What were the top classic car stories of 2014?

Petersen museum reopens with new look in 2015 | Petersen Museum photo
Petersen museum reopens with new look in 2015 | Petersen Museum photo

Wow. This has been quite a year for the classic car community. Consider just a few of the events that have taken place since January 1, 2014:

  • A post-war car won Best of Show at Pebble Beach.
  • A sinkhole opened beneath the National Corvette Museum and swallowed eight cars.
  • A fire-damaged and barn-found Ferrari sold for more than $2 million and a dirty, dusty 300SL gullwing with rips in its interior brought nearly $1.9 million while, at the same sale, a gorgeously restored gullwing fetched a mere $1.4 million.
  • Someone paid an auction-record price of $38.1 million to acquire a Ferrari 250 GTO.
  • A Shelby Daytona Coupe became the first car to gain recognition on the new National Historic Vehicle Register.

We — associate editor Bob Golfen and I — will have much more to say on those four events between now and the end of the year as we present the ClassicCars.com blog’s top-10 classic car stories of 2014.

But before we launch our top-10 tomorrow, we wanted to get a running start by introducing the series today and by including some of the stories that were significant but didn’t make our 10-top list. For example:

Indy Speedway welcomes classics and vintage racers | Michael Trace photo
Indy Speedway welcomes classics and vintage racers | Michael Trace photo
  • Just like a classic car that has experienced better days, the Petersen Automotive Museum is undergoing what amounts to a frame-off restoration. The museum closed earlier this fall and won’t reopen until sometime in the later part of 2015. Meanwhile, it not only is getting a new exterior facade but is being fully remodeled inside to provide expanded and technologically updated exhibition spaces.
  • Prices for what some call the “next-gen” collectibles — the Datsun 240Zs and early Toyota Supras and even full-size American cars of the 1970s and ‘80s — are starting to accelerate as younger buyers enter the classic car hobby and marketplace.
  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, once the bastion of tradition with only one race each year, hosted its first classic car show and vintage racing weekend. Vintage racing got an additional boost with a 24-hour event at Daytona.
  • While we’ve noted previously that American car companies aren’t paying enough attention to their heritage, we note again that Land Rover Jaguar spent some $170 million to buy England’s largest private collection of British cars, cars that already are not only being loaned out for museum display but are being offered to customers for vintage-driving experiences.
  • Mecum may have canceled its annual Bloomington Gold auction, but it added sales in Seattle and Harrisburg and Austin, and Bonhams will stage a new sale in 2015 at Amelia Island.
  • Speaking of Bloomington Gold, it’s moving again — in 2015 to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • Perhaps not quite as big of news as a post-war car winning best of show at Pebble Beach, but a customized pickup truck drove off with the top money and the big trophy in the $100,000 Barrett-Jackson Cup competition at Hot August Nights in Reno.
  • The rights to the Cord trademarks sold at auction for $242,000.

Each of those is an event of significance, yet none of them survived the cull to make our top-10 classic car stories of 2014. That countdown starts tomorrow.

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