All posts by Bob Golfen

Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle.He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs.A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

RM Sotheby’s hits $21 million for 48 cars at Paris sale

A 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder sold for $3 million at the Paris auction | RM Sotheby's photos
A 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder sold for $3 million at the Paris auction | RM Sotheby’s photos

RM Sotheby’s had a very tight schedule following its successful collector car auction January 28-29 in Arizona, packing up and flying off to Paris for its Retromobile auction on Wednesday. They made it, and held a sale that reached nearly $21 million for 48 sold out of 61 cars, a 79 percent rate.

The star of the show was a spectacular Porsche, a 1955 Spyder with racing history that sold for a convincing $3 million (all sales results converted from euro and include auction fees), the highest sale that took place during the auction. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1949 Ford Utility Coupe

The 1949 Ford Utility Coupe of Australia predates the Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino
The 1949 Ford Utility Coupe of Australia  predates the Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino

Now for something completely different.  Long before there was a Ford Ranchero or Chevrolet El Camino, the wily Australians invented what they called the “ute,” short for utility coupe, that combined the style and comfort of a passenger car with the utility of a pickup truck.

The Pick of the Day, a 1949 Ford Utility Coupe, might look like an imaginative custom build, but it is actually a factory product from the Australian branch of Ford designed so that country folk could have “a vehicle to go to church on Sunday and carry pigs to market on Monday.”  Never imported to the U.S., the utility coupes were unique to Australia until the advent of the Ranchero and El Camino. Continue reading

Arizona auctions showed a changing market, not a retreat

This 1992 Ferrari 512 TR sold at Barrett-Jackson for nearly $360,000, part of the rising interest in later exotics | Matthew Fink
This 1992 Ferrari 512 TR sold at Barrett-Jackson for nearly $360,000, part of the rising interest in later exotics | Matthew Fink

The collector car auctions last week in Arizona did not result in a major shakeout or a bursting bubble, as some had feared. But they did show a general stagnation of prices overall compared with the boom of the past few years, with some bright spots but also some receding values.

Auction analysts are poring over the numbers, sifting through the more than 2,000 cars that sold at six auctions in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. They’ll draw conclusions about what happened, but some things are already apparent. Continue reading

Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche set for Amelia Island Concours

Janis Joplin had her Porsche 356 SC Cabriolet psychedically painted by a band roadie | Ameia Island Concours
Janis Joplin had her Porsche 356 SC Cabriolet  painted by a band roadie | Ameia Island Concours

One of the most memorable cars of the psychedelic ’60s, Janis Joplin’s fantastically painted 1964 Porsche 356 SC Cabriolet, will make a guest appearance in March during the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida.

While Joplin sang “my friends all drive Porsches,” she actually drove one, too, a convertible she bought used in 1968 for $3,500 from a Beverly Hills dealer. One of her band’s roadies, Dave Richards, created the car’s amazing mural, which he called “The History of the Universe.” Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1966 Ford Mustang GT

The 1966 Ford Mustang GT coupe has been rotisserie restored, the seller says
The 1966 Ford Mustang GT coupe has been rotisserie restored, the seller says

Coming down from the dreamscape of the Arizona collector car auctions, many of us are craving something we can actually buy without taking out a second mortgage, especially something that’s all ready to drive and enjoy. Nothing fancy, just a solid car that will deliver plenty of pleasure with a minimum of fuss.

The Pick of the Day could fit that bill, an attractive 1966 Ford Mustang GT coupe in Lakeland, Florida, that is said to be totally restored from a car that was rust free and never in an accident. Continue reading

Shelby magic again lights up Barrett-Jackson auction block during the ‘Super Saturday’ sale in Scottsdale

The 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra is rolled off the Barrett-Jackson block after selling for $797,500 | Matt Fink
The 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra is rolled off the Barrett-Jackson block after selling for $797,500 | Matthew Fink

Cleo Shelby’s bright-blue eyes began tearing up as she watched one of her late husband’s landmark creations, a 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra, rumble onto the auction block at Barrett-Jackson’s busy Saturday sale in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“It’s very nostalgic for me,” she said in her rich British accent. Continue reading

Sale of unique Alfa Romeo Buano coupe in Scottsdale refocuses question of restoration vs. preservation

The coachbuilt 1955 Alfa Romeo 3500C SS coupe was first shown at the Turin Motor Show | Bob Golfen photos
The coachbuilt 1955 Alfa Romeo 3500C SS coupe was first shown at the Turin Motor Show | Bob Golfen photos

Once again, the Gooding & Company auction presented some interesting “barn find” European sports cars at its Scottsdale sale, including one of the signature cars of the event, a one-a-kind 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900C SS Coupe Speciale, in distressed yet picturesque condition.

With evocative coachwork by Buano created for display at the 1955 Turin Motor Show, the Alfa was a center of attention at Gooding, even with a cracking repaint in an incorrect red color and some rough-looking dents on top of the alloy right-front fender. Continue reading

Bob’s favored few from the Silver auction in Arizona

Checking under the hood of a custom Dodge pickup during bidding at the Silver auction | Bob Golfen photos
Checking under the hood of a custom Dodge pickup during bidding at the Silver auction | Bob Golfen photos

Compared with the five other Arizona collector car auctions going on this week, Silver’s Fort McDowell sale is way out in right field, both in location and substance. While the other auctions are situated within the Scottsdale/Phoenix metro hub, Mitch Silver has planted his event northeast of town at the Fort McDowell Casino and Resort in the Yavapai tribal community.

And while the other auctions try to outdo each other in the splendor of their sales, Silver remains a laid back and easily accessible affair for the everyman enthusiast, with most of the collector cars on the docket readily affordable. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1955 Ford Fairlane custom

The 1955 Ford Fairlane is outfiited with old-school custom accessories
The 1955 Ford Fairlane is outfiited with old-school custom accessories

With all the nosebleed prices that will be kicking around this weekend at the Arizona auctions, which can be pretty depressing for us regular folk, I thought it would be a good idea to present a Pick of the Day that is quite affordable while still being cool and desirable.

This 1955 Ford Fairlane is described by the Whiteland, Indiana, classic car dealer as fully restored, and it’s outfitted with retro accessories that should appeal to old-school cruisers. This look has come back strong among younger hobbyists who embrace the rockabilly culture, as well as older nostalgic collectors. Continue reading