Category archives: News

Buick passion kept alive by dedicated enthusiasts

A 1948 Buick Super coupe and a 1933 panel delivery at the Buick meet | William Hall photos
A 1948 Buick Super coupe and a 1933 panel delivery at the Buick meet | William Hall photos

Just about all of us knew a nice old lady or fellow who lived down the street with a well-kept classic Buick. Now imagine if all of those ladies and gentlemen decided to converge on one spot at the same time every year. Well, then you would have the Buick Club of America’s National Meet.

This year’s 51st annual Buick meet brought about 360 registered Buicks of all years to Brookfield, Wisconsin, for a mid-summer convention held from July 5-8. Continue reading

Low-mileage future classics on Silverstone sales docket

Ford Sierra Cosworth among low-mileage vehicles on auction docket | Silverstone Auctions photos
Ford Sierra Cosworth among low-mileage cars on the docket | Silverstone Auctions photos

OK, so they’re not quite classics, but they certainly can be considered future classics and — very importantly — they are extremely low-mileage examples being offered at Silverstone Auctions sale July 29-30 at the Silverstone Classic festival at the historic British racing circuit. Continue reading

Iola welcomes car enthusiasts, even younger ones

Show section dedicated to  Camaros and Firebirds | Nicole Ellan James photos
Show section dedicated to Camaros and Firebirds | Nicole Ellan James photos

Very rarely do I manage to find myself on the eastern side of the Mississippi River. Each time I do, it’s as if I am transported from Phoenix to an alternate universe –- it’s humid, everything seems oversaturated in green hues, and I not only meet some interesting characters, but the cars are always nice.

My latest such adventure took me to the Iola Car Show, held July 6-8 in Iola, Wisconsin –- a town of around 1,300 people located approximately a two-hour drive north from Madison, the state capitol.

The swap meet area was full of visitors
The swap meet area was full of visitors

For the last 45 years, over 120,000 people flock to the town of Iola for its annual three-day festival-style car show.

The event earns festival vibes with camping on site available for those with tents or campers — there’s even an area dedicated to campers made before 1975 — as well as free concerts with regional performers like Raised Reckless, Vic Ferrari, Highfield Drive and BoxKar. A PinUp contest is held along with the car corral and swap meet and car show.

Well, actually, car shows.

The show portion of the Iola festival presents over 2,000 cars showcased in groupings — Pre-War (1942 or earlier), Post-War (1945-1990), all-original vehicles pre-1976, modified cars pre-1990, as well as a Blue Ribbon Concours and a themed category dedicated to the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird and Trans-Am pony cars.

Staged near the “winner’s circle” and seemingly endless rows of Camaros and Firebirds was the first Camaro built, N100001, parked behind velvet ropes next to its clear trailer, with owners Corey and Logan Lawson nearby.

The Lawsons shared the story of how the car was acquired by 13-year-old Logan, a kid from Kansas, and his English-teacher grandmother, who’d been convinced by his father that buying the car was a better “college fund” investment than the stock market. The father-son team restored the car to its original specs with every single piece from an original GM part other than the seat cover and carpet.

Crowd surrounds first Camaro
Crowd surrounds first Camaro

The Lawsons tour the car to various shows. Logan Lawson told the crowd at Iola, “We’re trying to bring the history back to everyone who enjoys it.”

My favorite class at the Iola Car show was “Old Cars Young Drivers” and was just what it said — cars 25 years or older driven by enthusiasts 25 years or younger.

Aside from age restrictions, to be included in this class, cars and trucks could be stock or modified and of any quality, as long as they could be driven onto the show field under their own power.

I liked the class because I was among my peers and it was refreshing to find other people my same age who enjoyed old cars, not just the cars our same age. I also enjoyed seeing how welcoming the long-running classic car show was to the under 25 crowd and to our need for modifying our cars.

Despite the culture shock I encounter each visit east, I appreciate the “foreign” experience. They always make for the best memories.

Lowrider Renaissance and the ‘art in defiance’ at the Petersen

El Rey and the Piñata in the Lowrider exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum | Larry Crane photos
El Rey and the Piñata in the Lowrider exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum | Larry Crane photos

Without irony, the art and artisans of the lowrider culture occupy the Petersen Automotive Museum’s gallery named for Armand Hammer, a collector of fine art representing some of the most controversial creative anarchy in the history of art — beginning with the creative anarchists of Florence who reintroduced lifelike humanism in the late 15th century after a millennium of Byzantine cartoons of lifeless icons. We call it The Rebirth (Renaissance). Continue reading

Museums: Blackhawk showcases ‘Transatlantic Style’

Buick Y-Job arrives at the Blackhawk for Transatlantic Style exhibit | Blackhawk museum photo
Buick Y-Job arrives at the Blackhawk for Transatlantic Style exhibit | Blackhawk museum photo

Saturday is Deuce Day at the Petersen

Just unveiled and running through September 30, the Blackhawk Automotive Museum in Danville, California, offers what figures to be one of the most talked-about exhibitions of the year — “Transatlantic Style: A Romance of Fins and Chrome.”

Featuring about two dozen stunningly designed automobiles, the exhibition is based on the book, Stile Transatlantico / Transatlantic Style, by author Donald Osborne and photographer Michael Furman. Continue reading

Rhodes trip: Inventor was decades ahead of GPS guidance

Gilmore's showcase of Kalamazoo-made cars isn't its only tribute to nearby creativity | Larry Edsall photos
Gilmore’s showcase of Kalamazoo-made cars isn’t its only tribute to nearby creativity | Larry Edsall photos

Enter the Gilmore Car Museum these days and you are greeted by a display of vehicles produced in nearby Kalamazoo, Michigan.

“Kalamazoo: The Other Motor City” is the title of the exhibit that includes several Checkers, one of them from the late 1970s/early ‘80s television series Taxi, as well as assorted vehicles by Roamer, Dort, Handley and Barley, as well as a 1903 Michigan, and even a re-creation of the 1915 Cornelian Speedway Racer, built by the Block Brothers Machine shop and raced at Indy by none other than Louis Chevrolet. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1949 Volkswagen Beetle

The early Volkswagen shows the original unadorned original styling of the Beetle
The early Volkswagen shows the original unadorned original styling of the Beetle

Here’s the kind of thing that makes VW fanatics flip out, an accurately restored Type 1 from the first year they were brought into the U.S.

New York dealer Max Hoffman, the automotive impresario who also was the early importer of such European brands as Alfa Romeo, BMW, Citroen, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, believed that the American public would accept the odd-duck Volkswagen despite its minimalistic size, accommodations and performance. Hoffman was right, in spades. Continue reading

Ferrari collection headed to RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction

Ferrari Performance Collection includes 9 offered at no reserve | RM Sotheby's photos by Theodore W. Pieper
Ferrari Performance Collection includes 9 offered at no reserve | RM Sotheby’s photos by Theodore W. Pieper

A baker’s dozen of Ferraris, all from a single owner, most offered without reserve, has been consigned to RM Sotheby’s annual Monterey auction, scheduled for August 18-19 at Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center in downtown Monterey, California.

The “Ferrari Performance Collection” comprises 13 cars spanning 50 years of Ferrari history and includes a 1961 250 GT SWB and a 1967 275 GTB/4. Also included are a 1991 F40, a 2011 599 GTO that has been driven only 481 miles and a 1984 512 BBi showing only 533 miles since new. Continue reading

Finest schedules online auction for late September

Bradley Farrell in the Finest's headquarters/showroom | Finest photo
Bradley Farrell in the Finest’s headquarters/showroom | Finest photo

The Finest Automobile Auctions Company is undergoing a management reorganization and says its inaugural online sale will take place in late September.

Faced with ongoing and major health issues, Bradley Farrell, Finest founder and chief executive, will take a leave of absence. Meanwhile, the company’s board of directors is pursuing a new executive to run the auction house, which recently was sued by vendors who say they were not paid for their work at the company’s live auctions. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1931 Franklin Model 153 sedan

The Franklin wears a traditional radiator shell despite its engine being air-cooled
The Franklin wears a traditional radiator shell despite its engine being air-cooled

See the radiator shell on the front of this Franklin sedan? It’s a fake – there is no radiator. The Franklin Automobile Co. exclusively built air-cooled vehicles, and before the early 1920s, you could tell by the front bodywork that there was no radiator up there.

Ah, but the pressure to conform became too great, and the Syracuse, New York, automaker started outfitting its cars to look like everybody else’s, with a typical radiator shell even though there was no radiator. Continue reading