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There's something about spirit. Webster's defines spirit as a special attitude or frame of mind. Others have said that spirit exemplifies or inspires positive values and behaviors. A Spirit Award recipient may be characterized by an extraordinary generosity, enthusiasm, and motivation, giving their time beyond what might be expected, thereby exhibiting a high level of service to an organization.

On Saturday, September 17th, I attended the Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club's (SAAC) 17th annual Tony Sousa Memorial Car Show in El Segundo, California. This year's Memorial Car Show was staged at the Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum ( You can learn more about the Annual Car Show on the LASAAC website at:

And I've written a separate ShelbyStory with plenty of photos from this year's LASAAC Show here.

As the day-long car show began to wind down to 20 individual 'popular vote' car-class awards, there were several other special awards, like Best of Show, the two Bruce "Gooch" Kawaguchi & Michael Holmes awards, even the Automobile Driving Museum's Award (selected by Museum staff).

The annual Show’s namesake memorializes and celebrates the life of Tony Sousa, who was the LA Club's secretary and historian. Tony traveled all over the United States in his 1965 Shelby GT350, as an ambassador to the marque. Just like me, Tony believed that these special cars should be driven. For a while, Tony also had a Cobra, a genuine CSX7000 Series Shelby FIA Cobra 289 built to his specifications, which I learned when I spoke to Tony's sister, Angela. At the very end of the Show, this final award, presented by Angela and Randy Richardson, LA Shelby Club's President, the 2022 Tony Sousa Spirit Award was announced and presented.

To my great surprise and complete disbelief, I was named recipient of the 2022 Tony Sousa Spirit Award. Completely stunned, speechless, I never saw it coming!

The prestigious Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club's Spirit Award

I am very honored and humbled by this unique and special recognition and very thankful to the Shelby Club's leadership to make such a choice. I am also very thankful to the entire Sousa family who honor Tony's life in this extraordinary fashion. So, I want to go on record, thanking the Club's officers: Randy Richardson, President; Steve Beck, Vice President; Greg Barbiera, Membership Director; Chris Bolinger, Treasurer; Joe Risk, Secretary; Gary Gawlas, Event/Merchandise Director; and Manny Samaniego, Media Director. I also want to thank Angela Sousa for representing Tony's family and being present to honor Tony and recognize me personally. I am so grateful!

L. Angela Sousa R. John Saia

[Photo by Stephen Russo]

In the meantime, you can count on me to continue to follow in Tony's footsteps, enthusiastically promoting all things associated with the Shelby marque, and disturbing the peace, just like Carroll Shelby, since 1962!

Thank You Very Much!

To see my ShelbyStory about the 17th annual Tony Sousa Memorial Car Show, go here.


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