Classic Car News » Howard Koby Your daily dose of steel, rubber and soul Fri, 18 Aug 2017 16:15:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Greystone Mansion presents the Hollywood of concours Sat, 13 May 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Read More

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.

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It’s nitro madness at the nostalgic March Meet Sat, 11 Mar 2017 09:25:23 +0000 Read More

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.”

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Driven: 2015 Kia K900 Sun, 09 Aug 2015 09:15:02 +0000 Read More

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.

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Eye Candy: 6th annual Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance Sun, 10 May 2015 09:35:29 +0000 Read More

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.

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Eye Candy: 10th annual Edelbrock Car Show Sat, 09 May 2015 09:25:40 +0000 Read More

In 1938, Vic Edelbrock Sr. bought his first project car — a 1932 Ford roadster. It was the turning point in Edelbrock family history, perhaps in American automotive cultural history.

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Eye Candy: Concorso Ferrari on Old Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard Sat, 02 May 2015 09:25:55 +0000 Read More

The Ferrari Club of America’s Southwest Region staged its seventh Concorso Ferrari last sunday on historic Old Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard. More than 140 of the finest classic and contemporary Ferraris adorned the trendy boulevard.

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Eye Candy: 25th annual Bell Lexus North Scottsdale Copperstate 1000 vintage rally Sat, 25 Apr 2015 09:30:01 +0000 Read More

‘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.

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Eye Candy: The second Benedict Castle Concours, Riverside, California Sat, 04 Apr 2015 09:35:07 +0000 Read More

When I was a boy I loved scary movies so my brother Arthur took me to see Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. That night, even though it was a comedy, I had terrible nightmares and ran into my parents room screaming.

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Eye Candy: March Meet vintage drag racing Sat, 28 Mar 2015 09:35:37 +0000 Read More

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.

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Eye Candy: Shelby GT350 50th anniversary and reunion Sat, 21 Feb 2015 09:30:52 +0000 Read More

The new cars on the track The car show Checkered flag at the finish Ready to floor it Ex-Dan Gurney 1967 Mercury Cougar Trans-Am racer Mark I GT40 RSR (before it spins) Shelby tribute Mustangs battle on the track The Mustang car show Cobra continuation series car Mustang ice sculpture Mark I GT40 RCR spins out Boss 302 badging On the back straight New Shelby GT350Rs running neck and neck 2005 Mustang GT engine Mustang track time Designer Peter Brock Peter Brock drives the rebuilt GT350R New GT350Rs on the track Miata with a Mustang V8 engine Mustangs and Cobras on the track On track Shelby Mustangs with Mustang camera car The car show winners Ready for track time 1965 Mustang Pete Brock and William Deary of The Carroll Collection Late model Mustangs ready to take the track 1964 Cobra 289 FIA replica The anniversary cake Shelby Daytona Coupe at the banquet

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.

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Eye Candy: 66th annual Grand National Roadster Show (part 2) Sun, 08 Feb 2015 09:30:04 +0000 Read More

Every man cave needs toys '41 Ford pickup '32 Ford 3-window coupe '50 Mercury lowrider Aluminum sculpture by Willy Stryker '40 Ford delivery sedan and '40 Ford standard coupe 1915 Ford Model T '36 Beerster is ready for The Great Race '68 Buick Riviera Pinup Angels raising money for soldiers Marilyn and the King The America's Most Beautiful Roadster Award trophy '36 Ford 3-window coupe won Preservation award Engine: '65 Chevy Impala A wild Harley custom Model cars for sale The scene outside '55 Austin Healey J40 won the Pedal Car trophy Hood mascot: '36 Pontiac '50 Chevrolet Phantom Fleetside was judged the best truck

(Editor’s note: Howard came back from the Grand National Roadster Show with so many amazing photos that we’re doing two Eye Candy galleries, one ran yesterday and here’s another today.)

Photos by Howard Koby

For the 12th time, the annual O’Reilly Grand National Roadster Show presented by Meguiar’s was held at the Fairplex in Pomona, California late last month. More than 500 hot rods and customs were displayed in eight buildings.


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Eye Candy: 66th annual Grand National Roadster Show (part 1) Sat, 07 Feb 2015 09:30:50 +0000 Read More

American muscle Can't have a big show without George Barris The amazing Aquarius 2004 American Eagle streamliner '30 Ford roadster James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor remembered Nothing like hot cars and cool ice cream '57 Chevy Bel Air Best Street Machine award winning 1967 Ford Fairlane Ed Pink's was serving its world-famous hot dogs Custom cars -- and fashions Surf Seeker was a big hit One of the pin-up gals '35 Ford '32 Ford roadster with 408 aluminum-block V8 engine Neon signs were moving out of vendors' booths The show poster 1927 Ford roadster wheel '32 Ford roadster This '33 Ford roadster won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster trophy

(Editor’s note: Howard came back from the Grand National Roadster Show with so many amazing photos that we’re doing two Eye Candy galleries, one today and another tomorrow.)

Photos by Howard Koby

Founded in 1950 by Al Sloanaker in Oakland, California, the Grand National Roadster Show is among the world’s longest-running annual indoor car shows. For the last 12 years, the event has been staged within eight exhibit buildings at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, where it attracts more than 500 of the most exciting and creative works of automotive art including roadsters, customs, hot rods and motorcycles.

This year, Southern California car culture was celebrated in one building while another hall was dedicated to the 75th Anniversary of the 1940 Ford. The overall show theme was “The Great Gatsby,” so representative custom automobiles were strewn throughout the three-day beauty pageant of automotive excellence.

One creation that caught my attention was James Hetfield and Rick Dore’s “Aquarius,” which was a completely original hand-formed aluminum coachbuilt custom influenced by coachbuilders Figoni and Falashi and the ’38 Delahaye 165 Cabriolet. The creation sat on a ’34 Packard chassis and portrayed “a sinister elegance” born from American customizers of the ‘40s and early ’50s. “Truly a work of art.”

Another unusual custom vehicle was Ron Berry’s “Surf Seeker,” a concept VW Bus with a “cartoon flavor” based on a ’65 Van but with a 2175cc extreme blown engine all resting on 24-inch Panther wheels. Motorized side door, side window and sunroof structure completes this striking exhibit.

More than 250 vendors offered products and services, even Pinks world-famous chili dogs were sizzling on the grill.

Eighteen custom cars were vying for the coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award. The tension was high with a packed house late Sunday afternoon when the long and low 1933 Ford Roadster built by Bobby Alloway for Larry Olson of Sioux Falls, South Dakota was honored with the AMBR trophy.

Stunning scallop style yellow flames on a black steel body and brilliant chrome wheels almost set this roadster in a class by itself and was a fitting finale to a great show.


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Eye Candy: More images from Arizona Auction Week Mon, 19 Jan 2015 09:30:57 +0000 Read More

On the block at Barrett-Jackson 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB4 at RM Sign offers details on 1966 Pontiac Firebird on the block at Barrett-Jackson Parking-lot shuttle service at Barrett-Jackson Ronald McDonald welcomes folks to Barrett-Jackson Bidders consider their options at RM 1957 Dodge D500 at Silver Auctions Pontiac Bonneville concept car sells at Barrett-Jackson David Gooding and auctioneer Charles Ross GM Futurline sells at Barrett-Jackson An owner eager to sell his 1967 Fiat Jolly at Russo and Steele A 1969 Volkswagen Beetle ready to cross the block at Russo and Steele 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL breaks the million-dollar mark at Russo and Steele Motorcycle sold to benefit a military charity at Barrett-Jackson 1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria at Gooding & Co. Sun sets behind 1966 Plymouth at Silver Auctions 1930 Ford 5-window coupe at Russo and Steele 1936 Auburn at Gooding & Company Historic Phoenix-area drag strip van on the block at Gooding & Co. 1952 customized Chevrolet sells at Silver 1959 Ferrari California Spider at Gooding & Company Scale model: 1971 Dodge Challenger 1970 Volkswagen at Silver Auctions 2002 Pure Steel motorcycle at Silver Barista at Gooding & Co. Jay Leno sells his Dodge Challenger to benefit the USO Christy Lee of the Velocity/Discovery TV team at Barrett-Jackson 1949 Mercury at Silver Auctions

Photos by Howard Koby

The 2015 auction spectacle in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun concluded over the weekend with perfect weather and with car collectors ready to spend some cash on some amazing cars, and some, well, very unusual machines and other items.


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Eye Candy: More images from the Arizona auctions Sat, 17 Jan 2015 13:47:03 +0000 Read More

Auction attire Free espresso at Gooding & Company The scene at RM Sold! Buyer receives congratulations for his purchase at Russo and Steele Russo and Steele tents mirror the mountains Fiat Jolly at Bonhams Candy apples at Russo and Steele Part of the Ron Pratte collection at Barrett-Jackson RM preview showroom #375-Howard Koby photo The wood on a '41 Ford wagon at RM 'That one,' says young auto art enthusiast at RM Should they buy this old Ford? 1987 Lamborghini LM002 at RM The salon cars at Barrett-Jackson Drew Alcazar nails another sale Fashion footwear at Gooding & Company A mini Batmobile ride at Barrett-Jackson Jewelry designer at work at Russo and Steele '71 Dodge Challenger at Russo and Steele 1956 BMW Isetta 300 sells at Gooding & Company Automobilia available at Russo and Steele Texting at Russo and Steele 1954 Ferrari 250 LM on the block at RM '64 Beetle at Russo and Steele Checking out a '48 Buick at Russo and Steele '59 BMW 507 on the block at Gooding & Company A Barrett-Jackson vendor will sell you a photo of a young Frank Sinatra Onion rings ready for purchase at Barrett-Jackson 1928 Stutz mascot at Gooding & Company Van Halen guitar sold at Russo and Steele

Photos by Howard Koby

It’s going, going, but not quite gone at the Arizona auctions…

Auction action shifted into a higher gear Friday with five auction houses running cherished machinery across the blocks (Bonham wrapped up its one-day sale on Thursday).

Friday, at Barrett-Jackson you could buy everything from hot rods on the pavement to hot dogs on a stick. Meanwhile, RM brought out some of its big guns — Ferrari 250 LM selling for over $8 million with buyer’s premium while Gooding hammered the ’59 Ferrari LWB California Spider for a stunning $7 million plus commission.

Russo and Steele’s auctions “in the round” gaveled out muscle, customs and American cars of the ‘50s and ‘60s as bidders gulping beer, hot dogs and candy apples. And things were quieter if just as exciting for those buying and selling out at Silver.

And now we enter the weekend, with sales continuing Saturday and, in some locations, Sunday as well.


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Eye Candy: Images from the Arizona Auctions Thu, 15 Jan 2015 11:45:00 +0000 Read More

Eager to sell you something to eat at Barrett-Jackson Cactus at the Arizona Biltmore, where RM stages its sale A couple considers which to buy Bike carriages cut down on the walking A selfie to capture the memory The red carpet at RM Should we? Pedal cars at Bonhams Father and son at Gooding & Company Rain at Bonhams Check out this one! Boats to buy at Barrett-Jackson Light trees for sale at Barrett-Jackson Is everything bigger at Barrett-Jackson? Barrett-Jackson is a social event Childhood dreams 1940 Ford woodie at Bonhams A '59 Crosley crosses the block Is man's best friend a dog or a Ferrari? That's one way to look at a car Available for bidding at RM Calculating the budget for bidding at Bonhams Mamas Dogs at Barrett-Jackson Einstein is this toy poodle's name Dad, we need this Bidders at Barrett-Jackson Big Boy statue will cross the block at Barrett-Jackson Starting young at Gooding & Company Hey, Dad, let's up your bid

Photos by Howard Koby

The more-than-week long auction extravaganza in Scottsdale and Phoenix began with chilly temperatures and even light rain, but all auction houses are ready for action. I went to previews at Bonhams, RM, Gooding and Barrett-Jackson and million-dollar machinery will be in full force on the blocks along with muscle, customs, exotics, race cars and American classics.

Vendors at Barrett-Jackson are, as usual, unbelievable, offering everything from new cars and trucks to leather cowboy boots and fine automotive paintings from noted artists.

We expect to see some record -etting prices set at all auction venues as the collector-car hobby is booming with bidders from all over the world descending on the southwest, which has become bathed, as usual, in brilliant sunshine that casts . The rain finally let up and today was a brilliant sunny day that casts a sparkling glow on the hundreds of vintage and classic cars.

Let the bidding begin!


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Eye Candy: National Motor Museum, Beaulieu Sat, 27 Dec 2014 09:30:48 +0000 Read More

1901 Columbia Electric 1909 Rolls Royce Silver Ghose 1962 BMW Isetta 300 1986 Citroen 2CV6 Special 1899 Renault 1949 Morris Minor Series MM Motorcycles, 1970-present day 1996 Ferrari F310 V10 1907 Italia Badge: 1912 Hispano Suisa Sports cars James May's Meccano motorcycle 1909 Humber 1937 Cord 810 Westchester Beaulieu Estate Hood ornament: 1935 Auburn 1927 Sunbeam racer Museum entrance 1960 Triumph Herald British double-decker bus 1972 Mini Outspan Orange 1895 Knight 1899 Fiat 3.5hp Proteus Bluebird CN7 1953 Reliant Regal MK 1-64 Peel 1938 Hillman Minx Magnificent 1968 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 1952 Sunbeam Talbot 90 Hood ornament: 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghose 1903 De Dion Bouton with runner demonstrates early restrictions on driving The museum's historic tour bus 1913 Fiat Tipo Zippo 1935 Auburn Bluebird Electric Front-engine Top Fuel dragster 1959 Austin Seven Mini

Photos by Howard Koby

In the lush countryside about 90 miles south of London, in the New Forest between Bournemouth and Southampton, resides is a 7,000-acre Victorian estate called Beaulieu. It is the home of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and family and includes their residence, the Palace House; the Beaulieu Abbey and Exhibition, a conserved ruin and church; the Victorian Flower and Kitchen Gardens; and the Secret Army Exhibition, a facility which served as a school for Special Operations Executive agents during World War Two.

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Eye Candy: London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 2014 Sat, 22 Nov 2014 09:20:59 +0000 Read More

Olympian Steve Redgrave and his wife in a 1904 Thornycroft tonneau 1892 Panhard Levassor 1897 Delahaye at the start 1904 Bolide 1904 Darracq limo and 1904 Humberette arrive at Brighton 1904 Pope Toledo at a stop for tea in Crawley 1903 Autocar at Brighton pier 1904 Darracq 1899 Daimler Wagonette London to Brighton program 1901 Cudell Voiturette Crossing Westminister Bridge 1904 Swift 1904 Cadillac leads a procession of veteran cars 1904 Beeston Humberette in Crawley 1904 Wolseley Ready to roll 1902 Pierce 1904 De Dion Bouton at Brighton wheel 1903 Humber 1904 Crestmobile in the rain 1900 Gladiator starts its run The finish line What's more British than a bulldog? Steam-powered 1902 Toledo

Photos by Howard Koby

On November 14, 1896, 30 motorcars participated in the Emancipation Run, a drive that celebrated the passage of Britain’s Highway Act, the law that raised the speed limit for “light locomotives” from 4 to 14 miles per hour and did away with the requirement that such motorcars be preceded by a man on foot holding a red flag.

Of the 30 motorcars that started that day, 14 were able to complete the 60-mile distance from London to Brighton.

Except for war years, the Royal Automobile Club has re-enacted the Emancipation Run annually since 1927, most recently with sponsorship from auction house Bonhams. This year, more than 400 pre-1905 motor cars were painstakingly prepared for the drive from London’s Hyde Park to the Brighton beach getaway in East Sussex on the south coast of Great Britain.

The event is open to all 3- and 4-wheeled vehicles constructed before January 1, 1905, but there sometimes are exceptions and slightly newer cars are accepted. The majority of the cars come from UK, but this year there also were entrants from the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark and Australia.

The London-to-Brighton run highlights a weekend of motoring nostalgia and is free to view along the 60-mile route that follows as closely as possible the original 1896 event, using the historic A23 with some routing changes needed because of safety or road construction.

With steam cars sprouting billows of mist, petrol cars igniting to a classic rumble, and electric cars whirring like a well-oiled sewing machine, the golden age of motoring comes to life with statuesque motor cars cruising out of Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace and over the River Thames at Westminster Bridge down to Lambeth, Brixton, Streatham, Norbury, Croydon past Gatwick and into Crawley for the mid-way checkpoint.

Spectators are able to chat with the drivers and see the cars up close as they double check the running condition of their most valued treasures.

From Crawley the challenge for the veterans are a series of hill climbs, including the sometimes-dreaded Hammer Hill, which separates the men from the boys. Some have to be pulled up the long inclines by volunteers from the local All Wheel Drive Club before motoring on to the finish at Preston Park in Brighton.

All the cars that successfully finished the journey (360 of the 445 entered this year) are displayed in an exclusive paddock car presentation on the seafront at Madeira Drive.

Many British celebrities participated on the historic run, which was “reasonably dry and the second half was reasonably wet,” said five-time Olympic gold medalist rower Steve Redgrave, who drove with his wife Ann in a rare (one of 13 survivors) 1904 Thornycroft, an open four-seat tonneau-bodied car powered by a 20-horsepower, 3.5-liter hp four-cylinder engine.

As a very spoiled Californian, the only condition I had to get used to in UK was the “wet and cold,” but with the overpowering passion for cars, I quickly learned the British ways and enjoyed every second of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

For more information, see the London-Brighton website.



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Eye Candy: Bonhams’ London to Brighton auction Tue, 11 Nov 2014 09:30:23 +0000 Read More

Wayne Carini of Chasing Cars TV is interviewed 1898 Daimler Twin-Cylinder 6HP Wagonette 1901 Renault hood ornament Bonhams showroom 1902 Autocar 10HP Twin-cylinder Type VII Rear-Entrance Tonneau 1900 Cleveland Sperry System Three-Seater Stanhope electric Winning bidders for 1905 Gardner-Serpollet 18HP Type L Phaeton Steamer 1903 Clement 1903 Malicet Et Blin 8HP 1909 Laparrell Rear-Enttrance Tonneau 1901 Panhard et Lavassor horn 1904 CGV 6 1-4-litre Type H1 1902 Rochet 4 1-2HP Type D 1903 Cadillac Model A Bonhams in London Clement lamp Panhard et Lavassor roadster dash 1903 Darracq 12HP Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance 1900 Steam Runabout 1899 Peugeot Type 26 Veteran motor car plate Autocar wheel The auction block 1903 Oldsmobile Model Curved Dash 1904 Maxwell 16HP Model H Twin-Cylinder Side-Entrance 1901 Renault Voiturette

Photos by Howard Koby

Bonhams held its annual sale of veteran cars and related automobilia, this year comprising rare Emancipation Run photographs dated 1896 to brass oil-illuminating carriage lamps and four-note 6-volt electric brass trumpet horns.

The sale was held on the eve of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run with 23 motorcars were offered to a packed sales room at the Bonhams Auction House headquarters on New Bond Street in London near Oxford Circus.

An international array of spirited bidders came to life when the immaculate antique motorcars appeared on a projection screen high above the auctioneer’s podium. Viewing of the cars was done at the preview and before the auction on the lower level of the auction house or with some of the cars right in the main auction room.

Proper English attire goes without saying as some of the most desirable pre-1905 veteran motorcars go on the block.

Some motorcars in the auction were even offered with an entry into the Veteran Run so if you won a bid you “bought on Friday and drove it on Sunday!”

The Bonhams Auction was a true step back in time.

Argent Archer photograph albums from early races sold for as much as $15,504 (1903 Gordon Bennett race, Phoenix Park Trials and Castlewellan Races)

The top sale was 109-year old steam car (1905 Gardner-Serpollet 18hp Type L Phaeton Steamer) originally bought by a Norfolk (UK) farmer for 450 British pounds but that sold in 2014 for $590,111 (371,100 pounds).

A turn of the century 1900 Cleveland Sperry System Electric Three-Seater Stanhope sold for £55,200 to a telephone bidder from Austria, who then hopped on a plane to London to participate in the run with his new treasure.

Other top sales included a 1901 Panhard et Levassor Twin-Cylinder 7hp Rear-Entrance Tonneau at $412,012, a 1903 Darracq Twin-Cylinder 12hp Rear-Entrance Tonneau for $196,120, and a 1903 Malicet et Blin 8hp Four-Seater Rear-Entrance Tonneau for $162,674.

Total sales were $2.385 million with 14 of 23 cars sold.

All prices reported include buyer’s premium.

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Eye Candy: Art Center ‘Hollywood’ Car Classic Sat, 08 Nov 2014 09:20:07 +0000 Read More

1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham 2013 Morgan 3-Wheeler
Brooklands and Porsche camera car 1938 Studebaker Commander 2003 Hot Wheels Deora II Batmobiles 2015 McLaren P1 with Art Center's version of the Hollywood sign 1937 Talbot-Lago Type 150-C-S teardrop 1930 Packard 7-45 dual cowl sport phaeton 1932 Nash First Series 970 four-door sedan Future car designer? 1918 Ranger cycle 1941 GM Futurliner 1940 Packard Royal streamliner 1956 Continental Mark II formerly owned by Liz Taylor 1968 Ford Mustang fastback 1970 Citroen 1CV France 3 Clooney-movie Batmobile Vipers galore 1932 Ford Highboy roadster Barris Batmobile Mascot: 1930 Packard Ornament: Kilmer Batmobile 1936 Bentley 4-1 4-litre 1941 Chrysler Town & Country Royal barrelback wagon 1958 Buick Limited convertible 1969 Porsche 917K Barry Meguiar (left) and George Barris Mascot: 1933 Cadillac 1980 Nissan Poa sedan 1967 Mystery Machine replica Art Center Classic setting

Photos by Howard Koby

Art Center has been at the forefront of art and design education for more than 80 years. Transportation design as a major at Art Center College of Design was born in 1948 with a creative faculty comprising George Jergenson (who worked with General Motors in the ‘30s and designed the Opel Kapitan), John Coleman (industrial designer) and Strother MacMinn (considered the founding father of automotive design education).

Transportation design alumni hold top positions at the Pininfarina Studios as well as Ferrari-Maserati, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, Nissan, Aston Martin, Mazda, Toyota/Lexus and Volkswagen North America.

In 2003, the first Art Center Car Classic was organized in the east-lawn sculpture garden on the school’s hillside campus in Pasadena, California. The show was praised for the way it “captured the excitement of car design with a behind-the-scenes look at how vehicles make their way from concept to the highways, racetracks, and show rooms across the globe.”

In the forthcoming years, themes have highlighted Supercars; Legends; Coachbuilding; Dream Machines; By Air, Land and Sea; Freedom in Motion; California Design-Influencing Change; Inspired Design, Inspired by Nature, and for the most recent edition, Street to Screen.

The objective was to explore the impact transportation and entertainment design has on Hollywood and the entertainment industry — on camera, on the road and behind the scenes.

More than 2,500 car enthusiasts and parents thinking of Art Center for their children flocked to the Car Classic to admire a varied display of iconic, classic and contemporary vehicles including three Batmobiles (1966 George Barris Batmobile from the TV series, 1995 Val Kilmer Batman Forever, and 1997 George Clooney Batman & Robin), as well as the Scooby Doo-inspired VW “Mystery Machine,” the 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II coupe once owned by movie legend Elizabeth Taylor, the 1930 Packard 7-45 dual cowl sport phaeton from movie classic Singin’ in the Rain, the full sized Hot Wheels vehicles Darth Vader and Deora II, and many more.

Jay Leno was on hand interviewing celebrity car builder and hot rod expert Chip Foose while panel discussions in the college’s Ahmanson Auditorium were conducted by guest alums Syd Mead, a visual futurist (Blade Runner, Tron, Aliens), Daniel Simon, vehicle concept designer (Captain America), George Barris, King of Kustomizers, and Art Center alumni Alex Shen, chief designer at Toyota’s Calty Design.

Some of the award recipients included:

  • Cars of Stars Award to Robert and Nancy Ratinoff for the ’56 Continental Mark II coupe formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor;
  • Competition to Bruce Canepa for his important ’69 Porsche 917 racecar;
  • Movie Icons to George Barris with his ’66 Batmobile;
  • Sports & GT to David Sydorick with his ’61 Aston Martin DB4 Zagato;
  • Designer’s Choice Award goes to Aaron and Valerie Weiss for their superb ’58 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham V16;
  • Student’s Choice to Peter and Merle Mullin for their stunning ’37 Talbot-Lago Type 150-C-S Teardrop.

Throughout the day, Dave Kunz (KABC TV), Ed Justice Jr. (noted car expert and historian), and Barry Meguiar (Car Crazy TV and radio) provided informative interviews with car designers and exhibitors, keeping the spectators enthralled all afternoon.


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Eye Candy: California Hot Rod Reunion Sat, 01 Nov 2014 09:20:05 +0000 Read More

Tail lamps for sale at the swap meet Flames Front-engine diggers Tools Laying down rubber 'Nitro Cowboy' funny car Ford roadsters at the car show Tony Bartone's winning Top Fuel racer Bradford's '37 Fiat fuel altered Mad Mike Molea's '33 Willys AA/Gas 'Pure Hell' fuel altered Troy Moyle's 1934 Ford 'Fighting Irish' funny car Baby Huey Fuel Altered 'TV' Tommy Ivo Twin-engined Sixteen Candles dragster Mooneyes dragster Don Garlits' Swamp Rat III Pure Heaven fuel altered A Willys hot rod Nostalgic funny cars battle Howard Cams' Rattler dragster Speed Sport roadster Ready to race Seen at the show Race fan Auto Club truck 'Rat Trap' fuel altered Low rider Dan Horan's winning 1965 Ford Mustang

Photos by Howard Koby

At the inaugural California Hot Rod Reunion, event founder Steve Gibbs announced, “We are only going to do this once.”

Gibbs wasn’t quite correct. The recent Hot Rod Reunion was the 23rd time the early days of drag racing reappeared.

Now a member of the Wally Parks Motorsports Museum that produces the Reunion, Gibbs noted that, “Some 23 years ago, drag racing fans weren’t nostalgic, and now the are. It’s great.”

Wally Parks was the founder of the National Hot Rod Association, which turned unorganized racing born on Southern California’s dry lakes, military runways and, well, yes, on the streets, into a major and organized sport.

The Reunion, now presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California and staged at the legendary Famoso Raceway in McFarland, California (near Bakersfield), offers hot-rodders and racers the chance to reunite with old friends and to reminisce about the good old days while enjoying a weekend full of nitro-fueled competition featuring historic racing machines.

Also included is a huge swap meet offering anything from a rear clip for a ’57 Chevy to a set of used pistons for a Dodge Charger.

“Famoso Grove,” a tree lined pathway behind the grandstands, is the site of a car show displaying everything from a group of colorful ’32 Ford roadster to Willys hot rods and low-rider customs.

The Reunion is a three-day festival of loud nitro-filled smoky burnouts on the quarter-mile drag strip and serves as an opportunity for fans to meet the legends of drag racing. A free honoree reception at the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield introduced Grand Marshal Mike Dunn along with honorees Bob Brooks, the Cortopassi Brothers and Butler, Hugh Tucker, Dennis Varni, Sid Waterman and the showman himself, “TV” Tommy Ivo.

In the finals, Tony Bartone’s Top Fuel dragster ran a 5.864-seconds sprint at 212.36 miles per hour to beat Rick White, who gave the race away when he jumped the start and brought out the red light.

In the Funny Car finals, Dan Horan, in his striking ’65 Mustang, ran 5.724 at 254.38 to put away John Hale in his ’69 Camaro (5.791 at 247.29).

If you love nitro fumes in the morning bringing tears to your eyes, the ear-rattling music of a 2000-hp blown Hemi engine, and bright nitro-flames lighting the night sky at the Cackle Fest, then the California Hot Rod Reunion is for you.

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Eye Candy: Japanese Classic Car Show at the Queen Mary Sat, 11 Oct 2014 09:30:45 +0000 Read More

1967 Datsun Fairlady 1970 Datsun 510 1986 Toyota Corolla Classic Japanese motorcycles 1965 Toyopet Sport 800 Laguna Seca Special This Mazda MX-5 Miata club racer was displayed at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989 1974 Datsun 260Z The 2002 Indy car championship-winning racer 1973 BRE Datsun 510 1967 Honda S800 De Farran Motorsports raced this Acura ARX-02a Best of Show: Scott King's 1965 Honda S600 First-place award 1960 Datsun 1200 1967 Datsun wagon Old School winner: Gerald Quist and his 1970 Honda S600 sedan | Howard Koby Phantom Z sport wagon 1971 BRE 240Z tribute car Long Beach Pro Celebrity Scion FR-S 1971 Nissa Skyline GTR 1973 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40-75 The Queen Mary Rotary-powered 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport 1105 1975 Mitsubishi Colt Galant A model of the 240Z raced by John Morton Peter Brock's BRE (Brock Racing Enterprises) won championships with Datsuns Pelican checks out the Japanese classics The scene at the show 1973 Datsun 240Z known as The Giant Killer Fashion for the car show 1997 Acura Integra Type R SCCA World Challenge series champion Surf's up

Photos by Howard Koby

The first cars imported from Japan were economical to drive, but would anyone ever consider them to be classics?

Koji and Terry Yamaguchi grew up in Japan with what was known as the
“kyu-sha” movement, a celebration of vintage and modified cars and motorcycles. They came to the United States in the late 1990s and brought the movement with them. Ten years ago they launched something they called the Japanese Classic Car Show.

The show recently celebrated its 10th anniversary at Harry Bridges Memorial Park in the shadow of the Queen Mary luxury ocean liner in Long Beach Harbor, where some 400 primarily pre-1985 Japanese cars and motorcycles attracted 10,000 people.

“The show is a good way to pass Japanese culture onto the next generation and show youngsters where these car types come from,” said Terry Yamaguchi.

Cars from Japan began trickling into the United States in the 1950s and ‘60s. But it wasn’t until the oil crisis of 1973 that they started drawing widespread acceptance from drivers used to much larger and more luxurious vehicles. Soon, cars even such upscale cars were being exported from Japan to American dealerships and driveways.

And now not only cars such as the Datsun Z cars, Toyota’s 2000GT and the Mazda Cosmo (Jay Leno featured a ’66 Mazda Cosmo on an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage) are considered classics, but so are the early Datsun 510, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Mazda RX3.

The Japanese Classic Car Show is known as “kyu-sha paradise” by participants and spectators and remains at the forefront of the old-school Japanese-car movement in America.

This year it featured a superb contingent of Honda 600s, the first rotary-engined Mazdas, the very sharp Toyota 2000GT, the all-aluminum Acura NSX and the immensely popular Datsun 1600/2000 Roadsters which were launched in the late 1960s as a competitor to the British sports cars.

Special guests included Peter Brock, founder of the BRE Datsun racing team, and John Morton, the BRE driver who piloted the Datsun 510 to victory in the SCCA 2.5 Trans-Am championship. Also in attendance were Hot Wheels designer Jun Imai and Hot Wheels and Matchbox designer Ryu Asada.

One Datsun that stood out was a 1973 model called the “Giant Killer.” It was driven in competition by Dick Barbour (SCCA), James Brolin (IMSA), Paul Newman (IMSA), Don Prudhomme (IMSA), Clint Eastwood (IMSA) and others.

Also on display was a symbolic model of the emerging Japanese classic car scene, a 1971 Nissan Skyline GTR known as Hakosuka or “Boxy Skyline” and featured in the video game Gran Turismo.

Gerald Quist won First Place in Old School Cars with his yellow 1970 Honda N600 sedan while Best of Show honored Scott King with the beautiful white 1965 Honda S600 Roadster he restored himself over a seven-year period.

For more infomation, visit the Japanese Classic Car Show website.


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Eye Candy: Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion Sat, 04 Oct 2014 09:30:38 +0000 Read More

1954 Buick Special leads the lineup But it's a dry heat: Aftermarket air conditioner on a 1950 Chevrolet 1940 Chevrolet coupe 1956 Ford F100 pickup 1950 Chevrolet Skyliner 1937 Ford sedan 1950s Starliner bus Neon-lit 1957 Willys pickup 1955 Mercury 1965 Chevrolet Malibu 1939 Buick Roadmaster 1934 Ford Tudor sedan 1956 Chevrolet 3200 pickup Award winner: 1962 Chevrolet Impala The poster VW-powered 1968 Avenger GT 1958 Chevrolet Corvette 1951 Chevrolet Fleetline 1963 Dodge Polara Afterglow: 1958 Chevrolet Impala Euclid Avenue becomes a time capsule The kicks never die on Route 66 (or in this 1933 Ford coupe) 1936 Chevrolet Master Delux 1955 Chevrolet Interior: 1955 Buick Roadmaster Closeup: 1951 Chevrolet pickup truck Route 66 in neon

Photos by Howard Koby

Back in the ‘60s, when I was attending the Art Center College of Design, I used to drive cross-country every year from Brooklyn, New York, to Los Angeles, California. In my black 1950 Chevy 2-door coupe with three on the tree, I would pick up the route in Chicago and cruise along “The Mother Road,” as John Steinbeck dubbed it in his novel, The Grapes of Wrath.

(I remember needing only one $2 repair on the 3,000-mile trek when a heater hose busted).

Route 66 offered freedom for motorists who wanted to explore the country. It started as a trail for Native Americans and then was developed as a stage line before the Civil War. The number 66 was chosen in 1926. The route was fully paved by 1937.

Many people like to play a recording of Bobby Troup’s Get Your Kicks on Route 66 and slip back in time and reminisce about those “good old days.” Recently, more than 200,000 people and some 1,000 classic cars, hot rods and muscle cars lined the historic, tree-shaded Euclid Avenue in Ontario, California for a three day Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Rick and Kelly Dale from History Channel’s American Restorations hosted the opening of the show at the new amphitheater at Ontario Town Square.

Spectators and exhibitors descended upon Ontario from as far away as Australia and Japan and from all across the U.S. to share car stories, reminisce about cruisin’ down the boulevard on a Saturday night, show off their automotive treasures and to teach their children to respect and enjoy each other’s cars through a common bond.

Three days of live music (Little River Band), entertainment, food, and milestone 50th Anniversary celebrations of the iconic Mustang and GTO with a backdrop of classic and vintage automobiles, classic trucks, motorcycles, hot rods and customs fabricated from the hard and passionate work of the hobbyists kept thousands of families and friends flowing into Ontario all weekend long.

Glittering chrome and steel-bodied examples decorated block after block of the historic avenue with vintage cars from 1900 through 1975.

“Southern California thrived because of its rich love affair with the automobile,” said Michael Krouse, president and CEO of the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau, which produced the event.

“This is a chance for folks from everywhere in the world to gather and enjoy the nearly mystical passion that is shared by so many and embodied in Route 66.”

This was very much a family event. As one exhibitor put it, “ I built this Camaro for my daughter, who helped me restore it and now I have two more daughters with two more cars in the garage that I’m working on for them.”

Jack Tidball boastfully showed his purple 1933 Ford 3-window coupe and said with pride and a slight smile, “My son gave me this roadster for my birthday about 12 years ago!”

A striking highlight of the reunion took palace Friday night and was billed as the “world’s largest nighttime neon light cruise,” featuring a dazzling “moving light show on wheels” with participants who spent years building their uniquely lit vehicles. As one owner explained, “a complicated computer network controls the whole colorful neon system.”

Gilbert Hernandez, a local Southern Californian boy won the Neon Light category for his beautifully prepared white 1962 Chevy Impala, was able to change the neon colors from red to blue to magenta to green at the touch of a button inside the car while he was driving. Quite remarkable, I must say!

For more information, visit the Route 66 Cruisin Reunion website.


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The Quail: A feast for the eyes and the belly Sun, 17 Aug 2014 10:15:47 +0000 Read More

Where else can you listen to triple F1 world champion Jackie Stewart and race car driver and TV host Alain de Cadenet casually chat about racing in front of 3,000 car enthusiast with some of the finest vintage and classic cars and motorcycles as a backdrop in an elegant garden party setting against the Santa Lucia mountains?

The 12th edition of The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, part of Monterey Classic Car Week, honored the 100th Anniversary of Maserati, Competition Mustangs, A Tribute to India, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Super Cars, Post-War Racing, The Great Ferraris and Sports and Racing Motorcycles.

If that was not enough, modern day supercars were presented by Bugatti (six Veyron Vitesse ‘Legends’), McLaren, and Pagani.

Unlimited gourmet cuisine and fine wine, including an oyster bar, also were included in the limited-to 3,000 tickets sold, which kept the event relaxed and made it easy to stroll the lush grounds to admire all the marvelous automotive machinery.

The show also included entrance to Bonhams’ 17th annual Carmel Valley auction, where a 1962 Ferrari GTO sold for a record-breaking $38 million.

Best-in-show horrors went to a 1938 Talbot-Lago T150 C SS presented by Gwen and Tom Price from California. The car originally was delivered to French racer Louis Rosier. The Prices bought the car in 2010 and RM Restorations completed its restoration in August 2013.

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The Tour takes Pebble Beach concours on the road Sat, 16 Aug 2014 09:20:19 +0000 Read More

The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance is a testament to “elegance in motion,” a multi-million-dollar cavalcade of the finest vintage and classic cars in the world that undertake a scenic 75-mile cruise around the Monterey Peninsula in their participation in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The Tour started in 1998 to showcase the beauty and elegance of the automobile as concours entrants motor along the spectacular 17-Mile Drive from the Pebble Beach Lodge and Equestrian Center on a route that then sends them a lap around the track at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

From the track, the Tour glides down the California coast on Highway 1, which hugs the dramatic cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the way to Big Sur where they make their turn-around at the Ripplewood Resort.

A pass over the engineering wonder of Bixby Bridge is a sight to behold both to photographers and spectators, who line the roadsides for this rolling classic car show.

A gourmet lunch stop in Carmel-by-the-Sea gives opportunity to hundreds of spectators to feast their eyes on about 150 automotive treasures that are seldom seen by the general public.

Where else can one see a rare Tatra, a classic Hispano Suiza or a steam-powered car side step a Ferrari Testa Rossa or a Maserati racecar?

The Tour is open to all entrants in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It is not mandatory, but if two cars tie when the judges score them in their various classes on Sunday, the vehicle that successfully finished the Tour wins the higher award.

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McCall’s Jet Center soiree launches Monterey activities Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:25:49 +0000 Read More

Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival is the “unofficial” event to kick off Monterey Classic Car Week. The event, held at the Monterey Jet Center, is a fabulous gathering of exotic automotive machines on the tarmac alongside private aircraft and historic World War II-era fighter planes with VIP guests hobnobbing with the likes of Jay Leno and Dan Gurney.

Most impressive this year was the 1962 Ford Mustang I roadster concept car (see photo above), which Gurney had driven around the Watkins Glen track before the 1962 U.S. Grand Prix. The car is now part of the Henry Ford Museum’s Driving America exhibit.

At $325 per ticket, the event is an annual s sellout benefiting the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation that provides assistance to CHP families in financial crisis, in the case of death, as well as with scholarships for their sons, daughters, and spouses.

A Champagne reception and distinctive culinary delights from master chefs carried the Motorworks Revival to the early night as guests collected their “goody bags” containing mementoes of the 23rd annual gala.

See the website for more information.

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