Californian John Saia was snake-bit early on. “I first fell in love with Carroll Shelby and Shelby American cars when I saw a Cobra for the first time at the Hershey Hill Climb in Hershey, PA” says the owner of SFM2060.
With road time first in the cockpit of a ’64 Fairlane sport coupe followed by another in the form of a ’67 GT 390, Saia was well versed in the Ford nameplate when he located his 1966 Shelby GT350.
“I don’t call it a hobby, it’s more a passion for me” says this Army veteran. “I’ve always had an interest in mechanical things and how things work…cars in particular.” Saia has been an ASE certified master technician for 40 years.
Today, Saia consults with an ASE-related firm, the ASE Education Foundation, serving as Field Manager working with and accrediting automotive vocational programs at the secondary and post-secondary level.
Much like a mechanical master, Saia explains that like all ’66 Shelby’s #2060 began at Ford’s Mustang production line in San Jose, California then shipped south to the Shelby American production facility located at the Los Angeles airport (LAX). Upon completion at Shelby’s facility, the Shelby was shipped to Detroit, in its original Ivy Green color.
Having sold his first Shelby in 1979, Saia added his current GT350 to the stable in 2002. “For the last 17 years, #2060 is driven every week for doses of sunshine, fresh air, high-test, and red line verification,” Saia states.
“This was a ground-up restoration done in 1990-1991 by the second owner, who, as part of the restoration, painted the car in Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue LeMans stripes as you see it today,” adds John.
Putting power to the pavement comes courtesy of Ford’s venerable K code high performance small-block specially tuned by Shelby American.
As a master technician you’d expect John to express his craft through his cars. To that end #2060 doesn’t need to look further than its formidable stable mate. Saia’s 1965 period correct, Factory Five Daytona Coupe does not disappoint!
Sparing no expense, the Type 65 Coupe was built with all new components including a fiberglass body. Like the original six were campaigned, it has a fire breathing blue oval powerplant topped with 48 IDA Webbers. John’s Daytona is a blur wrapped in Guardsman Blue and Wimbleton White Lemans stripes.
Saia, a long-time member of the national Shelby American Automobile Club and locally, the Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club believes these cars were meant to be driven as he puts them through their paces every week. “We can pretty much do that here in Southern California, year-round, given our great weather!”
As this certified mechanic points out, “There’s always something to work on with cars like these but it’s always a joy. Every time I walk into the Shelby Garage I get a thrill.”
One look inside and you’ll understand why.
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