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.

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

A secret show of appreciation for behind-the-scenes heroes

There's a secret place at Pebble Beach where cars are prepped for the show | Larry Edsall photos
There’s a secret place at Pebble Beach where cars are prepped for the show | Larry Edsall photos

I was invited Friday into a secret place at Pebble Beach. Out beyond the Lodge and the famed 18th hole of the golf links, beyond the tents that house the Gooding & Company classic car auction, there is a fenced-off area full of semi tractors and their trailers. These vehicles bear the names of Reliable, Intercity, Horseless Carriage, Passport, Masten, RM and the other companies entrusted to transport expensive cars to auto shows, concours and auctions. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Inaugural Classic Americana show at Carmel Valley

I want that one, says a buddy young car enthusiast at the Classic Americana show | Larry Edsall photos
I want that one, says a buddy young car enthusiast at the Classic Americana show | Larry Edsall photos

Alex Chavez was 27 years old when he organized the first Monterey Car Week Rally. That was seven years ago.

“We needed events in which any car can participate,” Chavez said Friday at yet another of his automotive brainchildren, the inaugural Classic Americana car show, “a celebration of the American motoring tradition.” Continue reading

Pinnacle Portfolio sale sets auction records at Monterey

Part of the Pinnacle Portfolio sold Thursday by RM Sotheby's | Larry Edsall photos
Part of the Pinnacle Portfolio sold Thursday by RM Sotheby’s | Larry Edsall photos

The sale Thursday of the Pinnacle Portfolio by RM Sotheby’s would set the tone for the entire classic car auction weekend on the Monterey Peninsula, Rick Cole predicted a couple of days earlier. Well, if the father of classic car sales at Monterey was correct, it’s going to be a truly spectacular and record-setting sales weekend.

Usually the biggest numbers of the Monterey auction week come over the weekend. But because of the scope of the Pinnacle Portfolio, a group of valuable cars coming out of a single collection, RM Sotheby’s decided to start things early with a single-evening sale of the special collection.

Would it work? Would buyers respond? Continue reading

Tony A-to-Z, me and the motorsports reunion that didn’t happen

The car (7) Tony A-to-Z was to drive awaits in the F5000 paddock | Larry Edsall photos
The car (7) Tony A-to-Z was to drive awaits in the F5000 paddock | Larry Edsall photos

I was looking forward to my own motorsports reunion Thursday at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It was in May, 1973, that I first visited the track, a young sportswriter sent from Michigan to cover the L&M F5000 race, which ran a couple of weeks ahead of that series visiting Michigan International Speedway.

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Larry revs up at Rick Cole’s Monterey auction

The Rick Cole Auctions showroom in downtown Monterey | Larry Edsall photos
The Rick Cole Auctions showroom in downtown Monterey | Larry Edsall photos

What a difference walking into the salon-like setting of the Rick Cole collector car auction in Monterey. For one thing, there’s no auctioneer’s block or phone bank on the brightly carpeted second floor of the downtown Marriott Monterey hotel. Nor are there any glossy-paper auction catalogs with lush photography and extensive vehicle descriptions.

Instead, there are Rick Cole and a couple of others vehicle experts who will answer questions you might have about the stunning vehicles being offered up for bidding. Need to know a car’s specs or historical provenance in detail? It’s on the Rick Cole Auctions website. Continue reading