All posts by William Hall

William Hall is a writer, classic car broker and collector based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He has spent the whole of his professional career in the automotive industry, starting as an auto-parts delivery driver at the age of 16 to working for some of the nation’s premier restoration shops. He is a concours judge and a consultant to LeMay-America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

Bumps, bruises and teamwork deliver The Drive Home II

Mike Garland of Carlisle Events drove the Nomad when The Drive Home stopped in Pennsylvania | William Hall photos
Mike Garland of Carlisle Events drove the Nomad when The Drive Home stopped in Pennsylvania | William Hall photos

The Drive Home II, the second-annual promotional winter road trip cooked up by LeMay-America’s Car Museum and The North American International Auto Show, rolled into Detroit’s Cobo Hall Saturday evening after a 2,100-mile journey fraught with challenges.

Three classic cars – a 1957 Chevy Nomad, a 1961 Chrysler 300G and a 1966 Ford Mustang – began the trip from Boston on December 28. Trailered behind the support vehicle was a fourth car, a 1917 Crane-Simplex Model 5, formerly the property of J.D. Rockefeller. Continue reading

Bill’s best buys for the coming year

Six affordable collector cars show signs of increasing values during the next year
Six affordable collector cars show signs of increasing values during the next year

The collector car market is a lot like the real estate market: it’s always seeking growth in that next new, hot neighborhood. And just like real estate, new areas appreciate while others plateau or depreciate.

With collector cars, there are a number of intangibles that go into predicting The Next Big Thing. It’s a complicated algorithm that considers rarity of remaining examples, affordability relative to comparable models, design, performance, desirability and everyday usability. Continue reading

The Drive Home II: The Heritage Run begins snowy trek in Boston

The 1961 Chrysler 300G and 1957 Chevrolet Nomad line up to begin the trip to Detroit | William Hall photos
The 1961 Chrysler 300G and 1957 Chevrolet Nomad line up to begin the trip to Detroit | William Hall photos

LeMay-America’s Car Museum, in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show in Detroit,  put three vintage cars on the harsh winter roads of New England today to start a 2,100 mile, classic car road rally to the Motor City.

“The Drive Home II: The Heritage Run” fleet consists of a 1961 Chrysler 300G, a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad and a 1966 Ford Mustang coupe. The bright-red classics were chosen for their representation of Detroit’s Big Three manufacturers, and the moving tribute to America’s automotive heritage is meant to remind us of the personality, ingenuity and dependability of Detroit Iron. Wannabe automakers Google and Apple should take note. Continue reading

2016 top stories: 7 – Automobilia soars at Mecum Road Art auction

Dan Mecum gazes at the Musgo gasoline sign that sold for a stunning $230,000 | William Hart photos
Dan Mecum gazes at the Musgo gasoline sign that sold for a stunning $230,000 | William Hart photos

During 2016, the collector car hobby reached new heights and widths in excess. Premium collector cars raised the ceiling on world-record sales prices, while such complimentary interests as classic motorcycles, automobilia, petroliana, automotive art, garage accessories and car condos filled out the hobbyist lifestyle experience.

Barrett-Jackson, Mecum and other auction houses have raised the profile of vintage automobilia with inclusion at their classic car sales, making the case that no garage or car collection is complete without accompanying regalia. Continue reading

2016 top stories: 9 – LeMay Museum’s The Drive Home

The LeMay Museum’s 1966 Ford Mustang, 1962 Chrysler 300G  and 1957 Chevy Nomad take a break in the snow | William Hall photos.
The LeMay Museum’s 1966 Ford Mustang, 1962 Chrysler 300G and 1957 Chevy Nomad take a break in the snow | William Hall photos.

When the LeMay-America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, announced last December that it would be driving three classic American cars – a 1961 Chrysler 300G, a 1966 Mustang 289 Coupe, and a 1957 Chevy Nomad – 3,000 miles through winter weather to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, public reaction was fairly predictable.

Critics decried the perceived abuse of such fine vintage vehicles, and dismissed The Drive Home as a publicity stunt. Guilty: as a non-profit that relies on donations from private and corporate sponsors, this museum and others like it are always looking for ways to generate attention, goodwill and operating endowments to stay alive. Continue reading

After 100 years, J.D. Rockefeller’s 1917 Crane-Simplex takes a ‘Drive Home’

J.D. Rockefeller's Crane-Simplex goes back to New York 100 years later | Le May museum photos
J.D. Rockefeller’s Crane-Simplex goes back to New York 100 years later | Le May museum photos

The 1917 Crane-Simplex Model 5 formerly owned by John D. Rockefeller Sr. returns after nearly a century to its city of birth as part of the LeMay-America’s Car Museum and the North American International Auto Show’s “The Drive Home: The Heritage Run.”

One of America’s earliest luxury automakers, the Simplex Automobile Company was founded in New York City in 1907. In 1915, it was absorbed by the Crane Motor Car Company. Continue reading

Shell develops new premium fuel for the engines of old cars

Shell says its V-Power Nitro+ fuel helps protect vintage car engines | Bill Hall photos
Shell says its V-Power Nitro+ fuel helps protect vintage car engines | William Hall photos

Modern gasolines have become a recurring headache for classic car owners. Low octane and unleaded fuel have presented challenges for years, but federally-mandated 10 percent ethanol content has caused new problems with compatibility in vintage fuel-system components.

Recently, Shell Oil Company invited me down to STCH (Shell Technology Center Houston) in Texas to demonstrate what they’re doing to address the needs of the classic car owner with their Shell V-Power Nitro+ premium gasoline. Continue reading

Muscle cars, Corvettes take Chicago by storm

A colorful  circle of 1971 Boss 351 Mustangs at Chicago’s Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals | William Hall photos
A colorful circle of 1971 Boss 351 Mustangs at Chicago’s Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals | William Hall photos

‘We rolled out the cold weather for you,” I said to Bobby Unser. “You sure did,” replied the three-time Indy 500 Champion, who was making an appearance in Chicago for the 2016 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals. Two days earlier, it was 70 degrees, but on this day, the thermometer read 28.

Fortunately, this annual gathering of iconic American automobiles takes place inside the toasty, modern Stephens Convention Center near O’Hare Airport, away from the brisk winds outside. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Honda Ridgeline and the long, slow goodbye

The Honda Ridgeline worked well for hauling boat supplies | William Hall photos
The Honda Ridgeline worked well for hauling boat supplies | William Hall photos

Classic Car News editor Larry Edsall and I both favor small pickup trucks as our daily drivers, though it is a segment that has nearly disappeared from current production. My 1999 Ranger is still running strong with 200,000 miles on its 2.5 Pinto-derived (I prefer to call it a “Formula Ford”) engine, its five-speed manual transmission (still with its original clutch, thankyouverymuch) and its full, seven-foot bed.

I have asked much of the old girl over the years, and she has rarely let me down. Alas, it’s Milwaukee-made Tower Automotive frame has started to succumb to terminal rust, and so we have begun the long, slow goodbye. Continue reading

Milwaukee Concours moves up its traditional date for 2017

A 1934 Studebaker President Regal Roadster at the 2016 Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance | William Hall photo
A 1934 Studebaker President Regal Roadster at the 2016 Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance | William Hall photos

The Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance, known under former leadership as the Milwaukee Masterpiece, is moving the date of the annual event so as not to compete with other national and regional classic car shows. The move brings the event to the first weekend in August, starting August 5-6, 2017. Continue reading