Category archives: Features

Driven: Vipers and Hellcats run wild at Bondurant driving school

A squad of Dodge Vipers roars around the Bondurant school's purpose-built track | Bondurant School of High Performance driving
A squad of Dodge Vipers roars around the Bondurant school’s purpose-built track | Bondurant

So there I was, piloting a 645-horsepower Dodge Viper around the tight turns of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. And seated next to me was the man himself, Bob Bondurant, instructing me on how to get the car around the track in the shortest time possible. Continue reading

Interview: Mark Delzell, chief auctioneer, Mecum Auctions

Mark Delzell on the block at Mecum | Mecum Auctions photos
Mark Delzell on the block at Mecum | Mecum Auctions photos by Maggie Pinke

Mark Delzell has been the lead auctioneer for Mecum Auctions since Dana Mecum staged his classic car sale at the airport in Rockford, Illinois, in 1988. He’ll be back on the block May 17-21 when Mecum stages its 29th annual Original Spring Classic sale at Indianapolis. Delzell, who is in his mid-50s, recently talked with Classic Car News about his career.

CCN: How did you get started in the auctioneering business?

Delzell: “My father was in the car business (a Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge dealership in Iowa). We’d go to (wholesale) auto auctions. I started going when I was about 6 years old. In the late ’70s and early ’80s I started selling popcorn at the local auto auctions, and then was driving the cars (across the block). I started working the ring (as what we now know as a bidder’s assistant) and figured out that to make the money, you had to be the auctioneer. So I went to auction school, Worldwide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. Continue reading

Driven: 2016 Volkswagen Beetle convertible

2016 Volkswagen Beetle R-line SEL convertible
2016 Volkswagen Beetle R-line SEL convertible

I really wanted to like the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle convertible as much as my grandchildren did, and they loved riding in the car with just the sky above their heads.

But there’s more to this business of critiquing a vehicle than enjoying the fact that its roof goes up and down, or even that it looks pretty cool in its Platinum Gray Metallic paint. Squint and you can see some Porsche 356 in the new Beetle’s styling. Continue reading

The Collector: Brian Styles (part 3)

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1970 Road Runner 440+6 convertible | Nicole James Photos

The conclusion of our conversation with car collector Brian Styles

Classic Car News: What advice do you have for someone who wants to start collecting cars?

Brian Styles: A couple of things, first everything is cyclical. Every market is cyclical. If you are going to get into a hobby, if you are getting into it as a true collector with multiple cars and invest seven or eight figures into a collection, the best advice is to buy what you love and plan on keeping forever. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1967 Shelby “Red Rocker” Mustang GT500

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1967 Shelby Mustang GT500

When you think of Sammy Hagar, you might remember his early days playing in a hard-rock band named Montrose, or else his song “I can’t drive 55” released during his solo career. The “Red Rocker” was also the former front man of Van Halen, and he founded the Cabo Wabo Tequila brand, among other things.

But gearheads might know him best for his automotive passion and enviable car collection. Continue reading

The Collector: Brian Styles (part 2)

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1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 | Nicole James Photos

A continuation of our conversation with car collector Brian Styles

Classic Car News: What is something you have learned about collecting cars?

Brian Styles: If you are really passionate about collecting cars, neither the acquisition of the car nor the completion of the restoration is the end of the journey, it’s kind of the beginning. From then on you get to be the new caretaker, the new story teller. It’s our job, I feel, to take these cars around the country and show them and share them with people, and share the research, the history, and the stories that go along with them. Continue reading

The Collector: Brian Styles

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Row of Mopars in the Styles Collection | Nicole James Photos

Since 2009, Brian Styles and his girlfriend, Samantha, have worked to amass the Styles Collection. They have chased after the rarest vehicles with a commitment to preserve and share each automobile’s history. As a result, their south Florida-based collection is home to some of the most desirable American muscle cars, and Japanese muscle cars. They also collect European die-cast toys and vintage pinball machines. Continue reading

Driven: 2016 Nissan Altima 2.5 SL

2016 Nissan Altima 2.5
2016 Nissan Altima 2.5

Nissan notes that for the 2016 model year, its mid-size Altima features the company’s new “Energetic Flow” design language that launched with the Murano and Maxima. Also for 2016, Nissan has introduced the Altima SR model which it calls an “affordable sports” version of the car with “enhanced handling, unique exterior and interior accents.”

Sounds great, except the Altima 2.5 SL I’ve been driving doesn’t offer much in the way of energetic flow from its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

Chrysler revolutionizes the minivan with 2017 Pacifica version | Larry Edsall photos
Chrysler revolutionizes the minivan with 2017 Pacifica version | Larry Edsall photos

Ford and General Motors have abandoned the genre, so is the minivan still relevant? Chrysler, or FCA as the automaker is now known, certainly thinks so, and it invested some $2 billion in re-inventing the family-friendly van it launched several decades ago and in which a generation or two of Americans grew up.

No longer is there a Plymouth Voyager or even a Chrysler Town & Country, and the Dodge Grand Caravan is on its way out as well. Replacing them all is the new-for-2017 Chrysler Pacifica. The new name, well, actually a somewhat familiar name, is used to underscore the fact that this isn’t your traditional soccer mom’s minivan but a new and even revolutionary vehicle, in some ways perhaps as revolutionary as that first minivan back in the mid-1970s. Continue reading