Category archives: Features

No drama in Andy’s cross-country drive in 33-year-old Porsche

The view through the windshield of a 1984 Porsche 944 | Andy Reid photos
The view through the windshield of a 1984 Porsche 944 | Andy Reid photos

Well, the 1984 Porsche 944 trip to Monterey came off without a hitch. The first day we drove from Connecticut to Ohio and stayed with my friend, Ted Hersey of 7, a firm that does concours preparation for Amelia and Pebble and collections management. Continue reading

Vintage Ford tractor tops Mecum Gone Farmin’ sale

Aluminum-hood 1939 Ford 9N brings $31,500 at auction | Mecum photos
Aluminum-hood 1939 Ford 9N brings $31,500 at auction | Mecum photos

Collector cars weren’t the only features on the docket for Mecum Auctions’ recent visit to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The auction house’s Gone Farmin’ division offered more than 130 vintage, collectible tractors at its Summer Showcase sale at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Volvo S90 Inscription, V90 Cross Country

The new Volvo S90 T6 Inscription shows the new design language for the Swedish automaker | Bob Golfen photos
The new Volvo S90 T6 Inscription shows the new design language for the Swedish automaker | Bob Golfen photos

I was a Volvo fan back when they were boxy and quirky, and we had a couple of kids to cart around. The favorite was a funky 245 wagon, the ultimate brick on wheels, yet actually fun to drive, partly because of its four-speed manual transmission with electric overdrive, which activated with a “clunk.”

The all-new 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 wagon seems stunningly futuristic compared with our old Volvo 245 wagon of decades ago. Gone are the funk and the clunk, replaced by sleek styling, refined drivability and a brilliantly sophisticated interior dominated by a large, computer-tablet-like command center in the center of the dashboard. Continue reading

Classic Profile: Sig Haughdahl sets land-speed record

Sig Haugdahl in the Wisconsin Special speed-record car in a vintage postcard image | Courtesy of the author
Sig Haugdahl in the Wisconsin Special speed-record car in a vintage postcard image | Courtesy of the author

Sigurd Olson Haugdahl’s story begins upon his arrival from Norway to the United States at the age of 19. Making his home with an uncle in Minnesota, he was soon setting speed records on ice with a Indian-powered “motorbike” – more like a motorized tricycle with skis.

By 1915, the International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) is formed and J Alex Sloan quickly emerges as the leading licensed promoter. Sloan had an emerging star in Sig Haugdahl, and the two were seen in exhibition races and setting track speed records across the Midwest through the late teens. Continue reading

Family values memories made in a pair of Iso Grifos

Darren Frank's Iso Grifo is red; his father's was green | Frank family archives
Darren Frank’s Iso Grifo is red; his father’s was green | Frank family archives

Darren Frank was 7 years old when his father took him and his brother, Jamie, on their annual excursion to the New York Auto Show, where they were captivated by the site of a silver Iso Grifo. So captivated, it turned out, that four months later, while on a business trip to Italy, Darren’s dad went to Bresso, met Piero Rivolta, who had just taken charge of the company after his father’s death, and ordered a new Grifo.

“I was seven years old. Dad had this very, very cool car,” Frank recalls before sharing heartwarming tales of how he and his father bonded on rides and car washings. Continue reading

Bookshelf: The story of a transatlantic automotive romance

The book cover
The book cover

Through September 30, you can visit the Blackhawk Automotive Museum in northern California and see a display of some of the world’s most fascinating vehicles, those designed soon after World War II in a rare transatlantic partnership between American automakers and Italian designers and coachbuilders.

There was a similar exhibit earlier this year at the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino, a stunning showcase located in the hometown to many of those Italian automotive artists. Continue reading

Minivan? No, a Minnie Van, and some big-boy toys

This 2018 Honda Odyssey is the Minnie Van | American Honda photo
This 2018 Honda Odyssey is the Minnie Van | American Honda photo

File this under future classics, or perhaps as a way to get your young granddaughter interested in cars:

We reported in this space a few weeks ago that the Disney Junior and Disney Channels have replaced the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Mickey and the Roadster Racers. Now, Disney-ABC and Honda have worked together to unveil the “Minnie Van,” a one-off version of the all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey with pink-polka dot trim and roof-mounted Minnie ears. Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

The new Mazda CX-5 delivers sporty driving experience, rare in this compact-SUV segment | Bob Golfen
The new Mazda CX-5 delivers sporty driving experience, rare in this compact-SUV segment | Bob Golfen photos

Buyers shopping for compact SUVs have a whole lot to choose from in this highly competitive chunk of the automotive market. The trick here is for an automaker to deliver something that sets itself apart from the herd.

Mazda once again has taken its own road with the updated 2017 CX-5, which is distinctive not because of price, accommodations or utility, but because it drives and handles more like a sport sedan than an SUV. The ride might seem a bit firm and the steering might feel a trifle heavy for this segment, but the payback is an agile little ute that you can toss into corners and have fun with on a winding road. Continue reading

XK Jaguars do a lap around Great Britain, and for good reason

XK Jaguars from the 1950s set off on a lap around Great Britain | Jaguar XK Club photos
XK Jaguars from the 1950s set off on a lap around Great Britain | Jaguar XK Club photos

The goal was two-fold, as it is on so many classic car tours: have fun driving great cars, and raise money for a good cause.

In the case of the Jaguar XK Club, the tour was an 18-day Round Britain Coastal Drive, open to owners of the iconic 1950s sports cars. The goal was to raise at least £50,000 ($64,500) for Prostate Cancer UK. Continue reading

Goodwood Festival of Speed elevates Ecclestone’s F1 career

Goodwood's tall sculpture highlights Bernie Ecclestone's reign over F1 | Festival photo by Paul Melbert
Goodwood’s tall sculpture highlights Bernie Ecclestone’s F1  reign | Festival photo by Paul Melbert

Gerry Judah has created art to remember the Holocaust for Britain’s Imperial War Museum. He has done set designs for the Royal Shakespeare Company. And since 1999, he has done the huge automotive sculptures that soar above Goodwood House during the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Last week, his latest Goodwood sculpture was designed to recognize the long motorsports career of former Formula One chieftain Bernie Ecclestone. Three of the cars mounted on the lanes that spun off a circle towering some 100 feet were selected to reflect specific F1 eras ruled by Ecclestone. Those cars were a Lotus, a Ferrari and a Mercedes. Continue reading