"Ownership is not necessary . . . "
Before I could complete the sentence, Doug chimed in, "but enthusiasm is."
We had dredged up an old slogan about the requirements of belonging to a car club. Doug Bohrer fit this mold at SAAC Does Vegas 1 and 2. He had owned several early Mustang fastbacks, but no Shelby.
Joining a club, however, is one great way to get a car connection. For Bohrer, that connection was Tony Sousa.
"Tony and I met through the Central Valley Mustang Club," Doug says. "He was on a drive one time with his '65 Shelby and noticed our '65 fastback. He drove up alongside us. We had our CB radio and started talking back and forth. We just kind of became friends, even though he lives in Los Angeles and we live 200 miles from him in Visalia."
Doug was no rube when it came to Mustangs.
"In 1981, I bought my first one-a '66 A-code fastback with a four-speed, a car I still own today," Doug says. "Then I got a '65 GT convertible four-speed with factory air. And then my wife Marianne got tired of showing the convertible. She wanted a car of her own, so she bought a '65 fastback to restore."
For so many of us, the Shelby is the rung on the performance ladder we'd like to climb one day.
"Truthfully, I never thought I'd own one," Doug claims.
Even before he bought that first fastback in 1981, his favorite Mustang of all time was the '69 Shelby. The car just has so much "eyeball."
"They did a lot of innovations with the fiberglass," says Doug, "which extended the front of the car a little longer than the standard Mach 1. The headlights were recessed, so you don't see any of them from the side. The front bumper has a sleeker look. Then there are those side stripes and that little flip-up spoiler in the back. One thing I always liked about those cars is the directional rear turn signals. I don't know why that appealed to me so much. And I always liked the way they had the center port exhausts."
Doug's club enthusiasm, essential to membership, had advanced to a fever for a '69. He wasn't particular about the engine; he just liked the style so much. The GT350's small-block, in fact, fit his touring needs best. As a non-owner, Doug had logged thousands of miles of enthusiasm.
In addition to SAAC Does Vegas shows, Doug recalls SAAC-22 at Road America. He co-drove an '86 SVO from California to Wisconsin and back-36 hours and 2,900 miles round-trip.
By now, Doug's wife, Marianne, knew how much her husband wanted a Shelby Mustang. She was about to surprise him.
"We were at SAAC Does Vegas 2," Marianne recalls. "Tony drove up in his '65 Shelby and said, 'Hey, I think I found the house I want to buy, so I'm going to sell my '69 GT350.' "
Marianne knew how badly Doug wanted the car, so together they decided to work it out financially by making payments.
Basically, Doug got a car ready to drive and show. That's another benefit of belonging to a car club. Remember, ownership is not essential. Enthusiasm is. Then you catch the fever!