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.

Arizona auctions again awash in Porsches as values hold

A restored 1967 Porsche 911S is among Barrett-Jackson's collection of Porsches | Barrett-Jackson
A restored 1967 Porsche 911S is among Barrett-Jackson’s collection  | Barrett-Jackson

Just when you thought the Porsche passion had crested, a new wave of 911s, 356s, race cars and exotics from the German sports car brand washes into the Scottsdale/Phoenix area for the seven auctions of Arizona Car Week. The prophesized burst of the bubble has not occurred, although values have flattened somewhat.

The classic 911 experienced the greatest run-up in prices during the past four years, with many former entry-level models reaching toward six figures, and more-desirable cars going well beyond. The upcoming Arizona auctions are again awash in 911s, with the total number just slightly less than last year’s selection. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS hardtop

The Chevrolet Impala SS hardtop in Seamist Turquoise is said to be faithfully restored
The Chevrolet Impala SS hardtop in Seamist Turquoise is said to be faithfully restored

A special car for sale deserves a special description, right? The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dealer advertising this 1961 Chevrolet Impala “bubbletop” hardtop was downright poetic in how he describes the car and its place in history.

“At the beginning of the 1960s, most Americans thought it was the beginning of something great, the start of the Golden Age is what it was referred to as,” the seller wrote for the ClassicCars.com ad. “What better way to kick off the Golden Age than by introducing the very special 1961 Chevrolet Impala bubbletop SS 2-DR? Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid

Toyota went all out in enhancing the styling of the new Prius Prime | Bob Golfen photos
Toyota went all out in enhancing the styling of the new Prius Prime | Bob Golfen photos

Toyota pulled out all the stops in styling the all-new Prius Prime, creating something that seems like a cross between a space probe and a Lamborghini. That’s a good thing, raising its hipness quotient considerably and making the plug-in hybrid look as high-tech on the outside as it is underneath.

The Prius Prime is new for 2017 and is another effort by Toyota to market a plug-in car with the clean economy of a pure electric vehicle with the practicality of a hybrid. The last go-round for a plug-in Prius resulted in less-than-stellar reviews, most complaining that it seemed like a half-hearted effort that didn’t work all that well. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1931 Lincoln Model K Custom Berline

The top-drawer Lincoln Model K has a custom body by the Judkins coachworks
The top-drawer Lincoln Model K has a custom body by the Judkins coachworks

When most of the country was singing “Brother, can you spare a dime” in the depths of the Depression, Lincoln was finding few customers for its grand luxury cars. Model year 1931 would be the pits for Lincoln sales, with only about 3,000 cars sold.

Fewer still were the coachbuilt cars, such as the Pick of the Day, a 1931 Lincoln Model L Custom Berline with a body by Judkins, one of the largest U.S. custom-body builders of the classic era. These were the majestic cars piloted by celebrities and captains of industry, or their chauffeurs, still riding high in the age of soup lines. Continue reading

Arizona creates Historic Route 66 specialty license plates

The Historic Route 66 license plate will raise funds to maintain and promote the historic highway
The Historic Route 66 license plate will raise funds to maintain and promote the famous highway

One of the few remaining sections of old Route 66 – the legendary Mother Road that brought millions to the Southwest and California – exists in a scenic strip in northern Arizona, where it has become a destination for classic car enthusiasts of all stripes.

Officially proclaimed as a National Scenic Byway and renamed Historic Route 66, the Arizona portion is the longest surviving stretch, running 158 miles east to west from Seligman to Kingman on the Nevada border. Continue reading

Mecum gears up for Florida, its biggest auction of the year

A 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona in its rare factory shade of Spring Green | Mecum Auctions photos
A 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona in its rare factory shade of Spring Green | Mecum Auctions photos

Mecum holds lots of full-scale collector car auctions every year – 14 of them at last count – but the Kissimmee, Florida, sale is by far the biggest. According to the auction company, this year the 10-day auction will have around 3,000 vehicles crossing the block from January 6 through 15 at Osceola Heritage Park.

American muscle cars dominate the offerings, with a strong selection of early models and vintage drag racers among the featured lots. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1965 Chrysler New Yorker 2-door hardtop

The Chrysler New Yorker is a two-door hardtop in gleaming red
The Chrysler New Yorker is a two-door hardtop in gleaming red

‘There are many four-door New Yorkers for sale, but how often do you see a two-door come to market?” the ClassicCars.com advertisement for a mid-century-classic Chrysler hardtop asks. Fair enough. These were fairly scarce cars when new, with fewer than 10,000 built, and they rarely are seen among collector cars today.

The Pick of the Day is a 1965 Chrysler New Yorker, a brawny luxury car that takes a sporty turn with its hardtop roofline. Red with a broad, white-vinyl C-pillar, and white piping on the red seats to match, the New Yorker is indeed an unusual piece of Mopar elegance and performance. Most often, these cars are seen in more conservative attire. Continue reading

First running prototype of Ford GT at Russo and Steele auction

The prototype Ford GT retains its original unique features | Russo and Steele photos
The prototype Ford GT retains its original unique features | Russo and Steele photos

If there ever was a car that deserved the title of “instant collectible,” it’s the Ford GT. Modeled after Ford’s all-conquering GT40 endurance racers of the 1960s, the cars that beat Ferrari at Le Mans and dominated the classic 24-hour race, the mid-engine Ford GT was produced for just two model years, 2005-2006.

Today, it is a star entry at collector car auctions, often selling for twice or more than its original retail price. Continue reading

2016 top stories: 2 – Muscle cars come roaring back

Veteran actor Burt Reynolds with a 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from 'Smoky and the Bandits' | Barrett-Jackson
Veteran actor Burt Reynolds with a 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from ‘Smoky and the Bandit’ | Barrett-Jackson

Pontiac GTOs, Hemi ‘Cudas, Olds 442s, Shelbys, big-block Corvettes – American muscle cars were back with a vengeance during 2016. High-horsepower Detroit iron gained in value, not just among the expected Boomer generation but with younger performance enthusiasts who embrace the classic muscle of the 1960s and early ’70s. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1956 Chevrolet 210 station wagon

The Chevy wagon had a bit part in the David Lynch film 'The Straight Story'
The Chevy wagon had a bit part in the David Lynch film ‘The Straight Story’

Vintage cars with movie or celebrity history often sell for over-the-top prices, far more than they would without the connection to fame. Not so much this Chevy wagon, which was once owned by the offbeat film and TV director David Lynch, best known for his movies Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive and The Elephant Man, and the surreal TV series Twin Peaks.

The Pick of the Day is a 1956 Chevrolet 210 station wagon formerly owned by Lynch and which has screen time in one of his lesser films, The Straight Story, according to the Macedonia, Ohio, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. Continue reading