1969 Corvette ZL1 Market Moment

I was hoping John Maher’s 1969 Corvette ZL1 would set the record for highest Corvette sale at auction. $3 million Ferraris are almost expected at auctions today, yet Corvettes rarely break seven figures, much less $3m. But the 1969 ZL1s are shrouded in mystery — it was known two were built but with Maher’s one-of-a-kind ZL1 automatic convertible the total is clearly three. In the end this Corvette broke the $3m mark but did not set the record, two 1967 L88 Corvettes sold for more in the past, but it is now the highest priced C3 Corvette ever and certainly worth every penny. You can read all about it in the Market Moment I wrote in the May issue of Sports Car Market magazine, which will be published in a few weeks.

John Maher’s 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL1 Convertible courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Happy Birthday, Bob Lutz!

In Detroit they call him “Maximum Bob” for a reason. Robert A. “Bob” Lutz had successful careers at BMW, Ford, Chrysler, and GM, and I rank Bob along with John DeLorean as America’s greatest automotive leaders and innovators. At GM Bob had turned the Pontiac division back to profitability and it was quickly becoming “America’s BMW” with an all rear-drive performance-oriented lineup. GM’s bankruptcy killed Pontiac, unfortunately, but Bob’s vision was, as always, spot on.

In 2017 Bob graciously gave me an interview for our fourth book for Motorbooks, The Complete Book of Pontiac GTO. He later wrote the foreword for this book, and I will forever be grateful for his contributions. Today is Bob Lutz’s 91st birthday. Thank you again, and may you have many more birthdays to come!

The Complete Book of Pontiac GTO
The Complete Book of Pontiac GTO

Broad Arrow Group Amelia Island Auction Catalog

I was again asked by Broad Arrow Auctions to provide some of the catalog descriptions for their upcoming Amelia Island auction, March 2 – 3, 2023. Every vehicle has a story, and the challenge for me again is to tell that story in an engaging and accurate way in 400 words or less. In its first year, Broad Arrows’ three auctions were very successful — not surprising since the company is loaded with auction industry veterans. For example, Carl Bauer, the Director of Development for Broad Arrow, is an absolute expert on Porsches, and writes most of the texts on those lots. To be included in this group, and to support this important upcoming auction, is a true honor!

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 Auction Analysis

Breathtaking! That single word defines the 1970 Chevelle SS454 LS6. In 1990 the owner of an original LS6 gave me a ride. With a self-confessed “need for speed” – his Chicagoland daily driver was a 1987 Buick GNX – he held nothing back on this holeshot. Even on factory tires the LS6 launched as hard as any muscle car I’ve experienced, accompanied by the thunder only a 450hp 454 Big-Block can produce. This is elite performance from the muscle car era!

At the Barrett-Jackson Houston 2022 auction this beautifully restored LS6 coupe sold for $225,500, including buyer’s premium. While not record-setting, this was a high book sale. In general prices and sales of most vehicles have softened from the frenzy of the spring and summer of 2022. For more on this auction analysis, please see the March 2023 issue of Sports Car Market magazine: www.sportscarmarket.com

1933 Alfa Romeo 2300

December in Wisconsin is usually freezing and dreary, but on this day in 1998 it was in the 60s, a rare event.

I picked my daughter up from Kindergarten and we photographed a neighbor’s 1933 Alfa Romeo 2300. His collection was comprised of Italian classics (mostly Alfas) with little or no restoration, just the graceful patina of time. He lived a few blocks away in a large 1920s home known affectionally as “The Castle.” 

Often we’ll search for hours for the perfect location to photograph a vehicle; on this day “The Castle” was perfect!

Sinar F1 4×5 camera, Schneider 210 Symmar lens, Fuji Velvia 50 film.


Images © 1998 Tom Glatch – All Rights Reserved

Motorbooks Muscle Car Calendar 2023

Since 2017 Motorbooks/QuartoKnows⎘ has asked me to write the captions of their popular Muscle Car Calendar. I’ve worked with Motorbooks since 1991, and Publisher Zack Miller and Project Manager Dennis Pernu are the best in the book business. Telling the story of an automobile in 80 words or less is a real challenge, but one I thoroughly enjoy. The Motorbooks Muscle Car Calendar 2023 is now available on the Motorbooks/QuartoKnows⎘ site or wherever you buy calendars.

Broad Arrow Group Palm Beach Auction Catalog

This week I’ve begun to write catalog texts for the upcoming Broad Arrow Group Palm Beach 2022 auction November 18-19. Broad Arrow Group is a new auction house made up of industry veterans. What I like is their mission of “a shared vision of bringing a new level of simplicity, transparency, and accountability within the collector car industry.” That’s sadly rare in this business. Their main auctioneer, Lydia Fenet⎘, is quite amazing, too. Writing the story of an automobile — and making it very attractive to potential bidders — in as few as 150 words is quite a challenge, but I write similar captions for our annual Motorbooks Muscle Car⎘ calendar in less than 80 words, so I’ve had some experience. Some of the texts I’ve written that are still available are…

Original GTO Club Fall Cruise

We have been members of The Original GTO Club of eastern Wisconsin since 2017 when they helped us greatly with our fourth book, The Complete Book of Pontiac GTO. The club welcomes all Pontiacs, since GTOs are becoming more rare and expensive every year. Each year the club has a Fall Cruise through the northern Kettle Moraine area of southeastern Wisconsin, and this year on October 8th we joined the club with “Annie”, our 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette Convertible (not a Pontiac, but a classic GM product just the same).

We started at Collins Deck Bar⎘ in West Bend, travelled to Parnell Tower⎘ in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, then to Harbor Lights Pub and Grille⎘ on Lake Ellen in Cascade for lunch, continued to Speiker’s Pumpkin Farm⎘ in Random Lake, and concluded at SoLu Estate Winery & Meadery⎘ in Cascade. Yes, that is an apple inside a bottle of homemade “apple pie”; club member Bob Brusky places the bottles on branches of his apple tree in spring, and hopes an apple grows inside it!

While we had a sunny day, it was cool and windy, and we could not drop the top, but we added 140 miles to Annie’s odometer and had a thoroughly wonderful day with a great group of enthusiasts.


1977 Ford LTD II

We photographed this spectacular 1977 Ford LTD II for Collectible Automobile magazine in July. This beautiful Ford has only 24,000 miles (38,624 km) on it and is completely original, including the factory CB radio and antenna. The current owner just purchased this car from the original owner.

This was our first opportunity using the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f1.8G lens we recently purchased. The goal of automobile photography is to make the vehicle look as good as possible, and for nearly 40 years I’ve been looking for the perfect solution to separate the vehicle from the foreground and background. When we were photographing with a 4×5 view camera, I used 210mm and 305mm lenses, which are equivalent to 70mm and 100mm lenses in 35mm format. These came close to the “bokeh” I was looking for, but even with careful tilts and swings, I often had to stop down too much to fully blur the background while leaving the vehicle sharp.

Quite simply, the Nikon AF-S Nikon 85mm f1.8G⎘ lens is a dream come true! Look for these photographs in a 2023 issue of Collectible Automobile⎘ magazine.

1970 Plymouth Superbird Auction Analysis

Why would a 1970 Plymouth Superbird Hemi that normally sells for around $500,000 suddenly sell for $1.5 million? The ‘Bird wasn’t even exceptional quality. Simply, two bidders got into a war. When one bid $1.1 million, the other jumped to $1.5 million. War over! Add the buyer’s premium and this was a record breaking sale for a Superbird by large measure. Read all about it in the October 2022 issue of Sports Car Market magazine: www.sportscarmarket.com⎘.