All posts by Larry Edsall

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the Web and becoming the author of more than 15 books. In addition to being Editorial Director at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times, writes a weekly automotive feature for The Detroit News and is an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State Univeristy.

Hot rod that beat the horse in a race headed to auction

It’s the tale — or since there’s a horse involved, should it be that tail? — of the teenager’s hot rod that became famous for winning a race against a horse.

The 1932 Ford “Pete Henderson” Roadster that’s heading to RM Sotheby’s Hershey auction not only is a car that achieved a top speed of 120.9 mph on the Harper Dry Lake in 1944, but that same year gained fame when it won a race against a quarter horse that had a history of being faster than the fastest cars.

Pete Henderson helped verify this was his car | Karissa Hosek photo

The horse’s owner had won a series of bets that his animal could beat the fastest cars over a quarter-mile distance. The race against Henderson, who was just 18 years old, and his car was held at La Habra, in California’s Orange County, and drew a large crowd that included the likes of hot-rodding pioneers Vic Edelbrock Sr., Ed Winfield and others; the race photo was taken by Ernie McAfee.

Years later, noted hot-rodders said that the race between the car and the horse was where drag racing’s quarter-mile distance was established.

After its race against the horse, the car also was used in circle-track racing and appeared in several movies. It went through a series of owners but was purchased in 1977 by Chuck Longley, who wondered about its history and ran advertisements seeking more information. Among those responding was Henderson himself.

According to RM Sotheby’s, Henderson had bought the car as a teenager from Don Casselman. It came with a built, bored and stroked 296cid Mercury flathead V8 engine equipped with all sorts of early hot-rod parts, but still rode on its original wire wheels and used the mechanical brakes Ford had installed. Among its features was the dash panel from a 1934 Auburn.

It was the Auburn dash panel that helped Henderson realize the car had been his decades earlier.

The car retained its original frame, body and windshield. Longley and his son, Mike, located other period-correct pieces and began restoration to Henderson’s original setup in 1995.

After that restoration, the car won best-in-class honors at Amelia Island and also was honored at the Grand National Roadster show. Whitworth bought the car and planned to showcase it in a museum he planned to build. The car was invited to Pebble Beach but suffered damage during transport and was sent to rod and custom hall of famer Tim Strange’s shop in Tennessee for restoration.

It’s pre-sale estimated value is $160,000 to $180,000, according to RM Sotheby’s.

Chicago museum’s V-16 Cadillac headlines RM Sotheby’s Hershey sale

One of only six 1936 Cadillac V-16 convertible sedans, a group of elegant Packards and one of America’s most famous hot rods have joined the docket for RM Sotheby’s 11th annual collector car auction staged in conjunction with the AACA’s Eastern Regional Fall Meet at Hershey, Pennsylvania. The auction, which will include 140 vehicles, is scheduled for October 5-6.

“This year’s sale has all of the outstanding, interesting and desired classic cars one would anticipate seeing at our Hershey auction,” Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s, is quoted in the company’s news release. “A mainstay of our calendar and as much an auction destination for many enthusiasts as Pebble Beach or Monterey, we look forward to an always eventful and entertaining week at Hershey.

“Wet or dry, rain or shine, it’s where the die-hard enthusiasts come to play.”

Highlighting the offerings for the auction is the 1936 Cadillac with V-16 engine No. 51102222. The car was donated to the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago in 1949. At the time the museum had one of the nation’s best automotive collections. The museum displayed the Cadillac until 2008, when it was acquired by the consignor, who put it through a concours-quality restoration that earned a class award at Pebble Beach.

RM Sotheby’s expects the car to sell for between $700,000 and $850,000 at the Hershey auction.

Cadillac was in famed Chicago science museum until 2008 | Eric Fuller photo
Cadillac was in famed Chicago science museum until 2008 | Eric Fuller photo

The docket also includes what the auction house considers to be three outstanding Packards, led by a 1933 Twelve Convertible Victoria, which is one of only four surviving Tenth Series vehicles and worth an estimated $475,000 to $600,000.

Also being offered is a 1934 Twelve 2/4-Passenger Coupe, one of only eight known to still exist. The car retains its original body, engine and chassis, the auction company noted, and comes with provenance that includes chauffeuring Jayne Mansfield in the 1961 Indianapolis 500 parade. The car has a pre-sale estimated value of $325,000 to $375,000.

The third Packard is a 1935 Twelve Sport Phaeton that is one of only four such cars produced for 1935. The car’s pre-sale estimate is $475,000 to $575,000.

Also on the docket are a famed hot rod from the collection of the late Ralph Whitworth and a car being sold to benefit the AACA Library & Research Center.

The 1932 Ford “Pete Henderson” Roadster is the car that not only achieved 120.9 mph on the Harper Dry Lake in 1944, but that same year gained fame when it won a race against a quarter horse that had a history of being faster than the fastest cars.

The car being sold to benefit the library and research center is a 1981 Fiat 850 Spider that has been donated by Joseph and Margie Cassini, Wayne Carini and Ralph Marano. To further entice bidders, RM Sotheby’s announced that the winning bidder will find “an undisclosed amount of cash in the car’s trunk.”

Ah, but will the car’s next owner keep that cash or donate it as well to the library?

The 10 best cars Larry has driven, revisited

When ClassicCars.com was a fledgling collector car marketplace, I was asked to submit a news roundup/blog/commentary a couple of times each month. The idea was to provide something for people to read when they weren’t searching the classified ads for the car of their dreams. The idea proved popular enough that twice a month became more frequent, to the point that we now have a variety of reporters and editors who offer perhaps the best full-service, 24/7/365 news available about the collector car hobby.

One of those earlier pieces was written in response to a question I used to hear frequently, “What are the 10 best cars you’ve ever driven?”

Sounds like a simple enough question, except that after a dozen years at AutoWeek magazine and nearly two decades as a freelance auto writer, I’ve probably driven around 4,000 different vehicles over a distance of maybe two million miles, or more, and on four continents.

So I counted down a list of 10 cars that came quickly to mind (and, yes, there was a story that went along with each of the cars). Here’s that list, but with a postscript:

10. Nissan Skyline GT-R
 Nissan was introducing an updated version of what was then its largest sport utility vehicle and it knew none of the invited journalists was very excited by the prospect. To sweeten the attraction, it offered up one of its Skylines, then a world-class road rocket not sold in the U.S., for some laps around the company’s Arizona proving grounds. Yee-haa!

9. Ford Telstar TX Turbo
 I went to Australia for the opening of the Thunderdome, a NASCAR-style oval track, and Ford of Australia offered the use of a brand new Telstar TX Turbo, sort of a cross between a Mustang and a hot-rod Mazda. The car was, indeed, a hot rod, and so rare at the time that twice people tried to break into the car overnight and steal it out of the motel’s secure parking area.

8. Mercedes-Benz 500E prototype 
This was the prototype for the original 500E. Mercedes had contracted Porsche to soup it up and the car was amazing: Powerful, with awesome brakes, a suspension that hunkered down the faster you went, and a manual gearbox so you could extract all the power that big V8 could produce.

7. Shelby GT500
 This was the then-brand new, 2007 model, a Shelby Mustang with 500 ponies under its striped hood. Needless to say, this pony car packed a kick.

6. Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera 
I’d been writing about cars for nearly 20 years but had never driven a Lambo until this one. It was worth the wait.

5. Porsche Carrera GT
 I didn’t approach this 10-cylinder, 600-horsepower, state-of-the-art, carbon-fiber supercars 205-mph top speed potential, but I felt how wonderfully it accelerated, turned and stopped, and how much it felt like, well, like a real Porsche. At the time, it was the culmination of decades of engineering that understood the benefits of putting the engine behind the driver.

4. Ford GT
 I’d driven the supercar prototype along famed Highway One south of Pebble Beach, California, over the weekend, but on the Monday after the Monterrey Historic Races a few years ago, Ford offered an opportunity to do a couple of laps around the Laguna Seca race track. Dan Gurney was among those present that day, so rather than embarrass myself on the track, I asked Gurney if he’d drive and let me ride along while he talked about the car and about driving the original GT40 to victory at Le Mans. Gurney spent most of the first lap using the car to nudge spotter cones off the track. Why, I asked. So I can drive this thing on the ensuing laps, he said. And he did!

3. Ferrari Testarossa
 As I pulled into my driveway, so did a state police car. The trooper got out. He got into the passenger seat. In his uniform. Gun and all. He looked at me and said that we were going to take the car out and go through the gearbox to see what it could we. Obedient and law-abiding citizen that I am, we did.

2.Aston Martin DB7 Vantage 
In 1999, Aston Martin celebrated the 40th anniversary of its victory at Le Mans and offered the use of this car while I was covering the race. I even got to do some laps around the full road course as part of pre-race activities that included an Aston Martin club “parade.” We were instructed to follow the pace car for our three laps, but after the first lap the pace car driver waved us around we were free to set our own pace, even down the Mulsanne Straight.

At 175 mph, you drive very carefully
At 175 mph, you drive very carefully
We survived!

1. Porsche 911 Turbo


Date: June 27, 2000
Location: Nevada’s Black Rock Desert
Driver: Larry Edsall
Driving coach: Many-time Le Mans and Daytona 24-hour race winner Hurley Haywood.
Coach’s instructions: Be gentle. Be smooth. Keep your foot down.
Result: a U.S. Auto Club-certified top speed of 175.781 miles per hour, the fastest I’ve ever driven.

And that was my list, published a few years ago.

Reading back through it, I wonder why I didn’t include getting to drive a Mercedes-Benz 190 Evo for many laps around Hockenheim, or getting to drive BMW 1600 and other pre-3 Series cars in Spain. And since the original story was published, I’ve been back to Australia, where I drove a Holden Ute SS, the Corvette-powered, car-based pickup — think hot-rodded Aussie El Camino — along that country’s Great Ocean Road; and I also got to spend a long weekend in a friend’s Ford Model A, a car my grandchildren still consider their favorite automotive adventure.

Oh, and a Porsche 356 Speedster and a split-window Corvette and I learned to start and drive a Ford Model T. Recently I was in the new Acura NSX and the new Camaro SS and I absolutely fell in love with the new Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch edition, diesel-powered pickup truck and…

Pick of the Day: 1988 Pontiac Mera

If you think the Pick of the Day looks a lot like a Ferrari 308, so did the court system, because this 1988 Pontiac Mera is one of the products of a production effort that ended in a court-supervised settlement between Ferrari and Corporate Concepts Limited.

Nonetheless, nearly 250 of these fiberglass-rebodied Pontiac Fieros were produced and sold through Pontiac dealers in the late 1980s.

This one is being sold through an advertisement on ClassicCars.com by a private owner in Feasterville, Pennsylvania.

“Number 68 of 247 made by GM from 1987-1988 to imitate a 308 Ferrari until Ferrari found out and sued them,” the seller notes in the ad.

The car has a V6, 5-speed gearbox, T tops, air conditioning, power windows and its original tan interior, the seller adds, although the steering wheel has been replaced. The asking price is $13,000 for a car that shows 38,000 miles on its odometer.

Although not a Ferrari, this car has prancing horse emblems inside and out and wears a 308 GTS badging on its rear flank.

According to the pontiacmera.com website established by Wisconsin resident Rodney Dickman, the Meras weren’t produced by GM, but for the 1987 and 1988 model years by Corporate Concepts of Capac, Michigan, though they were sold by Pontiac dealers with a GM warranty.

 

Dickman’s website includes correspondence with Corporate Concepts president, copies of the sales brochures, advertisements (showing the MSRP of $24,950), magazine articles about the car, pictures and the Mera Registry that Dickman has assembled.

In one of those magazine articles, Corporate Concepts president Bob Bracey tells AutoWeek that the car is “not meant to be a replica or lookalike. We’re about as close to a Ferrari as a Mazda (RX-7) is to a Porsche (944). There’s not one line that’s identical to any other car. It’s an original styling concept influenced by modern sports car design trends.”

Apparently, neither Ferrari nor the court system agreed.

Car and Driver reported that the Mera’s styling was “vaguely familiar,” but added that “looks aside, its execution is excellent” and noted that Corporate Concepts had a decade of experience in fiberglass panels for snowmobiles, motorhomes, even earthmovers and that it’s work on the Mera was very well done.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Ferrari’s rolling birthday party heads to Design Museum in London

A major exhibit at the Petersen. Another at its own museum. A grand gathering at Goodwood. A huge display of red cars at Pebble Beach.

Ferrari and its faithful really know how to celebrate a milestone birthday. In this case, the 70th anniversary of the first time Enzo shared his last name with one of the cars he’d created.

Next up for Ferrari 70 is “Ferrari: Under the Skin,” a major exhibition that runs November 15 through April 15, 2018, at the Design Museum in London.

“Ferrari’s story has been one of the great adventures of the industrial age,” Andrew Nahum, the exhibit curator, said in a museum news release. “It also represents an absorbing case study in design and development.

“Ferrari uses the subtle and often unseen techniques of automobile design but with the utmost care and precision, and the exhibition provides an insight into the history and practice of the whole private world of automotive design.”

According to the museum, its exhibition will be a “behind-the-scenes look at the design, the people and the engineering that created one of the most iconic car brands of all time.”

Many of the artifacts and vehicles in the London showcase will be coming from the exhibit that has been running at the Ferrari museum in Italy.

“The exhibition will provide unique insights into the world of Ferrari, drawing on rarely seen material,” according to the Design Museum’s news release. “This ambitious display will bring together early design models, drawings, letters and memorabilia as well as some of the most famous Ferraris to be seen on roads and racing circuits around the world. Together, these artifacts and original documents provide an unprecedented study of automotive design.

“Key exhibits include rare personal memorabilia and archival material relating to Enzo Ferrari’s life, early cars, wind tunnel models and hand-sculpted models in both clay and wood.

“Dedicated displays will explore the design development, engineering and manufacturing of Ferrari together with the company’s phenomenal attention to detail in every element of the cars’ design. The exhibition will also present Ferrari’s racing heritage, the ongoing quest for innovation as well as the glamour of their well-known clientele.”

The London museum is itself a piece of art. Originally established in a former banana ripening warehouse, the facility’s space tripled in 2016 with its move to a restored and expanded modernist structure on Kensington High Street topped by a roof that reminds people of a manta ray.

For more information, visit the museum website.

Special exhibits perhaps closer to home

The Cars from Transformers exhibit at America On Wheels in Allentown, Pennsylvania, includes more than Bumblebee and Megatron, though the yellow Chevrolet Camaro and big semi tractor are worth a visit on their own. But joining them are Rollbar, a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS Rally from the Age of Extinction movie and Sideswipe, the 50th anniversary Corvette Stingray concept from Revenge of the Fallen and a car that provided strong hints at the design of the latest generation of America’s sports cars. The exhibit runs through December 31.

Gyro-X is a hit at Pebble Beach | Lane museum photo by Bruce Sweetman
Gyro-X is a hit at Pebble Beach | Lane museum photo by Bruce Sweetman

Fresh from its crowd-drawing, balancing-on-two-wheels drive to the awards stand at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the 1967 Gyro-X is on display at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville.

“The Gyro-X was an important car in the history of automotive design and to win the Dean Batchelor Trophy (at Pebble Beach) is a validation of that importance and the work we have put into restoring it,” said car and museum owner Jeff Lane.

The Batchelor award is given at Pebble Beach for a car exemplifying the “rebellious spirit” of the hot rod heritage.

Special events this weekend

The Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine will host a special two-wheeler cars and coffee cruise-in Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon featuring motorcycles, dirt bikes, scooters and more.

Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Massachussets, stages its annual “Cocktails for Cars,” concours-style gathering of “high-end” classics and exotics. Proceeds from the event support the maintenance and care of the museum’s automobile collection. On Thursday, September 21, the museum will host its Demo Day with a curator presentation of four “hidden gems” from the museum’s collection, including a 1905 Pierce Great Arrow.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, has canceled its car show scheduled for Saturday and the Revs Institute’s Collier Collection museum in Naples, Florida, remains without power and still has evacuated staffers trying to return to their homes so the museum will be remain closed until power and staffing return.

The Automobile Driving Museum in Los Angeles stages its second “JDM at the ADM” car show Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The show features Japanese Domestic Market vehicles.

The California Automobile Museum joins with the Sacramento, California, branch of Universal Technical Institute for the inaugural Campus Car Show on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The Blackhawk Museum will host the annual Danville d’Elegance gala dinner Saturday on the eve of the annual concours d’elegance in Danville, California. Special guest for the event will be Grammy-winning musician Linda Ronstadt.

Mark your calendars

The National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, offers its inaugural Kartplex Racing League program this fall. Participants will compete in three weight classes — up to 149 pounds, 150-200 and 201 or heavier — with points accumulated over four dates — September 23, October 7, October 21 and November 4.

The annual Night at the Museum, a gala and fundraiser for the Children’s Education & Transportation Fund, which since 1991 has providing for Bay Area classrooms to visit the Blackhawk Museum is scheduled for October 15.

Variety of rallies and tours open to vintage vehicles and enthusiasts

The Britain-based Endurance Rally Association has set a calendar for the next four years that includes six new events and will offer events on six continents. The group plans 16 endurance rallies through 2021, it announced.

“The ERA continues to go from strength to strength, and the next four years will see us doing what we do best – organizing global events that offer great driving, fantastic company, and brilliant adventure,” rally director Fred Gallagher said in the organization’s news release.

The 2018-2021 calendar begins with The Road to Saigon, which the ERA terms a “follow up” to the Road to Mandalay event staged in February, 2017.

The 10th Flying Scotsman is scheduled for April, 2018, with the third Trans-America Challenge takes owners of vintage vehicles across the United States in May.

Two events are scheduled for September 2018 — the fourth Alpine Trial and the new Himalayan Challenge, an event ERA says is for “experienced rally crews.”

Endurance Rally Association sets calendar for the next four years
Endurance Rally Association sets calendar for the next four years

The Flying Scotsman event opens the ERA’s 2019 calendar that includes the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, “the world’s toughest event for vintage and classic cars,” scheduled for June, 1919. The new Adriatic Adventure is scheduled for September, 1919 “exploring the mountains of the inland Balkans and the brilliance of the Adriatic coastline.”

Another new event, the 24-day Rally New Zealand, is planned for February 2020. Then comes another Flying Scotsman before the Sahara Challenge, a 12-day event from Malaga to Marrakech in late spring.

A new South American event from Lima to Cape Horn will be called ‘The Rally to the End of the World’ and ends the 2020 schedule.

The 2021 calendar starts with the inaugural 21-day Pearl of India in February. Another Flying Scotsman follows, and then the second Baltic Classic is scheduled for that June.

Another new event launches in October 2021 — the ABC Rally in Australia. The route travels from Adelaide to Canberra and Surfers Paradise, then on to Brisbane and Cairns.

“With so many of the winners of the Peking to Paris coming from Australia, it seemed only fitting to take the extensive experience of the ERA into their own backyard,” said Gallagher.

The ERA still has two more events on its 2017 calendar — the Blue Train Challenge, starting September 18 in France, and the Classic Safari in Africa, starting October 9.

For details, visit the association’s website.

Rally Nippon visits historic Japanese cultural sites

Rally Nippon, a vintage-vehicle tour of Japan, celebrates its 10th anniversary in October with a four-day drive that organizers promise will meander from Kyoto to Tokyo while taking in historic and cultural sites.

Eighty vehicles already have filled the registration list for an event sponsored by Peninsula hotels, which also sponsors The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering during Monterey Car Week. The Peninsula Tokyo hotel is the final stop on the 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) tour.

Rally Nippon is a four-day tour of history and culture — and cars

“In addition to enjoying stunning landscapes and the camaraderie stemming from a shared passion for the ultimate in automotive design and engineering, participants will enjoy distinctive regional cuisines and sip local sakes, fine wines and spirits,” the organizers promise. “Stays in fine hotels and traditional inns add extra allure to this magical Japanese journey.”

By the way, the Peninsula hotels are more than an event sponsor. The Peninsula Hong Kong not only has a fleet of 14 extended-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantoms, but among them is a 1934 Phantom II Sedanca de Ville town car. It also supports The Quail Rally, a three-day charity drive that concludes at the Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley.

AACA Museum group to visit Italy

From November 3-12, AACA Museum Tours plans a car-oriented trip to Italy that includes visits to private collections, including Nicola Bulgari’s and Corrado Lopresto’s, as well as the Ducati Museum, the Panini/Maserati Museum, a visit to the Lamborghini factory and museum, the Ferrari Museum, the National Car Museum in Turin, where the group also will tour a FIAT factory. In addition to travel by coach, there will be a drive in antique cars along the Via Cassia from Sarteano to Pienza. For information, visit the tour website.

Vintage riders head to Hungary in 2018

The international federation for vintage vehicles, FIVA, plans a “world motorcycle run” in 2018 in Hungary, home of the Pannonia, Csepel, Meray and other historic brands. The dates are June 21-24 for an event that begins and ends near Budapest.

The tour will include museums and private collections, with daily rides of 75-100 miles. A highlight will be a cruise along the 5-kilometer Gyoin Beton road, where several motorcycle speed records were set in 1934.

For information and registration details, visit the FIVA website.

Closer to home

Spots on the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s annual Hall of Fame road tour are sold out, though there is a waiting list. The tour runs September 22-28 and travels from North Carolina to the Lone Star Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas, with stops at the Country Music Hall of Fame, New Orleans, San Antonio and at various automotive shops and car museums along the way.

'Drive Toward a Cure' heads to Atlanta Concours d'Elegance
‘Drive Toward a Cure’ heads to Atlanta Concours d’Elegance

The inaugural Drive Toward a Cure’s “Great Southern Adventure” runs September 27-30, starting in Asheville, North Carolina, challenging the Tail of the Dragon and ending at the Atlanta Concours at Chateau Elan. The event raises money to fight Parkinson’s Disease. For details, visit the event website.

Racing to the finish line: Four-race stretch wraps up HSR season

The four-race sprint to the season finish begins this weekend for vintage racers competing in the Historic Sportscar Racing series. The calendar countdown starts this weekend with the Atlanta Fall Historics at Road Atlanta, then goes to Hutchinson Island for the Savannah Speed Classis on October 27-29 before the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona and the Classic 12 Hour at Sebring, November 8-12 and November 29-December 3, respectively.

Lime Rock Historic Festival 35 | Lime Rock Photos
Lime Rock Historic Festival 35 | Lime Rock Photos

HSR competitors had a couple months of summertime hiatus to prepare for the four-race season-ending races.

Among highlights during that four-race run are a 1970s-themed reception and barbecue at the Lucky Dog Garage across the street from Road Atlanta, the Thursday Pace Lap Party at and race car parade to historic downtown Savannah’s City Market, and the link to the past provided by parking race cars next to historic aircraft at Hendricks Field, aka the Sebring racing circuit.

Lime Rock Park photos
Lime Rock Park photos

Brooklands hosts Autumn Motorsports Festival

Classic car displays and vintage vehicle’s challenging the Brooklands Test Hill will be highlights of the annual Autumn Motorsports Festival, scheduled for October 8 at the Brooklands Museum in England.

Among the vehicles already registered are Dennis Priddle’s “Mr. Revell” dragster, which held front-engine time and speed records for 20 years and plans a four-minute drive up the hill; a 1983 Audi Quattro rally car, the ex-James Hunt 1972 Hesketh Dastles, a Vauxhall Firenza Droop Snoot racer, a Ford Escort RS2000 Group 4 rally car, several 1940s vintage American stock cars and an ex-Nelson Pique Benetton F1 car.

Lime Rock Photos
Lime Rock Photos

American cars to star at Prescott Speed Hill Climb

Even before the vintage vehicle event at the world’s first purpose-built auto racing facility, another British venue, the Prescott Speed Hill Climb at Chaltenham stages an all-American Stars and Stripes gathering September 30- October 1 featuring special classes for American cars and hot rods.

Contributing to the American theme for the event will be a special area in the Show ‘n Shine for American cars, and what the organizers call “fantastic USA-themed entertainment from the thrilling Demon Drone (motorcycle) Wall of Death to live bands and Vegas Showgirls.”

Can-Am, Indy and NASCAR cars are among those scheduled for the event, organizers said, including a Penske PC22 Indy car, an ex-Penske Sunoco-liveried 1969 Z28 Chevrolet Camaro and the 1977 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Al Unser in the International Race of Champions.

Lime Rock Historic Festival 35 race winners

We’ve already shared Andy Reid’s reactions to the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 35 held over the Labor Day weekend, but we wanted to share some of the track’s photographs of the action on the circuit (above), and the race results.

Lime Rock Photos
Lime Rock Photos

Two drivers swept all four of their races — Rich Maloumian Jr. and his 1956 Austin-Healey 100-4 and Ray Mallock in his 1960 Us Mk2 Formula Junior.

Several others won three of four — Jake Clapp in his 1970 Datsun 240Z, Jim Hamblin in his 1968 Porsche 911/ST replica, Peter Giddings in his 1935 Alfa Romeo Tipo C 8C-35, and Rick Bell in his 198 Ralt RT-1.

Lime Rock Photos
Lime Rock Photos

Richard Atwood (1966 Ford GT40) and David Gussack (1963 Triumph Spitfire) each won twice in their Group 9 races as did Martin Bullock (1963 Lotus 27 Formula Junior) and Joe Colasacco (1962 Stanguellini Delfino Formula Junior) in Group 6.

But the most competitive class was Group 4 which produced four winners — Tom Grudovich in his 1966 Ginetta G4, Graham Adelman in his 1962 Lotus 23, Craig Chima in his 1962 Lotus Super 7 and Dave Handy in his 1962 Lotus 23.

Pre-war Bentleys join docket for Bonhams auction at Simeone museum

Bonhams has added a pair of special Bentleys to the docket for its preservation-oriented Collectors Motorcars and Automobilia auction, scheduled for October 2 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. The Bentley’s are a 1924 3-Liter Speed Tourer and a 1929 4.5-liter Le Mans Replica Tourer.

They join the 1913 “London-to-Edinburgh” Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost consigned to the auction earlier.

The 1924 Speed Tourer was produced the same year Bentley began its reign at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. According to Bonhams, chassis No. 897 went to Morgan and Co. for coachwork and then was delivered to the Prince of Liechtenstein, who owned the car for four years.

'24 Bentley with the top up
’24 Bentley with the top up

At some point in the 1930s, the Morgan body was modified from its original two-seat configuration to add two more seats for tourer configuration.

Research also indicates that soon after World War II, with new vehicles not yet available, the Bentley was rebuilt on a frame of chassis No. 780, another 3-liter Speed model originally owned by Glen Kidston, one of the original Bentley Boys and a Le Mans race-winning driver. Afterward, the car was used in many Bentley Drivers Club events.

The consignor, a collector of Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, has owned the car since the early 1980s and has preserved it in what Bonhams terms “remarkable unmolested condition,” with its body still covered in the original rexine fabric and still with its original engine, steering box, transmission and rear axle.

1929 Le Mans Replica from Van Schaick collection
1929 Le Mans Replica from Van Schaick collection

Offered from the estate of David L. Van Schaick is the 1929 Le Mans Replica fabric tourer with bodywork in the style of Vanden Plas. Van Schaick campaigned the car for more than 30 years, Bonhams noted.

The car originally carried more formal closed coachwork and originally was owned by whisky-maker A.W. Whyte of Scotland. The car was rebodied in 1972 and may have gotten a new period-correct 4 1/2-liter engine at the same time.

New Jersey Bentley enthusiast Frank Allocca acquired the car in 1983 and had it flown to the U.S. to use while he was awaiting the restoration of another car. That car completed, Allocca sold the Le Mans Replica to Van Schaick and participated with “bold bravado” in many Bentley Club rallies.

Worldwide Auctioneers hits 97 percent sell-through in Auburn

With an astounding 97 percent of consignments going to new owners, Worldwide Auctioneers reported a total sale of $2.54 million for its recent and 10th annual Auburn auction during the 61st Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival in northeast Indiana.

“2017 has been an extraordinarily momentous year for our business, as we continued our corporate expansion with inaugural sales in both Scottsdale and out on the Monterey Peninsula and relocated our longstanding Texas Classic Auction to a vibrant new venue in the heart of Arlington’s entertainment district,” Rod Egan, Worldwide co-owner and auctioneer, said in the post-sale news release.

“We are absolutely committed to building on the successes of this year and to continuing to offer our customers a dynamic and wholly expert alternative in the market in 2018 and well into the future.”

1908 Stoddard-Dayton one of two cars to top $100,000 at Worldwide Auctioneers sale
1908 Stoddard-Dayton one of two cars to top $100,000 at Worldwide Auctioneers sale

Worldwide’s next sale is scheduled for January 18, 2018, in Arizona.

The company’s annual auction in its hometown was staged during the Labor Day weekend in the National Auto & Truck Museum’s historic L29 Cord building, where the top sale was a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet B that sold for $539,000.

Top 10 sales, Worldwide Auctioneers Auburn 2017:

  1. 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet B, $539,000
  2. 1907 Stoddard-Dayton Model K runabout, $118,800
  3. 1930 Cadillac V-16 Imperial limousine, $99,000
  4. 1937 Cord 812 phaeton, $96,250
  5. 1977 Ferrari 308 GTB, $82,500
  6. 1968 Jaguar E-type roadster, $78,100
  7. 1908 Holsman Mondel 10 runabout, $66,000
  8. 1930 LaSalle 4-passenger phaeton, $60,500
  9. 1933 Cadillac V-12 7-passenger sedan, $60,500
  10. 1935 Desoto Airflow SG coupe, $60,500

(Prices include buyer’s fees.)

Worldwide reported that early consignments for its Arizona auction include a 1923 Duesenberg Model A Sport Phaeton with original chassis, body and engine; a 1966 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III drophead coupe with Mulliner Park Ward open coachwork; and an multiple award-winning 1929 Cord L29 cabriolet.

More evidence of the changing demographics among car collectors

While wandering recently through the cars available for bidding at the classic car auctions in Auburn, Indiana, we wondered when the Ford Maverick and Chevrolet Vega had become collectible.

Now from England comes word of a couple more examples of cars you might never have expected to see on auction dockets — a one-owner 1979 Ford Fiesta 1300S is being promoted as the star car for first-time collectors at ClassicCar Auctions’ September Sale taking place September 23 at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre.

1959 Ford 100e Prefect an ideal 'starter' car?
1959 Ford 100e Prefect an ideal ‘starter’ car?

The Fiesta, which was driven only 5,693 miles before going into storage 11 years ago, will be offered at no reserve, the auction company notes in its news release.

The car has a gold-shade of paint and brown chevron-design cloth interior.

Oh, and the car was, indeed, owned by an elderly lady who put it into storage when she gave up driving.

“The electrics and 1,299cc Kent engine are in good running order, requiring minimal work to be returned to the road,” the auction company notes.

“This sporty little classic Fiesta is the ideal ‘starter’ classic for new or virgin classic car buyers, as is the 1959 Ford 100E Prefect,” added Richard Greenhalgh, classic car specialist at CCA.

“Buying a classic car doesn’t have to be eye-wateringly expensive and this Fiesta will make for a fun project, as well as being great fun to drive!”

The ’59 Ford Prefect he mentioned is another no reserve offering at the sale. So are a 1989 BMW 325i SE, a 1964 Triumph Spitfire 4 Mk1, a 1991 Volkswagen Golf GTI MkII and a 1970 MG Midget racer.

“CCA is the perfect place to come for anyone interested in going into classic car ownership,” Greenhalgh added. “We have a huge variety of cars ranging from No Reserve up to £50,000 plus.”