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Collector Car Auction This Weekend!

By Steven S. Brooks Published: March 28, 2012

I know I've posted about this before but, just as a reminder, Classic Motorcar Auctions' spring auction is this Saturday at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron. I just looked at the updated consignment list and it's pretty interesting. Some great pre-war Classics will definitely entice the seasoned collector. What I found most interesting is the number of entry level collector cars which can be bought for a reasonable price and enjoyed immediately. There are also some very cool memorabilia items which will be sold prior to the cars. If you're a baby boomer from this area like I am, you will find the wonderful 8' by 4' Isaly's sign hard to resist.

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When Did Korean Cars Become Cool?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: March 23, 2012

It wasn't too long ago when the only reason to buy a Korean made car was the fact that you couldn't afford anything else. They weren't well built, they weren't that attractive and they weren't even that fuel efficient. They were cheap to buy and, even though you didn't brag about what you drove, they did a decent job of getting you from point A to point B within a modest budget.

 Recently, almost overnight, it seems like almost all the cool cars from Asian manufacturers are coming from Korea. The latest larger sedans from Hyundai and Kia are loaded with style and features that make similar offerings from Honda and Toyota seem old-hat. The Kia Soul is a runaway hit across all demographic lines (gotta' love the dancing hamster commercials) and the Hyundai Veloster is the new shining star of the hot hatch category. Hyundai's super-premium Equus line is receiving accolades from around the world for its quality and value. Even the entry level offerings from Hyundai and Kia have developed an excellent reputation for quality with their 100,000 mile/10 year warranties.

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What was your favorite car at the Cleveland Auto Show?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: February 28, 2012

A coworker was at the Cleveland Auto Show over the weekend and came in very excited about what he saw. His impression was that it was bigger than it has been in years and the manufacturers were pulling out all stops with their presentations and displays. When I asked him what his favorite car of the show was, he surprised me by saying the new Subaru BRZ.  Not that I don't think this new entry level sports car (to be offered in a Scion version also) is very cool, I just thought he would pick a more exotic model.

 If you had a chance to get to the show or if you have been looking at new cars, which new model impresses you the most?

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Time for the Canton Hot Rod Show

By Steven S. Brooks Published: February 17, 2012

Even though this has been a very mild winter by all accounts, it has been a long time since cruise-in and car show season. The Canton Hot Rod Show gives enthusiasts a little taste of what we've been missing these past several months.

 Held at the Canton Memorial Civic Center this weekend, Friday, February 17 through Sunday, February 19, over 130 customized show cars and 30 motorcycles will be displayed in the warmth and comfort of the arena. Several cars have been invited from out of the area as well as some of the nicer examples of local show cars. Though this segment of the hobby is not my absolute favorite, I make a point of attending and am always impressed  by the craftsmanship involved in building these cars.

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What’s Your Favorite Road Food?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: February 16, 2012

The expanse of the U.S. highway system spawned an entirely new culinary experience in the twentieth century; the roadside restaurant.  Originally mom and pop snack shacks, they grew into chains like Howard Johnson's, Stuckey's and such. Now there are plazas on toll roads where you are actually captive to the offerings that the state has deemed appropriate.

 Regardless, everyone has their favorite road food memories. I still fondly remember stopping at the giant Isaly's when we went to visit my aunt and uncle in Youngstown. Chip-chop ham on soft, buttered white bread was better than any lobster or prime strip steak to my pre-teen taste buds, especially since I knew it would be followed by a double scoop ice cream cone. What is your favorite road food memeory?

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What vehicle gets you through Ohio winters?

By Eleanor Published: February 10, 2012

Everyone in northeast Ohio knows we've had a very mild winter  so far. We find plenty of other weather issues to complain about, but the snow and ice have been minor.  If you're happy about this situation  you're welcome! No, I am not claiming to control the weather or even have extra pull in that area, but we did trade in our Saturn Vue on a Chevy Trailblazer this fall.

The Vue was purchased in May of 2008 during the $4+ gas prices. It was a nice size for us; big enough to carry the family, pull our boat and do light hauling, but not so big that I felt I was driving a tank.  We got a great deal on the car and it got 20 mpg or more in city.  We were content in our purchase and loving the savings then came winter.  Some of the same features that allowed the Vue to get great gas mileage and made it nice to drive also made it practically worthless in the snow.  Even with extra weight and good tires hills were nearly impossible, corners were treacherous and straightaways were white knuckle experiences.

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What’s a Berkeley?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: February 2, 2012

Since you're reading a blog called Car Chase, I assume you know that I'm not asking about a place in California. Some of you may know that a Berkeley is an esoteric British sports car made in small numbers about fifty years ago. These cute, little three and four wheel convertibles were powered by two and three cylinder motorcycle engines. Due to their diminutive size and very light weight, they were very popular and reasonably successful in the early sports car racing scene. They still have a good following to this day, although collector values are still relatively low.

 The reason I bring all this up is that, as a former Berkeley owner, I occasionally do a Google search to see what's happening with them. The other day, I found a blog which chronicled a complete, professional restoration of a lucky example. As I mentioned before, Berkeley values aren't exactly at the top of the collector market so very few, if any, are professionally restored. What's even more interesting is the shop which did this wonderful work is right here in Northeast Ohio. I checked out the website for Pete's Custom Coachbuilding ( ) and was amazed to see everything from micro cars to Indy racers to pre-war Packards in their portfolio.

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The $3,000,000.00 Tucker

By Steven S. Brooks Published: January 25, 2012

The story of Preston Tucker and his ill-fated car of the future was made famous by the 1988 Francis Ford Copolla film, Tucker, the Man and His Dream. The movie chronicled the venture to start a new car company in 1948 with a model that was well ahead in safety, design and engineering of what the mainstream auto manufacturers were producing. Some say that Tucker was nothing but a con artist and his company was just a sham to bilk investors. Others maintain that he was a genuine threat to GM and Ford and they used their influence with suppliers and the government to have his operation shut down. All in all, only fifty one total Tuckers were built.

 Up until the movie's release, Tuckers were looked at as automotive oddities and, despite their rarity, traded in the $10-20,000 range. The film received great publicity and became very popular. As a result, Tucker values climbed steadily over the next couple years, finally eclipsing the $100,000 mark. Appreciation and desirability by collectors grew to the point where a Tucker finally reached the magical million dollar sales figure just about two years ago. A couple more sales in that range over the past two years validated their new value.

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What’s the strangest car you’ve ever owned?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: January 20, 2012

OK, I'm addicted to watching the collector car auctions. Last night, I was watching one on television while streaming another one live on my laptop. I am definitely addicted to this strange genre of automotive reality television.

 One of the things that attract me to these events are the unique and sometimes odd vehicles that periodically cross the block. People who know me will testify that I have had my fair share of interesting automobiles but I am still amazed at some of the stuff that shows up in Scottsdale. What's even more amazing is what people will pay for these oddities. For example a BMW Isetta, a 300cc powered, three-wheeled tin can with a front mounted refrigerator door, sold for nearly $50,000! That amount will buy you some pretty nice real estate in Akron these days.

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It’s January— that means auction fever in Arizona!

By Autosaurus Published: January 17, 2012

Yes, it's January and that means the 2012 auction season officially begins with a bevy of auctions this week in Arizona.  The most famous or, for some collectors, infamous of the auctions is the Barrett-Jackson auction, which can also be viewed on the Speed channel.  Amazing as it may seem, a total of six auctions will be held!  In addition to the Barrett-Jackson sale, auctions will be held by Gooding & Company, RM Auctions, Russo & Steele, Silver Auctions and newcomer this year, Bonhams.  It's estimated that approximately 2,100 vehicles will be offered by the six companies.  Looking through the lists of vehicles offered for sale, it's safe to say that there is truly something for everyone. Five of the auctions will be held in Scottsdale.  One company will hold its auction elsewhere Silver Auctions is held in Fort McDowell.  Most of the high dollar cars will appear at the RM, Gooding and Bonham's sale, although several big Classics will be sold by Barrett-Jackson this year.  If you can't make it Arizona (or, if you go to Arizona and have some money left over)  you can attend the Classic Motorcar auction on Saturday, March 31 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron.

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