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.

Antique Automobile Club museum readies exhibit showcasing hot rods and custom cars

The '57 Chevy custom named SwishAir, a Ridler Award contender, will be part of the AACA exhibit. (Photo: Antique Automobile Club of America)
’57 Chevy custom called SwishAir, a Ridler Award contender, is part of the exhibit. | AACA photo

 

The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Pa., usually focuses on the preservation and restoration of veteran vehicles to original condition. Which is why the special exhibit opening this month is so unexpected.

“The Art of the Build: Rods & Kustoms”  goes on display Jan. 24 through April 27, and takes a hot rod run through the world of individualized custom cars, including a number of top award winners as well as some of the true oddities of the hobby. Usually, the AACA mourns the loss of original cars to build customs, but this time around, it celebrates the customs and the customizers.

Among the unique beauties  on display are some of the top contenders for the prestigious Ridler Award, given annually at the Detroit Autorama. The AACA show also focuses on some of the legends whose custom cars made everybody sit up and take notice, folks such as Boyd Coddington, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and George Barris, the “King of Kustomizers.”

“The ‘Art of the Build’ exhibit focuses on these individuals, and the rolling art they have created,” an AACA Museum news release says. “By treating each custom vehicle as a piece of sculpture, the Museum has planned this display as an art installation, celebrating each item for what it has become, not lamenting what it once was.”

For more information,  visit aacamuseum.org. 

Cavallino Classic celebrates Ferrari — and more

A Ferrari 250MM on the lawn at the Breakers Resort for last year’s Concorso d’Eleganza.  (Photo: Alessandro Gerelli/Sports Car Digest)
Ferrari 250MM  at 2013 Concorso d’Eleganza. | Photo by Alessandro Gerelli/Sports Car Digest

Many spectacular sports cars are expected to converge on Palm Beach, Fla., for the 23rd annual Cavallino Classic, a Ferrari festival that Jan, 22-26 at the Breakers Resort Hotel. More than 400 of the Italian classics and exotics are expected to show up for a series of events celebrating Ferrari, with a few other Neapolitan treats thrown in.

Cavallino Classic events include:

  • The third annual Cavallino Classic Competition, a two-day track meet featuring Ferrari, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and Maserati at Palm Beach International Raceway (Jan. 23-24);
  • The featured Concorso d’Eleganza for Ferrari automobiles at the Breakers Resort (Jan. 25);
  • Classic Sports Sunday on the lawn of the historic Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, a show of 120 sporting pre- and post-war automobiles from Europe and the United States, with Bentley as the honored marque (Jan. 26).

Visit cavallino.com for more information.

Concours of America selects chairman for 2014

This 1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster Derham won Best of Show - Domestic at the 2013 Concours d'Elegance of America. (Photo: Concours d'Elegance of America)
1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster Derham was best in show (domestic) at 2013 Concours of America.

The Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s has named longtime concours leader Larry Moss as chairman of the board and event chairman for 2014.

Moss served as event chairman  of the Meadow Brook Concours in 1999 and 2000, as chairman of the car selection committee  from 2007 to 2010 and as board member from 2008 to 2010. After the event was moved to The Inn at St. John’s in 2011, Moss remained active on the judge’s committee and car selection committee. Moss replaces Peter Heydon, who recently resigned after serving as chairman of the board since 2009.

The 36th annual Concours d’Elegance of America takes place  Sunday, July 27, 2014, at The Inn of St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan. For more information, see www.concoursusa.org.

Simeone Museum hosts Ford GT40 celebration

This 1966 Ford GT40 was on display at the Simeone Museum’s recent People’s Choice Demo Day. (Photo: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum)
1966 Ford GT40 on display at the museum’s recent People’s Choice Demo Day. Photo courtesy Simeone Museum

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum presents a celebration of the Ford GT40, the groundbreaking race car that famously beat Ferrari at Le Mans, in a special Racing Legends event at noon on January 11, 2014,  at the Philadelphia-based museum.

Well-known GT40 expert Greg Kolasa will lead a discussion on the development and history of the GT40. Kolasa, who wrote The Definitive Shelby Mustang Guide 1965-1970, is Shelby American Automobile Club historian and registrar.

The GT40, so named because of its roof height in inches, holds a special place in the history of American auto racing. After Enzo Ferrari had imperiously snubbed Ford’s efforts to acquire his automobile business, Ford set out to beat Ferrari at its most-hallowed racing venue, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Led by Carroll Shelby, who had already trounced Ferrari with the Cobra Daytona coupe for a GT class win in 1965, the GT40 team completely dominated the 1966 running of Le Mans with an outright win that saw them cross the finish line in first, second and third places. The GT40s were back the following year, and again won Le Mans for 1967.

GT40s were raced by privateers for years after, and today the GT40 remains one of the most hotly sought-after collector cars for vintage racing.

Both of the Simeone Museum’s GT40s, a Mk. II and a Mk. IV, will be displayed during the January 11 program and, weather permitting, they will be taken out for demonstration runs after the presentation.

For more information about the museum and the GT40 event, see www.simeonemuseum.org. 

Vintage cars on the grass at the Biltmore in Arizona Concours test

An exotic DeTomaso Pantera follows a 1963 Buick Riviera, a 1947 Cadillac and a 1937 Lincoln across the lawn at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.  (Photo: Larry Edsall)
A DeTomaso Pantera follows a 1963 Buick Riviera, ’47 Cadillac and ’37 Lincoln across the lawn at the Arizona Biltmore | Photos by Larry Edsall

Guests at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix were treated to an unusual happening Monday morning when a small parade of vintage automobiles motored across the lushly landscaped winter lawns of the historic luxury hotel.

This was the “dry run” for the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Organizers of the event brought a selection of cars to test out the confines of the Biltmore’s inner lawns to see if the big classics could maneuver through the tight spaces, and whether exotic sports cars could get through without bottoming out.

The Arizona Concours is set for January 12, 2014, to open the famed collector-car auction week in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. A collection of 78 exceptional automobiles will be displayed, competing in classes that range from vintage and classic to sports, racing and exotics. Judges will pore over each entry to pick the class winners as well as the coveted Best of Show.

The 1947 Cadillac eases across one of the ramps leading to the Squaw Peak Lawn at the Arizona Biltmore. (Photo: Larry Edsall)
The 1947 Cadillac eases across a ramp leading to the Squaw Peak Lawn at the Arizona Biltmore.

The cars that rolled across the dark-green rye grass Monday were a 1937 Lincoln Model K, a V12-powered sedan; a 1947 Cadillac Series 62 two-door sedan with a sweeping fastback roofline; a 1963 Buick Riviera; a 1974 DeTomaso Pantera; and a new Chevrolet Corvette coupe, which was being used to test ground clearance.

Overall, the testing was deemed a success, with just a few tweaks required for the carefully orchestrated procedure of bringing the cars onto the Biltmore site and into their respective places, handling the crowds and vendors, and conducting the awards ceremony.

“This is a first-year event, so there are some growing pains,” Mike Mullan, a member of the steering committee said as he watched closely as the cars crossed over a set of specially made ramps.  “But everything seems to be going smoothly so far. We’ll see how it all comes together.”

For tickets and information for the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance, see www.arizonaconcours.com.

First BMW ‘Batmobile’ competition Art Car coming to Amelia Island Concours

Photo courtesy of BMW

The first BMW Art Car ever created, a 3.0 CSL GT racer painted by the acclaimed artist Alexander Calder to run in the 1975 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will headline a special BMW “Batmobile” class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 9, 2014.

The Calder project, which melded motorsports with fine art, was inspired by French race driver and art auctioneer Herve Poulain. BMW race cars used as painting canvases by the world’s most-renowned artists – including Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol – became an annual tradition for the German automaker.

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New events in Arizona and the California desert launch 2014 concours d’elegance calendar

Photo courtesy Arizona Concours
Photo courtesy Arizona Concours

Another year of top-drawer concours d’elegance events across the nation is coming around again, including two brand-new ones added to the 2014 docket.

The inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance starts off the January collector-car auction week in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area on Jan. 12, 2014, at the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.  Long envisioned as a focal point for the famous Scottsdale/Phoenix auctions, the concours will feature 78 exceptional automobiles on landscaped lawns within the art deco splendor of the Biltmore.

For more information about this inaugural event, see arizonaconcours.com.

Meanwhile, Concorso Italiano has spawned another new concours that takes place in Palm Desert, Calif.  The new Desert Concorso on March 30 is a celebration of Italian cars, but other European sports and GT cars are invited to join in the festivities that include Italian food, fashion and culture.

For more information about the concorso, see desertconcorso.com.

The original Concorso Italiano on the Monterey peninsula moves back to its old location at Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, Calif., while changing the day it takes place from its longtime Friday slot to Saturday, Aug. 16

For more information, see concorso.com.

Here’s a listing of major concours d’elegance events taking place during 2014 in the United States:

2014 Concours d'Elegance Calendar

Major concours d’elegance events taking place during 2014 in the United States
EventDate(s)Location
Arizona Concours d'EleganceJan 12Phoenix, AZ
Cavallino ClassicJan 22-26Palm Beach, FL
Boca Raton Concours d’EleganceFeb 23Boca Raton, FL
Amelia IslandMar 9Amelia Island, FL
Desert ConcorsoMar 30Palm Desert, CA
La Jolla Concours d’EleganceApr 13La Jolla, CA
Keels and WheelsMay 3-4Lakewood, FL
Pinehurst Concours d’EleganceMay 4Pinehurst, NC
Greenwich Concours d’EleganceMay 31-Jun 1Greenwich, CT
The Elegance at HersheyJun 16Hershey, PA
Concours d’Elegance of ChicagoJun 19Barrington, IL
Keeneland Concours d’EleganceJul 20Lexington, KY
Hillsborough Concours d’EleganceJul 21Hillsborough, CA
Concours of America at St. John'sJul 27Plymouth, MI
Concorso ItalianoAug 16Seaside, CA
Pebble Beach Concours d’EleganceAug 17Pebble Beach, CA
Radnor Hunt Concours d’EleganceSep 14Radnor, PA
The Boston CupSep 22Boston, MA
Hilton HeadNov 3Hilton Head Island, SC

If your concours is not listed but should be, please use the feedback link so we can update this calendar.

Mustang corrals in Charlotte, Vegas for pony car’s 50th anniversary

The Mustang Club of America and Ford Motor Co. have announced a joint celebration marking 50 years of the original pony car, the Ford Mustang, from April 16 through April 20 in two places at once.

Open to everyone, including the multitude of Mustang enthusiasts, the twin parties take place at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. The Mustang fun will include live music, cruises, ride-and-drive, exhibitions, celebrities and of course, pony rides.

With a brand-new 2015 Mustang all saddled up and ready to run, Ford is focusing on its wildly successful progeny. More than nine million of them have been sold in the past half century, and nearly everybody has a Mustang story to tell.

For more information, see  www.mustang50thbirthdaycelebration.com.

Horseless Carriage Club to tour Southern Arizona

Photo courtesy of Horseless Carriage Club of America
Photo courtesy of Horseless Carriage Club of America

How time flies when you’re driving an ancient automotive device, so crank up Ole Bessie for the 77th anniversary Horseless Carriage Club of America convention and tour. It all takes place Feb. 10-15, 2014, on the snowless roads in and around Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Photo courtesy of Horseless Carriage of America
Photo courtesy of Horseless Carriage of America

It you can get there early, as in Feb. 9, there’s a pre-tour shakedown run.

Highlights of this chug-chug around southern Arizona include Tombstone and the OK Corral; the strange, artsy town of Bisbee; incredible Karchner Caverns; a real, live ghost town; the Mexican border; plus lots and lots of beautiful Sonoran Desert.  Bring water.

For more information, get out your kerosene-powered computer and log on to: hcca.org.