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.

Another unique slate of special classes for Amelia Island Concours

The BeatNik Bandit custom roadster was Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth's most memeorable creation | Amelia Island Concours photos
The Beatnik Bandit custom roadster was Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth’s most memeorable creation | Amelia Island Concours photos

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida is well-known for its imaginative and sometimes quirky special classes – Cars of the Cowboys, Beach Cars, and Orphan Concept Cars come to mind – and the lineup for March 2018 stays true to form.

Eleven special classes have been revealed by the concours for its 2018 show, most of them featuring classic era, sports cars and motorsports icons. But the organizers, led by founder and chairman Bill Warner, always have a few unexpected themes thrown into the mix. Continue reading

Events: Concours, Cadillacs and motorsports champions

The 1959 Cadillac Cyclone concept car is expected for the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d’Elegance | Hilton Head Island Concours
The 1959 Cadillac Cyclone concept car is expected for the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d’Elegance | Hilton Head Island Concours

The 39th annual Concours d’Elegance of America, which actually comprises a weekend of 15 events, will host about 300 rare collector cars from around the world from July 28 through July 30 at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan.

Featured marques for the main-event concours, which takes place on Sunday, July 30, are Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and Shelby Cobra, while the featured coachbuilder is Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena and the featured body styles are boattail classics, hypercar exotics and Jet Age Juniors. Continue reading

Pebble Beach concours to celebrate Isotta Fraschini

The 1995 Pebble Beach best of show, a 1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A SS, will be at this year's concours | Pebble Beach Concours
The 1995 Pebble Beach best of show, a 1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A SS, will be shown at this year’s concours | Pebble Beach Concours

Isotta Fraschini, the greatest luxury brand of pre-war Italy, will be celebrated with three full classes at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 20.

Among the opulent cars that will be present on the grass at the 67th annual Pebble Beach Concours will be the marque’s first chassis ever built, a 1901 prototype, and also the last one, a 1948 cabriolet. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351

The Mustang Boss 351 is said to be thoroughly and correctly restored
The Mustang Boss 351 is said to be thoroughly and correctly restored

Now that we know Mustangs are the most-searched-for collector cars in the U.S., here’s a roaring example of the Ford pony car as pure muscle.

The Pick of the Day is a 1971 Ford Mustang Boss 351 coupe, the beneficiary of a ground-up restoration and powered by its correct Cleveland 351cid, four-valve V8 with Toploader four-speed manual transmission. All the ingredients needed for a hot trip down the quarter mile, on a straight-ahead back road or, if unlucky, to traffic court. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1949 Volkswagen Beetle

The early Volkswagen shows the original unadorned original styling of the Beetle
The early Volkswagen shows the original unadorned original styling of the Beetle

Here’s the kind of thing that makes VW fanatics flip out, an accurately restored Type 1 from the first year they were brought into the U.S.

New York dealer Max Hoffman, the automotive impresario who also was the early importer of such European brands as Alfa Romeo, BMW, Citroen, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, believed that the American public would accept the odd-duck Volkswagen despite its minimalistic size, accommodations and performance. Hoffman was right, in spades. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1931 Franklin Model 153 sedan

The Franklin wears a traditional radiator shell despite its engine being air-cooled
The Franklin wears a traditional radiator shell despite its engine being air-cooled

See the radiator shell on the front of this Franklin sedan? It’s a fake – there is no radiator. The Franklin Automobile Co. exclusively built air-cooled vehicles, and before the early 1920s, you could tell by the front bodywork that there was no radiator up there.

Ah, but the pressure to conform became too great, and the Syracuse, New York, automaker started outfitting its cars to look like everybody else’s, with a typical radiator shell even though there was no radiator. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

The new Mazda CX-5 delivers sporty driving experience, rare in this compact-SUV segment | Bob Golfen
The new Mazda CX-5 delivers sporty driving experience, rare in this compact-SUV segment | Bob Golfen photos

Buyers shopping for compact SUVs have a whole lot to choose from in this highly competitive chunk of the automotive market. The trick here is for an automaker to deliver something that sets itself apart from the herd.

Mazda once again has taken its own road with the updated 2017 CX-5, which is distinctive not because of price, accommodations or utility, but because it drives and handles more like a sport sedan than an SUV. The ride might seem a bit firm and the steering might feel a trifle heavy for this segment, but the payback is an agile little ute that you can toss into corners and have fun with on a winding road. Continue reading

Ford becomes new sponsor for Woodward Dream Cruise

Street rods on parade in the Woodward Dream Cruise | Kevin A. Wilson
Street rods on parade in the Woodward Dream Cruise | Kevin A. Wilson

Ford picks up where Chevy left off as the new presenting sponsor of the 2017 Woodward Dream Cruise, the largest annual celebration of the automotive lifestyle in the U.S. Chevrolet had sponsored the Woodward Dream Cruise since 2011 but recently withdrew as presenting sponsor for undisclosed reasons.

The 19th annual Woodward Dream Cruise, set for August 19, is expected to attract more than a million people to a massive American Graffiti-style feast of vintage cars, muscle cars, exotics and what have you, as families pull up lawn chairs to the curb to watch the parade rumble past. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1950 Hudson Pacemaker Brougham

The Hudson Pacemaker was a  unibody car with 'step down' design
The Hudson Pacemaker is an innovative unibody car with ‘step down’ design

If not for the Fabulous Hudson Hornet race car, which was reborn in the animated movie Cars, Hudson would be a largely forgotten brand outside of hardcore enthusiasts. The financial turmoil at the Hudson Auto Museum in Shipshewana, Indiana, reported yesterday on ClassicCars.com, seems to highlight the fate of this once-great car company.

The Pick of the Day is a 1950 Hudson Pacemaker Brougham, a two-door coupe in green metallic paint that shows the forward thinking of the automaker after World War II. An early unibody car with “step-down” design that made the interior roomier and the center of gravity lower, Hudsons made their mark in NASCAR and other racing venues in the early part of the 1950s. Continue reading

Italian cars, bikes from J Geils estate to be auctioned by Mecum

A 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 is among the J Geils collection | Mecum Auctions photos
A 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 is among the J Geils collection | Mecum Auctions photos

Just about everybody knows J Geils as the leader of the rock band that created such popular hits as Centerfold, Freeze Frame and Love Stinks. But not so many know that Geils, who died in April at 71, was a car guy who founded KTR Motorsports in Carlisle, Massachusetts, to service Ferraris and other mostly Italian exotics.

John “J” Geils also was an avid car collector who focused on his passion for Italian cars and motorcycles after the band broke up. In August, eight of the vehicles from his estate will be auctioned by Mecum at its sale in Monterey, California. Continue reading