Pick of the Day: 1931 Franklin Model 153 sedan

The Franklin wears a traditional radiator shell despite its engine being air-cooled
The Franklin wears a traditional radiator shell despite its engine being air-cooled

See the radiator shell on the front of this Franklin sedan? It’s a fake – there is no radiator. The Franklin Automobile Co. exclusively built air-cooled vehicles, and before the early 1920s, you could tell by the front bodywork that there was no radiator up there.

Ah, but the pressure to conform became too great, and the Syracuse, New York, automaker started outfitting its cars to look like everybody else’s, with a typical radiator shell even though there was no radiator. Continue reading

New AACA award to pick the best Restoration of the Year

A 1930 Packard at the AACA meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania | Andy Reid
A 1930 Packard at the AACA meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania | Andy Reid

The Antique Automobile Club of America has initiated a new annual award, the Zenith Award for the Restoration of the Year, which will be chosen this year from 20 vehicles selected from AACA meets held during 2016.

Two exquisite cars from each of last year’s meets were chosen to compete for the award, with 13 manufacturers represented. The earliest car is a 1903 Holley and the newest a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette. Of special interest is a 1934 Duesenberg and a faithfully restored 1964 Ford Galaxie Holman & Moody NASCAR race car. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1930 Studebaker President

The Studebaker President is said to be fully restored and ready to roll
The Studebaker President is said to be fully restored and ready to roll

For most of today’s old car hobbyists and collectors, pre-World War II classic cars are vestiges of the distant past, vehicles that were before our time, that we never experienced or desired when they were actually on the road. But as tastes mature, there is a growing appreciation for the wonderful antique automobiles that range back to the start of the 20th Century.

The Pick of the Day, a 1930 Studebaker President four-door sedan, is a Full Classic included by the Classic Car Club of America in its list of recognized automobiles. As such, it’s in the company of such top-drawer marques as Duesenberg, Bugatti, Pierce-Arrow, Hispano-Suiza, Packard and Delahaye, among others built between 1915 and 1948. Continue reading

Copperstate 1000 ready to rally in Arizona

Sports cars on tour during a past Copperstate 1000 road rally | Copperstate 1000
Sports cars on tour during a past Copperstate 1000 road rally | Copperstate 1000

The 24th annual Copperstate 1000 hits the road April 6 for a four-day, 1,000-mile tour of southern Arizona, featuring a superb contingent of vintage sports, GT and race cars in what has become one of the nation’s premier road rallies.

This year’s Copperstate 1000 route takes ralliers through the scenic and historic southeastern corner of Arizona, visiting the famed Old West town of Tombstone; a stop in Bisbee, the quirky mining town turned artists’ colony; “hill climbs” up the winding mountain roads of Kitt Peak and Mount Lemon; and a tour through the magnificent cactus-studded scenery of Saguaro National Park.

A rare 1965 Lamborghini 3500 GT Zagato will rally this year | Copperstate 1000
A rare 1965 Lamborghini 3500 GT Zagato will rally this year | Copperstate 1000

The event starts Sunday, April 6, with the 86-rally cars spread out for public inspection on the baseball field at Tempe Diablo Stadium during the annual Field of Dreams show. The parking lots around the stadium usually are as interesting as the main show as local hobbyists and collectors drive their special old cars to the stadium to show off.

Field of Dreams concludes with the rally cars being introduced and flagged off one at a time in a European-style sendoff for the first day of driving. The rally runs through April 9.

The 86 entries include exotic ’50s and ’60s sports and racing cars from such makers as Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar and Aston-Martin; vintage touring cars, such as the oldest vehicle in the rally, a 1924 Bentley; plus Corvettes, Shelbys and a rare Devin SS. There’s a 1955 Studebaker President Speedster and a 1957 Porsche Carrera Speedster.

Some of the cars are truly spectacular.

Unique 1953 Aston-Martin DB2/4 Bertone roadster | Copperstate 1000
Unique 1953 Aston-Martin DB2/4 Bertone roadster | Arizona Concours d’Elegance

“We’re very lucky to have Bill Pope bringing his 1952 Aston-Martin DB2/4 Bertone-bodied roadster,” said Kelly Whitton, spokesperson for the Men’s Arts Council, which organizes the Copperstate 1000 as a benefit for the Phoenix Art Museum. “It’s just phenomenal.”

The Aston-Martin Bertone was featured in January at the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore.

“We also have a Lamborghini 3500 GT Zagato, one of two essentially prototype cars ever made,” Whitton added.

The rally is accompanied by a squad of DPS state-police officers on motorcycles, mechanics experienced with vintage cars to handle the inevitable breakdowns, and a support staff made up mainly of volunteers from the Men’s Arts Council.

The large number of road-going participants makes for some logistical challenges, Whitton said, especially for the small towns where the group will be staying in overnight stops.

“We’re pretty much taking over the entire town of Tubac,” Whitton said. “It’s all rented out.”