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.

Monterey memories

The scene at the Carmel Mission Classic car show | Larry Edsall photos
The scene at the Carmel Mission Classic car show | Larry Edsall photos

Wow, things are expensive in Monterey, from the cost for food — whether purchased at a grocery or in a restaurant — to the bumped-up — no, make that supercharged — prices for lodging, and even the admission prices charged for some of the car shows.

On the other hand, a gallon of gasoline cost less than we expected. Sure, $3.49 a gallon might be a lot more than people are paying elsewhere in the country, but it was a buck cheaper than we were charged when we refilled at various crossroads out in the Mohave Desert on our way to and from Monterey Classic Car Week.
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Green Book that guided black American travelers featured at Gilmore museum

Gilmore museum exhibit showcases African-American travel issues in Jim Crow era | Larry Edsall photos
Gilmore museum exhibit showcases African-American travel issues in Jim Crow era | Larry Edsall photos

In the spring of 1946, Jack Roosevelt Robinson, a former multi-sport standout at UCLA and a U.S. Army veteran, and Rachel, his bride of two weeks, were flying from Los Angeles to Florida. Twice along the route they were bumped from flights so their seats could be occupied by customers with white skin. During a stopover in New Orleans, they were not allowed to eat in the “whites only” airport restaurant. And after arriving in Florida, the driver ordered them to the back of the bus. Continue reading

Exotic cars and prices dominate Monterey auctions

1961 Ferrari California Spider sells for more than $16 million as auctions end on Monterey Peninsula | Larry Edsall Photos
1961 Ferrari California Spider sells for more than $16 million as auctions end on Monterey Peninsula | Larry Edsall Photos

The collector car auctions wrapped up Sunday night on the Monterey Peninsula — sort of. There are some after-block sales to secure and Rick Cole’s absentee-bidder, smartphone-bidding auction has yet to announce its results (they’re expected sometime Tuesday), but the early impression remains that the top end of the marketplace continues to be speeding along.

And it also seems apparent that those who seek classic cars at more widely accessible prices are doing their shopping somewhere other than on the Monterey Peninsula, where classic cars aren’t the only pricey objects.

Buoyed by eight million-dollar vehicles, Mecum Auctions’s sales total was up nicely from 2014, but the other more mainstream sales were not; Russo and Steele’s sales were down to $8.5 this year from $9.6 million last year, and the new JR Auctions company sold only seven vehicles. Continue reading

Eye Candy: 65th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Somewhere in that sea of people are more than 200 amazing automobiles | Larry Edsall photos
Somewhere in that sea of people are more than 200 amazing automobiles | Larry Edsall photos

Golfers walk the 18th hole at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in twos, threes or foursomes. Sunday, the famous and picturesque fairway that curves along a stretch of Pacific Ocean shoreline was trod by thousands.

But they weren’t golfers — though some of the men were dressed in the sort of outrageously colorful pants once favored by pro golfers. On Sunday, those on the fairway were spectators who came to witness not great golf shots but to see many of the most amazing cars ever assembled in one place. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Dawn Patrol at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Dawn Patrollers get to see the first car roll onto the fairway at Pebble Beach | Larry Edsall photos
Dawn Patrollers are rewarded by getting to see the first car in line as it rolls onto the fairway at Pebble Beach | Larry Edsall photos

It’s become a Pebble Beach tradition. It started with a handful of photographers and reporters but now attracts a few hundred people to rise long before the sun. One young couple left their hotel in San Francisco at 2:30 a.m. just to take part.

From wherever they come, they make their way to the Monterey Peninsula, go through the 17 Mile Drive guard house and follow the narrow, winding road through the dark to The Lodge, where they walk through the darkness toward the fairway of the famed golfing links and stand behind ropes that define a lane just wide enough for a single car.

And they stand there in the near darkness. And they wait.
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High-dollar sizzle continues at Monterey collector car auctions

Tour de France Ferrari sells for $13.2 million at RM Sotheby's | Larry Edsall photos
Tour de France Ferrari sells for $13.2 million at RM Sotheby’s | Larry Edsall photos

The top end of the collector car marketplace continued to sizzle Saturday at the auctions taking place on the Monterey Peninsula, where Gooding & Company posted nearly $70 million in sales on the opening day of its auction and where million-dollar bids were commonplace not only at Gooding and RM Sotheby’s but at Mecum Auctions as well.

According to figures provided by Hagerty, the insurance and classic car value-tracking company that monitors all Monterey auctions, sales totals for the six auctions taking place during Monterey Classic Car Week totaled $338.4 million through Saturday. That figure trails the same-date number from 2014, but then there was a Ferrari GTO that was up for bidding a year ago and that car by itself accounted for more than $38 million of the 2014 auction total. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Concours d’LeMons California

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A 1966 Plymouth Belvedere II unlike any that ever rolled off the assembly line | Larry Edsall photos

This is both an Eye Candy gallery (see below) and a Commentary on the Concours d’LeMons California, held Saturday in a portion of Laguna Grande Regional Park just southeast of the Chili’s restaurant in Seaside, a military town turned working-class community on the fringe of California’s Monterey Peninsula. Continue reading

Top of market continues to show strength at Monterey auctions

One of only three and first to go to auction, factory lightweight Jag C-type sells for $13.2 million | RM Sotheby's photo
One of only three and first to go to auction, factory lightweight Jag C-type sells for $13.2 million | RM Sotheby’s photo

The top end of the collector car market continued its surge Friday when RM Sotheby’s posted another eight-figure sale, when seven-figure bids were commonplace at that sale and at Bonhams, and when Mecum Auctions joined the million-dollar club on the Monterey Peninsula.

Overall through Friday, sales are slightly ahead of the record pace of 2014, totaling $188 million, according to figures provided by Hagerty, the classic car insurance and value-tracking company. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Pacific Grove concours auto rally

Pacific Grove has been home to concours auto rally since 1995
Pacific Grove has been home to concours auto rally since 1995

There were four signs on the windshield of the red 1967 Ford Mustang coupe parked Friday next to the aqua-colored 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible at the concours part of the annual Pacific Grove concours auto rally.

One sign was the Mustang’s rally number: 129. Another identified the car’s year, make and model. Another noted “Original Owner” and the other proclaimed the distance that owner has driven the car: 493,400 miles. Continue reading