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.

News updates: Catching up on Barris’s 67-X, convertible tops, concours, back issues of AQ, and more

Barris-designed 67-X on display in the Royal BC Museum | Royal BC Museum photos
Barris-designed 67-X on display in the Royal BC Museum | Royal BC Museum photos

As part of the Canadian centennial celebration, Expo 67 in Montreal, oil and gas producer and retailer Esso commissioned George Barris to create a futuristic vehicle. Barris used an Oldsmobile Toronado as his canvas for the 67-X.

Four such cars were produced, and after Expo 67 they were given away in a contest. The only one known to have survived is on display through March 12 at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, as part of a celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. Continue reading

‘Painter laureate’ Rolls-Royce on Aussie auction docket

1936 Rolls-Royce was owned by famed portrait artist | Mossgreen photos
1936 Rolls-Royce was owned by famed portrait artist | Mossgreen photos

A 1936 Rolls-Royce former owned by the artist known as “Britain’s painter laureate” headlines Mossgreen Auctions upcoming sale May 28 in Melbourne, Australia. The auction will include around 20 vehicles.

“The F.O. Salisbury Rolls-Royce, not surprisingly is a work of art in itself,” Mossgreen said in its news release. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring

2017 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring is updated inside and out | Larry Edsall photos
2017 Mazda3 5-door Grand Touring is updated inside and out | Larry Edsall photos

From one end of the lineup to the other, there are few automakers who produce cars that are as much fun to drive as does Mazda. Yes, indeed, there is that Miata “zoom-zoom” in every Mazda vehicle, but it actually pre-dates the MX-5, going back to such vehicles as the RX-7 and the 323 GTX, that hoot-to-drive, road-legal rally car. Continue reading

’56 Olds-based original Batmobile on Vicari auction docket

First licensed Batmobile was built on 1956 Oldsmobile chassis | Vicari photos
First licensed Batmobile was built on 1956 Oldsmobile chassis | Vicari photos

What is believed to be the first officially licensed Batmobile, a 1956 Oldsmobile 88 customized by then 23-year-old Forrest Robinson and his friend, Len Perham, is headed to auction as part of the Vicari sale scheduled for October 5-7 at Biloxi, Mississippi.

Vicari reports that the car was sanctioned by a DC Comics licensee — All Star Dairies/Green Acres — and was built in the Robinson family barn in New England. It was completed two years before George Barris and his team created the first Batmobile for the television series. Continue reading

SEMA shows how to overcome challenges facing the hobby

SEMA staged its first Town Hall meeting of the year in Phoenix | Larry Edsall photos
SEMA staged its first Town Hall meeting of the year in Phoenix | Larry Edsall photos

Our hobby is in jeopardy. We’re getting older and dying off. Government regulations are limiting what we can do. Technology is making it impossible to tinker, let alone modify or restore.

Sound familiar? Those were the three primary subjects for discussion recently when the board of directors of SEMA — the Specialty Equipment Market Association — held its annual planning meeting. Continue reading

No-reserve Mustang trio on Leake’s OKC auction docket

1966 Shelby GT350H was San Francisco rental fleet car | Leake Auction photos
1966 Shelby GT350H was San Francisco rental fleet car | Leake Auction photos

Not only are they sought-after collector cars, but a trio of 1960s Ford Mustangs will be offered without reserve this week when Leake Auction Company stages its annual Oklahoma City sale, starting Friday.

The cars are a 1966 Shelby GT350H, a 1968 Shelby GT500KR and a 1969 Ford Boss 429. Continue reading

Four famous concepts join London Classic Car Show

David Brown bought the company after driving Aston Martin Atom | London show photo by Simon Clay
David Brown bought the company after driving Aston Martin Atom | London show photo by Simon Clay

Four concept cars, ranging from the 1939 Aston Martin Atom to the Jaguar C-X75 featured in the James Bond movie Spectre, will be showcased this week at the annual London Classic Car Show.

“Concept cars are no strangers to motor shows, but it’s not often that they reappear decades later as eye-catching classics,” event director Bas Bungish said in a news release. “Their presence at The London Classic Car Show is sure to be a big talking point among intrigued visitors.” Continue reading

25-year wait might be worth it for this taste of Cappuccino

1991 Suzuki Cappuccino is on the docket at Fort Lauderdale | Auctions America photos
1991 Suzuki Cappuccino is on the docket at Fort Lauderdale | Auctions America photos

When I was one of the editors of AutoWeek magazine, we used to do a semi-regular feature called NFUSS, short for Not For U.S. Sale. These were cars we’d have loved to drive, and for our readers to drive as well, if only they had they been available in the United States automotive market instead of being restricted to their Asian or European homelands.

One of the cars we were eager to feature was the Suzuki Cappuccino, launched in 1991 after being teased two years earlier at the Tokyo Motor Show. Continue reading

Subaru launches celebration of 50th anniversary in America

Subaru was the first with popularly price  four-wheel-drive station wagon | Subaru photos
Subaru was the first with popularly price four-wheel-drive station wagon | Subaru photos

On February 15, 1968, American businessmen Malcolm Bricklin and Harvey Lamm launched Subaru of America. Half a century later, the company has started a year-long celebration leading up to its 50th anniversary.

As early as 1965, Bricklin was importing the Fuji Rabbit motor scooter and the little Subaru 360 car. With Lamm, who had been working in his family’s furniture store, he launched Subaru of America to sell distributor franchises, with 13 spread across the country. Continue reading

The Finest does only $2.6 million at Boca Raton sale

1997 Lamborghini Diablo sells for $197,000 | The Finest photo
1997 Lamborghini Diablo sells for $189,000 | The Finest photo

The Finest Automobile Auctions sale in conjunction with the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance posted sales of $2.6 million with a 52 percent sell-through rate.

Those figures include the post-block sales that are part of The Finest’s auction format, which includes a 72-hour sales extension after the last hammer drops at the live auction. Nonetheless, only 37 of the 71 lots offered went to new owners. Continue reading