Category archives: Commentary

Worm in tequila bottle? Ha! This gin has Harley engine parts

Each gin bottles contains a Harley-Davidson motorcycle engine part | The Archeologist photo
Each gin bottles contains a Harley-Davidson motorcycle engine part | The Archeologist photo

Uwe Ehinger is a German who builds custom motorcycles, often recycling parts he has collected on his pilgrimages around the world to “remote garages, dilapidated scrapyards and dusty backyards for legendary lost two-wheeled relics.”

“Every time I make a find of rare bikes, I wonder how to use every single part — because they deserve to be preserved,” he says on a website that takes its name from Ehinger’s nickname, “The Archeologist.” Continue reading

Will there be room for our cars in an autonomous future?

A Chevrolet Bolt drives itself past the GM Design dome | GM photo
A Chevrolet Bolt drives itself past the GM Design dome | GM photo

It used to be that people asked me which car they should buy. Now, the question I’m frequently hearing is how soon can they buy a car that drives itself?

My response has been that the technology is progressing rapidly, but the big issues yet to be determined will be legislative and legal. Who will be liable when there is no person actually driving the car? The automaker/assembler? The sensor producers (and this includes the companies making the cameras that are used)? The software providers? Or the car owner, sitting there in the passenger’s seat, checking texts, or perhaps even sleeping in the back seat? Continue reading

Movie documents a motorsports career that ended too soon

Bruce McLaren in one of his dominating Can-Am racers | McLaren movie images
Bruce McLaren in one of his dominating Can-Am racers | McLaren movie images

In mid-June, I shared my experience as a young sportswriter on the day Bruce McLaren died at the age of 32. He’d been the youngest driver ever to win a Grand Prix race, and later only the second to win an F1 event in a car he’d built. He had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He built the cars that dominated the Can-Am series.

Not long after his death, McLaren’s team won Indy, and also the F1 championship, and then they did it again. He’d also begun work on a sports car not for the race track but for public roadways. Continue reading

Thank the one who inspired your passion for cars

Passions come together when Copperstate vintage rally parks its cars on a baseball field in Tempe, Arizona | Larry Edsall photos
Passions come together when Copperstate vintage rally parks its cars on a baseball field in Tempe, Arizona | Larry Edsall photos

Author’s note to readers: Though it may not seem like it at first, this story really is about cars, not baseball.

Unlike so many young boys of my generation, I didn’t grow up wanting to be a big-league baseball player. I wanted to be a big-league umpire.

Baseball truly was the American pastime in those days, the “Happy Days” of the late 1950s. Continue reading

Car talking about d’Lemons (Euro style) and some salt (flats)

Setting for the 2017 Concours de l'Ordinaire   Hagery photos
Setting for the 2017 Concours de l’Ordinaire
Hagery photos

We have our delightful Concours d’Lemons car shows, but across the pond they have the Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional:

“A stunningly rare and original range-topping Hillman Avenger GLS in its finest 1973 bright crimson/purple coachwork — with contrasting black vinyl roof, naturally — is set to join a feast of other beige, brown and taupe motoring heroes from our past, when Europe’s greatest gathering of the ordinary and uncelebrated cars that we all grew up with are presented on the immaculate lawn at Stowe House for the annual Festival of the Unexceptional, Concours de l’Ordináire, being staged by classic vehicle insurance specialist Hagerty on Saturday 22 July.” Continue reading

Analysis: It’s become a buyer’s market, but for how long?

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Cars such as this 1971 Pontiac Trans-Am are popular with a new generation of bidders | Auctions America photo

Monterey Car Week is coming up quickly and a lot has been happening in the classic car auction marketplace leading up to what serves as the Super Bowl of the auction year.

In recent weeks, we have had the Auctions America sale in northern Indiana, the Mecum auction at Indy, RM Sotheby’s at Santa Monica and the Barrett-Jackson Northeast sale in Connecticut.

Our analysis: If you are in the hunt for a car priced at $150,000 or less, including a lot less, this has definitely become a buyer’s market. Continue reading

McLaren died at age 32, but movie renews his life and legacy

Bruce McLaren would have been 80 years old had he lived | McLaren movie photo
Bruce McLaren would have been 80 years old had he lived | McLaren movie photo

I was less than a year into my job as a sportswriter at the daily newspaper in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when the Associated Press teletype machine delivered the news that Bruce McLaren had died. McLaren, 32 years old and perhaps at the height of his racing career, was testing his new M8D Can-Am car when the rear bodywork came loose as McLaren was driving at speed on the straightaway leading to the Woodcote corner on the Goodwood racing circuit in England.

None of the others working with me on the sports desk that morning understood my reaction as I read the words printed on the pale-yellow paper that fed from a cardboard box into the teletype, where a “copy boy” would tear off the stories and deliver them to the news, Sunday or sports department. Continue reading

Classic Cadillacs in muddy field and other road-trip observations

The family that paints together... | Larry Edsall photos
The family that paints together… | Larry Edsall photos

What is it about Cadillac Ranch that refuses to allow me simply to zoom past on Interstate 40, that draws me off the super slab and onto the frontage road, to park beside the road and to walk through the cow-catcher gate and out into the farm field west of Amarillo, Texas, where 10 vintage Cadillacs — from a 1949 Club Coupe to a 1963 Sedan DeVille — are buried nose-down, though at a very precise angle? Continue reading

Tales from the Black Forest, and beyond

Klaus Ludwig in an AMG-prepared Mercedes-Benz 190 2.5-16 Evo | Mercedes-Benz photos
Klaus Ludwig in an AMG-prepared Mercedes-Benz 190 2.5-16 Evo | Mercedes-Benz photos

You have to wonder what they thought in Tuscaloosa, Spartanburg and Chattanooga last week when it was reported that our President complained during his visit to Europe that German automakers were selling too many of their vehicles in the United States, while American automakers sell very few of their vehicles in Germany. Continue reading

So many parallels in collecting automobiles and art

A 'mechanical art gallery' is one way to describe a Gooding & Company auction tent | Larry Edsall photo
A ‘mechanical art gallery’ is one way to describe a Gooding & Company auction tent | Larry Edsall photo

Gooding & Company recently distributed a video featuring car specialist Justin Gosaynie. In the video, Gosaynie says his first car was a 1971 Alfa Spider that he had to restore if he wanted to be able to drive it. That led to work as a restoration specialist, then for several major collections, and finally to the collector car auction house. Continue reading