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.

Simeone Museum hosts Ford GT40 celebration

This 1966 Ford GT40 was on display at the Simeone Museum’s recent People’s Choice Demo Day. (Photo: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum)
1966 Ford GT40 on display at the museum’s recent People’s Choice Demo Day. Photo courtesy Simeone Museum

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum presents a celebration of the Ford GT40, the groundbreaking race car that famously beat Ferrari at Le Mans, in a special Racing Legends event at noon on January 11, 2014,  at the Philadelphia-based museum.

Well-known GT40 expert Greg Kolasa will lead a discussion on the development and history of the GT40. Kolasa, who wrote The Definitive Shelby Mustang Guide 1965-1970, is Shelby American Automobile Club historian and registrar.

The GT40, so named because of its roof height in inches, holds a special place in the history of American auto racing. After Enzo Ferrari had imperiously snubbed Ford’s efforts to acquire his automobile business, Ford set out to beat Ferrari at its most-hallowed racing venue, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Led by Carroll Shelby, who had already trounced Ferrari with the Cobra Daytona coupe for a GT class win in 1965, the GT40 team completely dominated the 1966 running of Le Mans with an outright win that saw them cross the finish line in first, second and third places. The GT40s were back the following year, and again won Le Mans for 1967.

GT40s were raced by privateers for years after, and today the GT40 remains one of the most hotly sought-after collector cars for vintage racing.

Both of the Simeone Museum’s GT40s, a Mk. II and a Mk. IV, will be displayed during the January 11 program and, weather permitting, they will be taken out for demonstration runs after the presentation.

For more information about the museum and the GT40 event, see www.simeonemuseum.org. 

Vintage cars on the grass at the Biltmore in Arizona Concours test

An exotic DeTomaso Pantera follows a 1963 Buick Riviera, a 1947 Cadillac and a 1937 Lincoln across the lawn at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.  (Photo: Larry Edsall)
A DeTomaso Pantera follows a 1963 Buick Riviera, ’47 Cadillac and ’37 Lincoln across the lawn at the Arizona Biltmore | Photos by Larry Edsall

Guests at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix were treated to an unusual happening Monday morning when a small parade of vintage automobiles motored across the lushly landscaped winter lawns of the historic luxury hotel.

This was the “dry run” for the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Organizers of the event brought a selection of cars to test out the confines of the Biltmore’s inner lawns to see if the big classics could maneuver through the tight spaces, and whether exotic sports cars could get through without bottoming out.

The Arizona Concours is set for January 12, 2014, to open the famed collector-car auction week in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. A collection of 78 exceptional automobiles will be displayed, competing in classes that range from vintage and classic to sports, racing and exotics. Judges will pore over each entry to pick the class winners as well as the coveted Best of Show.

The 1947 Cadillac eases across one of the ramps leading to the Squaw Peak Lawn at the Arizona Biltmore. (Photo: Larry Edsall)
The 1947 Cadillac eases across a ramp leading to the Squaw Peak Lawn at the Arizona Biltmore.

The cars that rolled across the dark-green rye grass Monday were a 1937 Lincoln Model K, a V12-powered sedan; a 1947 Cadillac Series 62 two-door sedan with a sweeping fastback roofline; a 1963 Buick Riviera; a 1974 DeTomaso Pantera; and a new Chevrolet Corvette coupe, which was being used to test ground clearance.

Overall, the testing was deemed a success, with just a few tweaks required for the carefully orchestrated procedure of bringing the cars onto the Biltmore site and into their respective places, handling the crowds and vendors, and conducting the awards ceremony.

“This is a first-year event, so there are some growing pains,” Mike Mullan, a member of the steering committee said as he watched closely as the cars crossed over a set of specially made ramps.  “But everything seems to be going smoothly so far. We’ll see how it all comes together.”

For tickets and information for the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance, see www.arizonaconcours.com.

First BMW ‘Batmobile’ competition Art Car coming to Amelia Island Concours

Photo courtesy of BMW

The first BMW Art Car ever created, a 3.0 CSL GT racer painted by the acclaimed artist Alexander Calder to run in the 1975 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will headline a special BMW “Batmobile” class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 9, 2014.

The Calder project, which melded motorsports with fine art, was inspired by French race driver and art auctioneer Herve Poulain. BMW race cars used as painting canvases by the world’s most-renowned artists – including Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol – became an annual tradition for the German automaker.

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New events in Arizona and the California desert launch 2014 concours d’elegance calendar

Photo courtesy Arizona Concours
Photo courtesy Arizona Concours

Another year of top-drawer concours d’elegance events across the nation is coming around again, including two brand-new ones added to the 2014 docket.

The inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance starts off the January collector-car auction week in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area on Jan. 12, 2014, at the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.  Long envisioned as a focal point for the famous Scottsdale/Phoenix auctions, the concours will feature 78 exceptional automobiles on landscaped lawns within the art deco splendor of the Biltmore.

For more information about this inaugural event, see arizonaconcours.com.

Meanwhile, Concorso Italiano has spawned another new concours that takes place in Palm Desert, Calif.  The new Desert Concorso on March 30 is a celebration of Italian cars, but other European sports and GT cars are invited to join in the festivities that include Italian food, fashion and culture.

For more information about the concorso, see desertconcorso.com.

The original Concorso Italiano on the Monterey peninsula moves back to its old location at Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, Calif., while changing the day it takes place from its longtime Friday slot to Saturday, Aug. 16

For more information, see concorso.com.

Here’s a listing of major concours d’elegance events taking place during 2014 in the United States:

2014 Concours d'Elegance Calendar

Major concours d’elegance events taking place during 2014 in the United States
EventDate(s)Location
Arizona Concours d'EleganceJan 12Phoenix, AZ
Cavallino ClassicJan 22-26Palm Beach, FL
Boca Raton Concours d’EleganceFeb 23Boca Raton, FL
Amelia IslandMar 9Amelia Island, FL
Desert ConcorsoMar 30Palm Desert, CA
La Jolla Concours d’EleganceApr 13La Jolla, CA
Keels and WheelsMay 3-4Lakewood, FL
Pinehurst Concours d’EleganceMay 4Pinehurst, NC
Greenwich Concours d’EleganceMay 31-Jun 1Greenwich, CT
The Elegance at HersheyJun 16Hershey, PA
Concours d’Elegance of ChicagoJun 19Barrington, IL
Keeneland Concours d’EleganceJul 20Lexington, KY
Hillsborough Concours d’EleganceJul 21Hillsborough, CA
Concours of America at St. John'sJul 27Plymouth, MI
Concorso ItalianoAug 16Seaside, CA
Pebble Beach Concours d’EleganceAug 17Pebble Beach, CA
Radnor Hunt Concours d’EleganceSep 14Radnor, PA
The Boston CupSep 22Boston, MA
Hilton HeadNov 3Hilton Head Island, SC

If your concours is not listed but should be, please use the feedback link so we can update this calendar.

Mustang corrals in Charlotte, Vegas for pony car’s 50th anniversary

The Mustang Club of America and Ford Motor Co. have announced a joint celebration marking 50 years of the original pony car, the Ford Mustang, from April 16 through April 20 in two places at once.

Open to everyone, including the multitude of Mustang enthusiasts, the twin parties take place at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. The Mustang fun will include live music, cruises, ride-and-drive, exhibitions, celebrities and of course, pony rides.

With a brand-new 2015 Mustang all saddled up and ready to run, Ford is focusing on its wildly successful progeny. More than nine million of them have been sold in the past half century, and nearly everybody has a Mustang story to tell.

For more information, see  www.mustang50thbirthdaycelebration.com.

Horseless Carriage Club to tour Southern Arizona

Photo courtesy of Horseless Carriage Club of America
Photo courtesy of Horseless Carriage Club of America

How time flies when you’re driving an ancient automotive device, so crank up Ole Bessie for the 77th anniversary Horseless Carriage Club of America convention and tour. It all takes place Feb. 10-15, 2014, on the snowless roads in and around Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Photo courtesy of Horseless Carriage of America
Photo courtesy of Horseless Carriage of America

It you can get there early, as in Feb. 9, there’s a pre-tour shakedown run.

Highlights of this chug-chug around southern Arizona include Tombstone and the OK Corral; the strange, artsy town of Bisbee; incredible Karchner Caverns; a real, live ghost town; the Mexican border; plus lots and lots of beautiful Sonoran Desert.  Bring water.

For more information, get out your kerosene-powered computer and log on to: hcca.org.