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.

Retromobile has classics to see and also to buy

1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scagliati has pre-auction estimated value of $30 million to $34 million | Artcurial photo
1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scagliati has pre-auction estimated value of $30 million to $34 million | Artcurial photo

It was the year of the American Bicentennial, the year of Niki Lauda’s horrific, fiery crash at the Nurburgring, the year a group of Irish teenagers formed a band they called U2, and the year another group of friends on the West Coast of the United States formed a computer company they called Apple. It also was the year the first Salon Retromobile was staged in Paris.

The 41st Retromobile starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday and among its features will be a special display of 1976-model-year vehicles, including the Volkswagen GTI, the Renault 14 (nicknamed the “pear” because of its styling), the W123 Mercedes-Benz sedan, the 6 Series BMW, and other “youngtimers,” as the European classic car enthusiasts might describe them. Continue reading

Ground-effects F1 cars to be featured at Goodwood

1982 McLaren-Cosworth MP4/1B among 'ground effects' cars to be featured at Goodwood Members' Meeting | Goodwood photos
1982 McLaren-Cosworth MP4/1B among ‘ground effects’ cars to be featured at Goodwood Members’ Meeting | Goodwood photos

In the late 1970s and early ‘80s, ground-effects aerodynamics provided a major change in the cars raced in Formula One. Those cars will be featured March 19-20 at the 74th Goodwood Members’ Meeting in England. Continue reading

McKeel Hagerty talks ‘Mona Lisa cars’ and ‘mustache muscle’

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540, a 'Mona Lisa' car, rolls onto the block at RM Sotheby's | Larry Edsall photo
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540, a ‘Mona Lisa’ car, rolls onto the block at RM Sotheby’s | Larry Edsall photo

The collector car equivalent of Chicken Little is wrong. The sky isn’t falling. We haven’t rolled back the clock to the era of the gold-chain speculators. A bubble hasn’t burst. It is not time to panic.

Says who? Says McKeel Hagerty, that’s who, and as the largest insurer of classic and collector vehicles, Hagerty monitors the pulse of the hobby as closely as anyone. Continue reading

Preliminary Arizona auction figures show slowing market

Cars await their trip to the block at Russo and Steele, where sales figures were up compared to 2015 | Larry Edsall photo
Cars await their trip to the block at Russo and Steele, where sales figures were up compared to 2015 | Larry Edsall photo

Preliminary figures from the six classic car auctions held last week in Arizona show total sales of $250.6 million, according to Hagerty, the insurance and vehicle value-tracking company that monitors each of the auction venues.

The same auctions did $292.5 million last year, but that figure included sales of the big Ron Pratte Collection of cars and automobilia which added a full day of sales to the Barrett-Jackson schedule. Continue reading

Corvette museum’s new Skydome experience opens February 12

Artist's rendering of the new Cave In! Experience at the National Corvette Museum's Skydome | NCM photos
Artist’s rendering of the new Cave In! Experience at the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome | NCM photos

February 12 is the two-year anniversary of the sinkhole collapse beneath the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum, and is the day the museum will open its newest exhibit, Corvette Cave In! The Skydome Sinkhole Experience.

The “experience” is the new entryway to the Skydome and not only details what happened early that morning two years ago, but of western Kentucky’s sinkhole-prone karst landscape, the recovery of the eight vehicles the sinkhole swallowed and of the repairs that allowed the facility to be reopened. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1937 Plymouth P4

Owner's moved to Chicago, but this 1937 Plymouth P4 is still in Denver
Owner’s moved to Chicago, but this 1937 Plymouth P4 is still in Denver

According to the Standard Catalog of American Cars, Plymouth’s Deluxe model for 1937, the P4, was longer and “fattened” when compared with the styling of the previous P2. It was built with a new stamped-steel roof, new “Safety Styling” interior — knobs moved from on the dash to beneath it and padding on the back of the front seats to better protect those sitting in the back seat — and was equipped with a new hypoid-gear differential and “airplane-type” shock absorbers.

The catalog notes that Plymouth produced so many P4s — more than half a million — that it set a production record that stood until 1951. Continue reading

Afternoon at the improv: An entertaining way to move the metal

Drew Alcazar is on the block, selling another car at Russo and Steele | Larry Edsall photos
Drew Alcazar is on the block, selling another car at Russo and Steele | Larry Edsall photos

I’m exhausted, and not just because Arizona Auction Week involves as many as 10 consecutive days that start well before the sun comes up and don’t end until the time when Cinderella’s Porsche turns into a pumpkin.

No, the reason I’m exhausted right now is that I spent much of Saturday afternoon watching Drew Alcazar perform in Russo and Steele’s auction-in the-round format. Continue reading

Top end flat, but more modern middle of the market posting strong numbers at Arizona auctions

Cars awaiting new owners at Silver Auctions | Larry Edsall photos
Cars awaiting new owners at Silver Auctions | Larry Edsall photos

While the dramatic growth at the top end of the classic and collector car market has slowed, there’s still plenty of money to be made in the middle of the hobby. Hagerty, the classic car insurance and price-tracking company, monitors all the Arizona Auction Week sales and notes that prices are soaring for such cars such as the fourth-generation Chevrolet Corvette, Mercedes-Benz SL500 and Bandit-era Pontiac Trans Ams. Continue reading

Record falls, but Arizona still without an 8-figure sale

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster on the block Friday at RM Sotheby's | Larry Edsall photos
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster on the block Friday at RM Sotheby’s | Larry Edsall photos

Arizona still hasn’t had a collector car sell for eight figures at any of its classic car auctions, events which have been taking place since the early 1970s. But while the $9.9 million price paid Friday night at RM Sotheby’s for a pre-war Mercedes-Benz fell just shy of cracking the great eight barrier, it did represent a record price paid for any vehicle at any Arizona auction. Continue reading

In Arizona, bids on 911s, E-types show changing marketplace

A Jaguar E-type on the block at Gooding & Company sale Friday | Andy Reid photos
A Jaguar E-type on the block at Gooding & Company sale Friday | Andy Reid photos

Hagerty, the classic car insurance and price-tracking company that supplies our daily Arizona Auction Week sales figures, notes that it has an eye on how the market has shifted in comparison with the same sales a year ago. Today, it looks at sales of the Porsche 911 and Jaguar E-type. Continue reading