Category archives: News

Collector car market shifts toward affordability, experts say

The compact Ford Bronco has risen in value and popularity | Barrett-Jackson
The compact Ford Bronco has risen in value and popularity | Barrett-Jackson

Affordability seems to be key in the current collector car market, with buyer interest shifting down market while values of high-end classics and exotics stagnate or even decline slightly, according to the latest findings from Hagerty, the classic car insurance and valuation company. Continue reading

Museums welcome your donations of cars — and car books

Car books overlook | Larry Edsall photo
Car books overlook | Larry Edsall photo

It is not unusual for classic car collectors to donate vehicles to their favorite museums. But have you considered other things you own that might be of value to such institutions?

Take, for example, that collection of automotive books that has become so heavy that your bookshelves are sagging and the floor beneath might even be cracking from the weight.

I’ve already made arrangements to donate my automotive book collection to the automotive restoration program at McPherson College. You may recall that the Gilmore Car Museum and its research library and archive in Michigan recently received a collection of nearly 400,000 automotive patents. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1950 Oldsmobile 88 custom coupe

The Oldsmobile's trim has been cleaned up and the chrome polished
The Oldsmobile’s trim has been cleaned up and the chrome polished

The Pick of the Day is a gorgeous cover girl, a dream machine that graced the front cover and centerfold of the November 4, 1991, edition of Hot Rod Mechanix magazine, under the headline, “My Blue Heaven.”

The coupe is painted in an attractive shade called Crest Blue
The coupe is painted in an attractive shade called Crest Blue

The 1950 Oldsmobile 88 coupe has been tastefully transformed into a period-style custom cruiser with a cleaned-up nose, grille and rear deck, and painted a luscious shade called Crest Blue. The Olds is powered by its original, rebuilt 303 cid Rocket V8 and three-speed automatic, with new brakes, tires, springs, shocks and battery, according to the Brainerd, Minnesota, dealer advertising the coupe on ClassicCars.com. Continue reading

Worldwide Auctioneers joining Monterey car-week party

This 1937 SS 100 s.5-liter open tourer among early consignments for Worldwide's inaugural Monterey sale | Worldwide Auctions photo
This 1937 SS 100 s.5-liter open tourer among early consignments for Worldwide’s inaugural Monterey sale | Worldwide Auctions photo

Worldwide Auctioneers launched its new Scottsdale sale earlier this year and has announced yet another new auction, scheduled for August 17 as part of the Monterey Car Week. The Pacific Grove Auction on the Monterey Peninsula is to offer around 70 cars on the oceanside setting of the Pacific Grove Golf Links, the Auburn, Indiana-based auction house announced. Continue reading

Ex-Cunningham E-type headed to Bonhams’ Quail sale

Briggs Cunningham's team raced the No. 14 Jaguar at Le Mans in 1963 | Bonhams/Litwinski photo
Briggs Cunningham’s team raced the No. 14 Jaguar at Le Mans in 1963 | Bonhams/Litwinski photo

The Jaguar E-type Lightweight that Briggs Cunningham’s team raced at Le Mans, Road America and Bridgehampton in 1963 will be offered up for bidding August 18 at Bonhams’ 20th anniversary Monterey Peninsula auction at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, California.

“There are rare, interesting cars, and there are cars that have belonged to rare, interesting people,” author Richard Holt is quoted in the Bonhams’ news release. Continue reading

Nothing Mickey Mouse about car folks doing good

Mickey Mouse and his new Hot Doggin hot rod | Disney photo by Matt Alexander/PA Wire
Mickey Mouse and his new Hot Doggin hot rod | Disney photo by Matt Alexander/PA Wire

‘Goodonya.” Technically the expression is “good on ya,” but on my trips to Australia, it sure sounded as though folks were pronouncing a single word of encourage and agreement and approval for someone who had done something praiseworthy.

With that in mind, permit me to say “goodonyas” to Kevin Cornish and Deb Pollack. And to Dana Mecum and John Andretti. And to a consignor at Auctions America.

I moved from Michigan to Phoenix as the country was in full Y2K, the sky is falling panic mode. One of my early duties was to cover the collector car auctions taking place and I remember people talking even then about how Arizona needed a concours d’elegance and maybe even a vintage racing weekend.

There was lots of such talk, though precious little beyond that, in the ensuing years, at least that was the case until a local car collector named Kevin Cornish put words into action, formed a committee and launched the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Sadly, after only four years, that event succumbs to a lack of sponsorship.

Nonetheless, in just four years the event featured some of the world’s finest automobiles, and in the magnificent yet intimate setting of the inner grounds of the Arizona Biltmore resort, and perhaps most importantly, raised $300,000 for Make-A-Wish, money that enabled 30 children facing life-threatening illnesses to have their wishes come true, even if only for a day.

Deb Pollack and those who drove toward a cure
Deb Pollack and those who drove toward a cure

And then there’s Deb Pollack, an auto-oriented public relations professional I’ve known for more years than either of us is eager to admit. Complications from Parkinson’s disease claimed Deb’s mother in 2006. Last month, Deb overcame grief with gumption by staging the first Drive Toward a Cure auto rally and convinced 36 car owners to take their choice of routes — south from the Bay area or north from Los Angeles, meeting in Paso Robles a few days and several hundred miles later.

There were various events along the routes, including an autocross in which a skillfully driven 2017 Subaru Outback posted a time faster than any of the exotic vehicles in the field.

From what I’ve heard, a good time was had by all, and in the process $25,000 is being donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center. Deb’s planning another such rally this fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains with the finish line at the second Atlanta Concours d’Elegance, and hopes to stage more such events, including similar rallies in Europe.

Did you know that Mickey Mouse is a car guy?

London cabbie reacts to seeing Mickey and his new hot rod
London cabbie reacts to seeing Mickey and his new hot rod

Turns out that the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has been replaced by Mickey and the Roadster Racers on the Disney Junior and Disney Channels, with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Pluto racing around Hot Dog Hills and other locations.

One of the characters on the animated program is race announcer Billy Beagle, whose voice you might recognize (it’s Jay Leno).

Turn out, as well, that Mickey’s car, the Hot Doggin Hot Rod, has emerged from the television screen to become a running vehicle that was unveiled last week to a British audience at the London Motor Show 2017. Sometime this month, an episode of the program features Mickey and company chasing down a thief who steals the Queen’s crown jewels.

Speaking of racing and the month of May…

Mecum Auctions, which stages its 30th annual Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic sale May 16-20 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, will sponsor Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s No. 24 Chevrolet-powered car and driver Sage Karam in the 101st Indianapolis 500.

Mecum Auctions sponsors Indy entry | Mecum photo
Mecum Auctions sponsors Indy entry | Mecum photo

Mecum sponsored the historic Dreyer & Reinbold car in 2012, with Oriol Servia driving to a fourth-place finish.

By the way, Karam, 22, is from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, the hometown of the Andretti family.

The Dreyer & Reinbold team traces its roots to the 1920s and Indy car builder Floyd “Pop” Dreyer. Dennis Reinbold is Dreyer’s grandson and has been fielding cars for the 500 since 2000.

Dana Mecum also has a long history with Indy cars, collecting them and each year leading the Millers at Milwaukee vintage racing weekend. Last summer, two of Mecum’s vintage Indy racers were on the 18th fairway for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where his 1965 Ford GT40 roadster also was part of the featured Ford GT40 50th anniversary Le Mans victory class.

Speaking of auctions and Indiana and the month of May…

1947 Dodge pickup
1947 Dodge pickup

Two of the cars on the docket at Auctions America’s Auburn Spring sale this weekend in northeast Indiana are being sold to benefit the automotive restoration technology program at McPherson College in Kansas. The vehicles are a 1947 Dodge pickup (Lot 3134) and a 1932 Ford three-window street-rod coupe (Lot 3135).

Each car has a pre-sale estimated value of $20,000 to $30,000.

Speaking of things most people would prefer to ignore…

In my first professional lifetime, I wrote about sports. Primarily stick-and-ball sports, but also about auto racing. One of the things that makes writing about auto racing different from writing about other sports is that sometimes, too often, your stories become obituaries for drivers for whom the checkered flag has flown too soon.

Knee injuries are debilitating. Death is fatal, and final.

Try as we do, even the most objective of journalists cannot help but establish friendships with some of the people about whom they write. For me, one of those people has been John Andretti, son of Aldo, nephew of Mario, cousin of Michael, husband of Nancy, father of Olivia and Jarett and Amelia.

John may be the most versatilely successful racer in history, having raced not only Indy cars and stock cars and Le Mans-style prototypes but also a Top Fuel drag racer. And he survived it all.

But now, at age 54, and ready to walk a daughter down the aisle at her wedding, he’s been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, and it has spread to his liver and, at last report, doctors fear to his spleen as well.

As might be expected, John is fighting the disease, and his fight includes going public and using his celebrity to encourage everyone to get screened, and to do so years earlier than usual.

“You don’t know,” John told the Indianapolis Star newspaper. “Nobody knows until they get screened.

“I’m glad people are taking this as a wakeup call,” he added.

1979 Aussie touring car champion headed to auction

Bob Morris drove the independently owned Holden Torana to the national championship in 1979 | Mossgreen Auctions photos
Bob Morris drove the independently owned Holden Torana to the national championship in 1979 | Mossgreen Auctions photos

In the 1970s, the Holden Torana was Australia’s fastest muscle car, and the basis for the GM subsidiary’s battle against Ford in the nation’s touring car championship racing series, which was just as intense, perhaps even more so, than Camaro vs. Mustang in the Trans-Am series in North America.

In 1979, Australian touring car history was made when an independently entered Holden Torana won the championship, with Bob Morris beating the legendary Peter Brock for the series title. Continue reading

Gary Bennett retiring from Barrett-Jackson auctions

Gary-Craig-Steve-PB17-3327

Gary Bennett attended the inaugural Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in 1971 as a customer. He returned annually to buy and sell, and after leaving his architecture practice and other ventures, he joined Barrett-Jackson as senior auto specialist, the job Craig Jackson held before becoming head of the family firm. This morning, Barrett-Jackson announced Bennett’s retirement from his position as vice president of consignment for the auction company. Continue reading

Three 1920s sports classics offered by Bonhams at Greenwich

The Stutz Model M Dual-Cowl Speedster is a rare sport/luxury car | Bonhams photos
The Stutz Model M Dual-Cowl Speedster is a rare sport/luxury car | Bonhams photos

Three sporty 1920s classics will be among the early automobiles offered during Bonhams’ auction in  Greenwich, Connecticut,  on June 4th at the waterfront Roger Sherman Baldwin Park. Continue reading

Event roundup: Datsun 1600 pickup wins class at Texas concours

The Datsun pickup on the red carpet receives its concours award | Concours of Texas
The Datsun pickup on the red carpet receiving its concours award | Concours of Texas

It might seem surprising that such a high-end event as the Concours d’Elegance of Texas would have a truck category. But the class winner was an even bigger surprise: a preserved 1972 Datsun 1600 pickup truck nicknamed “Sweet Pea.”

Lovingly maintained by its original owner, Marvin Askew, the simple Datsun was nestled in among about 125 classics and sports cars, as well as other trucks in its class, at the Concours of Texas, which was held April 23 at Richard Greene Linear Park in Arlington, between Dallas and Fort Worth. Continue reading