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.

Top motorcycles at Mecum offered by renowned scientist

Dr. J. Craig Venter with some of the vintage motorcycles in his collection | Mecum Auctions photos
Dr. J. Craig Venter with some of the vintage motorcycles in his collection | Mecum Auctions photos

Participants in the Mecum MidAmerica Motorcycle Auction in Monterey may not realize it, but some of the most-significant vintage bikes that will cross the block come from the collection of a famed scientist who led the first successful effort to sequence human DNA.

Dr. J. Craig Venter leads an institute where teams of scientists perform research in various fields of genomics, including human, microbial, plant, environmental and synthetic technologies. He also heads a company to develop products using synthetic genomics technology, and another called Human Longevity Inc. that’s focused on extending the human life span. Continue reading

Road-racing star Don Roberts and ‘The Winningest Cobra’ readied for RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey

Don Roberts racing the 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra at Phoenix International Raceway in 1966
Don Roberts racing the 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra at Phoenix International Raceway in 1966 | Courtesy of Don and Sharon Roberts

A number of great Shelby Cobras will cross the block during RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey, California, including the very first one ever built by Carroll Shelby. But only one of those cars has the right to be called “The Winningest Cobra” of all time.

That roadster is number CSX2473, a 1964 Cobra 289 that scored a record number of victories during its heyday in SCCA racing and other events from 1966 through 1973, including three years as an SCCA divisional champion. Of course, there’s also a “winningest driver” to go along with the winningest Cobra, and his story is inextricably linked with that of CSX2473. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7

The Mercury Cougar has been repainted in its original shade of dark metallic green
The Mercury Cougar has been repainted in its original shade of dark metallic green

At first glance, this great-looking 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7 coupe seemed like the kind of low-mileage survivor that spent most of its life hanging out in the garage. A one-owner Southern California car, the Pick of the Day is actually testament to the power of good, persistent care and maintenance in keeping a vehicle like new.

As I read the lengthy description provided by the Santa Monica, California, dealer on ClassicCars.com, it seemed to follow the familiar route of collector cars that have been barely driven and as a result have remained in pristine condition. But I could feel my eyes bug out when I read what’s on the odometer: 221,980 miles! Continue reading

Eye Candy: Porsche 356 Dana Point Concours

The Porsche 356 concours was held at Lantern Bay Park in Dana Point, California | Bob Golfen photos
The Porsche 356 concours was held at Lantern Bay Park in Dana Point, California | Bob Golfen photos

To outsiders, the Porsche 356 is a strange little beast, squat and round and so unlike the sleek exotics favored by most European car buffs. But for those who know them, the little cars originally created by Ferdinand Porsche are simply the most fun on wheels, their unique design and driving character making them a consistent favorite among those who love sports cars.

Southern California is the Mecca for 356 fanatics so, not surprisingly, the 356 Club of Southern California is the biggest regional contingent in the United States. Last weekend, the club hosted its 30th annual Dana Point Concours, which the club notes is the largest “356-only fully judged concours in the world.” Continue reading

‘Time warp’ Jaguar XJ220 at Russo and Steele auction in Monterey

The mid-engine Jaguar XJ220 was once the world's fastest production car | Russo and Steele photos
The mid-engine Jaguar XJ220 was once the world’s fastest production car | Russo and Steele photos

Rarely seen but well-known among supercar enthusiasts, a 1993 Jaguar XJ220 in “time warp” condition will be offered in August at Russo and Steele’s auction during classic car week in Monterey, California. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1967 Austin Healey 3000 BJ8

The 1967 Austin Healey 3000 looks to be in splendid condition
The 1967 Austin Healey 3000 looks to be in splendid condition

With mixed feelings, I noted the Hagerty report this week about the relative values of specific collector cars in relation with value trends in the market as a whole. My ambivalence came from the result for the Austin Healey 3000, which finished dead last in the listing, garnering 7 out of 100 points, with 50 being the median for a car that is keeping up with the market trends; anything higher means it’s moving ahead, anything lower means it’s falling behind.

The Healey’s low result shows that the British sports car has crested in value, and has even fallen back slightly for No. 1 quality examples. This for a car that a decade ago was setting records for its soaring popularity at collector car auctions. Continue reading

Mecum ups the game for its motorcycle auction in Monterey

A rarely seen 1938 Crocker, a U.S. bike with a V-twin engine, is the star of the auction | Mecum Auctions photos
A rarely seen 1938 Crocker, a U.S. bike with a V-twin engine, is the star of the auction | Mecum Auctions photos

Ron Christenson speaks with fervor about classic motorcycles, his stock and trade as president of Mecum MidAmerica Motorcycle Auctions. He’s a lucky man who has parlayed his passion into a fun and lucrative business.

Christenson started MidAmerica motorcycle auctions in 1989, he said, after several years selling collector cars. In no time, it became obvious that the collector motorcycle market was a valuable niche he found more enjoyable than auctioning automobiles. It eventually become his company’s full-time endeavor. Continue reading

Paul Newman Porsche race car offered at Cole’s Monterey auction

The 1974 Porsche 911S race car was Pail Newman's entry into the big leagues of motorsports | Rick Cole Auctions
The 1974 Porsche 911S race car was Paul Newman’s entry into the big leagues of motorsports | Rick Cole Auctions photos

A 1974 Porsche 911S competition car once owned and raced by Hollywood film legend Paul Newman will be among the pack of Porsches offered by Rick Cole Auctions next month in Monterey, California.

Driven by Newman and Bill Freeman in the 1977 12 Hours of Sebring, the Porsche marked the start of the Newman-Freeman Racing partnership. The late actor’s racing career continued through his participation at Daytona in 2005. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle

The Chevelle has been fitted with a big block 454 cid V8 hooked with a four-speed manual transmisson
The Chevelle has been fitted with a big block 454 cid V8 hooked with a four-speed manual transmisson

If you’re yearning for some serious big-block muscle, here’s a Chevelle resto-mod whose plain-Jane appearance belies the massive power lurking under its hood.

The Pick of the Day, a custom 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle coupe, is described by its seller as a former show car with a mighty 454 cid crate engine slipped into its extra-clean engine bay. Hooked up with a Muncie four-speed, 3.73 posi-traction rear and four-wheel Wilwood disc brakes, it has the right ingredients for an impressive performance machine. Continue reading

Gooding consigns rare Ferraris for Monterey auction

The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione is one of the most-highly valued open race cars | Gooding photos
The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione is one of the most-highly valued open race cars | Gooding photos

Four spectacular Ferraris, each of them worth a king’s ransom, will be presented at Gooding & Company’s collector car auction in August during Pebble Beach Concours week. Ranging in years from 1950 to 1962, the four historic Ferraris have a collective estimated value of $49 million to $58 million, which could put Gooding’s Monterey results into uncharted territory. Continue reading