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.

Pick of the Day: 1955 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman hardtop

The DeSoto Fireflite hardtop gleams with yards of chrome trim
The DeSoto Fireflite hardtop gleams with yards of chrome trim

Chrysler introduced the Fireflite in 1955 as the top-of-the-line model for the restyled cars of the premium DeSoto division, lavishing it with chrome accents, exotic styling details and modernistic features.

The Pick of the Day is a 1955 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman hardtop in two-tone red and white, and looking very clean in the photos with its ad on ClassicCars.com. Like most U.S. cars of the era, the two-door hardtop version best shows off Fireflite’s expressive styling, and the Sportsman package adds another layer of trim. Continue reading

Vintage motorcycles hit jackpot for Mecum in Vegas

Terry Gambill and Clara Baker examine a 1950 Harley-Davidson | Bob Golfen photos
Terry Gambill and Clara Baker examine a 1950 Harley-Davidson | Bob Golfen photos

The Mecum motorcycle auction rolled into Las Vegas last weekend for the second time this year, adding the sale of about 400 vintage bikes to the nearly 1,000 that crossed the block in January. This was the first spring Vegas motorcycle auction for Mecum, and with $4.4 million in sales (not including auction fees) and an 80 percent sell-through rate, it most likely won’t be the last.

“Once again, Las Vegas proves itself as the premier vintage-motorcycle enthusiast gathering place,” said Ron Christenson, president of the Mecum motorcycle division. Continue reading

Concours and Events: Hershey, The Great Race coming up

A pre-war Mercedes-Benz SSK roadster at last year's Elegance at Hershey | Elegance at Hershey
A pre-war Mercedes-Benz SSK roadster at last year’s Elegance at Hershey | Elegance at Hershey

The three-day Elegance at Hershey weekend takes place in the Pennsylvania chocolate capital from Friday through Sunday at the Hotel Hershey, featuring vintage race car hill climbs, a Cars and Coffee get together and a full-blown concours d’elegance.

The Grand Ascent hill climb pits an array of historic competition cars racing against the clock and each other. The raucous racing takes place Friday and Saturday on a serpentine back road behind the hotel, with plenty of locations for spectators as well as tickets available to ride along. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1928 Chevrolet AB National Roadster

The Chevrolet AB National was restyled for 1928 by the new GM Art and Colour Studio
The Chevrolet AB National was restyled for 1928 by the new GM Art and Colour Studio

Chevrolet launched its 1928 AB National into direct combat with Ford’s new Model A, the long-awaited replacement for the ubiquitous Model T. Anticipating the hot competition, GM had the Chevy AA Capitol from the previous year restyled by its recently organized Art and Colour Studio, headed by the iconic Harley Earl.

The result was the Chevy AB National with a refreshed look, brakes on all four wheels, improved headlights and a four-inch longer wheelbase, to 107 inches. The base-model car retained the four-cylinder engine, although with marginally more power, and mechanical underpinnings of its popular predecessor. Continue reading

Hot Corvettes, Camaros star at Mecum’s Portland auction

The 1965 Chevrolet Corvette convertible is a three-time NCRS Top Flight Award winner | Mecum Auctions photos
The 1965 Chevrolet Corvette convertible is a three-time NCRS Top Flight Award winner | Mecum Auctions photos

While green Portland, Oregon, is most-often considered the land of Subarus and vintage Volvos, Mecum Auctions returns to the Northwest city June 16-17 with a sale featuring a pair of high-performance Corvettes. Continue reading

What Bob would ride from the Mecum motorcycle auction

An antique Thor single greets guest entering the South Point Resort and Casino | Bob Golfen photos
An antique Thor single greets guest entering the South Point Resort and Casino | Bob Golfen photos

Triumph motorcycles from Great Britain are my longtime favorites, especially the 650cc Bonnevilles that pretty much defined sport bikes in the ‘60s. And never have I seen such a vast array of great Triumphs as there are this weekend at Mecum’s motorcycle auction in Las Vegas.

This is Mecum Auctions’ second Vegas motorcycle sale this year, and the first time the company is holding one in June. There are around 600 bikes crowding the floor of a huge meeting hall at the South Point Resort and Casino, where Mecum also holds its January motorcycle sales. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1963 Porsche Super 90 coupe

The Porsche is painted in its original factory color of Smyrna Green
The Porsche is painted in its original factory color of Smyrna Green

The Super 90 was the hot setup for Porsche in 1963 as the automaker’s seminal 356 neared the end of its run, bowing out to the 911 in 1965. While 90 horsepower might not sound like much, the output of the sturdy 1,600 flat four is fairly robust when the car weighs just 2,000 pounds.

The Pick of the Day is a 1963 Porsche 356 Super 90 coupe that was fully restored in 2012 and well-maintained since, according to the seller, a well-known classic-Porsche dealer in Costa Mesa, California. Continue reading

First rotary-powered Mazda Cosmo zooms past 50th anniversary

The Mazda Cosmo Sport blends design elements both familiar and unique
The Mazda Cosmo Sport blends design elements both familiar and unique | Mazda photos

The name Felix Wankel doesn’t ring too many bells these days, but he’s the German engineer who invented the rotary engine, which later helped rescue Japanese automaker Mazda and, in 1991, became the only non-piston engine to power a car to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In the 1960s, the Wankel engine became an attention-grabbing gambit by a struggling Mazda, which bought the technology from German automaker NSU. While NSU had modest success in production, Mazda engineers improved on the concept, creating a unique twin-rotor design to go into an unconventional sports car that served as a halo for the brand, as well as introducing a new image for Mazda. Continue reading

Driven: Superformance Cobra from new Arizona dealership

The road-ready Superformance MKIII stands on 18-inch wheels and performance tires | Bob Golfen photos
The road-ready Superformance MKIII stands on 18-inch wheels and performance tires | Bob Golfen photos

The little red roadster started with a thunderous blast, a full-throated roar from its fat side pipes that seemed to thicken the air. The big V8 settled into a lumpy high-performance idle that burbled like the bass section of a symphony orchestra.

Hunkered down on the pavement in a Tempe, Arizona, industrial park, the Superformance MKIII was like a brawny beast about to launch into battle. The MKIII is full of sound and fury, and it’s like buying a brand-new Shelby 427 Cobra, with all the glorious style and outrageous power that entails. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1931 Ford Model A rat rod

The Ford-based rat rod displays high-quality workmanship
The Ford-based rat rod displays high-quality workmanship

Rat rods kind of defy definition. They can be crusty old things that celebrate rust and decay, or fabulously quirky creations with such adornments as fur roofs, crystal door knobs and vintage airplane seats. Or any number of other concepts.

As long as there is a strong engine up front and a slammed profile, a rat rod is something that you could say, “I’ll know it when I see it.” Continue reading