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: 1963 Studebaker Lark custom sedan

The little Studebaker Lark looks very clean with a nicely aggressive stance
The little Studebaker Lark looks very clean with a nicely aggressive stance

I’ve always liked the idea of a sleeper, a plain-Jane car with hidden hot rod performance designed to surprise the muscle-car guys when the light turns green. A street-rod-building buddy of mine once took a ’65 Rambler American and tuned it with a 500-horsepower V8, race-spec drivetrain, disc brakes and suspension mods, while keeping it essentially bone stock on the outside.

The Pick of the Day is something along the same lines, a 1963 Studebaker Lark VI two-door sedan that packs a 350 cid Chevrolet V8 under its hood. Although the Lark has been slightly lowered, has a louvered hood and wears a set of American Racing wheels — plus those little Moon eyes behind the front wheels – it stills look stock enough to fool the locals. Continue reading

Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster could fetch record high price for Arizona auctions

The 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster is valued at more than $10 million | RM Sotheby's photos
The 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster is valued at more than $10 million | RM Sotheby’s photos

RM Sotheby’s has consigned what could become the highest-priced automobile ever sold at an Arizona collector car auction – a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster from the classic-era of pre-war motoring. The extravagantly beautiful car has an estimated value of $10 million to $13 million, which if reached in bidding would make it the first eight-figure sale in Arizona. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1949 Mercury custom coupe

The 1949 Mercury “lead sled” gleams under its original custom paint job, according to the seller
The 1949 Mercury “lead sled” gleams under its original custom paint job, according to the seller

The 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August spotlighted a special class of some of the most emblematic of classic street rods, brawny Mercury “lead sleds” of the late’40s and early ’50s, so-called because of the customizers’ lavish use of lead filler to smooth and sculpt the luscious bodies. Nosed, decked, channeled, shaved, lowered, chopped, frenched and customized in the most baroque of fashions, these Mercurys defined the car culture of their day.

The Pick of the Day is a 1949 Mercury custom coupe done in the lead-sled style, a former show car built in the 1960s or ’70s, according to the North Royalton, Ohio, classic car dealer who has the car listed for sale on ClassicCars.com. The coupe is apparently in decent original condition, although the seller notes that it could use some freshening. Continue reading

Porsches from classic to the latest supercar will be featured at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction

The 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder is essentially a new car with 595 miles on the odometer | Barrett-Jackson photos
The 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder is essentially a new car with 595 miles on the odometer | Barrett-Jackson photos

Coveted Porsches ranging from classic 356 cabriolets of the 1960s through the latest V8/hybrid 918 Spyder Weissach Edition supercar will cross the block during Barrett-Jackson’s signature January auction in Scottsdale,  Arizona. Continue reading

A Vincent motorcycle rekindles memories of a past life

The Vincent Black Shadow at auction has been restored to original condition | Bonhams photos
The Vincent Black Shadow at auction has been restored to original condition | Bonhams photos

I caught motorcycle fever in a big way during the early 1970s, riding a motley succession of used bikes that now are classics. Back then, they were cheap enough on my part-time salary as I worked my way through college.

The favorites were a funky 1965 BMW R50 that just chugged along through whatever ordeal I subjected it to: rain, mud, even snow. After that came another 1965, a BSA 650 Lightning that was my dream bike and ran like an angry bull. Unlike the slow but sturdy German BMW, the more high-strung Britain needed lots of hands-on care.

That was all long ago, but I got a shock of nostalgia just the other day when I read about the top motorcycles being offered January 7 by Bonhams at its Las Vegas auction. Lo and behold, a racing motorcycle featured at the sale is one that I once knew well, though somewhat obliquely, as well as its famous rider. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1970 Porsche 911S coupe

The 1970 Porsche 911S coupe is an example of the most desirable of first-generation 911s.
The 1970 Porsche 911S coupe is an example of the most desirable of first-generation 911s.

New Year’s Day is the time to dream big, so I offer on this day of lofty aspirations a Pick of the Day that is the classic car of my personal dreams, although it’s one that seems more and more to be sailing out of sight.

That would be the 1970 Porsche 911S coupe advertised on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Miami, Florida, who says it is in perfect condition after a full restoration. For me, this car totally hits the spot, the best Porsche of the first-generation 911s and done in the color combination that I would choose. Continue reading

2015 top stories: No. 3 – Generational shift of car collectors

The iconic Lamborghini Countach has risen in value as a new generation enters the market | Mecum Auctions photos
The iconic Lamborghini Countach has risen in value as a new generation of collectors enters the market | Mecum Auctions

The passing of the generations has a profound effect on the collector car market. As each generation ages and passes on, the classics that they desire gradually fall out of favor, replaced by later models. We saw that as the World War II generation faded, so did popular interest in pre-war classics and ’50s cruisers, replaced by post-war sports cars, GTs and muscle cars as the Baby Boomers came of age.

During 2015, the influence of the next generation of car collectors became evident as the members of Gen X and the Millennials arrived on the scene and sought out the supercars, performance cars and popular sport compacts from the 1980s and ’90s. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1950 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

he 1950 Cadillac convertible is said to be a low-mileage California car in original condition
he 1950 Cadillac convertible is said to be a low-mileage California car in original condition

A classic Cadillac convertible is just the thing for ringing in the New Year, with you (or your designated driver) and some fellow celebrants nestled in the broad, red-leather seats. And weather permitting, cruising top down under the stars.

The Pick of the Day is a 1950 Cadillac Series 62 convertible that the Concord, California, classic car dealer says is in original condition with just 55,000 miles showing, and owned by the same California family since new. Continue reading

2015 top stories: No. 7 — Staying the course in Monterey

An 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Touring Spider on the grass at the Pebble Beach Concours| Bob Golfen Photos
An 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Touring Spider on the grass at the Pebble Beach Concours| Bob Golfen

You could almost hear the collective sigh of relief at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as the best-of-show winner was announced. After last year’s choice of a post-war car, a custom-bodied 1954 Ferrari coupe that flew in the face of hide-bound tradition, the 2015 victor was a suitably classic pre-war icon, a very elegant 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A cabriolet.

So the forces of generational change had not taken over completely, as some Pebble veterans feared. But elsewhere on the Monterey Peninsula in early August, the tide was still rising as European sports cars and race cars from the late 1940s through the early ’70s – especially Ferraris and Porsches – continued to rule many of the collector-car auctions and car shows that preceded the 65-year-old concours. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1941 Ford custom pickup truck

The bright-yellow 1941 Ford custom pickup looks like a Christmas toy
The bright-yellow 1941 Ford custom pickup looks like a Christmas toy

The Pick of the Day is the kind of brightly colored toy truck that we were all hoping to find under the Christmas tree this morning, and hopefully many of us did.

Tastefully customized, this 1941 Ford pickup would look great rolling down Main Street in the Christmas parade. I’m picturing it with a big red bow on top and the bed loaded with presents, a couple of elves, maybe Santa himself standing back there waving to the crowd. Continue reading