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.

James Bond’s spiral jump car on Auctions America docket

The AMC Hornet that spiral-jumped river in 'Man With Golden Gun' head to auction | Auctions America photos by Teddy Pieper
The AMC Hornet that spiral-jumped river in ‘Man With Golden Gun’ head to auction | Auctions America photos by Teddy Pieper

Those of a certain age, or those who have binge-watched James Bond movies, will remember the scene in The Man With The Golden Gun in which 007 attacks the remains of a wooden bridge in a red car with white pinstriping along its flanks. The middle of the bridge was gone, but the car executes an amazing corkscrew spin as if flies over the abyss and lands relatively smoothly on the carcass of structure on the river’s opposite bank.

That very same car — a 1972 AMC Hornet hatchback — is being offered without reserve at Auction America’s Auburn Fall sale over the Labor Day weekend in northeastern Indiana. Continue reading

At Pebble Beach, Mercedes showcases Laguna Seca slot-car track

Slot Mod's version of Laguna layout filled 25 x 25-foot space | Larry Edsall photos
Slot Mod’s version of Laguna layout filled 25 x 25-foot space | Larry Edsall photos

You didn’t have to go all the way out to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to take in some vintage-racing action during Monterey Car Week. A slot-car duplicate of the famed track was assembled in the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge and was available for hot laps.

Created by Slot Mods Raceways as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mercedes’ AMG racing and hot-rod division, the scale-model Laguna clone was 105 feet long and filled a 25-by-25-foot area, but still left room in its infield for a real Formula One car raced by Lewis Hamilton. Continue reading

DriveShare: Hagerty’s Airbnb for the collector car community

Who wouldn't want to rent a car such as this 1966 Mustang convertible? DriveShare photo
Who wouldn’t want to rent a car such as this 1966 Mustang convertible? DriveShare photo

McKeel Hagerty admits he was taken aback, to the point of speechlessness, when Ziv Aviram, co-founder of Mobileye, the Israeli company developing cameras and software for autonomous vehicles, told him, “Sorry, I’m going to put you out of business. You have to find something else to do.”

What Aviram apparently was saying was that self-driving vehicles that avoid collisions will eliminate the need for car insurance companies, perhaps even those such as Hagerty’s that specialize in insuring classic vehicles. Continue reading

Monterey auctions post $317 million in total sales

A 1991 Ferrari Testarossa is on the block at Russo and Steele's Monterey auction | Bob Golfen photo
A 1991 Ferrari Testarossa is on the block at Russo and Steele’s Monterey auction | Bob Golfen photos

After four days, six auctions and 1,277 vehicles across the block, the final hammer has fallen on the 2017 collector car auctions on the Monterey Peninsula and the total tote stands at $317 million according to Hagerty, the classic car insurance and vehicle valuation-tracking company that provides daily updates from major auction venues.

Hagerty reports that while that $317 million figure is better than was expected by its marketplace experts, it falls 6 percent short of 2016 results for Monterey auctions. And it also figures to increase slightly as post-sales transactions are included when the auction companies report the official results in the coming week. Continue reading

Oh brother! 1929 Mercedes-Benz wins at Pebble Beach

Concours chair Sandra Button presents Best of Show honors to Bruce McCaw and his 1939 Mercedes-Benz | Larry Edsall photos
Concours chair Sandra Button presents Best of Show accolades to Bruce McCaw and his 1939 Mercedes-Benz | Larry Edsall photos

The 67th annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance likely will be remembered as the Year of the McCaw Brothers.

A 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer owned by Bruce McCaw won Best of Show at the world’s most important car show Sunday, beating out the other two finalists, one of them a 1957 Ferrari 315 S Scaglietti Spider owned by his brother, John, and sister-in-law, Gwen. Continue reading

Concours d’Lemons drifting off in opposite directions

Lemons? Hardly. But sparkling and shiny Aston Martins were on the show field | Andy Reid photos
Lemons? Hardly. But sparkling and shiny Aston Martins were on the show field | Andy Reid photos

Concours d’Lemons is an event that has always been fun, celebrating strange, unloved and often unknown cars.

However, in the past few years it has drifted away from this concept and moved in two separate directions at once. Continue reading

In a risky business, passion for collectors is crucial

Of the last 15 Pebble Beach best of show winners, 11 are AIG clients | Larry Edsall photos
Of the last 15 Pebble Beach best of show winners, 11 are AIG clients | Larry Edsall photos

The numbers are impressive indeed, but as impressive as they may be, they don’t tell the real story. Nonetheless, it is impressive to learn that of the last 15 winners of Best of Show honors at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, 11 of them have something in common. And they share it with the owners of 18 of the 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs.

What all of those car owners share is that they are insured by the Private Client Group division of AIG, which has grown from its founding in 1919 as American Asiatic Underwriters to become the American International Group, a major and multi-faceted global insurance company. The company’s business for fine art and vintage vehicles is overseen by Ronald Fiamma, senior vice president and global head of private collections. Continue reading

Car star power boosts auction action on Monterey Peninsula

Aston Martin DBR1 rings up a British-car record $22.55 million sale for RM Sotheby's | Andy Reid photo
Aston Martin DBR1 rings up a British-car record $22.55 million sale for RM Sotheby’s | Andy Reid photo

The star cars shined Friday at the collector car auctions taking place on the Monterey Peninsula.

In the daily report from Hagerty, the insurance and vehicle-valuation tracking company that monitors each of the sales, “Much of this week’s perceived success hinged on RM Sotheby’s selling its 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, Gooding & Company selling its 1970 Porsche 917K, and Bonhams selling its 1995 McLaren F1.

“From that standpoint, the upper-most reaches of the market are strong, as each company achieved good results for each model. Continue reading

Nothing mythological about this car but its name

Retired firefighter Kris Hall designed and built The Daedalus, which was showcased at The Quail | Larry Edsall photos
Retired firefighter Kris Hall designed and built The Daedalus, which was showcased at The Quail | Larry Edsall photos

The luxury, exotic and supercar builders were well-represented Friday at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley, California. Among them, Ken Okuyama, Jaguar Special Vehicles, Koenigsegg, Rimac, Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, Pagani, Lamborghini and Singer had their displays, and the show field included a flock of Ferraris. Oh, and there also were Kris Hall and The Daedalus.

Kris who and the what?

You know, Kris Hall, the retired firefighter from Sacramento. Continue reading

Worldwide helps shift Monterey auction sales into higher gear

1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 was bid to $1.3 million but fell short of its reserve price at Worldwide sale | Larry Edsall photos
1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 was bid to $1.3 million but fell short of its reserve price at Worldwide sale | Larry Edsall photos

Things certainly picked up Thursday at the collector car auctions that are a big part of Monterey Car Week, and the sales should shift into high gear Friday with Bonhams staging its auction and RM Sotheby’s and Gooding & Company starting their two-day sales.

The auctions are monitored by personnel from Hagerty, the collector car insurance and valuation-tracking company, which reports that sell-through rate, average price and media price are all up compared with 2017 totals. Continue reading