All posts by Howard Koby

Howard graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design in California. He has been a photographer and automotive journalist for 35 years out of his Los Angeles studio. He has been published in Hot Rod, AutoWeek, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Jaguar Journal, Forza, Vintage Motorsport, Classic Motorsports, Robb Report, Motor Trend Classic, Hemmings Muscle Machines, and 50 Years of Road & Track (MBI Publishing). He has served on the Advisory Committee of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design. He is the author of the books Top Fuel Dragsters of the 1970s and Pro Stock Dragsters of the 1970s, both available on amazon.com.

Greystone Mansion presents the Hollywood of concours

This youngster is enthusiastic about Ferraris displayed at the Greystone concours d'elegance | Photos by Howard Koby
This youngster is enthusiastic about Ferraris displayed at the Greystone concours d’elegance | Photos by Howard Koby

An 18-acre slab of real estate called the Greystone Mansion estate is the epitome of Beverly Hills opulence and elegance and is tucked away in the lushly landscaped hills of the “rich and famous” with a magnificent panoramic view of the city of Los Angeles. Built by Ned Doheny, heir to one of the country’s great oil empires, the estate was the location last weekendfor the 8th annual Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance. Continue reading

It’s nitro madness at the nostalgic March Meet

Sabrina Capps' 'The Heart Breaker' Ford dragster competes in the 2017 March Meet | Howard Koby photos
Sabrina Capps’ ‘The Heart Breaker’ Ford dragster competes in the 2017 March Meet | Howard Koby photos

Mother Nature sings a song in Kern County, California, during March when the beautiful peach blossoms signal the start of NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage series and the 59th annual Good Vibrations Motorsports March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway just 10 miles north of Bakersfield.

The March Meet has become a four-day speed fest of nostalgic drag racing that fans call “the jewel of nostalgic racing.” Continue reading

Driven: 2015 Kia K900

2015 Kia K900 at Hidden Springs Ranch | Howard Koby photos
2015 Kia K900 at Hidden Springs Ranch | Howard Koby photos

Having covered the Copperstate 1000 vintage sports car road rally for the past 15 years, I know the Arizona landscape and that you can snow on the mountains and blistering temperatures on the floor of the desert, so I always make sure the car I drive is capable to handle the varied environments and weather.

I own a 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider (which did the Copperstate with its prior owner), and would love to drive on the rally, but… Alas! I can’t afford for a 52-year-old car to break down while I’m on assignment.

When I found out my vehicle for the 1,000-mile event would be a new and luxurious Kia K900, I thought, “Wow, a luxury automobile on a thousand-mile rally, that ought to be an experience, and unusual but very, very comfortable. Continue reading

Eye Candy: 6th annual Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance

Hollywood movies such as Star Trek 2, The Muppets, Spiderman III, Batman & Robin, The Body Guard, Ghostbuster II, The Witches of Eastwick and many more were filmed at the Greystone Mansion, former home of the Doheny family and built by Ned Doheny, heir to one of the nation’s great oil empires. Continue reading

Eye Candy: 25th annual Bell Lexus North Scottsdale Copperstate 1000 vintage rally

‘On the Road Again…” and for the 25th time, the Copperstate 1000 celebrated 25 consecutive years of some of the finest, most pristine sports and classic cars manufactured before 1973 challenging over 1000 miles of some of the most scenic mountains and deserts that Arizona (and this year southern Utah) has to offer. The Copperstate gives more than 90 vintage cars and their drivers and navigators the opportunity to explore Arizona’s spectacular back roads in their prized automotive treasures. Continue reading

Eye Candy: March Meet vintage drag racing

A present-day rear-engine Top Fuel Dragster’s 500-cubic-inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first four rows at the Daytona 500. While on its ear-splitting burnout, done just to heat the huge, slick rear tires, nearly 23 gallons of nitro-methane fuel is consumed. It burns yellow; the white flames seen above the engine stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, separated from atmospheric water vapor by the intense heat of the exhaust gases. Each run costs an estimated $1,000 or more per second with the driver enduring at the launch about 8g’s (gravity) before reaching 330 mph at the top end. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Shelby GT350 50th anniversary and reunion

Photos by Howard Koby

Willow Springs Raceway was built in 1953 as one of the first purpose-built road courses in the United States. Back in the day, people wondered why someone would build a racetrack on a barren so-called wasteland out in the desert well beyond Los Angeles.

The track was designed and built by California racer Bill Pollack, land-owner John Mathewson and John Hart, an actor who spent one season as the Lone Ranger in the television series when Clayton Moore was involved in a contract dispute.

Almost all of the track, which featured major elevation changes and very challenging corners, could be viewed from the pits.

In mid-February, the Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club rented Willow Springs to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Ford Mustang GT350’s first victory, recorded half a century earlier with Ken Miles driving at Green Valley Raceway in Texas.

The original 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R was conceived and designed by Peter Brock, though at the time Brock had limitations from Ford. Those limitations included “time to produce”and “cost to create” and led to concessions. Brock knew that while the car they build was great, it was not the best they might have done.

Fast forward several decades. The Original Venice Crew, as that Shelby American team came to be known, got back together for a reunion and decided to build the car they couldn’t so many years before, a car with an independent rear suspension like Brock wanted.

So Brock, Ted Sutton, Duane Carling, and Jim Marietta got two K-Code ’65 Mustang fastbacks and used them to create the Shelby Mustang Competition Model GT350”R” as Brock had originally designed them — without concessions.

But with a fiberglass hood, repositioned front suspension, Plexiglas rear window, Plexiglas door windows, roll bar and, as the team originally intended, an IRS (one car, the other got the old live axle).

This brilliant automotive endeavor was masterfully executed at Brock’s garage in Henderson, Nevada.

While completion of the project went down to the wire with many all nighters, the two iconic ponies where galloping around the Willow Springs racetrack bright and early on a Friday morning for test runs and looked fantastic challenging the 2.5-mile road course with beautiful rolling hills as a backdrop.

The picture perfect Shelby celebration weekend included a reunion of the original members of the Shelby American Team, open track time for Ford Mustangs and Ford-powered vehicles old and new, a Los Angeles Shelby American Auto Club car show featuring Mustangs, Cobras and Special Interest vehicles (with trophies awarded to all classes), and a banquet with the OVC discussing the 1965 Mustang project with Master of Ceremonies Randy Richardson, president of LASAAC, and joined by William Deary of The Carroll Collection, a museum which is a tribute to the automotive genius of Carroll Shelby.

Oh, and remember how Ford wouldn’t allow an IRS on the original GT350? Well, 50 years later, such a setup is a standard production on the 2015 Ford Mustang.