Cars & Motorcycles

Automobile February 2019

Automobile is an award-winning automotive publication that captures the passion and experience of driving great cars. Featuring engaging writing and stunning photography, Automobile transports readers with each and every issue. Discover a well-rounded editorial mix focused on design, technology, automotive art, vintage cars, and industry trends.

United States
TEN: The Enthusiast Network
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in this issue

4 min.
judgin’ for the first time

I’D OBSERVED THEM many times over the years: khaki-clad packs roaming concours grounds with their clipboards—ducking heads into engine bays, getting on hands and knees to examine undercarriages, looking for reasons to deduct points. And now I’m going to be one of them. It’s time to do some judgin’. But first, I need a straw hat. I duck into the pro shop at the Port Royal Golf Club, the site of the 2018 Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance. Whew, they have some. My outfit complete, I’m ready to head out onto the field as a guest judge. At the judges’ breakfast meeting just prior to the 17th annual Hilton Head event, chief judge Gerald Greenfield distributed some words of wisdom to us newbies: Follow the lead of your chief class judge; take good…

7 min.

WE’VE JUST PULLED into a nondescript strip mall some 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, looking for Hing Wa Lee Jewelers. Two shotgun-toting security guards—stationed at the first- and second-floor doors—bark instructions at us to wait where we are. Eventually David Lee emerges with a smile and breaks the tension. He says hello and then leads us below the stucco-covered building into a subterranean parking lot. A white garage door, pristine against the otherwise grimy cement walls, opens via remote control, revealing a car nut’s Narnia: a row of Ferrari supercars on the left, including an F40, an F50, and a 288 GTO; a Pagani Huayra and a Porsche Carrera GT on the right; and two Rolls-Royce Phantom limos shoehorned in the back. But this is more than just a personal…

5 min.
judgment days

“IT REMINDS ME of the Ingmar Bergman film ‘Autumn Sonata,’” my friend Malcolm said, eyeing the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek I’d parked in his driveway. “There are deep wounds on display here, the shame and stench of inadequacy, and of course the inescapable if unspoken allusions to a gruesome degenerative disease.” Yet again, apparently, Malcolm did not like my test car. I’ve known him for roughly six years now, and in that entire time I can count the test cars he’s actually approved of on two or three fingers. Mind you, while Malcolm is knowledgeable about cars, he’s not an enthusiast. But it would be a mistake to write off his judgments as the groundless rantings of a dilettante. See, Malcolm is a top political and culture writer for one of the country’s…

4 min.
pssst: did you know psa is back?

CARLOS TAVARES, head of France’s Groupe PSA, is a clever cookie. Nissan’s now disgraced former CEO Carlos Ghosn would agree, even if he did summarily fire Tavares in 2013. But that was because his No. 2 answered in the affirmative a reporter’s hypothetical question about whether he might be interested in a bigger job, say, righting GeneralMotors, should the CEO’s role become open there. Carlos G. didn’t want to hear about an underling’s outsized ambition, so Carlos T. became a competitor. Soon after his trapdoor exit, a struggling PSA came calling for a new CEO, and Tavares accepted. He’s since proved his mettle, transforming the group—whose brands include Peugeot, Citroën, DS, and, lately, Opel and Vauxhall—into Europe’s second largest carmaker and returning it against the odds to profitability. Incredibly, the latter…

8 min.
classic questions

Write: Automobile magazine, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, California, 90245 Email: letters@automobilemag.com. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. Customer service: automobile@emailcustomerservice.com; 800-289-2886 I LIKED Mike Floyd’s column, “Buying and Selling” (December), about the highest-priced classic cars. Yes, rare Ferraris, Cobras, and Jags will continue to command high prices as long as rich guys will bid against each other. But according to one company’s research, less than 20 percent of car sales occur at auction, with 12 percent done through dealers and 71.5 percent done between private parties. I understand the auction market is relatively easy to document, whereas private sales are more or less done in opaque marketplaces; you mentioned a rumored $70 million sale price of a Ferrari GTO done in one of these dark-alley transactions. It is fun…

7 min.
the shape of speed

McLAREN TODAY IS Usain Bolt in the drive phase, right as he comes out of the blocks, exerting every muscle and sinew to get up to speed. Head down, legs pumping, no distractions. Sports Series, Super Series, Ultimate Series arriving in an endless stream that is the byproduct of the furious work rate. 570S begets 600LT; brilliant, limited-run 675LT is usurped by a faster, more capable 720S; P1 morphs into P1 GT; and then along comes the Senna. What next? More. Faster. Lighter. Back in July, McLaren announced its Track 25 plan, a commitment to launch 18 new models or derivatives by 2025. You wonder when the company might start cruising, allow itself a little glance across to see how far ahead of the competition it has traveled. Yet no matter how…