All posts by Steve Evans

Steve Evans is a second-generation car guy whose passion for collector cars spans all eras. A Phoenix resident, Steve serves on the committee for the Arizona Concours d’Elegance and is the editor of a vintage motoring blog. A collector of all things automotive, Steve’s current object of interest is a 1927 Locomobile.

Classic profile: Cup-winning 1905 Richard-Brasier

The Richard-Brasier race car was shown at the 1905 Paris Salon | Courtesy of the author
The Richard-Brasier race car was shown at the 1905 Paris Salon | Courtesy of the author

I came across this postcard in Monterey last year and couldn’t resist. As it states, the card illustrates the Richard-Basier stand at the Paris Salon in 1905. The star-car of the French show, the 1905 Gordon-Bennett winning racer is seen front and center.

The French firm of Richard-Brasier has a confusing history with many name changes, but the story starts with brothers Georges and Maxine Richards. They entered the bicycle business in 1893 and a few years later started manufacturing vehicles resembling the Benz Velo. In 1901, they enticed Henri Brasier, the chief designer for Mors, to join the team. His impact was immediate and by 1902, Brasier’s name was added to the marque. Continue reading

Classic Profile: Maserati wins 1939 Indianapolis 500

Wilbur Shaw in the Maserati 8CTF at Indy | Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Wilbur Shaw in the Maserati 8CTF at Indy | Indianapolis Motor Speedway

In 1938, Ernesto Maserati developed the Maserati 8CTF to compete with the likes of Mercedes and Auto Union on the European GP circuit. Although not particularly successful on the Continent, the car gained fame stateside with a historic victory at the Indianapolis 500. Continue reading

Classic Profile: Rolls-Royce comes to America

Rolls-Royce Model 30 Roi des Belges demonstrator car in New York City | Photos courtesy of the author
Rolls-Royce Model 30 Roi des Belges demonstrator car in New York City in 1906 | Photos courtesy of the author

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars famously started after an introduction in 1904 between Charles Rolls, a young automobile enthusiast and dealer of French automobiles, and Henry Royce, a middle-aged manufacturer of electrical components. Continue reading

Classic Profile: Derham Body Company, last coachbuilder of the classic era

This 12-cylinder 1936 Pierce-Arrow was custom-bodied by Derham | Photos courtesy of the author
This 12-cylinder 1936 Pierce-Arrow was custom-bodied by Derham | Photos courtesy of the author

The Derham Company of Rosemont, Pennsylvania extended far past the life of most other American coachworks companies, surviving two world wars and the Great Depression. Continue reading

Classic Profile: 1921-26 Duesenberg Straight Eight

This Duesenberg Straight Eight has sedan bodywork by Charles Schutte | Courtesy of the author
This Duesenberg Straight Eight has sedan bodywork by Charles Schutte | Courtesy of the author

The Automobile Trade Journal of July 1, 1920, wrote, “The Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Corp. has bought a factory site in Indianapolis and plans 2,400 cars the first year of operation. In addition to a special Duesenberg engine, the car will be equipped with four-wheel brakes and an axle designed by Fred S. Duesenberg. The new car is stated to be 400 lbs lighter than those of similar power and will obtain from 18 to 22 miles on a gallon of gasoline.” Continue reading

Classic Profile: 1905 Locomobile Model E

A big umbrella serves as a sunshade for this 1905 Locomobile Model E | Courtesy of the author
A big umbrella serves as a sunshade for this 1905 Locomobile Model E | Courtesy of the author

In the early years of the 20th Century, few new cars included a top – or a windshield for that matter. Typically, a top would have been an extra cost and we can tell from the picture that this Locomobile was sold without a top. The give-away is the lack of “irons” – the metal brackets that attach the top to the car. Continue reading

Classic Profile: 1909 Pope-Hartford Model S

The apparently chauffeur-driven 1909 Pope-Harford | Courtesy of the author
The apparently chauffeur-driven 1909 Pope-Harford | Courtesy of the author

In the early days of motoring, automobiles were typically possessions of the wealthy. Professional drivers were often employed and many chauffeur organizations existed to advance the profession. This picture appears to show a chauffeur bringing up the family’s 1909 Pope-Hartford somewhere in New Jersey. Continue reading

First-time Pebble Beach Concours entrant checks a big one off the bucket list

Car guy Jay Leno mugs on the Pierce-Arrow with (from upper left) Nathan, Steve and Bob Evans | Courtesy of the author
Jay Leno mugs on the Pierce-Arrow with (from upper left) Nathan, Steve and Bob Evans | Courtesy of the author

I was standing in the back of a 1909 Pierce-Arrow getting my picture taken with Jay Leno sitting at the wheel, all the while thinking: Only at Pebble Beach!

As a first-time entrant in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with the Pierce-Arrow owned by my Dad, Monterey car week was much more than a brush with fame but a time filled with good friends, wonderful vistas, and of course, fantastic cars. With my father and my son, we formed three generations of car guys with the opportunity to check a big one off the bucket list.

I was polishing the brass on the Pierce-Arrow in preparation for the next day’s Concours when Larry, our driver from Intercity transporters, said, “Jay Leno’s here in the paddock. You should go up and say hello.” So that’s what I did. Jay was truly a pleasure and seemed genuinely interested in the Pierce. All of the cars, too, for that matter.

The Evans family gathers during the Concours | Bob Golfen photo
The Evans family gathers during the Concours | Bob Golfen photo

The car we brought to Pebble was Dad’s 1909 Pierce-Arrow, model 36UU five-passenger touring. Twenty-five years ago, Dad was fortunate enough to be offered the car from the family that had owned it since 1919.

Back in the day, it was just a used car that the family had taken to their New Hampshire farm, removed the body, and used as a farm truck. Thankfully, they reunited the car with its original body in 1934 and put it in their barn. A restoration was started in 1962, and today the car is as it was when restored some 50 years ago.

Although not a show car, it’s one of about a dozen 1909 Pierce-Arrows that remain, and the only 1909 model 36UU five-passenger touring thought to survive. Naturally, we were excited to have had it accepted for Pebble Beach.

The week unfolded with each day trumping the previous, all culminating with the Concours. Sunday brought an early start. We were not alone; the paddock was packed as more than 200 entrants prepared to roll out. The car was already off the truck when we arrived and we made preparations to drive it over for display – turn on the gas, put up the top, wipe the car down, and check the paperwork.

Steve Evans at the wheel of the Pierce-Arrow | Courtesy of the author
Steve Evans at the wheel of the Pierce-Arrow | Courtesy of the author

It was pure pleasure having the whole family ride in it together, and even though we were among the first dozen or so cars to drive onto the golf course, the crowd had already lined the 18th Fairway to watch us drive on. As soon as we parked, my son Nathan ran off with the stated goal of taking a picture of each and every car in the Concours – it would be over an hour before I saw him again.

Our spot on the field was ideal and we met our neighbors: a stunning American Underslung from the Off Brothers Collection in Michigan and another Pierce-Arrow, this one originally owned by Milton Hershey of Hershey chocolate fame.

Dad beamed with pride the entire day as he fielded questions about his car; we were both amazed at how many people came up to ask about the Pierce. Eventually, I made my way around to see most of the other cars. For me, the steam-car display and the Ruxton featured class were among the favorites. But let’s face it, everything is worth a look at Pebble Beach. Plus, I got to meet some of you blog readers who came by to say hello.

I had been to Pebble Beach in the past, but what made this trip so special was actually being part of it and sharing the experience with my family. Now that it’s all over, the entire experience is still a bit of a blur, but the thrill hasn’t worn off. The Concours day seems to go by so quickly and you feel as though you didn’t get a chance to visit with everyone. Regardless, it’s a memory we’ll all cherish.

Tour d’Elegance completed, it’s time to head to the fairway at Pebble Beach

The Evans family's 1909 Pierce-Arrow heads out on the Tour d'Elegance at Pebble Beach | Bob Golfen photo
The Evans family’s 1909 Pierce-Arrow heads out on the Tour d’Elegance at Pebble Beach | Bob Golfen photo

As first time entrants at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, this week has delivered a bounty of wonderful experiences, and a few nervous moments. We pulled the 1909 Pierce-Arrow off the truck Wednesday and made sure everything was in order by driving around the corner to the Lodge at Pebble Beach.

Thursday started early as we got in line for the Tour d’Elegance. As can be the case in Carmel-by-the Sea, the morning was foggy and wet. Driving a 105-year-old car is great fun, but driving in heavy traffic, in the wet, with some steep hills can be quite stressful.

Not more than five miles into the run and with Dad at the helm, we turned on to a hill. A Stanley Steamer had already stopped at the bottom of the grade and we charged around only to have the Hispano-Suiza ahead of us stop mid-way up the hill. This brought us to a stop with others behinds us.

With faster cars desperately looking to pass, the hill got a bit hectic. Thankfully, Dad was able to get us going again and we climbed to the top in second gear.

Nathan Evans takes a turn at the wheel | Evans family photo
Nathan Evans takes a turn at the wheel | Evans family photo

After that nervous moment, things smoothed out and we waited in the queue to drive into Carmel as a group.

I can honestly say I’ve never seen more people lining the streets as we drove in. We felt like celebrities as we came to a stop on Ocean Avenue and the crowd swarmed around.

After a lovely lunch we sat in the car and fielded questions for the crowd – great fun and a something I’ll never forget.

That’s all for now, as I’ve got to wrap this up and head off to clean the Pierce-Arrow for the Concours.

Classic Profile: 1913 Mercer, a car to be admired

Early car collector Cameron Bradley (left) shows off his restored 1913 Mercer Raceabout | Courtesy of the author
Early car collector Cameron Bradley (left) shows off his restored 1913 Mercer Raceabout | Courtesy of the author

From the day the first Mercer raceabout was sold in 1910, these have been cars to be admired. The Mercer Automobile Company was founded by the Roebling and Kuser families in Mercer County, New Jersey – thus the company’s name. Both families were wealthy and prominent with extensive manufacturing experience, and they wanted to build a high-quality sporting car. Continue reading