Five years of planning and preparing all lead up to a very special Thursday, October 14, event in Southern California: The Grand opening of the Segerstrom Shelby Event Center showcasing one of the largest Shelby collections in the world.
“The event center/museum has been a labor of love for both of us,” explained renowned philanthropists Ted and Rae Segerstrom who purchased the 41,000 sf. Irvine, Calif., industrial building in 2016 and started renovations in 2019.
“It has been a dream of ours since 2009 to create a place of celebration, education and preservation of Carroll Shelby’s [design work], and we are extremely excited to open the doors to the public and share the love and passion we have for the man, his cars and other memorabilia.
“We first met Carroll in January 2004,” the couple continued. “We were fortunate to see Carroll at various events throughout the years and get to know this iconic man. We are thrilled to share our collection with his fans, performance car enthusiasts and younger generations who are yet to learn how Carroll shaped the history of the performance cars and automotive industries.”
The museum and event center is now home to over 83 Shelby vehicles, plus neon signs, gas pumps and other collectibles from the Segerstrom’s private collection. Elegantly displayed among the professionally curated galleries are some of the world’s rarest Shelby models including:
- The three lowest production serial number Cobras in history, including the No. 1002 Cobra purchased by Ted and Rae Segerstrom in 2004, which was signed by the legendary race car designer himself on the nose and driver side door. (“From then on, almost every time he saw us, he jokingly mentioned that he hurt his back getting down to sign the door,” the couple recalled.)
- The only two 1968-1/2 GT500KR convertibles produced in Meadowlark Yellow with a black convertible top, black interior, and 4-speed transmission with air conditioning.
- A fully restored 1966 GT350 factory drag car, one of only four produced in 1966.
- The only remaining 1968-1/2 GT500KR Hertz convertible model.
- 1969 GT500 in Jade Black — a rare color on any Shelby, most particularly the 1969 GT500 convertible. (This machine, in this color, equipped with the Drag Pack option and manual transmission, is the only such example ever produced.)
- 1999 Series 1 CSX5000. The SSEC’s CSX 5000 is the first produced of the 249 in the original run of Series 1’s. (After so many years of basing his cars upon other carmakers’ underpinnings, Shelby decided he wanted to conceive and produce a car from scratch.)
The Segerstrom Shelby Event Center, located at 5 Whatney in Irvine, will be open to the public beginning the week of October 18. The venue will be available for special and private events including weddings, fundraisers, corporate parties, private gatherings, trade shows, new product releases, classes, lectures, workshops and car shows.
Importantly, the SSEC will further the Segerstrom’s philanthropic mission with net proceeds supporting the Carroll Shelby Foundation and Shriner’s for Children Medical Center-Pasadena.
For more information, please visit segerstromshelbyeventcenter.com.