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.

Driven: 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD Inscription

IMG_8892
The Volvo Xc90 crossover SUV was completely made over for 2016 | Bob Golfen photo

The 2016 Volvo XC90 T6 is a splendid SUV, a clean-slate effort by the Swedish brand – flush with Chinese money – to create something quite special. The styling is gorgeous, in a blocky SUV kind of way, and the interior in the test truck was just about the classiest luxury cabin that I have seen this side of a Bentley. Just beautiful, and rich with the scent of leather and wood.

The all-wheel-drive XC90 is as loaded with electronic gear as humanly possible, much of it to maintain Volvo’s longstanding safety mission. Among the lengthy laundry list of driving aids are those designed to keep you from wandering out of your lane, crashing into another vehicle in any variety of circumstances, running over a bicyclist, falling asleep at the wheel or parking the car using your own feeble abilities. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1951 Pontiac Streamliner

The Pontiac's  chrome details still look shiny after 65 years
The Pontiac’s chrome details still look shiny after 65 years

There was a time when people thought cars should look like rocket ships or jet fighters, when chrome was lavishly applied to evoke a notion of motion. In the late ’40s and early ’50s, Pontiac was the GM brand that brought the Buck Rogers universe into the family garage.

The Pick of the Day is a rare survivor of that era, a 1951 Pontiac Streamliner fastback coupe that the private seller in Lakeside, California, describes as a former “barn find” with 80,000 miles, and which remains in original, unmolested and, most importantly, running and driving condition. Continue reading

Convertibles owned by celebrity women offered by Bonhams

A Jaguar XK-E originally owned by singing star Diana Ross will be offered at the Quail Lodge auction | Bonhams
A Jaguar XK-E originally owned by Motown singer Diana Ross will be offered at the Quail Lodge auction | Bonhams photos

Two classic roadsters originally owned by legendary female stars of stage and screen will be auctioned in August by Bonhams during its Quail Lodge sale in Carmel, California, during Pebble Beach Concours week.

The stars are Motown icon Diana Ross and Hollywood siren Jane Russell. The cars are a 1967 Jaguar E-type roadster sold new to Ross and a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL that Russell purchased new and used sparingly near her Santa Barbara, California, home. Continue reading

Mecum returns to Denver rippling with American muscle

The 1970 Buick GSX is a multiple award winner
The 1970 Buick GSX is a multiple award winner | Mecum Auctions photos

Mecum Auctions returns to Denver for the second year with an expected 700 mostly American collector cars in the Colorado Convention Center for the July 8-9 sale. Mecum’s inaugural Denver sale scored $12 million in total sales with 396 cars sold for a 66 percent sell-through rate last year. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1967 Nissan Patrol K60

The Nissan Patrol is said to be in good, restored condition and ready to go
The Nissan Patrol is said to be in good, restored condition and ready to go

The Nissan Patrol is not well known in the U.S., although it is a mainstay off-roader in South Pacific locales, including Australia and New Zealand, where it has competed for decades against the Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover and Jeep. These are cool and capable four wheelers, but among collectors, all the attention for vintage Japanese SUVs has been sucked up by Toyota Land Cruiser.

The Pick of the Day is a relatively rare 1967 Nissan Patrol K60 4X4 in what looks to be in terrific condition, ready to romp off on its next back-country adventure. This is the perky-looking second-generation Patrol, and the fresh-looking Azure Blue paint job seems just right. Continue reading

Paul Newman 935 racer among top Porsches at Gooding auction

The 1979 Porsche 935 was co-driven by actor Paul Newman at the 24 Hours of Le Mans | Gooding photos
The 1979 Porsche 935 was co-driven by actor Paul Newman at the 24 Hours of Le Mans | Gooding photos

‘A thrilling spectrum of important Porsches” is how Gooding & Company describes the top-drawer Porsche competition cars, including one driven at Le Mans by Hollywood legend Paul Newman, and rare sports cars to be offered at Gooding’s Pebble Beach Auction in August.

Valued in the high-six and seven figures, these are the Porsche collector’s equivalent of paintings by Monet or Gauguin, highly desirable and exclusive, and unattainable for most of us. Continue reading

Commentary: Could Honda Accord, now 40, ever be collectible?

Honda Accord first arrived in America in June 1976 as a compact hatchback | Honda
Honda Accord first arrived in America in June 1976 as a compact hatchback | Honda

The Honda Accord celebrates its 40th anniversary and has reigned as the best-selling car in the United States for many of those years. The Japanese automaker has sold more than 12.7 million of them since the car first rolled out as a compact hatchback in June 1976.

Which brings up the question as to whether such a mass-produced commodity could ever become a collector car. Accords have been ubiquitous almost from their first model year, and as familiarity breeds contempt, they are rarely considered anything more than affordable, reliable transportation units to be traded in when they get old. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1947 Studebaker M5 pickup truck

The Studebaker pickup looks factory fresh
The Studebaker pickup looks factory fresh

Pickup trucks once were merely working vehicles appreciated for nothing more than getting the job done. But vintage pickups have risen in popularity among those who appreciate their classic style and who enjoy the simple pleasure of driving a basic truck.

Just about all the attention among collectors is on Ford, Chevy and Dodge trucks, but there is much to be said for the pickups from lesser brands, such as International, Hudson, even the highly collectible Diamond T. Studebaker holds a special place in the hearts of many hobbyists, and the pickups from the late, lamented brand have a unique style that sets them apart.

The pickup is a half-ton short-bed model
The pickup is a half-ton short-bed model

The Pick of the Day is a 1947 Studebaker M5 pickup, an attractive short-bed stepside model that has been restored to original, the seller says. The half-ton truck is located in Maple Lake, Minnesota, which sounds like the kind of place where you’d find a 69-year-old Studebaker pickup truck. Continue reading

Carroll Shelby’s first Cobra to be offered at RM Sotheby’s auction

The original Shelby Cobra built in 1962 was owned by Carroll Shelby for his entire lifetime |   Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby's photos
The original Shelby Cobra built in 1962 was owned by Carroll Shelby throughout  his  lifetime | Darin Schnabel/RM Sotheby’s photos

In February 1962, road racer Carroll Shelby and famed hot rodder Dean Moon pulled an all-nighter at Moon’s shop in Santa Fe Springs, California, along with Moon’s crew of expert mechanics. In the morning, they rolled out into the sunlight a sleek roadster that would have a monumental impact on the worlds of sports cars and motorsports.

Melding the graceful body and archaic chassis of a British AC Ace with the drivetrain of a Ford performance V8, the first Shelby Cobra started up and roared into history. That car, bearing chassis number CSX2000, would introduce Carroll Shelby and his remarkable Cobra concept at the New York Auto Show, serve as the original road-test car for automotive journalists (famously repainted six times so Shelby could feign having built more than one) and would remain in Shelby’s possession throughout his lifetime.

The Cobra was used for road tests by journalists
The Cobra was used for road tests by journalists

RM Sotheby’s announced Wednesday that CSX2000 will be offered for sale for the first time in its 54-year history at the company’s Monterey, California, auction held August 19-20 during Pebble Beach Concours week. Continue reading

Barrett-Jackson hits jackpot at inaugural Northeast auction

A 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L-88 coupe was the top-selling car at the Northeast Auction | Barrett-Jackson photos
A 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 coupe was the top-selling car at the Northeast Auction | Barrett-Jackson photos

While it’s often hard to measure success for new collector car auctions, Barrett-Jackson’s first sale in the northeastern United States seems to have rung the bell on any number of levels. Continue reading