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: 1988 Yugo GV

The 1988 Yugo appears to be in amazingly clean and intact condition
The 1988 Yugo appears to be in amazingly clean and intact condition

With Monterey Car Week coming up, and all the crazy-money collector cars that entails, I was inclined to choose something suitably opulent for Pick of the Day.

But my contrarian nature took over and I’m going in the other direction with the least-likely car to be found on the lawn at Pebble Beach, a 1988 Yugo GV in glowing appliance white. OK, there is the Concours d’LeMons that also happens next week, which celebrates the very worst in automotive shlock. Continue reading

Stunning 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster set for Gooding auction

The highly desirable 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster was designed by Jean Bugatti | Gooding & Company photos
The highly desirable 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster was designed by Jean Bugatti | Gooding & Company Photos by Mathieu Heurtault

One of the most-beautiful cars at Pebble Beach this year, a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster, won’t be seen on the grass at the famous concours d’elegance but at the nearby Gooding & Company auction tent.

The Bugatti, which competed in Italy’s iconic Mille Miglia in 1932, is among the leading stars of the top-end Gooding auction. The sleek roadster, described as being in immaculate restored condition, naturally commands a towering price tag, in this case a pre-auction estimate of $10 million to $14 million. Continue reading

Driven: 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature

The Mazda CX-9 was completely revamped for 2016 | Bob Golfen
The Mazda CX-9 was completely revamped for 2016 | Bob Golfen

During the past decade or so, Mazda has marketed its vehicles in a certain way, as the sporty alternative to the normal run of practical cars and SUVs. “Zoom-Zoom” has been the quirky tagline, which was a risky gambit if the Mazdas didn’t deliver the driving performance as advertised. Mockery might have ensued.

Fortunately, Mazda has upheld its promise to deliver vehicles with responsive drivability. Well, most of the time. There have been a few misses. But starting with the pure sports-car pleasure of the MX-5 Miata, the Japanese automaker has imbued its lineup with a certain elan that sets them apart. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1951 Ford Deluxe convertible

The 1951 Ford is described as being in immaculate preserved condition
The 1951 Ford is described as being in immaculate preserved condition

With all the attention given to so-called barn finds and other such derelicts from the past, how great is it to discover an all-original, preserved classic that’s old enough to apply for Medicare yet shows remarkably low mileage, looks wonderful and is ready to drive.

The Pick of the Day, a 1951 Ford Deluxe convertible, has just 39,127 on its odometer and is described by its seller as a “spectacular survivor that runs and drives like new.” Continue reading

Prototype Porsche 356/912 ‘missing link’ at Mecum auction

The Porsche 356/912 was one of six prototypes built for the upcoming 912 model | Mecum Auctions photos
The Porsche 356/912 was one of six prototypes built for the upcoming 912 model | Mecum Auctions photos

Porsche prices have been on a dramatic rise in recent years, especially for those cars with special performance features, racing history or celebrity provenance. Mecum’s auction in Monterey, California, presents yet another rare and unusual example, essentially a “missing link” between the original 356 models that established the brand and the subsequent four-cylinder 912 versions of the iconic 911.

The factory-documented 1965 Porsche 356B/912 coupe prototype is one of six cars built to test the automaker’s plan to create a less-expensive edition of the 911, which was introduced in 1963 to great acclaim but also some trepidation about its relatively high price. The idea behind the 912 was to market a sports car with the new look of the six-cylinder 911 but with the mechanical components of the beloved 356. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1960 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe

The 1960 Chevrolet Impala is one of the desirable 'bubble' hardtop coupes
The 1960 Chevrolet Impala is one of the desirable ‘bubble top’ coupes

The Pick of the Day, a 1960 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe, is an audacious spaceship of a car. With chrome-plated rockets shooting along its flanks, compete with vapor trails, and a bubble-top roofline that’s more glass than steel, the Impala seems to be swiftly flying low even when parked at the curb.

And those tailfins, like a pair of actual wings (rumor was that at high speeds, they could provide some treacherous lift). They were inherited from the 1959 model year Chevy, of which the ’60 model was seen as a toned-down version of that baroque design. As all Chevy folk know, the unique tailfins disappeared for ’61, never to be seen again. Continue reading

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