1951 Studebaker Woody by Hill’s Rod and Custom

When I think of the San Francisco Bay Area, I think of hippies, hilly streets, cable cars, cloudy days and sourdough bread. The last thing I think of is hot rodding, which I associate strongly with southern California.

But if you venture over to Pleasant Hill, California, a little town in the East Bay area, you’ll find Hill’s Rod and Custom and their amazing 1951 Studebaker woody project. I saw this car on display at the Dynamat booth at SEMA 2013.

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Flowmaster 1965 Ford Galaxie by Kindig-It Customs

While wandering around the 2013 SEMA Show, I spotted this ’65 Galaxie convertible with its famous stacked headlights hiding out in the Flowmaster booth. The car was built by Kindig-It Customs from Salt Lake City, Utah.

The first thing about this car that caught my eye was simply the fact that it wasn’t another 1st or 2nd-gen Camaro. Don’t get me wrong, I like Camaros as much as the next guy, but you can’t swing a set of spark plug wires at SEMA without hitting dozens of F-bodies. They’re everywhere! This car is something different.

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1965 Oldsmobile Starfire Hardtop Coupe

Back in the early 1960s, Oldsmobile wanted to build a full size sports-luxury coupe to compete with the Ford Thunderbird. They came up with the Starfire, which borrowed its name from the Lockheed F-94 airplane of the same name. Known for its tremendous speed, the F-94 was the first US production jet to come with an afterburner.

Oldsmobile’s Starfire was based on the Eighty-Eight and when it went into production in 1961, it was the most powerful and most expensive car they offered. What made this car special was its 425 cubic inch (7.0L) Rocket V8 engine, which was only used in the Starfire and the Jetstar. With a Rochester 4-barrel carburetor, the engine put out an easy 370 horsepower.

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Inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance Exceeds Expectations

Concours d’Elegance is a French expression that means competition of elegance, and is most often used in relation to automobiles. A concours is essentially a beauty pageant for rare and elegant cars.

There are several examples of these shows in America. The largest and most well-known is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, which has been held annually since 1950. A similar show has been held at Amelia Island in Florida since 1971.

Recently, a Concours d’Elegance show was held in Arizona for the very first time. On Sunday, January 12th, 2014, about 2,000 people gathered at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix for this inaugural event. The resort, which opened in 1929, is known for its unique architecture and luxurious accommodations and has hosted every U.S. President since Herbert Hoover.

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Scottsdale Auto Auctions 2014 Calendar

January is the busy season for classic car auctions in Phoenix. For 2014, there are six different auctions coming up and two concours shows! This will be an exciting winter if you are looking to buy or sell your classic car, muscle car, hot rod, or other custom vehicle. Check out this list of upcoming Arizona car auctions for 2014:

Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2014 Auction
Dates: Jan 12-19, 2014
Location: Westworld
Address: 16601 N. Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Catalog: 1,600+ vehicles for sale
Gate Price: $15-$60 (varies by day)
Week Pass: $175
Website: barrett-jackson.com

Russo and Steele Scottsdale 2014 Auction
Dates: Jan 15-19, 2014
Location: Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road
Address: 18601 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ
Catalog: 700+ Vehicles for sale
Tickets: $20 per adult/single day
Five-Day Pass: $80
Website: russoandsteele.com

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1966 Mercury Monterey Sedan: Ford’s Middle Child

Back in the 1900s, an Austrian psychotherapist by the name of Alfred Adler came up with an interesting idea. Adler believe that one’s birth order was a major influence on the personality of a person.

For example, Adler believed that in a family with three children, the oldest and youngest children received the most attention from the parents with the middle child often being “forgotten.” Although Adler didn’t have any scientific research to support his theory, the idea of birth order is still well-known today.

So what does all this have to do with cars? Well for a long time, the Ford Motor Company was a family of 3 brands: Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury. Ford was the original and the oldest brand with the largest offering of cars, including entry-level vehicles. Lincoln was positioned as the luxury brand, maker of the finest vehicles that Ford had to offer. Then there was Mercury, the brand caught in the middle. Continue reading

Copper Queen: 1965 Buick Riviera Gran Sport Custom

When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Thunderbird in 1955, they created a market for a brand new type of vehicle: the personal luxury car. From the very beginning, the Thunderbird was a big hit that broke sales records and earned high praise from customers.

Over at General Motors, VP of Styling Bill Mitchell wasn’t about to let Ford hog the spotlight. He decided that General Motors needed a personal luxury car of their own. Mitchell asked designer Ned Nickles to come up with a rival to Ford’s 2-door, 4-seater Thunderbird. Continue reading

1973 Ford Mustang: Last of the Original Pony Cars

First introduced in 1964, the Ford Mustang was an instant success that combined style and performance into a compact and affordable package. The car’s long hood, short trunk, and V8 engine┬ácaptured America’s hearts and launched Ford to the top of the sales charts like a Saturn V rocket. Ford was unstoppable, selling a staggering 600,000 Mustangs in 1966.

As time went on, the initial excitement over the new car began to wear off. By 1972, demand for the Mustang was down to 125,000 cars per year. Then in 1973 the oil crisis hit hard, sending gas prices soaring. It seemed as though the Mustang was going to be a tough sell.

Ford responded by introducing the downsized Mustang II in 1974, an ugly little thing that was based on the Pinto. Although it shared the Mustang name, it didn’t share anything else with the first generation cars. That’s what makes this 1973 Ford Mustang so special – it’s the last year of the original pony cars.

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