Category archives: Concours & Events

Arizona Auction Week final tally: Records galore

Classics ready to roll across the block at Barrett-Jackson |Larry Edsall photos
Classics ready to roll across the block at Barrett-Jackson |Larry Edsall photos

Very interesting observation in the Hagerty newsletter’s wrap-up of Arizona Auction Week:

“Looking at the numbers from a different angle, many unsold cars were bid to amounts that would have purchased them six months ago.”

Think about that for a second. Prices that would have bought a car six months ago — say at Monterey — weren’t enough to seal the deal in January in Arizona. That’s certainly an indicator of the strength of the marketplace. (We’ll get to others in a few minutes.)

The insurance company/car-value-guide publisher’s newsletter also shared the unsold-vehicle statistics: At the Arizona auctions in 2015, 408 cars did not sell even though bidders were willing to pay a combined $69.5 million for them. In 2014, 494 cars went unsold at the Arizona auctions after being bid to $40.8 million.

Basically, those figures indicate the difference between the consignors’ reserve prices on those vehicles and the fact that bidders didn’t think the cars were worth quite as much as those who already owned them. The folks at Hagerty did the math, figuring the average high bid on all of those unsold vehicles. Add… divide… and they discovered that figure had more than doubled when compared with 2014.

So what does it mean?

For one thing, it does not mean that all of that nearly $70 million was left on the table at the Arizona auctions. Presumably, in very, very many cases, the person whose bid wasn’t enough to buy Car A simply waited a lot or two or a few and bought Car B.

“All this suggests,” the newsletter reports, “that sellers are continuing to expect their cars to maintain stratospheric appreciation while buyers aren’t as bullish.

“The next few months should lend a sharper focus to which direction the collector-car market is headed, but until then suffice to say that those who were able to enjoy all of the activity in Arizona were treated to a monumental week.”

Indeed, it was a monumental week:

  • Total sales pushed to some $293 million, easily an Arizona auction record and a surge of more than $44 million compared with the same sales in 2014;
  • The record for the most-expensive vehicle ever sold at an Arizona classic car was broken — twice;
  • At least 30 world auction records were set for specific makes and models;
  • The record for the largest automobilia auction was shattered, and by nearly threefold;
  • The $40.44 million paid for the various pieces of the Ron Pratte collection likely is a record amount for a single collection sold at public auction.

    Cars arrayed along the red carpet at RM
    Cars arrayed along the red carpet at RM

Until last Thursday, the most anyone had paid for a vehicle at an Arizona auction (including auction fees) was the $8.8 million that bought a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider at RM in 2014.

On Thursday, a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competitizione brought $9.405 million at Bonhams. But that car held the record for only a day. The following evening, a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM sold at RM for $9.625 million.

Even though more than 400 cars were left unsold at the Arizona auctions, Bonhams (87), RM (89), Gooding (91) and Barrett-Jackson (99) each reported very strong sell-through rates.

Following are details on each of those four auctions, all of which have reported their sales figures to the news media:


“This year’s Scottsdale auction was on a scale unlike anything in our 44-year history,” Craig Jackson said in his company’s post-auction news release. “From sales and consignments to our ratings on Discovery and Velocity, we smashed records at every level… with our largest vehicle consignment in history, including the sale of the Ron Pratte Collection.”

Pratte’s collection of automobilia and some 150 vehicles forced Barrett-Jackson to add days to its sale, which posted sales of more than $131 million in vehicles and an additional $6.55 million in automobilia. Barrett-Jackson said its 2015 automobilia sale at Scottsdale was a world record by nearly three times over.

Of the $131 million in vehicle sales, more than $8.1 million was earmarked for charities, with another $600,000 also being donated by Barrett-Jackson bidders.

The top three prices paid for vehicles at Barrett-Jackson all went to vehicles from Pratte’s collection: $5.1 million for the one-of-a-kind 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake, $4 million for the 1950 GM Futurliner (a charity sale benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation), and $3.3 million for the 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama concept car.

Here is Barrett-Jackson’s official top 10 sales at Scottsdale 2015:

  1. 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake (Lot 2509) – $5.1 million
  2. 1950 GM Futurliner Parade of Progress Tour Bus (Lot 2501) – $4 million
  3. 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama Concept Car (Lot 2500) – $3.3 million
  4. 1949 Talbot-Lago T-26 Grand Sport Franay (Lot 5087) – $1.65 million
  5. 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster (Lot 5090) – $1.595 million
  6. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (Lot 5075) – $1.1 million
  7. 1937 Mercedes-Benz 320B Cabriolet (Lot 5086) – $1.045 million
  8. 1936 Delahaye “Whatthehaye” Street-Rod (Lot 2515) – $671,000
  9. 1991 Ferrari F40 (Lot 5071) – $643,500
  10. 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Cabriolet (Lot 5076) – $643,500


“Year on year, our auction here in Scottsdale has grown in both reputation and results,” James Knight, Bonhams group motoring director, said in a news release.

Indeed, after its inaugural sale in Scottsdale sold only 40 cars in 2012 for less than $6 million, its numbers grew to 92 sales and $13 million in 2013 and to 85 sales for $23.5 million last year. This year, its 84-car Scottsdale catalog resulted in $25 million in sales.

Bonhams news release did not include a top-10 listing, but it did confirm that a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competition sold for $9.405 million to top a sale is a nearly 90 percent sell-through.

Gooding & Company

“With nearly a quarter of our lots setting new world auction records and 11 cars selling over $1 million, this year’s Scottsdale auction proved to be a very strong sale all around,” said David Gooding, founder of the company that bears his name. “We are proud of the 90 percent sales rate achieved as it exemplifies our company’s ability to meet the market’s ever-shifting demands and trends while also maintaining our mission to present the highest quality examples to buyers around the world.”

Gooding & Company reported $51.1 million in sales of 114 of 126 lots and claimed 25 world-auction price records for various makes and models.

It also pointed proudly to the sale of Jay Leon’s 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 that raised more than $565,000 for the USO ($360,000 for the car and another $200,000 in donations from bidders and others in attendance).

Instead of a top-10 sales list, Gooding’s news release included all 11 of its million-dollar sales:

  1. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider (Lot 46) — $7.7 million
  2. 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Series I Coupe Aerodinamico (Lot 132) — $4.07 million
  3. 1968 Ferrari 330 GTS (Lot 109) — $2.420 million
  4. 138: 1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6 (Lot 138) — $1.98 million
  5. 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso (Lot 25) — $1.925 million
  6. 1959 BMW 507 Series II (Lot 51) — $1.815 million
  7. 1988 Porsche 959 Sport (Lot 142) — $1.705 million
  8. 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS, (Lot 10) — $1.595 million
  9. 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (Lot 149) — $1.567 million
  10. 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra (Lot 30) — $1.155 million
  11. 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S (Lot 113) $1.155 million

RM Auctions

“Carefully curated by our specialists, our offering was defined by its quality and uniqueness, with fantastic prices recorded across the board,” Ian Kelleher, managing director of RM’s West Coast division said in a news release after the company’s Arizona auction. “Arizona provided a terrific start to our new collector-car auction calendar.”

Led by the Arizona record-setting Ferrari 250 LM, RM posted $63.7 million while selling 90 vehicles. Total sales were more than $18 million above those at the company’s 2014 Arizona auction.

Also led by the 250 LM, Ferraris accounted for the top six sales at RM and for eight of the top 10:

  1. 1964 Ferrari 250 LM (Lot 0) — $9.625 million
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 (Lot 241) $3.658 million
1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider (Lot 235) — $3.3 million
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB (Lot 115) — $2.75 million
1984 Ferrari 288 GTO (Lot 158) — $2.75 million
1966 Ferrari 275 GTS (Lot 151) — $2.365 million
  7. 1971 Lamborghini Miura SVJ (Lot 119) — $1.898 million
1962 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II (Lot 136) — $1.705 million
  9. 1965 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS (Lot 143) — $1.65 million
2005 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione (Lot 253) — $1.622 million

Russo and Steele

“Our 15th anniversary auction event was really everything we here at Russo and Steele could have hoped it would be,” said auction house founder Drew Alcazar. “We experienced record crowds this year, which spilled over into an amazing energy on the block and produced incredible results.

“European sports continued to be the hottest segment this year, and we led the way across Arizona Car Week on “early” Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadsters with a result of $1,430,000.00 on an example from 1957 and with the very hot Porsche 911 market, we achieved the week;s highest result on a very special 1974 911 2.7 RS, which crossed our block at $302,500.00.

“All in all, it was an absolutely fantastic week, and it was yet another example of our patented cars and camaraderie at work.”

Russo and Steele reported $19,633,820 in total sales with a 69 percent sell-through with 451 vehicles going to new owners. It’s top 10 sales were:

  1. 1957 Merceds-Benz 300SL (Lot 2565), $1,43 milion
  2. 1966 Shelby Cobra (Lot 2260), $440,000
  3. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 (Lot 2235), $335,500
  4. 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 (Lot 2074), $330,000
  5. 1974 Porsche 911 (Lot 2275), $302,500
  6. 1957 Porsche 356 (Lot 2080), $286,000
  7. 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda (Lot 2525), $247,500
  8. 1967 Ford Mustang (Lot 2189), $228,250
  9. 2001 Prevost XL 45 Vanfare motor home (Lot 2268), $206,250
  10. 1959 Echidna Chassis 2 (Lot 2071), $162,800

Silver Auctions

“In light of the Arizona auctions, the market is fit enough to run a marathon!” said Mitch Silver. “We had buyers for every car that was priced within the realm of reason.”

Silver pointed out that once reserves were met, “Prices accelerated by thousands and the bidding took off.”

Silver posted sales of $3.59 million on a very strong 69.5 sell-through rate. The company’s final report noted that unsold cars were bid to $1.9 million, including the high bid of the auction — $100,000 for a 1957 Dodge D-500 convertible that did not meet reserve.

“We are anticipating a 50 percent increase in revenue going in to our spring Arizona auction on March 13-14, just from the momentum from the success of the last sale,” Silver added.

Top 10 sales at Silver’s January Auction in Arizona (the Spokane, Washington-bassed company also staged an auction in Arizona in November and has another scheduled in mid-March):

  1. 1956 DeSoto Firedome convertible (Lot 477), $85,320
  2. 1966 Chevrolet Corvette 427 coupe (Lot 513), $82,080
  3. 1997 Lamborghini Diablo (Lot 524), $71,280
  4. 1931 Packard Standard 8 convertible (Lot 460), $64,800
  5. 1969 Chevrolet Corvette convertible (Lot 516), $60,480
  6. 1975 Porsche 911 (Lot 482), $59,940
  7. 1932 Ford Hi-Boy street rod (Lot 385), $56,160
  8. 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle 396/325 hardtop coupe, $52,380
  9. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 coupe, $48,640
  10. 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop coupe, $42,660


Thomas Edison’s estate is site of new concours

Edison’s Glenmont home in New Jersey will be site of new concours | photos courtesy

Joseph Cassini III not only ruled from the judge’s bench in the courtroom, but cars from his collection have been honored on concours d’elegance showfields from coast to coast, including best-of-show accolades in 2013 at Pebble Beach for his 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria.

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Porsche 914s, East and West Coast hot rods featured at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The Porsche 914 gets a major lift with its own class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance | Amelia Island Concours
The Porsche 914 gets its own class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance | Amelia Island Concours

Another sign of the generational shift in collector cars: The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance has announced that the once-humble Porsche 914 will be among the honored marques in March.

Of course, this is the prestigious Amelia Island Concours, so you won’t see your neighbor’s 914 driver sitting on the lawn among the classic car finery. The 914 class at the Florida concours will feature eight of the rarest production models, including one of just 11 high-performance 916 variations, plus a group of Porsche’s mid-engine championship race and rally cars from the 1970s.

The 914 was Porsche’s first mid-engine production car | Amelia Island
The 914 was Porsche’s first mid-engine production car | Amelia Island

The 914, which appeared as a prototype in 1968, was Porsche’s first mid-engine production car with roots leading back to the original Gmund Porsche that first wore the family name and started the illustrious line of sports/racing cars.

As a joint project with Volkswagen to produce an entry-level car for Porsche to replace the four-cylinder 912, the 914 was denigrated by purists as a mutt that did not live up to the standards of the breed.

But the affordable 914 proved highly popular, and its owners soon discovered that the low, lean and balanced 914 was a terrific handling sports car on back roads and race tracks alike. The six-cylinder 914/6 version became highly coveted, as it still is today, for the added performance.

For many years, four-cylinder 914s have been refugees dwelling in the bargain basement of collector cars, but great ones are finding their way up the ladder of value and interest.

“The 914 is a true Porsche with pure Porsche DNA,” Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Concours d’Elegance, said in a news release. “The 914 was raced and rallied successfully all around the world and, like the 911, a cult has grown up around it. It’s time the 914 had its day in the sun.”

The Posies Aeroliner Sport will anchor the East Coast hot rods | Posies
The Posies Aeroliner Sport will anchor the East Coast hot rods | Posies

Amelia’s honors for the 914 echo the decision last year by the Forest Grove Concours in Oregon to place Datsun Z sports cars among its honored class list. Like the 914, the 240Z and its successors are everyman’s cars from the ’70s that are gaining acceptance in the collector-car community.

The Amelia Island event also adds another intriguing class for March with its “Hot Rods: East Meets West,” featuring 1950s and ’60s customs that the concours calls “a celebration of the most dynamic and democratic of the automotive arts.”

An Amelia Island news release describes the fun:

“A class of 16 period American hot rods will be displayed on the field.  Eight East Coast rods will line up on the east side of the field, anchored by Posies East Coast Aeroliner Sport. Eric Zausner’s Moal Coachworks Falcon will anchor the West Coast rods on the west…”

The Falcon by Steve Moal leads the West Coast pack | Peter Vincent
The Falcon by Steve Moal leads the West Coast pack | Peter Vincent

According to Warner, East Coast and West Coast hot rods were very different animals stemming from divergent performance cultures.

“The East Coast rod is a blood relation of the sports car,” the chairman said, “while the West Coast rod has the style of the dry-lakes roadster, of Bonneville and the whole Ford ‘flathead’ V8 scene, probably what most people envision when they hear the words ‘hot rod.’”

Among the star hot rods are both examples from the United States Postal Service’s “Hot Rods Forever” commemorative stamps: Bruce Meyer’s red 1932 Bob McGee Ford Roadster, cover car for the October 1948 issue of Hot Rod magazine, and Mark Graham’s black high boy built by Vern Tardel.

The 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled March 13-15 at the Golf Club of Amelia Island at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island.  For more information, see

Along for the ride in the Arizona Concours driving tour

Steve Evans (left), his dad Bob and Gerri Dames on the tour in a 1909 Pierce-Arrow | Bob Golfen photos
Steve Evans (left), his dad Bob and Gerri Dames on the tour in a 1909 Pierce-Arrow | Bob Golfen photos

The bright-yellow 1928 Packard 526 sedan chugged sedately up the hills and through the desert scenery of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, its five occupants reliving the arcane splendor of motoring from our grandparents’ day.

More-modern cars rushed past, seeming impatient and unruly compared with our regal passage amid the Packard’s mechanical rumblings and pungent scent of unfiltered exhaust.

This was Monday, the day after the second annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance, when a number of the rare and exquisite classic cars shown at the Arizona Biltmore resort took part in a new feature: a driving tour. The participants included sports cars, race cars, luxury cars and such old timers as the upright Packard.

The 1928 Packard sedan parked near the desert at Taliesin West
The 1928 Packard sedan parked near the desert at Taliesin West

Leaving the Biltmore, the historic parade organized by the Arizona Concours headed for Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous architecture school and tourist destination, Taliesin West in Scottsdale. Next stop was a visit to Scottsdale car collectors Bill and Linda Pope’s spectacular private museum. Then it was off to another Frank Lloyd Wright landmark, the unique Phoenix home the legendary architect built for his son and daughter-in-law, David and Gladys Wright.

My choice was to ride with a couple of the entrants to enjoy the full experience of the tour. First off was the yellow Packard, in which I joined owners Paul and Pam Friskopp of Omaha, Nebraska, and Scottsdale, and their friends Don and Peggy Peterson of Fountain Hills, Arizona.

The ride was slow and stately, the ancient six-cylinder engine laboring mightily to move the big 5,000-pound sedan and five humans. The non-synchro three-speed transmission, mechanical brakes and truck-like handling makes the Packard a handful to drive, but Paul wore a nonstop grin as we rolled along. Although, he said, stopping or turning requires some planning ahead.

“If you compare it with a Ford or Chevy of the era, this has a very large and heavy ride,” he explained.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1949 Crosley and 1937 AC Ace at Taliesin West
Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1949 Crosley and 1937 AC Ace at Taliesin West

The Packard is a beautifully restored car, the work performed by the owner himself, who started out with a battered wreck in what he called “scrap-yard condition.” That’s a far cry from the car’s lovely appearance now, with an interior designed to coddle the passengers, at least those in the spacious back seat. I was sitting up front with Paul, where the surroundings were a bit more spartan, perhaps with a chauffeur in mind.

“It’s all about the passengers,” Friskopp said. “There’s no carpet up front, just mats. That’s original.”

After the fun ride to Taliesin West, I switched to another classic vehicle that was nearly as different as possible from the veteran Packard. It was a powerful and evocative 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing coupe, but not just any gullwing. This was the first one ever sold to the public, and its first owner was none other than famed American sportsman Briggs Cunningham.

“This car was never supposed to be sold,” said owner Dennis Nicotra of New Haven, Connecticut, noting that the 300SL was most-likely a pre-production or prototype car with significant differences from those eventually available in Mercedes showrooms. “There are no side mirrors and no bumper guards, which gives it a dramatically different look.”

The ex-Briggs Cunningham 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing coupe
The ex-Briggs Cunningham 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing coupe

Nicotra, a noted collector of high-end cars, said he pursued ownership of the Benz for decades.

“The previous owner had it for 42 years, and I was trying to get it for 35 years,” he said.

On the tour, he drove the car very gently, even gingerly, since it had only about 600 miles on it after its total restoration by German 300SL experts at H&K engineering in Polling, Germany. Once it is completely broken in, Nicotra said, he would drive it with a little more verve.

But you could feel the power and purposeful nature of the car even as we cruised through the suburban streets. The transmission has the stout whine of a full-racing gearbox, and the ride is firm but compliant.

“This is the best driving and running gullwing I have ever been in,” Nicotra said in praise of the restoration pros who transformed it into a showpiece.

When I first peeked under the gullwing passenger door at the very wide sill and snug space inside, I was worried how my too-tall frame would fit, or that I’d make an embarrassing spectacle of climbing aboard. Nicotra patiently gave me a quick lesson on how to enter the gullwing without blowing a gasket. Once inside, space was tight but acceptable.

The wide sill and tight confines of the 300SL's passenger seat
The wide sill and tight confines of the 300SL’s passenger seat

Then came the process of getting out once we arrived. As the owner explained, I had to lift my rear off the seat and onto the sill, then grab my right ankle and guide it out. Once there, you simply stand and pull out the other leg. Being careful, of course, not to dent your head on the raised door.

But it was a magnificent ride in a truly important automobile. Matter of fact, this car is so important that the Historic Vehicle Association is making it an upcoming entry into that most exclusive club of vehicles, the National Historic Vehicle Registry and Historic American Engineering Record that is permanently archived in the Library of Congress.

Only a handful of groundbreaking cars so far have been admitted for the permanent honor. The first one was the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe race car.

After I rode with Nicotra to the Wright House, he left to return to Taliesin West where HVA officials planned to interview him and take measurements and photos of the gullwing in anticipation of announcing the honor at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March.

“This car just ticks off all the boxes,” Nicotra said.

The scene after arrival at the David and Gladys Wright House, the tour’s final stop
The scene after arrival at the David and Gladys Wright House, the tour’s final stop

1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Sport Cabriolet takes best-of-show at Arizona concours

The second Arizona Concours d'Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore resort | Larry Edsall photos
The second Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore resort | Larry Edsall photos

‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” was the automakers’ advertising mantra back in the heyday of American stock car racing. But at the second Arizona Concours d’Elegance, the phrase that applied was “win on Sunday, sell on Thursday,” which is when the best-of-show winning 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Sport Cabriolet A goes from the lawns within the Arizona Biltmore to the RM auction block in one of the resort’s huge conference rooms.

1937 Mercedes-Benz takes best-of-show honors
1937 Mercedes-Benz takes best-of-show honors

Concours officials said they were not aware the car was going to auction, and have a policy not to accept cars for their event that are going to any of the auctions taking place in Arizona in the week after their event. They believe the decision to sell the car was made after it had been accepted for the concours show field.

The car, owned by Thomas Taffet of Chatsworth, California, was judged best in the European Classics class at the concours, and then beat all other class winners in a very close vote for the Molina best-of-show trophy. has learned that the best-of-show trophy was decided by the narrowest of margins among the voting judges, with the ’37 Mercedes barely edging a post-war sports car we believe to be a Ghia-bodied 1952 Fiat 8V Supersonic, a car owned by David Sydorick of Beverly Hills, California.

Mercedes-owner Taffet was not at the concours, but Michael Kunz of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California, said Taffet acquired the car at an RM auction in Monterey in 2010 or 2011 and immediately sent the car off for a complete restoration. Alex Weaver, a car specialist for RM, confirmed that the car is in the catalog for RM’s Arizona Auction, to be held Thursday and Friday at the Biltmore.

RM’s Arizona Auction catalog reports a pre-auction estimated value of $3.4 to $4.0 million for Lot 139. Winning best-of-show at the concours figures to boost those numbers by a hundred thousand or more.

Kunz pointed out that the car is something of a hybrid, but he wasn’t talking about its supercharged 5.4-liter inline eight-cylinder engine.

1952 Fiat 8V Supersonic viewed through Biltmore fountain
1952 Fiat 8V Supersonic viewed through Biltmore fountain

“It’s a special cabriolet A but really it isn’t,” he said. “It’s built on the special roadster chassis, but with the radiator behind the (front) axle. Only 10 of these were made. It was the highest-end car available from Mercedes-Benz at the time.”

The RM catalog says the car was ordered by a Martha Jordans in Paris, but was delivered to her home in Germany. It adds that she moved to the United States and brought the car with her.

The car was owned by several American collectors in places such as New Jersey, San Francisco and Colorado before Alfred Richter, of Lampertheim, Germany, took the car back to Europe in 1996. He apparently sold the car at Pebble Beach, with Taffet immediately sending it to Jim Griswold in Oregon for a complete and concours-quality restoration.

The car won a class award last summer at the Pebble Beach concours.

At the conclusion of the concours, it was announced the third annual such event is scheduled for January 24, 2016.

Class winners at the 2015 Arizona Concours d’Elegance

Pre-1915 Antique: 1903 Pope-Hartford Model B, John Konwiser, Scottsdale AZ
Pre-war sports and racing: 1932 MG F1 Magna, Malcolm and Barbara Appleton, Waitsfield VT
Post-war American-powered sports cars: 1952 Cunningham C-3 convertible, Rich and Karen Atwell, Phoenix
Post-war American race cars: 1959 Watson “Simoniz Special” Indy roadster, Larry and Jan Pfitzenmaier, Sonoita AZ
Post-war European sports cars: 1962 Jaguar E-type OTS, Randall Smalley, Paradise Valley AZ
American Classic Open: 1933 Packard 1005 convertible coupe, Aaron and Valeria Weiss, San Marino CA
American Classic Closed: 1937 Buick 91F formal sedan, Lee Gurvey, Scottsdale AZ
Preservation: 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB, Terry Maxon, Glendale AZ
Avant-Garde: 1949 Volkswagen Hebmuller cabriolet, Ron Clark, Paradise Valley AZ
Exotics: 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS, Philippe and Francoise Reyns, Chandler AZ
Post-war Mercedes-Benz: 1961 300D sedan, Barry Sohnen, Los Angeles
Pierce-Arrow: 1916 Model 48, Clive Cussler, Paradise Valley AZ
Ghia: 1952 Fiat 8V Supersonic, David Sydorick Beverly Hills CA

Volkswagen judged best in avant-garde category
Coach-built Volkswagen judged best in avant-garde category

Special Awards

Make-A-Wish Kids: Jaguar XK120C, Bill and Linda Pope, Scottsdale AZ
Hagerty Young Judges: 1927 Marmon E-75 Speedster, Ed Boice, Los Ranchos NM
Historic Vehicle Association: 1949 Crosley Hot Shot, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn IN
Historic Vehicle Association: 1937 AC 16/80 “Ace” roadster, David and Rochelle Buice, Dallas
Phoenix Automotive Press Association: 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, Todd and Stan Reeg, Paradise Valley AZ
Most elegant pre-war: 1933 Pierce-Arrow “Silver Arrow,” Academy of Art University, San Francisco
Most elegant post-war: 1956 Ferrari 256 GT Zagato, Rocky Mountain Auto Collection, Scottsdale AZ
Director’s award: 1953 Cadillac Series 62 (“Rita Hayworth” Ghia), Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles
Director’s award: 1951 OSCA MT4, T. G. Mittler, Santa Fe NM
Director’s award: 1957 Dual-Ghia, Curt and Carole Ziegler, Denver
Significant race or sport: 1954 Ferrari Europa 250 GT, Budd and Laurie Florkiewicz, Scottsdale AZ
Significant design: 1937 Cord 812SC Custom Beverly, Bruce Hanson, Phoenix
Special award: 1956 Ferrari 500 Testarossa, Bill and Linda Pope, Scottsdale AZ

Ferrari will be featured marque at Pebble Beach

The Best of Show winning 1954 Ferrari Scaglietti rolls to victory through a shower of confetti | Bob Golfen photo
The Best of Show winning 1954 Ferrari Scaglietti rolls to victory through a shower of confetti | Bob Golfen photo

Last summer, a Ferrari became the first post-war car in many decades to drive off with the best of show honors at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. In 2015, Ferrari will be the featured marquee at the 65th annual event held on the 18th fairway overlooking the famed bay.

“Our plans to feature Ferrari have been many years in the making,” Concours chairman Sandra Button said in a news release. “But it seems particularly appropriate to be showcasing this marque now, since a Ferrari earned our top award this past year.”

Jon Shirley’s 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti coupe not only was the first Ferrari ever to win best of show honors at Pebble Beach, but the first post-war winner in nearly 50 years.

Ferraris will be featured at Pebble Beach in August 2015 in several classes, including a special preservation class and another for Ferraris that participated in the Pebble Beach Road Races in the 1950s.

Button also announced other special classes to be featured at the concours this year:

Designs by Carrozzeria Touring: The Italian coachbuilder founded in 1926 is known for its designs and coachbuilt chassis on the Alfa Romeo 8C, Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, Ferrari 212 Inter/Export, the Hudson Jet, Frazer-Nash and many other vehicles.

DuPont: The duPont family is known for munitions, textiles, paint and its chemical company, but it also was involved in the early financial preservation of General Motors, though there was no connection between GM and the car company started in 1920 by family member E. Paul DuPont. DuPont built cars until 1932. Although 537 were produced, fewer than 40 are known to still exist.

Mercury Customs: In the late 1940s and early ’50s, Mercury was the marque of choice for car customizers, several of which will be featured on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Club.

Pope: Col. Albert August Pope created the world’s largest bicycle-manufacturing company and from 1903-1915 produced automobiles. He also was a founder of the Good Roads Movement, which led to the improvement and paving of many roads across the United States.

Postwar Cunninghams: American sportsman Briggs Cunningham not only won the America’s Cup in sailing and built cars that raced at Le Mans, he worked with Italian coach builder Vignale on a series of Cunningham C3 sports cars, which will be exhibited at Pebble Beach.

Japanese motorcycles: Motorcycles produced in Japan gained world-wide prominence in the 1960s and then dominated the market in the 1970s. They will be featured in a special class at Pebble Beach.

Also to be featured are pre-war British sports cars, the 75th anniversary of the Lincoln Continental, and the 50th anniversary of the Shelby GT350 Mustang.

Featured classic cars at Arizona Concours d’Elegance

The 1953 Cadillac Ghia was originally owned by screen actress Rita Hayworth | Petersen Museum
The 1953 Cadillac Ghia was originally owned by screen actress Rita Hayworth | Petersen Museum

The second-annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance kicks off the Valley of the Sun’s famous Classic Car Week with an array of rare and exceptional automobiles displayed on the inner lawns of the landmark Arizona Biltmore resort this Sunday.

The exquisite group of 90 cars will compete for prizes in 17 classes as well as vying for a number of special awards in the intimate and historic setting.

There also will be four featured classes for 2015: the Pierce-Arrow luxury brand, the 100th anniversary of the Italian design firm Ghia, Ferrari race cars through 1965, and cars once owned by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who consulted in the design of the Arizona Biltmore that opened in 1929.

Among the top automobiles that highlight the Arizona Concours d’Elegance are:

The 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow is a rare showpiece | Arizona Concours
The 1933  Silver Arrow is a rare showpiece | Arizona Concours

1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow – One of the most evocative designs of the 1930s, the Silver Arrow was a radically streamlined sedan unveiled by Pierce-Arrow at the 1933 New York Auto Show. Priced at an astronomical $10,000, it was announced with the slogan “Suddenly It’s 1940!” Power comes from a massive V12 engine mated with a three-speed manual gearbox. Only five were constructed and just three remain.

1953 Cadillac Ghia – This flamboyant Cadillac Series 62 coupe designed and built by Ghia is known as the Rita Hayworth Cadillac because it was given to the Hollywood actress by her then-husband, Prince Ali Khan, the world’s wealthiest man at the time, who bought it for her after spotting it on Ghia’s display stand at the 1953 Paris Motor Show. The coupe was one of two Cadillacs built by Ghia.

1937 AC roadster – This AC 16/80 “Ace” was owned and used by Frank Lloyd Wright during winter stays at his Taliesin West home and architecture school in Scottsdale, Arizona. He purchased the sports car in 1948 and immediately had it painted Cherokee Red, his signature color. Period photos show Wright with his wife, Olgivanna, bedecked in sporty fabric helmets and goggles enjoying the sports car in Arizona. The AC will debut after its restoration at the Arizona Concours.

The unique 1937 Rolls-Royce “Copper Kettle” | Blackhawk Collection
The unique 1937 Rolls-Royce “Copper Kettle” | Blackhawk Collection

1937 Rolls-Royce “Copper Kettle” – This Rolls-Royce Phantom III started life in 1937 with a limousine body, but in 1947, Rolls-Royce collector John Gaul had the car rebodied to this extravagant design by Freestone & Webb using a double skin of copper over steel for the fenders and added many luxury fittings. It became known to friends and family as “Gaul’s Copper Kettle.” The Rolls was fully restored for its current owner, Don Williams of the Blackhawk Collection, and in 2008 received a best in class award at Pebble Beach.

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing – This is the first of the iconic Gullwings ever delivered to a private owner, none other than legendary American sportsman and motorsports enthusiast Briggs Cunningham. The 300SL was likely a pre-production car not intended for sale but was renumbered by the factory to fulfill Cunningham’s rush order, and it exhibits significant physical differences from most production Gullwings. It has recently undergone a full restoration in Germany.

Fast and beautiful 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Zagato | Arizona Concours
Fast and beautiful 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Zagato | Arizona Concours

1956 Ferrari 250 GT Zagato – This is one of five Ferrari Competition Berlinettas with bodies by Zagato, which built stunning designs that were typically lighter than those of other carrozzerias, making the cars more competitive. Chassis No, 0537 GT was built for Camillo Luglio to compete for the Italian GT Championship, which proved to be a great combination, winning the Over 2 Liter Italian GT Championship in 1956. By 1961, this matching-numbers Zagato had been imported to the United States, and except for a brief time in Switzerland, has remained in this country.

Tickets for the Arizona Concours are limited with 2,000 paid entries available for the January 11 event. Tickets are priced at $75 each (children 15 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult) and are available on the official website of the Arizona Concours d’Elegance at Tickets could be available on the day of the Concours unless they sell out.

The Arizona Concours d’Elegance benefits Make-A-Wish Arizona, the founding chapter of the national organization that grants wishes for children facing life-threatening medical conditions. Among the special Concours awards will be a Make-A-Wish trophy chosen by a group of Wish Kids from the automobiles on display.

Stirling Moss reunites with Mille Miglia-winning 300SLR at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Driver Stirling Moss and navigator Denis Jenkinson during the 1955 Mille Miglia | Mercedes-Benz archive
Driver Stirling Moss and navigator Denis Jenkinson during the 1955 Mille Miglia | Mercedes-Benz archive

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance celebrates the 60th anniversary of one of the greatest racing victories in history – the record-breaking 1955 Mille Miglia run by Stirling Moss driving a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR – by reuniting the world-champion driver with the winning sports car at its March 2015 event.

The 20th annual Amelia Island Concours will feature a special class of 20 race cars that Moss drove during his illustrious career. Moss, considered to be one of the greatest drivers of all time, will be the honored guest at the concours; he was the event’s first such honoree when the concours was launched in 1996.

The 300SLR has been fully restored | Amelia Island Concours
The 300SLR has been fully restored | Amelia Island Concours

The showing of the fully restored 300SLR, the No. 722 car that Moss drove throughout 1955 to clinch the World Sports Car Championship for Mercedes-Benz, will be highlighted in the class of his Grand Prix racers and sports cars. Moss is expected to drive the SLR roadster during the concours.

“We intend to make the 20th anniversary Amelia Concours an unforgettable event,” Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Island Concours, said in a news release. “Sir Stirling will be reunited with the 722 on our 20th anniversary field on Sunday morning, March 15, 2015. This will be the first time in more than a decade that Sir Stirling will drive 722 in America.”

 Moss and Jenkinson in the race-battered 300SLR | Mercedes-Benz archive

Moss and Jenkinson in the race-battered 300SLR | Mercedes-Benz

In 1955, a 25-year-old Moss – accompanied by motorsports journalist Denis Jenkinson as navigator – roared through the challenging 1,000-mile Mille Miglia course on Italian back roads with a resounding record run that was never equaled (the race was discontinued a short time later).

They completed the grueling lap in about 10 hours at an average speed of nearly 100 mph, a remarkable feat for a race held on public roads. The event has since come to be referred to as “The Greatest Race.”

During that same year, Moss won his first Formula 1 World Championship race at his home Grand Prix in Aintree, England, driving a Mercedes-Benz W196. The 60th anniversary of that accomplishment also will be honored at Amelia.

The 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which has taken its place as one of the world’s great classic car events, is scheduled for March 13-15 at the Golf Club of Amelia Island at the Ritz-Carlton. For information, see

BMW ‘Art Cars’ set for display at Miami Beach show

Roy Lichtenstein painted the Art Car in his signature comic-book style | BMW
Roy Lichtenstein painted the Art Car in his signature comic-book style | BMW

Two of BMW’s legendary “Art Cars” that blend high-performance with fine art will be on display December 3-7 during Art Basel`s international gallery show at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The one-of-a-kind, hand-painted cars – a BMW 320 race car by famed American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (1977) and a BMW M3 by Australian aboriginal artist Michael Jagamara Nelson (1989) – will be shown in Art Basel’s Collectors Lounge at the convention center.

The Lichtenstein car is the third of 17 Art Cars created for BMW racers | BMW
The Lichtenstein car is the third of 17 BMW Art Cars | BMW

The Art Cars are two of 17 special BMW vehicles that have been painted during the past four decades by some of the world’s most renowned modern artists, such as Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, Jenny Holzer, Olafur Eliasson and Jeff Koons.

Roy Lichtenstein painted the third vehicle in the BMW Art Car Collection, a BMW 320 Group 5 race car, in 1977. The colorful pop-art landscape, which reflects his famous comic-strip style, depicts the surroundings flashing by from the driver’s point of view.

“I wanted the lines I painted to be a depiction of the road showing the car where to go,” Lichtenstein, who died in 1997, said at the time. “The design also shows the countryside through which the car has travelled. One could call it an enumeration of everything a car experiences – only that this car reflects all of these things before actually having been on a road.”

The Nelson car draws from aboriginal art works | BMW
The Nelson car draws from aboriginal art works | BMW

Australian artist Michael Jagamara Nelson said he chose the depiction of nature from an aerial view for the design of his Art Car, a BMW M3 Group A racer, which is covered in dreamlike shapes and patterns drawn from ancestral Papunya art. The geometric shapes appear to be abstract until one sees that they reveal such native creatures as kangaroos and emus.

“(The) car is a landscape as it would be seen from a plane – I have included water, the kangaroo and the opossum,” said Nelson, a leader in the Papunya-Tula art movement. His groundbreaking work includes a large mosaic that stands in front of the Australian parliament building in Canberra and an impressive wall at the Sydney Opera House.

Art Basel is a celebration of modern art in all its forms, with shows held around the world featuring a wide assortment of galleries and artists. Started in Basel, Switzerland, the art show series is headquartered in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong.

Concorso Italiano picks Ferrari as honored marque

Ferraris are always plentiful at the annual celebration of Italian cars and culture | Bob Golfen
Ferraris are always plentiful at the annual celebration of Italian cars and culture | Bob Golfen

Those who have attended the grand Concorso Italiano in Monterey, California, during classic car week every August know that a sea of vintage and contemporary Ferrari sports cars is pretty standard fare.

But next year, it’s official: Ferrari is the featured marque for the August 15, 2015, meet of Italian splendor. The celebration of everything cavallino was dedicated because the Ferrari Club of America, Pacific Region’s International Meet will be held in Monterey for the first time in 11 years.

Lovely 250 GT Lusso at this year’s Concorso | Bob Golfen
Lovely 250 GT Lusso at this year’s Concorso | Bob Golfen

That pretty much guarantees an enormous display of beautiful Ferraris of every type will roll onto the grass at the Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course, where Concorso returned for its annual show this year. There will be special judging in a variety of classes, with unique crystal trophies for the winning Ferraris.

Concorso Italiano is one of the key events that happen during the second week of August in Monterey, considered to be the greatest classic car week of the year with a plethora of collector-car auctions, a wide number of car shows and concours events, and vintage racing competition, topped off by the grand finale, the monumental Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.