Drivin news2023-05-25T12:49:42+00:00

Cars We Love & Who We Are

More than the polished parts and hard to find pieces, the special interest vehicles people collect embody the character of each owner. “Cars We Love & Who We Are” profiles individual special interest vehicles and the proud owner committed to its preservation.

Conversations with People We Value

Talking with skilled professionals who support our passion for collectible automobiles.

Roads We Remember

Some roads discovered far from home reward us with a once in a lifetime driving experience. Others are old friends revisited to elevate our spirits and celebrate the joy of life behind the wheel.

Cars We Love & Who We Are #38

1938 finds wealthy Romania playboy and auto racing enthusiast Archimedes “Archie” Antonescu poised with a plan as bold as his huge ego to stun the European auto racing community at the 1939 Monte Carlo Rally.

In Search of the 7th Royale (Part 2 –The Build)

Jean Bugatti with the 2nd Royale

For Europe in 1938 from the standpoint of the gathering storm clouds darkening the skies of global politics, Adolf Hitler clearly towered as “the straw that stirred the drink.” Yet, while “The Fuhrer” by word and deed made clear his bellicose expansionist intentions, a world, still weary and aching from the horror of WWI projected a blind-eye’s willingness to whistle past the coming graveyard.

A world populace tired of war and tragedy seemed intent on pursuing a futile effort to appease and flatter its way out of what many realists viewed as a ghastly inevitability. Despite ruthless Nazi power grabs and brutal savagery inflicted on its own citizens Western media outlets frequently authored fawning articles about Herr Hitler.

November 1938 saw Britain’s Home and Gardens in writing about Herr Hitler and his home state, “It is a mistake to suppose that week-end guests are all, or even mainly, State Officials. Hitler delights in the society of brilliant foreigners, especially painters, singers and musicians. As host he is a droll raconteur.”

In August of 1939, mere days before the start of WWII, the New York Times Magazine in profiling the Nazi leader portrayed Hitler as a country gentleman describing him as, “A man who ate vegetarian, played catch with his dogs and took post-meal strolls outside his mountain estate. The estate featured trappings that the Times reported, “Created an atmosphere of quiet cheerfulness.”

Some famous people outside of Germany sympathized with the Nazi regime. Not the least of which was England’s King Edward VIII who in 1936 abdicated the British crown to marry Wallis Simpson and who then lived a life of liesure touring the realm of high society.

For affluent friends of the Third Reich, the later 1930s offered heady times indeed. Archie with his seemingly boundless wealth from the vast Ploesti oil fields of Romania enjoyed, as well, the benefits of his symbiotic ties with the Nazi powers that be. For Archie, living at the crossroads of great wealth and political connection inoculated him from any discomfort much less the devastation inflicted by […]

By |May 25th, 2023|0 Comments

Cars We Love & Who We Are #37

For an outrageous pre-war Olympian car whose sheer beauty, power, rarity and mass screamed limitless excess, this would surely be the last place one would think to look. But, then, nobody would have the slightest reason to look because, like Beethoven’s 10th Symphony, DaVinci’s 2nd Mona Lisa or Moses 11th tablet, this Bugatti never existed. At least no such belief resided in the minds of the living. However, while it is said that the dead can tell no tales, no one has said the dead can leave no clues.

In Search of the 7th Royale  (Part 1)

Jaak Oja’s farm

Once a month for decades the old man would enter the weathered barn and pass a lifeless Lanz Bulldog tractor and a dusty array of long dormant metal working tools. Reaching the dimly lit back wall behind the stacked hay bales he would lift a rack of horse tack to the side and pry back a loose wall panel. Entering a hidden back room illuminated solely by his handheld kerosene lamp he would move to the front of an imposing vehicle that lurked in the dark shadows and filled the room. As he had done hundreds of times before, he would lift the great hood to gain access to a massive locomotive engine. Removing the dual sets of spark plugs, he would squirt oil into each of the eight cavernous cylinders. Moving to the front of the engine, his gnarled hands would place a great wrench behind the fan to gain purchase. He would give the engine a few turns and, as he had done for decades before, keep its cylinder walls protected. Sadly, he understood that the time fast approached when he could no longer protect this great secret beast. Beneath a crystal clear summer sky he shuffled back to the quiet of the neat but rustic farm house that had been the only home he had ever known since his birth in 1901. Farmer and machinist Jaak Oja knew his 56-acre farm outside of Tallinn, Estonia, like he, faced an uncertain future as did his beautiful beast. He had to do something.

1930s Romanian playboy Archimedes (Archie) Antonescu luxuriated in the vast family wealth accrued from its association with the famous Ploesti oil fields of Romania. Related to Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu, Archie’s well documented Nazi sympathies evidenced themselves […]

By |May 11th, 2023|14 Comments

Conversations With People We Value #47

Classic car auctions can be enormously entertaining events featuring wild mano a mano jousts of dueling checkbooks, or not. Much depends on the person at the rostrum wielding the gavel. In the case of Gooding & Company, the auction rostrum is home to one of the most capable and entertaining auctioneers in the world.

Meet Charlie Ross.

Charlie Ross, Gooding’s Master of the Auction Rostrum

Charlie Ross with David Gooding to his right

Clearly this auction presented an uncommon if not unique set of circumstances that played to my interests. While wiling away time in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had learned of a Gooding & Company auction disposing of a local collection containing a diverse array of desirable and unrestored classic cars. Even better for me and quite unusual for Gooding, the auction would not be hosted in an expansive and elegant setting capable of accommodating an audience that could easily exceed a thousand.

1932 Chrysler CG Imperial Custom Roadster at Lynchburg auction

In this instance the feel would be decidedly boutique-like with the action taking place in a well preserved early 20th century Chrysler dealership that had housed part of the deceased owner’s collection. Rich with 1930s charm and character but sparing in space, there would be no elevated stage for displaying the car at bid in the flesh, so to speak. To accommodate the limited space photos of the vehicle being bid upon would be displayed on large screens flanking the rostrum. Up close and personal inspection of the vehicles prior to auction would take place in a nearby warehouse. Being set for April seventh in Lynchburg, Virginia it was only a short distance away for me and just a few days in the future. Best of all, it offered an excellent opportunity to interview the Gooding & Company auctioneer extraordinaire, Charlie Ross.

I had never personally met auctioneer and BBC antiques expert Charlie Ross but I had seen him in action and enjoyed and admired his work.  The following quote says it all:

        “Without doubt the finest auctioneer I have ever seen in action is Mr. Charlie Ross. Charlie’s vast experience and ease on the rostrum,
         combined with his charm and quick wit, enable him to engage and keep total control of a room that is sometimes as large as two
By |April 27th, 2023|2 Comments
Drivin' News Quiz
Here’s this week’s question:
In 1957 two American car brands had fuel injection. One was Corvette. What was the other?

Answer to last week’s question:
What manufacturer names its cars after Bulls? – Lamborghini

About the blogger

Burton Hall has written for an automotive client list that includes Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Maserati, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Peugeot and Volvo. He has also written for The Washington Post, AutoWeek, Corvette Monthly, Jaguar Magazine, BMW Magazine, Hemmings.com, Hagerty Magazine and numerous auto restoration buff books.

He is a member of the Society of Automotive Historians and the Historic Vehicle Association.

As a classic car hobbyist, He owns a 1961 Corvette that he bought in 1967, a 1953 Jaguar XK120MC Drophead Coupe that he restored after finding it in a barn in 1980, an original 1953 Golden Anniversary Ford F100 pickup that he purchased from the original owner and a 1951 MG TD that presently serves as a planter and centerpiece in his garden. All are great drivers, except the MG which has a few bugs.


05/11/23 – In Search of the 7th Royale (Part 1)

04/27/23 – Charlie Ross, Gooding’s Master of the Auction Rostrum

04/13/23 – Trapped by a Forest of Trucks

04/03/23 – Hundred-year old Bulldog, Beloved but Doomed?

03/16/23 – Read the car, not the book and other words of wisdom that pave a path to Pebble Beach

03/02/23 – Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda with one of America’s most important cars

02/16/23 – A Silver Ghost story. Real or Fake. You decide.

02/03/23 – Fanfare for an uncommon man. A decorated soldier passes at 98.

01/19/23 – Dr. Fred Simeone’s Mona Lisa car legacy.  Part 2.  Fascinating backstories of cars he preserved.

01/05/23 – Dr. Fred Simeone’s love, vision and priceless racing legacy   Part 1

12/08/22 – Driving to history, Visiting America’s oldest tavern and the man who saved it

11/24/22 – How to manage down a classic car collection

11/10/22 – Saving the farm, Barry Wood’s beach club in the Blue Ridge

10/27/22 – When the collection outlives the collector, a daughter’s  point of view

09/29/22 – Benny Bryant’s 50-years of building Blue Ridge beauties

09/15/22 – Visiting a community built for car enthusiasts

09/01/22 – Reaching the heights of her dreams on the wings of a deHavilland Beaver

08/18/22 – 35 Below, 16 Dogs, 13 Days. Angie tackles Alaska’s Iditarod.

08/04/22 – Let’s create a Concours d’Elegance. OK…How?

07/07/22 – Applying Miles Collier’s archetype versus portrait conventions in assessing the restoration of my 1961 Corvette

06/23/22 – Does original matter anymore?

06/09/22 – Judged the 32 most historically significant cars in America. Do you agree?

05/26/22 – Hagerty automotive heritage dream conference. Gone for good?

05/12/22 – A Devin’s 47-year journey from scrap heap to Pebble Beach

04/28/22 – Hot Road Missionary and his monster machines

04/14/22 – The monster truck that nearly crushed Volvo

03/31/22 – Drank with Arlo. Dated Alice. Tuned Evel’s motorcycle. They call him Pinto.

03/17/22 – Mr. Thomas’s forest of old Porsches, VW buses and more

03/03/22 – Taking the Skyline Drive to explore the dusty attic of Virginia car culture

02/17/22 – Return of the Zipper King

02/03/22 – Karaoke, Elon Musk’s new weapon to fight driving doldrums

01/20/22 – When blue highways turn white

01/06/22 – Blue highways, back roads – If not now when?

12/09/21 – Hot rod love, family style

11/25/21 – Cars & Caffe’s Tony Boniello is always looking to brew up something new

11/11/21 – Randy the Rodfather and his Green “T” hot rod

10/28/21 – Provenance – Uncovering your car’s backstory

10/14/21 – Comparing classic car sales platforms

09/30/21 – Evolution of the new car brochure (Part II)

09/16/21 – A hot rod life defined by abundance not lack

09/02/21 – The man they trust to rebuild history

08/19/21 – Bring what you love

08/05/21 – Exploring our power within

07/15/21 – Evolution of the new car brochure (Part 1)

07/01/21 – The sputtering Mosquito and the Virgin Loretto

06/17/21 – Raymond Loewy’s 1970s Soviet world car adventure

06/03/21 – 90 GTOs, 30 Corvettes and counting

05/20/21 – An inspired venture to preserve American craftsmanship and vintage Airstream trailers

05/06/20 – When the find is the barn

04/22/21 – Man Cave Garage Sale unmasks Covid boredom

04/08/21 – The odd couple in Vinny Plotino’s garage

03/25/21 – Lemans 1978 – A young man’s memories

03/11/21 – A Sherman tank’s incredible journey from Nyack, NY to the final episode of M.A.S.H.

02/25/21 – Jaguar Archive – Preserving the soul of the brand

02/18/21 – Carried away by Bring a Trailer

02/11/21 – Hollywood dentist Dr. George Schweiger’s fantastic stable of future classic car rentals

01/28/21 – And then, Nuccio Bertone signaled for his personal Miura

01/21/21 – Behind the wheel of a time machine

01/14/21 – Wurst Kase Motorsports

01/07/21 – Singing the CarGurus no title blues

12/24/20 – Rebuild it and they will come – The life of Carburetor Steve

12/10/20 – A Volvo Christmas Classic – “It’s a Vunderful Life”

12/03/20 – Carnucopia II – Classic Car Food Drive

11/26/20 – Vintage Cord binds father and son

11/19/20 – NY Route 9D – A sure cure for Covid boredom

11/12/20 – Confessions of a demolition derby survivor

11/05/20 – Sons of Danger – Mad Men on wheels

10/29/20 – VW Bug restoration is no joke. Ask Jerry Seinfeld

10/22/20 – Guatemala and back in a Karmann Ghia

10/08/20 – A classic Corvette and a soldier’s old letters connect to a kid brother’s memories

10/01/20 – American Pickers meets Hunger Games on a country road

09/24/20 – Crash course for an underage driver

09/17/20 – Playboy Bunnies in the rearview mirror

09/10/20 – The journey is the reward

09/03/20 – More than the next chapter, it’s the next book – Life 2.0

08/27/20 – Old School Larry

08/20/20 – In celebration of a life off the leash

08/13/20 – Asleep at the wheel – Rest Stop Recovery

08/06/20 – Rt. 17A – A sweet ride to Sugarloaf

07/30/20 – What’s a”Vineyard truck?”

07/16/20 – The woman picks up where the girl left off

07/09/20 – When time and other things stand still

07/02/20 – Drive-In movies, Back to the future

06/25/20 – Mystery of the vanishing Indian Motorcycle sign

06/18/20 – Dagavar’s Jaguar, the truth at last

06/11/20 – TAKE-OUT, Lifeline to the future

06/04/20 – Henry Hudson Drive

05/28/20 – CARnucopia Food Drive Results

05/21/20 – CARnucopia

05/14/20 – Collectible Car Culture in a Pandemic

05/07/20 – Austin Healey? Nope, It’s Austin’s Crosley!

04/30/20 – Storm King Highway

04/23/20 – Children We Love

04/16/20 – Mustang Madness Revisited