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.

Historic Le Mans-winning cars to be featured at Geneva’s international auto show

1989 Sauber Mercedes C9 | Photos courtesy Geneva auto show
1989 Sauber Mercedes C9 | Photos courtesy Geneva auto show

Switzerland’s 84th Geneva International Motor Show will celebrate classic racing cars with a display of 20 vehicles that competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

The Geneva show runs March 6-16 and annually draws some 700,000 visitors. The display of historic Le Mans races is being presented in conjunction with the Automobile Club de l’Quest, organizer of the France’s famous round-the-clock race, and with the Automobile Museum of the Sarthe, which is located at the Le Mans circuit.

Among the cars to be displayed in Geneva’s Palexpo are the Chenard & Walcker that won the inaugural Le Mans race, and the Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro Hybrid that won last year.

Also on the stand will be a Bentley Speed Six, Ferrari 166MM, D-type and XJR9 Jaguars, Ford GT40, three Porsches and others.

On loan from a Swiss museum is the Swiss-built Sauber Mercedes C9 that won the race in 1989.

Some 141 drivers from Switzerland have raced at Le Mans, with 31 of them driving race-winning cars, including Marcel Faessler in 2012.

The 82nd Le Mans 24-hour race is scheduled June 14-15.

 

Long-term ownership cars emerge as a theme for RM sale at Amelia Island

Aerial view of RM auction site | 2013 photo by Darin Schnabel courtesy RM
Aerial view of RM auction site | 2013 photo by Darin Schnabel courtesy RM

As Gord Duff, a car specialist for RM Auctions, got to talking about the various vehicles that will be offered at the company’s sale March 8 at Amelia Island, he stopped his words for a realization.

“There’s a little bit of a theme going on with long-term ownership,” he said. “And it’s not just any car, but some of the best cars in their own right.”

For example?

For example, a 1965 R-model Shelby GT350 that not only is the winningest of its ilk but has been owned by the consignor since 1967.

Or a Dietrich-bodied 1932 Packard Twin Six individual custom convertible sedan being offered for the first time in more than 30 years.

Or that among the 16 cars being offered from the Malcolm Pray Collection are some that Pray owned for more than 45 years.

“The longer somebody’s owned a car makes it that much more special for the buyers,” Duff said.

“Not to everybody, but it makes a difference to certain clients,” he added. “You’d rather be the second or third owner than the 10th owner. You’d rather buy a car with long-term ownership than one that’s traded hands every few years.”

In the case of the ’65 Shelby GT350, it tics several boxes — long-term ownership, racing history (a big deal because of the importance of racing cars at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance), and 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Mustang itself.

Driven by well-known American sports car racer Charlie Kemp, the No. 23 B/Production Shelby won 17 consecutive races during the 1968 and 1969 seasons and clocked 184 miles per hour at Daytona, fastest speed ever for a 289-powered Shelby — and that includes Shelby Cobras, the RM auction catalog notes.

“With race cars that were very successful, they also may have crashed a lot,” Duff said, “but this one is pretty clean.” Indeed, the catalog notes that the car, with a pre-auction estimate of $900,000 to $1.2 million, still wears “remarkably original” bodywork.

As for the ’32 Packard, it’s been part of the Bob and Sandra Bahre Collection for some three decades. Carrying the same pre-auction estimate as the Kemp Shelby, the V-windshield Packard is one of no more than six such cars built with Dietrich coachwork. Duff noted that while the car was restored around 25 years ago, “you’d swear it was done a year or two ago it has been looked after so well.”

And then there are the cars from the Pray Collection. Pray, who died last August at the age of 84, was an early Volkswagen and Porsche dealer who at one point also owned the largest Saab and Audi dealerships in the U.S. He was a benefactor to organizations working to mentor and motivate youth through Scouting and other programs.

Cars from his collection crossing the block at RM’s Amelia sale include a 1958 BMW 507 Series II roadster, a 1938 SS 100 Jaguar roadster, a 1935 Amilcar Type G36 Pegase boattail roadster, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II cabriolet, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57C roadster, and a 1937 Delahaye 135 Competition Court torpedo roadster with Figoni et Falaschi bodywork.

While several of those are seven-figure cars, Pray’s cars also include several five-figure vehicles, among them a 1941 Ford Super Deluxe woody wagon and a 1948 Lincoln Continental cabriolet.

It is fitting to sell his cars here.”

— Gord Duff

 

“He had some fabulous cars,” Duff said. “Not all were concours quality, but to purchase them off the second owner, those opportunities become less and less.”

Duff added that Pray was both a regular participant at Amelia Island concours and a long-time client of RM.

“It is fitting to sell his cars here,”Duff said.

Pray’s is not the only collection being offered at the RM auction. Several cars, including an alloy-bodied 1949 Jaguar XK120 roadster, are being offered from the estate of Charles R. Swimmer of San Diego.

Also crossing the block will be a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster, one of only 25 with original Rudge wheels. Originally, this one was owned by actress Natalie Wood, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Rebel Without a Cause. She bought the car when she was 19 years.

The car was a silver blue color, but the teenage actress had it repainted pink, though she left the original red interior as is. The car subsequently was restored to its original factory color.

The one-day sale includes 93 vehicles, ranging alphabetically from a 1947 Allard K1 roadster to a 1929 Willys-Knight 66B “Plaidside” roadster, and chronologically from a 1901 De Dion-Bouton New York-type Motorette to a 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren roadster.

Elliott Museum sending five vehicles to Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale sale

Quad and bicycle by Sterling Elliott | Photo courtesy Elliott Museum
Quadricycle and woman’s bicycle by Sterling Elliott | Photo courtesy Elliott Museum

In 1890, Sterling Elliott received a U.S. patent for his Quadricycle, a four-wheeled bicycle that featured yet another of his inventions, a steering knuckle system that allowed the front wheels to turn smoothly because his design enabled the outside wheel to rotate more quickly than the inside wheel as the vehicle negotiated a turn.

Elliott’s invention was the forerunner of rack-and-pinion steering and would have a major impact not only on horse-drawn buggies, which had been using rigid axle systems, but on the automobile that would be coming down the road.

Oh, and those roads would be much smoother because of Elliott as well.

Elliott was born in Michigan but moved to Massachusetts, which in the late 1800s was sort of the Silicon Valley of American manufacturing. He built bicycles and was publisher of Bicycling World magazine. His and other magazines benefited from another of his inventions — a knot-tying machine to make magazine and book binding easier. He also created an addressing machine to ease the distribution of his and other magazines.

While serving as president of the League of American Wheelmen, Elliott lobbied for better road surfaces. He also created a bicycle to make riding easier for women and supported a black racer when the League barred African Americans. That racer, Marshall Taylor, would become a world champion.

To focus on his growing business-machine company, Elliott in 1886 sold his bicycle factory to his friends, the twins Francis and Freeland Stanley, who used Elliott’s quadricycle as the basis for their steam-powered automobile after they sold their photographic plate business to Eastman Kodak.

Elliott had many other inventions, and he assembled a considerable car collection. In 1961, his son, Harmon, a winter-time Florida resident, established the Elliott Museum of Vehicular Innovation to preserve his father’s achievements. The museum was founded in Stuart, Fla., and eventually joined with the local historical society to showcase not only Elliott’s accomplishments but the history of Martin County and its historic Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge, one of 10 havens for shipwrecked sailors and passengers built by the U.S. Lifesaving Service along Florida’s Atlantic coast.

At visitor's request, this 1927 Model T is delivered for viewing by robotic parking system | Photo courtesy Elliott Museum
At visitor’s request, this 1927 Model T is delivered for viewing by robotic parking system | Photo courtesy Elliott Museum

In 2012, the original museum was replaced by a new $20-million structure that, among other things, features yet another of Elliott’s inventions, a three-story, 55-vehicle robotic car parking structure (see photo above) that allows visitors to select the car they want to examine and — voila! — the car of their choice is delivered right to them.

The museum owns nearly 90 vehicles. Some were donated so the museum could sell them to generate additional funding. Others, which are either duplicates or not part of future exhibition plans also will be sold at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale sale. The museum notes it has selected for sale only cars which were  purchased by the museum or given without conditions.

The five cars that will cross the block in the Broward County Convention Center are a 1914 Roamer Speedster, a 1922 Fort Model T pickup truck, a 1972 Squire SS 100, a 1955 Ford Thunderbird and a 1968 Chevrolet Corvette convertible.

1972 Squire SS100
1972 Squire SS100 | Photo courtesy Auctions America

Inspired by the pre-war Jaguar SS 100, the Squire was made from 1970-75 by Intermeccania of Italy for Auto Sport Importers of Philadelphia. Some 50 vehicles were produced with left-hand steering, fiberglass bodies and Ford six-cylinder powertrains.

1914 Roamer Speedster | Photo courtesy Auctions America
1914 Roamer Speedster | Photo courtesy Auctions America

The Roamer Speedster was designed by Karl Martin, a custom car builder from New York City, and was produced in Illinois (and later Michigan) with either a six-cylinder Rutenberg engine or a more powerful and more expensive Rochester-Duesenberg four. The museum’s car has the Duesenberg engine.

Future classic: Chevrolet Monza

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Ferrari-like styling. A name with amazing heritage. Racing provenance that includes back-to-back IMSA Camel GT series championships. And yet the Chevrolet Monza seems to be all but forgotten (so far) among classic car hobbyists. Why, it isn’t even listed in the Hagerty Price Guide and while it is included in Kelley Blue Book classic car listings, even in top condition it doesn’t crack the $6,000 plateau in value.

Maybe this is more of a “Forgotten Classic” than a “Future Classic,” but while the Monza, a stylish if compact coupe powered by a Chevy small-block V8, caught on with racers, their enthusiasm hasn’t been shared by the classic car community.

Borrowing its name from the Corvair Monza of the 1960s, the Chevrolet Monza was introduced as a 1975 model and won car of the year honors from Motor Trend magazine. The Chevrolet Monza shared its underpinnings with the division’s compact Vega series, but it was four inches longer and, with its long sloping roofline over 2+2 seating, looked more like an American version of a Ferrari GTC-4 than just another small car.

John DeLorean, then general manager of the Chevrolet Division, referred to the Monza as the “Italian Vega.”

Oh, and those extra four inches were very important. Originally, the car was designed to carry a rotary (Wankel) engine (you can see the Rotary label on the license plates of the Monza design study in the images above from GM Media Archives), but that effort was scrapped. Instead, the extra space meant that instead of the Vega’s 2.3-liter, 78-horsepower four-cylinder engine, Chevrolet’s 4.3-liter small-block V8, rated at 110-hp or 125-horsepower (remember, this is the mid-1970s), could fit beneath the Monza’s hood — and nearly 25,000 of the cars were V8-equipped in the Monza’s first year of production.

For 1976, the Monza could be equipped with a 140-hp, 5.0-liter V8, an option that continued through 1980.  A 5.7-liter engine was available for California drivers, but it was only rated at a smog-choked 125 horsepower.

At one stage in the car’s development, Chevrolet had planned to badge the new model as the Chaparral, the name of Jim Hall’s amazing Chevy-powered Can-Am racing cars. As it was, the Chevrolet Monza was eligible for IMSA’s Camel GT racing class.

Racer Horst Kwech and engineer Lee Dykstra launched DeKon Engineering and prepped Monzas for racing in a series in which the primary competition came from Porsche. Kwech and Al Holbert, a racer but also a Porsche dealer, drove the DeKon Monzas to seven IMSA victories in 1976, including a couple of 1-2 finishes. Holbert continued to race the cars in 1977 and he and his various teammates won four more times.

Monzas continued to be successful in club-racing events and in professional racing in Australia.

In addition to the original Ferrari-looking fastback version, Chevrolet added a notchback Monza Town Coupe late in the 1975 model year, but this version was more conventional and even had the Vega’s single headlamps intend of the fastback’s four-lamp face.

A Spyder performance package with stiffer suspension (much like what was standard on all Monzas for 1975) was available beginning with the 1976 model year. Also available that year was the Monza Mirage, a special edition with red, white and blue racing stripes and an aerodynamic body kit with a rear spoiler.

With the demise of the Vega for 1978, a two-door Estate Wagon was added to the Monza model lineup. The V8 option was dropped for the 1980 model year and the Monza itself was dropped from the Chevrolet lineup for 1981 (replaced in 1982 by the front-drive Cavalier).

Max’d-out Porsches to be featured at Griot’s Garage Caffeine & Gasoline

Photos courtesy Griot's Garage
Photos courtesy Griot’s Garage

Griot’s Garage is known for meeting the car care needs of classic and contemporary car owners. But it meets some of those folks’ other needs the first Saturday of each month when it hosts Caffeine & Gasoline at its workshop in Tacoma, Wash.

On March 1, Griot’s will provide the coffee and Hagerty Insurance will sponsor the free donuts as the monthly cruise-in.

But Griot’s gatherings are more than just the typical cruise-in. Each has a theme, and each includes some sort of demonstration or educational experience that includes a significant amount of noise. For example, here’s a video from a recent Caffeine & Gasoline gathering:

The theme this month is Porsche, well, not only Porsche but Porsche (and other marques) as tweaked by MaxRPM, the motorsports and high-performance tuning shop from Bremerton, Wash. MaxRPM will bring several cars it has enhanced and also will do a tuning tech session to share some of its secrets.DSC_0158

Also featured will be several of Richard Griot’s own Porsches, including a 1973 911S.

Griot hosts Caffeine & Gasoline the first Saturday of each month. The theme for April will be Ford Mustang as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. In May, the gathering will be a showcase for vintage police, fire and military vehicles.

Bonhams sets July 12 auction at Mercedes-Benz Museum

Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz Museum | Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz

In what is being called a “strategic partnership,” British auction house Bonhams and German automaker Mercedes-Benz will stage a single-marque auction of some 40 cars July 12 at the Mercedes Museum. The museum is located just outside the main factory gate at the Mercedes headquarters and main assembly plant at Stuttgart-Unterturkheim.

“We share an idea with Bonhams,” Michael Bock, head of Mercedes-Benz Classic, said in a news release. “Both of us stand for unique and authentic vehicles. We regard classic vehicles as a key heritage for society. And valuing authentic plays an important role in this.

“For this reason, we are delighted that the prestigious auction house Bonhams will offer a range of inimitable classic cars of Benz, Mercedes and Mercedes-Benz in our Museum on 12 July 2014.”

Bock added that while the Mercedes-Benz Museum will provide “the appropriate setting for the auction,” none of the vehicles being offered will be from the museum’s own collection.”

Bonhams expects those vehicles to come from consigners around the world.

Photo courtesy Bonhams
Photo courtesy Bonhams

Bonhams notes a long and fruitful relation with Mercedes-Benz Classic, and how that affiliation was reinforced last year when the two  collaborated prior to the sale of the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196, the car that helped Juan Manual Fangio win a World Driving Championship. The car sold for a world auction-record price of $30,180,000 at Bonhams Goodwood sale (see photo).

“It seemed a natural progression for us to work tougher once again to conduct a unique, single-marque auction at Mercedes-Benz’s museum,” said James Knight, group director of Bonhams Motors Department.

Contacted by the ClassicCars.com blog while on his family vacation, Knight said via email that in preparation for the sale of the ex-Fangio racer: “My Chairman Robert Brooks and (automotive historian) Doug Nye visited Stuttgart and were allowed into the hallowed archives to review the technical spec folios on the W194 chassis. Mercedes-Benz offered — and we commissioned — a beautiful historic volume on the W194 — and specifics on the actual chassis — to pass onto the new owner. M-B also sent over their ‘Blue Wonder’ car transporter to place on view with the car at Goodwood.

We’re always looking for, and willing to try, new initiatives, and if it is something unique to Bonhams, so much the better.”

— James Knight

“The Bonhams team pioneered single-marque auctions,” he continued. “When Robert and I were at Christie’s in the 1980s, we had a Benz, Mercedes and Mercedes-Benz sale to celebrate the (automaker’s) centenary; Malcolm Barber (our Group CEO) and his team when at Sotheby’s in the 1980s pioneered the Rolls-Royce and Bentley auction at the annual R-REC Annual Rally; Brooks (as we were known in the 1990s) held an annual Ferrari auction in Gstaad each December, and then we started the Aston Martin auction in 2000.

“We’re always looking for, and willing to try, new initiatives, and if it is something unique to Bonhams, so much the better.

“We have developed the annual Bonhams Aston Martin Works Sale with Aston Martin Lagonda Limited in the UK, and we look forward to developing another single-marque sale in Europe in partnership with at the prestigious Mercedes-Benz brand. We hope this will be the first of many future Bonhams Mercedes-Benz sales.”

Might one of those future sales take place in the United States, perhaps at Mercedes’ assembly plant in Alabama or the Mercedes-Benz Classic center in southern California?

“Well, never say never,” Knight wrote, “but we’ll concentrate in Europe at the home of M-B for the time being.”

At Bonhams’ recent Arizona auction, Mercedes cars accounted for three of the top-six sales, with a 1955 300SL gulling coupe selling for nearly $1.1 million, a 1961 300SL roadster going for more than $1.2 million and a 1936 500K sports phaeton bringing more than $1.4 million.

According to Historica Selecta’s Classic Car Auction Yearbook, during the 2012-13 auction season, two of the three most-expensive sales involved Mercedes cars. In addition to the ex-Fangio racer, a 1936 540K Spezial Roadster sold for nearly $11.8 million at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auction in the summer of 2012.

 

 

Mr. 25%’s ‘Beatles’ Bentley up for auction at Coys sale

Photo courtesy of Coys
Photo courtesy of Coys

The Beatles had just flown back to England after their American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. Their flight into Heathrow airport landed at 7 a.m. U.K. time, and yet some 10,000 fans were there to celebrate Beatlemania’s success overseas.

Oh, that’s 10,000 fans and a film crew from the Pathe News, which was there to interview the Fab Four.

One of the first questions was how the Beatles were going to spend the money they’d brought back from America.

In unison, John, Paul, George and Ringo answered: “What money?”

“Doesn’t he (the band’s manager Brian Epstein) give any to you?” came the question as the camera rolled.

Have you seen that car of his?”

— George Harrison

 

“No, no,” said George, laughing, “Have you see that car of his?”

“That car” was parked just outside Heathrow’s VIP suite. It was a new Bentley S3 that had been purchased by the man known as “Mr. 25%,” which was Epstein’s cut of the band’s gross earnings. The car had been ordered late in 1963 and was picked up by Epstein’s valet while Epstein was in the U.S. with the Beatles.

Still wearing its original AJB400B license plates, Epstein’s Bentley will be among the cars up for auction March 11 at Coys Spring Classic sale in London.

Epstein kept the car until October 1965. Now, after 25 years of possession by its current owner, it is being offered up for auction with its original registration and a thick file of his historical documents, which detail such things as its repainting, the overhaul of its engine, and the conversion of its radio to receive FM signals.

 

Hooves? No, Clydesdales had four wheels (and other things we learned reading McFarland books)

Photo by Larry Edsall
Photo by Larry Edsall

Think “Clydesdale” and the images that probably come to mind are those strong and majestic horses in the Budweiser beer commercials. But did you know that a couple of decades before the Anheuser-Busch brewery trotted out its now iconic horse-drawn wagons in 1933, the Clydesdale was the emblem of a car company?

Well, not exactly a car company, but the Clydesdale Motor Truck Company?

I’d never heard of Clydesdale trucks, let alone their “Driver Under the Hood” engine governor system or their pioneering work in diesel technology, until receiving notice of a new book, The Clydesdale Motor Truck Company An Illustrated History, 1917-1939, from what has become my favorite book publisher, and if you really like classic cars, should become yours as well: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.

Based in Jefferson, a small Blue Ridge town in northwestern North Carolina near the state’s borders with Tennessee and Virginia, McFarland was founded in 1979 by Robert McFarland Franklin to publish library-oriented reference books and “scholarly monographs on a variety of subjects,” according to the company’s website. McFarland publishes about 400 books a year, several of them on automotive history.

I’ve read more than two dozen of McFarland’s automotive books and have seven more on my “yet to read” stack (see photo).

Among those I’ve yet to read is one of McFarland’s newest, Tiffany Willey Middleton and James M. Semon’s book on Clydesdale.  Although, I have peeked into the book enough to learn that while the Clydesdale Motor Truck Co. used the big work horse as its emblem, the company’s name really traces to Clyde, Ohio, where it was founded and where Middleton was born.

Semon, whose specialty is the history of railroads, also is from Ohio.

McFarland books not only are well-written histories — often with appendices, vehicle specifications, chapter notes, bibliographies and complete indexes – but they are wonderfully illustrated histories as well, though by their nature most of the photographs are black and white.

I’ve also thumbed through American Automobiles of the Brass Era: Essential Specifications of 4,000+ Gasoline Powered Passenger Cars, 1906-1915, with a Statistical and Historical Overview, by Robert D. Dluhy. While short on words and pictures, it’s chock full of charts and statistical tables.

For example, a 1907 American Napier 18/20hp Nike Runabout sat two, had a four-cylinder engine with a 3.5-inch bore, 4-inch stroke, displaced 153.9 cubic inches, produced 18 horsepower, had a 90-inch wheelbase, was steered from the right-seat position, was priced at $2,250, rode on 32 x 3.5-inch tires, and weighed 1,500 pounds.

And there is similar information for more than 4,000 such vehicles from that period.

In that pile of books I’ve yet to read, you might notice Gold Thunder, Autobiography of a NASCAR Champion, by Rex White as told to Anne B. Jones. While I haven’t read it, I have read several other McFarland books on motorsports, including a couple of early accounts about NASCAR, a book on American sports car racing in the 1950s, a history of the auto races held in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park from 1908-1911, and the amazing biography of Joan Newton Cuneo, the Lyn St. James or Danica Patrick of her era, which was 1905-1915.

I also made mention of McFarland publishing scholarly books. The Corvette in Literature and Culture: Symbolic Dimensions of America’s Sports Car actually started out as author Jerry W. Passon’s Ph.D. dissertation at Southern Illinois University.

As I said before, if you’re into classic cars and their specifications and corporate histories, or into the early history of auto racing, McFarland probably should be your favorite publisher as well.

To learn more about McFarland and its books, visit the www.mcfarlandbooks.com website.

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Reading this could win you a free classic car book

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Did you know that the names of nine Spanish cities — Cordoba, Granada, Ibiza, Leon, Malaga, Marbella, Rondo, Seville and Toledo — have been appropriated by automakers for their own vehicles?

You no doubt know that England’s national racing color was green and Italy’s was red. You even may know that Spain’s was red with a yellow hood. But did you know the national racing color assigned to Jordan was brown, or that Egypt’s color was purple?

Neither did I until I spent a dollar Sunday to buy a copy of Chapman’s Car Compendium: The Essential Book of Car Facts and Trivia. When British auto writer Giles Chapman wrote his book in 2007, it cost $21.95 to buy a copy.

Seven years later, it carried a $2 sticker at the 58th annual VNSA (now known as the Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association but originally the Visiting Nurse Service Auxiliary association) Used Book Sale in the huge Exhibit Hall at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

There are somewhere around half-a-million books available at the sale, and all of them have been separated into one of 27 categories to make finding what you want that much easier. I usually go to the sale Sunday after church, partly because the church I attend is 25 blocks east of downtown Phoenix and the fairgrounds is 19 blocks west of downtown, partly because on Sunday almost all the books are half price.

In addition to Chapman’s book of car facts, I bought a copy of Cars of the World in Color, by J.D. Scheel, translated by D. Cook-Radmore and illustrated by Verner Hancke.

I paid a whole $1.50 for this book but, after all, it is a first edition, begins with a 35-page historical survey of automotive history, has color illustrations of everything from an 1875 Markus to a 1962 Pontiac Tempest, and concludes with 10 gorgeous illustrations of famous auto races.

And even though I already have a copy, I also bought Driven: The American Four-Wheels Love Affair, because it was written (in 1977) by my former publisher and AutoWeek mentor Leon Mandel.

I also bought a book on the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, three books on baseball (including a collection of baseball stories by Zane Grey, the minor-league player turned Western novelist) and, as a gift for one of my daughters and her daughter, Clues for Real Life: The Classic Wit & Wisdom of Nancy Drew.

And for those eight books and the hours of enlightenment and entertainment they’ll provide, I spent a grand total of $7.50.

Actually, though, I’ll be spending a little more than that. As I mentioned, I already have a copy of Leon’s book, Driven. So here’s what I’m going to do: Use the comments section (Share your thoughts) below to share the title of your favorite automotive book and I’ll enter your name into a drawing. If you win, you’ll get my “barn-found” copy of Leon’s book.

Sneak peek: Sedona screening previews automotive film festival planned for 2015

Illustration courtesy Reels and Wheels Fest
Illustration courtesy Reels and Wheels Fest

At 1 p.m. Saturday, February 22, amid the red-rock splendor of one of Arizona’s primary tourist attractions, the 20th annual Sedona Film Festival will screen the movie 1, a documentary about Grand Prix racing and the drivers’ push to make the sport less dangerous for its heroes.

But the showing of the movie, and the presence in Sedona of director Paul Crowder for a post-screening question-and-answer session at the Sedona Performing Arts Center, is just a preview, as they say at the movies, of what’s coming in 2015.

The plan for the 21st Sedona Film Festival is to devote the first weekend of the event to the theme “Reels and Wheels: An Automobile Film Experience.”

Not only will auto-themed movies be shown inside the various Sedona theaters, but plans are being made for a drive-in style evening so members of car clubs and others can display their classic and custom cars and then sit back for an old-fashioned, 1950s-style evening of watching a movie under the stars.

Officials of the Sedona festival are working with the organizers of the Automotive Film & Arts Festival, which staged its inaugural event last summer on the Monterey Peninsula in northern California.

The plan, according to a statement by the auto film group, will be to “to bring automotive enthusiasts and film-lovers together to explore the world of automobiles through film, interactive displays, celebrity and driver meet-and-greets and a pavilion displaying famous movie cars.”

The 21st Sedona Film Festival is scheduled for February 19-March 1, 2015.

More details will be posted on the www.reelsandwheelsfest.com website.

Here’s the link to the trailer for 1: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2518788/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2