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Rear view: Intro — We look back on the top car collector stories of 2021

2022 awaits through the windshield, but for the next few days we’ll review the past 12 months


It’s that time of year. No, we’re not talking about the holidays, but about taking a final look in the rearview mirror on 2021 before putting the pedal to the metal while racing into 2022. 

Over the course of the next 10 days, we’ll publish a series of stories counting down the top-10 stories of the year, as selected in a poll of our editors. But we start today with this introduction that includes some of the events of the Classic Car Year 2021 that didn’t draw enough votes to make the top-10 list.

And what are the stories that get honorable mention in our annual ratings? They include:

  • A vintage racer wins the Indianapolis 500. We’re not talking here about the car but the driver, as 46-year-old Brazilian native Helio Castroneves drove a Meyer Shank Racing car to victory with the highest average speed in the more-than-a-century history of the Brickyard classic. And this in a year during which 42-year-old Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory in the Super Bowl and 50-year-old Phil Mickelson won the PGA golf tournament championship. 
  • Although weather has delayed their return from Antarctica to the US, 65-year-old Renee Brinkerhoff, her 65-year-old Porsche 356 and her co-ed team completed the unprecedented feat of cross-country driving on all seven continents by a female competitor in a vintage vehicle. In addition to the challenge for woman and machine, the Valkyrie Gives effort raised money to combat the trafficking and exploitation of women and children.
  • A fire destroys the Top Mountain Motorcycle Museum high in the Alps on the Austria-Italy border and its outstanding and world-class collection of more than 300 vintage bikes and other vehicles.
  • Pent-up demand caused by pandemic sales postponements and collector car auction cancelations resulted in a significant bump in the prices being paid for classic and collector vehicles in 2021.
  • A northeast Indiana developer announced plans to buy the historic Auburn Auction Park and convert it into a grassroots multi-sports venue. At last report, however, the sale of the property had not been secured. RM Auctions staged its annual Labor Day auction at the facility that for decades was the home of the annual Kruse sale, but it posted a lower sales total than the Worldwide Auctioneers event taking place just across the interstate highway.
  • Rolls-Royce unveiled the “Boat Tail” and announced the return of its Coachbuild division to create such one-off vehicles.
  • Bring a Trailer became the official auction partner of the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance, marking the first time an online auction achieved such a partnership.  

Over the course of the next 10 days, we’ll share what we consider to be the top-10 collector car stories of 2021.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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