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.

Mercedes-Benz marks 60th anniversary of the 300 SL roadster

A 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster heads out for the start of last year's Copperstate 1000 | Bob Golfen
A 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster heads out for the start of last year’s Copperstate 1000 | Bob Golfen

Mercedes-Benz was flush with the success of its 300 SL “Gullwing” coupe, known internally as W198, after it was introduced in 1954. But open sports cars were the thing, especially in the all-important U.S. market, so the Stuttgart company set out to create an evocative roadster based on the Gullwing that retained the coupe’s style and performance.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster was revealed to the public 60 years ago at the 1957 Geneva Auto Show, where the bold, high-performance touring car was greeted with widespread acclaim from the press and public. This year, Mercedes celebrates the 60th anniversary of the introduction of what has become a highly valuable and sought-after collector car. Continue reading

Pick of the day: 1972 Jeep Commando

The Jeep Commando has remained in stock condition, down to its factory wheels and hubcaps
The Jeep Commando has remained in stock condition, down to its factory wheels and hubcaps

Despite its militaristic name, the Commando was a civilized version of Jeep, in relation to the classic CJ models, designed with a longer wheelbase and more interior space to compete with such interlopers as the Ford Bronco and International Scout.

The Pick of the Day is a 1972 Jeep Commando that appears to be in very good condition with new paint and a fresh interior in stock specifications, unusual for a vehicle that is more-often altered with an array of off-roading upgrades and custom “improvements.” Even the set of new wheels and hubcaps are factory spec, according to the seller, a Roswell, Georgia, dealer. Continue reading

Concours, rally and major event news updates

Judges  at the La Jolla Concours consider the merits of a coachbuilt 1936 Delahaye, which won best of show last year | La Jolla Concours d'Elegance
Judges at the La Jolla Concours consider the merits of a coachbuilt 1936 Delahaye, which won best of show last year | La Jolla Concours d’Elegance

Welcome to a new feature on ClassicCars.com that spotlights the latest news about major classic car events.

The Copperstate 1000 Road Rally sets out Sunday on a four-day tour of Arizona with a free car show and European-style sendoff of the premier rally cars at the Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. The 85 vintage automobiles taking part in the Copperstate rally will be on display starting at 7:30 a.m., and then introduced and flagged off one at a time starting at 10 a.m. Continue reading

Mecum scores $7.3 million in sales at Kansas City auction

A Ford Thunderbird crosses the block during the Kansas City sale | Mecum Auctions photos
A Ford Thunderbird crosses the block during the Kansas City sale | Mecum Auctions photos

Mecum Auctions hit $7.3 million during its two-day sale in Kansas City, Missouri, this past weekend, with 309 vehicles sold as were 74 pieces of road art. The auction offered a total of 491 vehicles with 63 percent of them sold. Continue reading

‘Top-down fun’ offered by Barrett-Jackson at Palm Beach sale

A featured car is the 1968 Ford Shelby GT500KR originally owned by actor Lee Marvin | Barrett-Jackson photos
A featured car is the 1968 Ford Shelby GT500KR originally owned by actor Lee Marvin | Barrett-Jackson photos

Barrett-Jackson holds four auctions every year and each one has its own character, with certain types of collector cars hitting the spot among bidders and spectators depending on the venue.

At the Palm Beach, Florida, auction, the focus is on convertibles, popular in the relaxed atmosphere for cruising along the coastline. The upcoming sale in West Palm Beach, which takes place April 6-8, has stocked a boatload of open-air pleasure craft among about 500 collector cars that will cross the block, all of them at no reserve. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1952 Jaguar XK 120

The Jaguar XK 120 was owned and driven by  John Lesseter who co-wrote and directed the animated film 'Cars'
The Jaguar XK 120 was owned and driven by John Lesseter who co-wrote and directed the animated film ‘Cars’

What could be more wonderful than the most-voluptuous of all 1950s roadsters, gorgeously restored and ready to drive? How about one that was owned, driven and loved by the man who created the most-celebrated animated films about cars?

The Pick of the Day is such a roadster, a gleaming black 1952 Jaguar XK 120 properly fitted with spats on its rear wheels and hunkered down in purposeful glory, and formerly owned by John Lassetor, who co-wrote and directed Cars and Cars 2. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 GMC Acadia SLT-1 all-wheel-drive

The slimmed-down GMC Acadia gets improved fuel mileages with better drivability | GMC photos
The slimmed-down GMC Acadia gets improved fuel mileages with better drivability | GMC photos

The road from Phoenix to Durango, Colorado, is pretty long, but at least it passes by some quality Southwest scenery, such as Monument Valley, and some improbable landmarks, such as Four Corners, the only place in the U.S. where four states touch – Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

There’s also a place where you can pull off the road and see actual dinosaur tracks imbedded in the ancient stone surface, always with some random Navajo youngsters on hand to show you the way, for a fee. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1922 Stoughton Fire Engine

The Stoughton Fire Engine is from the first year the Wisconsin company produced fire trucks
The Stoughton Fire Engine is from the first year the Wisconsin company produced fire trucks

Antique firetrucks are wonderful things, flashy and brassy and honoring brave firefighters who rush into burning buildings to save people. There is a small but dedicated niche of firetruck enthusiasts who love and collect these mammoth pieces of Americana. They all have one thing in common: lots of storage space.

Here in Phoenix, we have the Hall of Flame museum, which despite its quirky name is one of the most-significant collections dedicated to vintage firefighting equipment. It’s open to the public and worth a visit. Continue reading

Oldest Vespa scooter currently offered in online auction

The oldest Vespa is a prototype of the iconic scooter built in 1946 | Catawiki photos
The oldest Vespa is a prototype of the iconic scooter built in 1946 | Catawiki photos

The world’s oldest Vespa scooter, the third prototype built by Piaggio in 1946, is currently being auctioned on the online bidding site Catawiki, with an expected result of $250,000 to $300,000.

That might seem like a whole lot for a simple Italian scooter, but consider this example as a historic artifact from the effort to provide cheap, efficient transportation for a nation devastated by World War II. With many millions produced, the Vespa scooter became emblematic of a youthful Neapolitan lifestyle, and were highly popular around the world. Continue reading

Iconic California customs set for HVA displays in Washington

The McGee Roadster is the embodiment of early hot rod design | Historic Vehicle Association photos
The McGee Roadster is the pure embodiment of early hot rod design | Historic Vehicle Association photos

Three iconic pieces of California custom-car culture take center stage next month on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as the Historic Vehicle Association displays the latest vehicles to be commemorated and recorded in the HVA National Historic Vehicle Register and archived in the U.S. Library of Congress.

The privately owned cars will be shown at separate times during the month in the HVA glass case on the walkway between the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art for passersby to see and admire. Continue reading