Category archives: Commentary

Super-sized Barrett-Jackson is bucket-list auction that has it all

All eyes and cameras were turned toward Justin Bieber instead of his Ferrari 458 Italia  | Bob Golfen photos
All eyes and cameras were turned toward Justin Bieber instead of his Ferrari 458 Italia | Bob Golfen photos

Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale is a collector-car auction like no other, as brassy and oversized as a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado, as crowded with passionate fans as a political convention, and as packed with popular attractions as a state fair. There’s no Ferris wheel, but there should be.

From barbecued turkey legs to the most pristine of vintage automobiles, Barrett-Jackson excels in what it does best: attracting the most folks to the collector car hobby. It does so by way of a grand, sprawling spectacle that attracts 200,000 ticket holders each year to the Scottsdale venue as well as what has become a global audience of millions of TV watchers. Continue reading

Depth of field: New hallmark of the Arizona Concours

Two of the cars in the Lincolns of the Classic Era class at the Arizona Concours d'Elegance | Larry Edsall photos
Two of the cars in the Lincolns of the Classic Era class at the Arizona Concours d’Elegance | Larry Edsall photos

The headlines, here and elsewhere, were about the Bugatti Atlantic which, to no one’s astonishment, won Best of Show accolades Sunday at the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. The Atlantic is so famous, so rare and so spectacularly beautiful a car that it simply overshadowed the rest of the show field. Continue reading

A newbie’s notes from Mecum Kissimmee

Through these portals pass the car-craziest people on Earth | Jim McCraw photos
Through these portals pass the car-craziest people on Earth | Jim McCraw photos

We are not rookies at most places. Been to the Daytona 500. The bike races and the 24 Hours of Daytona, too. Been to the Indy 500. Bonneville seven times. Five trips to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Talladega. Charlotte. Pocono. MIS. Numerous F1 races around the world. Sebring. St. Pete. Miami. Road America. Road Atlanta. Colorado Grand. California Mille. Driving schools at Ontario, Sears Point, Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta, Michigan, and Las Vegas. Lots of concours events over 35 years, from Pebble Beach to Greenwich to Meadow Brook to Amelia Island.

Continue reading

In praise of one of the unsung heroes of our hobby

Pebble's Sanda Button reads off John Clinard's accomplishments
Pebble’s Sanda Button reads off John Clinard’s accomplishments | David Gooley photos

One of the things about unsung heroes is that they are accustomed to working quietly, diligent and even dogged, and well behind the scenes, where they might go almost unnoticed. But while they personally might be unheralded, the things they do are not.

Fortunately, from time to time, someone does notice such heroes and offers them praise that they find almost embarrassing. Continue reading

Gearing up for Arizona Car Week with Nicole

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1930 Duesenberg J Dual-Cowl Phaeton | Nicole James photos

Every time I see my editor, Larry Edsall, I ask him if he is excited about Arizona Car Week. He likes to play the old-man “been there and done that” card, but really who wouldn’t love all the auctions, the concours, car shows, and the social events that are part of car week. Continue reading

Catalogs create excitement for Arizona Car Week auctions

Big rear wing marks Mercedes 190 E Evo | RM Sotheby's photos by Robin  Adams
Big rear wing marks Mercedes 190 E Evo | RM Sotheby’s photos by Robin Adams

Every time I see her, Nicole James of our staff asks me if I’m excited about Arizona Car Week. The auctions, concours and social events affiliated with them are all new to an eager 20-something, so I play the old been-there/done-that curmudgeon and usually grumble something about a week of lost sleep. Continue reading

Why I love classic cars, and how you can enjoy them more

Andy Reid in his Ferrari Daytona | Andy Reid archives photos
Andy Reid in his Ferrari Daytona | Andy Reid archives photos

I can remember sitting behind the wheel of that car in my garage before it was even assembled and imagining I was Sir Stirling Moss driving a Ferrari 250 at Le Mans.

This experience, of being in a living time machine, is why I love classic cars. Continue reading

2016 top stories: 5 – Rookies win at Pebble Beach

Double firsts: First-time entrant and first Lancia to win best of show at Pebble Beach | Concours photo by Ron Kimball
Double firsts: First-time entrant and first Lancia to win best of show at Pebble Beach | Concours photo by Ron Kimball

One of the most unlikely things happened at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this year. Actually, make that two of the most unlikely things happened because not only did a first-time entrant won best of show, but with a marque, Lancia, that was also a first-time best of show winner at the world’s most prestigious concours.

The car was a 1936 Lancia Astura, one of either four or six such cars built, depending on which source you cite, and was a nice restoration of a car originally designed by Pininfarina. The car was formerly the property of guitar legend Eric Clapton and was a car that he loved owning. Continue reading

Commentary: What should we make of AACA, museum turmoil?

AACA annually stages its huge Hershey swap meet| Dennis David photo
AACA annually stages its huge Hershey swap meet| Dennis David photo

Should we care that the Antique Automobile Club of America and the AACA Museum planned merger into one entity failed? There is a fair amount of speculation as to why the merger hit the rocks. Neither side has been particularly forthcoming with details to help us understand the issues. Continue reading

What do continuation cars mean for the collector market?

Jaguar XK SS continuation body takes shape | Jaguar photo
Jaguar XK SS continuation body takes shape | Jaguar photo

Aston Martin and Jaguar have announced continuation production of some of their most famous cars, namely the DB4 GT and the XK-SS. This is great news to be sure, as it allows more people to buy versions of these near-mythic cars at, in theory, prices much less than the cost of a period-built example.

With that being said, just what is a continuation car? Continue reading