewed

in the context of Shelby Ameri-

can production, the Hertz mod-

els represented fully forty-two

percent of all GT350s made that

year. We thought this was some-

thing worth acknowledging.

We also thought there might

have been a chance of getting

Hertz to participate, in light of

the fact that they had recently

introduced a 50th Anniversary Hertz

model of the Shelby Mustang, finished

in traditional black with gold stripes.

Only 140 were produced and made

available for rental at selected Hertz

airport rental outlets as part of the

“Hertz Adrenaline Collection” (Char-

lotte, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas-Ft.

Worth, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft.

Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami,

Orlando, Nashville, Phoenix, San

Francisco, San Diego, San Jose and

Seattle). The rental cost is about $350

a day or $47.73 in 1966 dollars; a bit

more than the original $17 a day cost.

For SAAC-41 we again chose to

partner up with the Sportscar Vintage

Racing Association (SVRA) when they

had their racing weekend at the Mid-

Ohio Sports Course, in north-central

Ohio. This was purely a financial deci-

sion because renting a track on our

own would cost upwards of $100K. We

knew that with open track interest on

the downward spiral each year, we

would have had as much of a chance

reaching the break-even point as the

employment prospects of a children’s

party clown with Tourette’s. Our three

days – Thursday, Friday and Satur-

day – would dovetail with their Thurs-

day-Friday-Saturday and Sunday


Our schedule was made up of the

usual activities everyone has come to

expect at a national convention: con-

cours, popular vote show, open track,

parade laps, parts swap, a welcoming

mixer on Thursday night and a

dinner-evening program on Fri-

day night. We managed to toss

in a couple of surprises here and

there to keep things fresh – no

easy trick after forty years.

The convention started off,

as they all do, the day before the

convention – Wednesday. People

don’t all arrive promptly at 7

a.m. on the first day. They travel

from all over and if they arrive

at the track the afternoon of the

day before, they can get through

registration and if they are run-

ning the open track or vintage

race, they can get through tech

inspection instead of trying to

get all of this done with the

threat of missing the driver’s

meeting hanging over their

head. They also want to find a

good spot in the paddock to park

their trailer and unpack their

stuff. Wednesday tends to be on the

low-key side with a lot of waving,

hand-shaking and back-slapping.

Things take a slightly more serious

turn starting on Thursday morning.

One of the things almost everyone

who was checked into a local hotel did

on Wednesday night was to keep an

eye on the television weather reports.

Rain was forecast and, depending on

which report you listened to, it was ei-

ther going to be light, medium or

heavy. The word “tornado” was also

heard occasionally and that got every-

one’s attention.


Summer 2016 33