Segerstrom Shelby Event Center
A look at one of the newest and most unique event centers in SoCal
The Segerstrom Shelby Event Center is open to the public, and general admission is just $15, with discounts for seniors, military and children.
By Reed Berry
Mon, Feb 7, 2022 01:01 PM PST
Drivers, start your engines!
Then, proceed to Orange County and experience the newest, most unique event center in Southern California, the Segerstrom Shelby Event Center. This beautifully designed space pairs a state-of-the-art event center with a magnificent automobile collection featuring more than 83 rare – and quite valuable – Shelby vehicles, honors the late racing legend, Carroll Shelby.
From a wedding to a corporate event or even a trade show, just think how amazing it would be to hold an event alongside this fabulous car collection. It may look like merely a car museum, but this facility is able to accommodate functions of up to 350 guests in it's 7,000 square-foot Grand Salon or up to 100 guests in the outdoor patio area. The Thunderbird Suite has a dressing area, stylist chairs and a wet bar, and the Cobra Suite is a great place to relax with comfortable seating, a wet bar and, probably the coolest feature, a Mustang pool table. An on-site kitchen has equipment and ample space for food preparation.
In addition to the dozens of vehicles on display, you will find unique items throughout the venue. As you enter, your eyes will be drawn to the collection of antique neon signs, as well as a number of vintage gas pumps and glass gas pump globes. Another display cleverly showcases a collection of oil cans.
There are even several vintage coin-operated rides that, if you're old enough, you may remember seeing in front of grocery stores back in the day. How fun it was to pop in a nickel or dime and take a take an imaginary ride in a cool sports car. Seeing these rides certainly brings back great memories.
The cars and other items on display are from the collection of the Segerstrom Shelby Event Center founders, philanthropists Ted and Rae Segerstrom. The Segerstroms purchased the building in 2016 and started the renovations in 2019. According to the Segerstroms, "The event center/museum has been a labor of love for both of us."
Joining the Segerstroms for tonight's "Grand Celebration" is supermodel-turned-philanthropist Kathy Ireland. Ms. Ireland serves as International Youth Chair for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
But tonight, the cars are truly the stars. Among the dozens of cars on display are some of the world's rarest Shelby models, including the three lowest production serial number Cobras in history, one of which was autographed by Carroll Shelby on the nose and driver side door.
There is also a fully restored 1966 Shelby GT350 factory drag car, one of only four factory drag cars produced in 1966, as well as the only remaining 1968-1/2 Shelby GT500KR Hertz Convertible Model. It will take you a while to see all the cars. They are beautifully arranged on two floors, with both a winding staircase and elevator with which access the upper level.
Profits from this unique venue go to the Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena, California, and the Carroll Shelby Foundation. The Shriners for Children Medical Center provides comprehensive medical, surgical and rehabilitative care for children up to 18 regardless of their family's ability to pay. The Carroll Shelby Foundation provides medical assistance to those in need, and continues to aid children battling deadly diseases.
The Segerstrom Shelby Event Center is open to the public, and general admission is just $15, with discounts for seniors, military and children. Docent led tours are available, as well. SSEC is located at 5 Whatney, Irvine, California, 92618.
For more information on visiting SSEC or booking a memorable event at this unique new venue, visit segerstromshelbyeventcenter.com.
About The Author
Known professionally as "The Traffic Guy," Reed Berry has been a driver safety educator for over 30 years. Reed has conducted traffic school classes and suspended license workshops throughout California, and has served as keynote speaker at safety conferences and corporate events across America. He has appeared on radio and television programs both in the U.S. and internationally to discuss safety-related issues. A contributor to LA Car since 2003, Reed Berry is a member of Motor Press Guild, the Los Angeles Press Club and SAG-AFTRA.