“Let me know if I’m making you uncomfortable!” John Saia said over the roar of the engine as we careened around a bend above the Palos Verdes cliffs. I was having so much fun and was so focused on getting the shot that it hadn’t even occurred to me that we were in any danger. And really I don’t think we were, given that Saia has been taking his 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 on spins like this at least once a week since he purchased the classic vehicle in 2002. Still, it was nice of him to ask.
I had met up with Saia to spend a couple hours photographing him and his classics, the other being a 1965 Daytona Cobra Coupe replica, at what he has coined “The Shelby Garage,” named after legendary car designer Carroll Shelby, at Saia’s home in Rolling Hills Estates for the Wall Street Journal’s “My Ride” series. Saia, a retired technical training manager for Toyota, is a lifelong lover of Shelby designed cars and related artifacts, which he loves to share with the public at weekend car shows and on his website, ShelbyGuy.net. We spent some time there shooting the car and some of his large collection of memorabilia before taking it out for a spin and stopping by his favorite overlook facing south over San Pedro to shoot some more. Between the beautiful lines of the car and the stunning scenery it was almost too easy making beautiful images.
It’s safe to say I’m not a “car guy,” (I drive a Hyundai), but I always love these opportunities to ride along with someone who is. Not only is it a fun way to spend the day, but I always come away with an appreciation for what it is they see that I’ve been missing. In addition to the photos here and below, I took a moment to shoot some footage as we drove along Palos Verdes Drive. The rumble of the engine is hardly picked up, but hopefully this gives you some sense of the experience.