A Little History

The National level Shelby American Automobile Club was founded in 1975 dedicated to the 'preservation, care, history and enjoyment of the World Championship Cars built by Carroll Shelby'. To that end, regional SAAC organizations began forming around the country in the late 1970s. In 1978-79 a southland man, away at college, helped form the Texas Region of SAAC National. Today, many locals in the San Diego area know this man as J Bittle.

J, back in San Diego in 1982, teamed up with a local SAAC National Rep Craig Conley of El Cajon to form the Shelby-Ford Motor Sport Club of San Diego and affiliate with SAAC National. Members of this active but loosely structured club would attend NASCAR Riverside events, Lime Runs, rallies, road trips, even renting the infamous Carlsbad Raceway from time to time to sponsor drag races.

In the early 1990s Roland Eddy stepped in as a leader for the Shelby-Ford Motor Sport Club of San Diego as J's company exploded, becoming the #1 Ford distributor in the US and leaving no time for J to play. The club grew in size and momentum with membership logos, newsletters and meetings.

By 2000, Craig Wright led the newly named SoCalSAAC through incorporation as a 503(c)7; a tax deferred 'Social and Recreational' organization. Bylaws were written, dues were collected, General Membership monthly meetings were held as were quarterly Board of Directors meetings, a website was started and the club was involved with many track, cruise and show activities including volunteering annually at the Fleet Week Speed Festival held every September on Coronado Island.

In 2012 new member Steve Ulmer was elected to as President and during his term the bylaws were updated, affiliation with SAAC National was reestablished, Directors and Officers insurance was procured and club event and meeting insurance was formalized with the San Diego Association of Car Clubs. Club events during the 2010s tended to focus on spirited back county cruises, member attended car shows, club visitations to production, repair & restoration shops, museum & private collection visitations and track events.

2012 saw the 50th Anniversary of the Cobra Roadster and the death of Carroll Shelby on May 10, but never a beat was skipped. Celebrations of his life took place all over the southland from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Members attended the Monterey Historic's for an emotionally charged once in a lifetime event featuring Cobras, including 41 original and authentic Cobras all on the track at the same time! You had to be there.

2014 saw the development of a new website for the club that was needed to accommodate newer social technologies. 2014 also brought about the 50th year celebration of the Mustang. Members attended a once in a lifetime weeklong Shelby/Mustang celebration in Las Vegas at the International Raceway showcasing the largest display of Mustangs ever! You had to be there.

To view a list of the club's past presidents, click here.