DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (Sept. 13, 2006) — American automotive icons Carroll Shelby and Alex Xydias will host the New Product Awards Breakfast Oct. 31 at the 2006 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.
The annual New Products Breakfast is the traditional kick-off event for the SEMA Show, which runs Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, SEMA said. During the breakfast SEMA announces 10 winners of the show's new product awards competition.
Messrs. Shelby and Xydias—considered “founding fathers” of the specialty equipment industry—will give attendees a “once-in-a-lifetime” look backward at the early days of the industry and a forecast of the future.
Mr. Xydias opened So-Cal Speed Shop in 1946, according to Diamond Bar-based SEMA. His hot rods were regulars at the Bonneville Salt Flats and drag strips, with one of his creations the first to break the 200 mph barrier, SEMA said.
Early success led to a partnership with legendary auto enthusiast and author Dean Batchelor. Together they developed a streamliner that topped 210 mph in 1950 and impressed millions of car enthusiasts including a young Mickey Thompson. Mr. Xydias later influenced the creation of SEMA and participated in the very first SEMA Show in 1967.
Mr. Shelby's career as a race car driver, owner, team manager, manufacturer and consultant include accomplishments such as: breaking land speed records at Bonneville in 1954 for Austin Healey; winning the 24-hour Le Mans in 1959; and orchestrating Ford's victories at Le Mans in the 1960s.
The result of his design vision—the Shelby Cobra—is considered by many in the industry as one of the fastest road cars ever constructed. His name is synonymous with performance.
“As we celebrate American Muscle—past, present and future—at the 2006 SEMA Show, I can think of no more fitting experts to enlighten us on the early days than Carroll Shelby and Alex Xydias. They are icons for our industry and we would be wise to consider their counsel and enjoy their legacy,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA vice president, marketing and communications.