Category archives: News

James Bond’s spiral jump car on Auctions America docket

The AMC Hornet that spiral-jumped river in 'Man With Golden Gun' head to auction | Auctions America photos by Teddy Pieper
The AMC Hornet that spiral-jumped river in ‘Man With Golden Gun’ head to auction | Auctions America photos by Teddy Pieper

Those of a certain age, or those who have binge-watched James Bond movies, will remember the scene in The Man With The Golden Gun in which 007 attacks the remains of a wooden bridge in a red car with white pinstriping along its flanks. The middle of the bridge was gone, but the car executes an amazing corkscrew spin as if flies over the abyss and lands relatively smoothly on the carcass of structure on the river’s opposite bank.

That very same car — a 1972 AMC Hornet hatchback — is being offered without reserve at Auction America’s Auburn Fall sale over the Labor Day weekend in northeastern Indiana. Continue reading

Vintage racers come into focus at Motorsports Reunion paddock

The Paddock scene at the Motorsport Reunion, with a Lancia and the Ferrari ready to race | Andy Reid photos
The Paddock scene at the Motorsport Reunion, with a Lancia and a Ferrari ready to race | Andy Reid photos

For most car fanatics, the events of Monterey in August are all about car shows and concours. But for those who want to witness the cars in action, there’s nothing like the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Motorsports Reunion is where great race cars can be seen performing on the track as they were meant to be, creating an all-immersive kinetic museum of sights and sounds. Race cars engaged in racing is so much more natural than standing on the grass at a golf course.

One of the original Ford Thunderbird 'Battle Birds'
One of the original Ford Thunderbird ‘Battle Birds’

One important aspect of the Motorsports Reunion, you know that the vintage cars on the track are the real McCoys, the actual cars as they raced in period. In order to get into the Reunion, the cars must have racing history; replica cars need not apply. What the spectator gets is the opportunity to see, once again on the track, cars that raced at Sebring, Le Mans, Pebble Beach, Daytona, and many others, including those raced in the period in which they were built.

Much of the fun of the Motorsports Reunion is visiting the paddock area, where you can get up close and personal with the race cars, drivers and support teams. Here you can to ask questions of the owners, drivers and mechanics, and learn more about these magnificent competitors. As an added bonus, many owners will allow visitors to get in behind the wheel, getting a feel for what it must be like to drive the cars in wheel-to-wheel competition on the track.

This past weekend, I spent all my time photographing in and around the paddock area, where I saw some amazing race cars, including a pair of vintage Lancias, scores of Porsches, many Maseratis, and so many others I cannot count.

To me, no trip to Monterey Car week is complete without going to the race track for the Motorsports Reunion, especially taking in the whirlwind of activity in the racecar paddock.

Photos by Andy Reid

At Pebble Beach, Mercedes showcases Laguna Seca slot-car track

Slot Mod's version of Laguna layout filled 25 x 25-foot space | Larry Edsall photos
Slot Mod’s version of Laguna layout filled 25 x 25-foot space | Larry Edsall photos

You didn’t have to go all the way out to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to take in some vintage-racing action during Monterey Car Week. A slot-car duplicate of the famed track was assembled in the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge and was available for hot laps.

Created by Slot Mods Raceways as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mercedes’ AMG racing and hot-rod division, the scale-model Laguna clone was 105 feet long and filled a 25-by-25-foot area, but still left room in its infield for a real Formula One car raced by Lewis Hamilton. Continue reading

Monterey auctions post $317 million in total sales

A 1991 Ferrari Testarossa is on the block at Russo and Steele's Monterey auction | Bob Golfen photo
A 1991 Ferrari Testarossa is on the block at Russo and Steele’s Monterey auction | Bob Golfen photos

After four days, six auctions and 1,277 vehicles across the block, the final hammer has fallen on the 2017 collector car auctions on the Monterey Peninsula and the total tote stands at $317 million according to Hagerty, the classic car insurance and vehicle valuation-tracking company that provides daily updates from major auction venues.

Hagerty reports that while that $317 million figure is better than was expected by its marketplace experts, it falls 6 percent short of 2016 results for Monterey auctions. And it also figures to increase slightly as post-sales transactions are included when the auction companies report the official results in the coming week. Continue reading

DriveShare: Hagerty’s Airbnb for the collector car community

Who wouldn't want to rent a car such as this 1966 Mustang convertible? DriveShare photo
Who wouldn’t want to rent a car such as this 1966 Mustang convertible? DriveShare photo

McKeel Hagerty admits he was taken aback, to the point of speechlessness, when Ziv Aviram, co-founder of Mobileye, the Israeli company developing cameras and software for autonomous vehicles, told him, “Sorry, I’m going to put you out of business. You have to find something else to do.”

What Aviram apparently was saying was that self-driving vehicles that avoid collisions will eliminate the need for car insurance companies, perhaps even those such as Hagerty’s that specialize in insuring classic vehicles. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1974 Mercury Capri

The Capri was made by Ford of Germany and sold in the U.S. as a Mercury
The Capri was made by Ford of Germany and sold in the U.S. as a Mercury

The Mercury Capri coupe of 1970-77 is pretty much a forgotten classic that nonetheless was quite popular in its day. The captive import built by Ford in Cologne, Germany, and sold in the U.S. by Mercury dealers, was favored by those who appreciated its European styling and sporty handling. But these days, they are rarely seen anyplace.

The Pick of the Day is a 1974 Mercury Capri described by its private seller as a “rare, exceptional vehicle.” These were fun cars to drive when powered by the 105-horsepower 2.8-liter V6, as this one is, and four-speed manual transmission. Continue reading

Chrysler club lights ‘em up at Mopar Under the Lights

Crowds filter in at dusk for Mopar Under the Lights | William Hall photos
Crowds filter in at dusk for Mopar Under the Lights | William Hall photos

Not so long ago, most classic car gatherings took place in the evening. Drive-ins and parking lots served as afterschool cruise spots, and no one wanted to go home to bed. Nowadays, it seems that classic car owners would rather meet for a morning coffee or stroll a manicured golf course concours than brave the dark.

Which is why the 10th annual Mopar Under the Lights show seemed both unique and edgy while being wholly familiar. More than two-hundred Dodge-Chrysler-Plymouth products crammed into the Dodge City dealership parking lot in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for a warm summer night of cars and camaraderie. Organized by the Wisconsin Mopar Muscle Club, the participants fully embraced the dusk setting which has become a novelty in the club’s event calendar.

Judges scrambled to determine class awards before the sun went down
Judges scrambled to determine class awards before the sun went down

For the viewer, the event was illuminating in many ways. Light and shadow brought out hidden details of sculpted bodylines, and interiors glowed from their warm incandescent lighting. It’s easy to forget that engineers spent countless hours designing unique headlights and taillights that few of us really get to see anymore. There is a satisfaction in seeing glove box, dome and license-plate lights functioning on a well-restored car. The sensation is vividly evocative of youthful nights spent around such vehicles.

Dave and Laura Cornelius braved more than darkness on their 75-mile shakedown cruise to the event. Dave had just rebuilt the dual-quad carbs the night before on their newly-acquired 1966 Hemi-powered Plymouth Satellite survivor car, and made the trip from Green Lake, Wisconsin, without a hiccup. The car was the sensation of the show, showing only 57,000 miles and wearing the rusty scars from many Wisconsin winters.

Remarkably, the Satellite’s corrosion occurred when the car was plowed-in one winter under salted snow, leaving the underbody and structure of the car clean and solid. Dave and Laura are the fourth owners, grateful the car had avoided restoration all these years– which affords a unique look at the aging process of these old B-bodies.

“I never thought I would own a Hemi car,” Dave said. “I always thought they were out of reach of the ‘normal’ car enthusiast.”

Mason Scarpace shows his scale-model Plymouth Superbird collection
Mason Scarpace shows his scale-model Plymouth Superbird collection

Fifth-grader Mason Scarpace brought out his 1:64 scale Plymouth Superbird collection to talk Mopar with his fellow Superbird owners. Mason’s mom, Teresa, is a club member who displayed her two Chrysler Shelby CSX’s, and enjoys sharing the old-car hobby with her son.

Leave it to a young man to show classic car owners how to enjoy every last hour of the summer car show season –and to not be afraid of the dark.

Dave Frydach attends the event regularly with his black 1970 Barracuda Gran Coupe. The fading light provides a great setting for Dave’s beautiful triple black E-body, and he and his wife thoroughly enjoy picnicking with friends and soaking up the warm summer night.

“If we are not the last car to leave, she’s not happy,” Frydach said.

Chris Bailey has owned his 1970 Hemi Charger R/T for more than 17 years, also resisting the urge to restore the car. It’s one of only a handful of factory sunroof-equipped Hemi Chargers and it remains a benchmark-original example. He owes that awareness for preservation to his father, a long-time member of the Antique Automotive Club of America.

Bailey, who is a manufacturing process engineer by trade, is fascinated by the production differences found on Mopars. Processes varied between assembly plants, and suppliers changed to meet production demands. Inconsistency was a byproduct of necessity.

“These were consumer products –they only got paid for what got out the door,” Bailey said.

Photos by William Hall

 

Oh brother! 1929 Mercedes-Benz wins at Pebble Beach

Concours chair Sandra Button presents Best of Show honors to Bruce McCaw and his 1939 Mercedes-Benz | Larry Edsall photos
Concours chair Sandra Button presents Best of Show accolades to Bruce McCaw and his 1939 Mercedes-Benz | Larry Edsall photos

The 67th annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance likely will be remembered as the Year of the McCaw Brothers.

A 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer owned by Bruce McCaw won Best of Show at the world’s most important car show Sunday, beating out the other two finalists, one of them a 1957 Ferrari 315 S Scaglietti Spider owned by his brother, John, and sister-in-law, Gwen. Continue reading

In a risky business, passion for collectors is crucial

Of the last 15 Pebble Beach best of show winners, 11 are AIG clients | Larry Edsall photos
Of the last 15 Pebble Beach best of show winners, 11 are AIG clients | Larry Edsall photos

The numbers are impressive indeed, but as impressive as they may be, they don’t tell the real story. Nonetheless, it is impressive to learn that of the last 15 winners of Best of Show honors at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, 11 of them have something in common. And they share it with the owners of 18 of the 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs.

What all of those car owners share is that they are insured by the Private Client Group division of AIG, which has grown from its founding in 1919 as American Asiatic Underwriters to become the American International Group, a major and multi-faceted global insurance company. The company’s business for fine art and vintage vehicles is overseen by Ronald Fiamma, senior vice president and global head of private collections. Continue reading

Concours d’Lemons drifting off in opposite directions

Lemons? Hardly. But sparkling and shiny Aston Martins were on the show field | Andy Reid photos
Lemons? Hardly. But sparkling and shiny Aston Martins were on the show field | Andy Reid photos

Concours d’Lemons is an event that has always been fun, celebrating strange, unloved and often unknown cars.

However, in the past few years it has drifted away from this concept and moved in two separate directions at once. Continue reading