Category archives: Commentary

Eye Candy: Leake Auction Company Dallas sale

A 1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL is on the block at Leake's Dallas auction | Larry Edsall photos
A 1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL is on the block at Leake’s Dallas auction | Larry Edsall photos

I’d never attended one of Leake Auction Company’s sales before, and excluding the night my flight itinerary included changing planes at DFW International, I’d only been to Dallas once before, and that was to cover a college football bowl game back in the mid-1970s. Yet I felt amazingly at home at Leake’s recent auction at Dallas Market Hall. Continue reading

Great automobiles as fine art: The time has come

The 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante was first shown at the Paris World’s Fair | RM Sotheby’s
The 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante was first shown at the Paris World’s Fair | RM Sotheby’s

For the vast bulk of us who actively take part in the classic car hobby, the landmark collector car auctions coming up in Manhattan, of all places, have no effect whatsoever on our lives. Some of the 70 or so exceptional race cars, sports cars and classics that sell at these exclusive events will go for more money than many of us will earn in our lifetimes, purchased by the top 0.1 percent of car collectors.

Besides big money, both of the auctions have something else in common: The elevation of vehicles into art objects sold in the fashion of New York art auctions. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Inaugural Auctions America sale at Hilton Head Island

A Porsche Carrera Turbo is on the block | Andy Reid photos
A Porsche Carrera Turbo is on the block | Andy Reid photos

The first time I attended an Auctions America sale it reminded me quite a bit of those big sales with lots of noise, fast-talking auctioneers, and bids from everywhere. To say that it was a bit confusing, especially for a first-time bidder, would be an understatement. As a result, I was a bit apprehensive about attending the Auctions America sale at Hilton Head Island.

To say that I was surprised at what I found is a serious understatement. I found a great many wonderful cars, well presented, and plenty of specialists on hand to answer questions during the preview. Continue reading

Jay Leno shares his garage fun in new cable TV show

Jay Leno and guest Tim Allen prepare for their burnout grudge match in 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcats | CNBC
Jay Leno and guest Tim Allen prepare for their burnout grudge match in 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcats | CNBC screen shots

Jay Leno is having way too much fun. That’s obvious from watching the premiere of Jay Leno’s Garage, which aired Wednesday night on the cable network CNBC. Continue reading

Vintage auto-show magazine draws us back to new cars of 1963

Motor Trend introduced the new ’63 Corvette Sting Ray with multiple full-page coverage
‘Motor Trend’ introduced the new ’63 Corvette Sting Ray with multiple full-page coverage

Surfing eBay one afternoon, I stumbled upon something unexpected that sparked my interest. It was a 52-year-old magazine, but one that brought memories rolling in like a fleet of wide-track Pontiacs.

The magazine is an automotive classic, in my humble opinion, the 1963 Auto Show edition of Motor Trend from November 1962 that presented the latest model year of 1963 American cars. In those days, my pre-pubescent automotive obsession was just awakening, and these were the cars that I first recall noticing, memorizing every contour, taillight and sparkle of trim. Continue reading

Death of ‘Route 66’ star rekindles blacktop memories

Martin Milner (right) as Tod and George Maharis as Bud with the Corvette driven in ‘Route 66’ | CBS TV
Martin Milner (right) as Tod and George Maharis as Bud with the Corvette driven in ‘Route 66’ | CBS TV

Martin Milner, who played Tod Stiles in the 1960s TV drama “Route 66” and helped raise the Mother Road to iconic status, died Sunday at 83 of heart failure at his home in Carlsbad, California.

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Monterey memories – concours and cars shows

A 1959 Porsche 356 Convertible D gleams at the Werks Reunion | Bob Golfen photos
A 1959 Porsche 356 Convertible D gleams at the Werks Reunion | Bob Golfen photos

So many events, so little time. That could be the marketing slogan for Monterey Classic Car Week, when a seemingly countless number of car shows, concours, exhibits, rallies, parties, dinners and, of course, auctions crowd the days leading up to the vaunted Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday.

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Monterey memories

The scene at the Carmel Mission Classic car show | Larry Edsall photos
The scene at the Carmel Mission Classic car show | Larry Edsall photos

Wow, things are expensive in Monterey, from the cost for food — whether purchased at a grocery or in a restaurant — to the bumped-up — no, make that supercharged — prices for lodging, and even the admission prices charged for some of the car shows.

On the other hand, a gallon of gasoline cost less than we expected. Sure, $3.49 a gallon might be a lot more than people are paying elsewhere in the country, but it was a buck cheaper than we were charged when we refilled at various crossroads out in the Mohave Desert on our way to and from Monterey Classic Car Week.
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Eye Candy: Concours d’LeMons California

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A 1966 Plymouth Belvedere II unlike any that ever rolled off the assembly line | Larry Edsall photos

This is both an Eye Candy gallery (see below) and a Commentary on the Concours d’LeMons California, held Saturday in a portion of Laguna Grande Regional Park just southeast of the Chili’s restaurant in Seaside, a military town turned working-class community on the fringe of California’s Monterey Peninsula. Continue reading

A secret show of appreciation for behind-the-scenes heroes

There's a secret place at Pebble Beach where cars are prepped for the show | Larry Edsall photos
There’s a secret place at Pebble Beach where cars are prepped for the show | Larry Edsall photos

I was invited Friday into a secret place at Pebble Beach. Out beyond the Lodge and the famed 18th hole of the golf links, beyond the tents that house the Gooding & Company classic car auction, there is a fenced-off area full of semi tractors and their trailers. These vehicles bear the names of Reliable, Intercity, Horseless Carriage, Passport, Masten, RM and the other companies entrusted to transport expensive cars to auto shows, concours and auctions. Continue reading