Although Peter Egan at Road & Track probably doesn't pen his monthly column just to goad us into philosophical musings about the hobby we share, nonetheless he's done it again. In a recent column, he writes of stumbling across a derelict TR4 in a barnyard, and making the obligatory $50 offer for it, rationalizing that any Triumph deserves to be saved.
We're not convinced. To make space for each succeeding generation, animals and plants shuffle off this mortal coil when their time is done. Unfortunately, unlike a pet fish which can be flushed down the lou when it expires (don't try that with your 308 GT4), or even a horse which can be put down humanely, cars just sit and rot.
All cars do that, not just the ones we like. Driving through the countryside, if we were confronted only with rusting Lancia Aurelias, Jaguar XK-150 coupes and Porsche 356s, at least the view would be interesting. But, here in Oregon, rural households often seem to sprout car and appliance gardens in their front yards, ancient Maytags sitting cheek-by-jowl with slowly melting Rambler Ambassador 220 Deluxes.
At every swap meet we are confronted by hordes of near-derelict cars with no redeeming value, including four-door sedans that should have died and gone to the great recycling yard in the sky long ago, rusty pigs whose value will never support a restoration and wallet-sucking automotive irrelevancies whose chief pull on our heartstrings is that we first learned to drive or were introduced to the mysteries of the fairer sex in a similar car.
Just having two doors and a top that goes down isn't necessarily a deed to eternal restoration. There is no shortage of redeemed TR4s in the world, nor is there ever likely to be. We say let those TRs or Alfas or Porsches that have become unrestorable, disintegrating, rusting hulks go. Send them to that great universal scrapyard, their molecules freed to be reborn in a new car. Imagine - the steel from Mr. Egan's derelict TR4 may end up as the fender for a Mercedes E-55, not a bad fate. The world will thank you for helping reduce its clutter, and surely the poor car you put out of its misery will enjoy its new chance at life as well.
Regular SCM readers will notice three new contributors in this month's magazine. Responding to requests about the burgeoning market in automobilia, we have a new column, "Motobilia," this month presented by noted author and collector Carl Bomstead. His writings have appeared in a variety of magazines including Car Collector and Mobilia.
Joining us as an expert on vintage motorcycles is Tom Young. A friend of the SCM family for more than a decade, he has owned and operated Rose City Motorcycles and the Rose City Off-Road Center for the past twenty years. During that time, he has been a dealer for Bultaco, SWM, Italjet, Merlin, ATK, Beta, Montessa, Gas Gas, HM and LEM. Young was the founder of the "Battle of the Twins" races in Portland, in which he competed riding a Ducati 900SS and a BMW R90/S. The winner of the AMA National Championship for observed trials in 1983 on a Montessa, he recently was the 2nd highest placing American in the F.I.M. Scottish Six Day Trials. His shop specializes in the sale of late-model high-performance motorcycles, and his personal collection includes a '39 DKW 125cc, a Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts Replica, a KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica, a Mike Hailwood Replica 1000cc Ducati, several 900SSs, a 750S and a variety of other Japanese bikes. Young brings years of experience in the buying and selling of collectible and contemporary motorcycles to the pages of SCM.
Nothing beats an on-site auction report, where an SCM representative's prying eyes can separate the rusty sills of reality from the sometimes overly optimistic puffery of an auction catalog. Reporting in this auction on the Brooks' all-Ferrari sale in Gstaad, Switzerland is Marcel Massini. Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1957, Massini is a dedicated Ferrari enthusiast whose articles have appeared in specialized Ferrari magazines in England, Japan, the USA, Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland. He is the European editor of Prancing Horse magazine and a contributing editor to Cavallino and Scuderia. In 1990 he was awarded the Warren W. Fitzgerald Memorial Trophy of the Ferrari Club of America. His new book titled "Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia" is scheduled for publication in late 1999/early 2000. Earlier works include "Ferrari 250 LM" and "Ferrari by Vignale."
MORE COLOR, MORE MAGAZINE
As SCM continues to grow, with subscriptions up 50% in the past four months, and now available at Barnes & Noble and Hastings, we have had increasing requests for more color pages. To facilitate this, we have acquired a 40" Komori two-color press that will allow us to print sixteen pages of color every issue. Once again, we thank you for your continued interest in and subscriptions to the magazine, and we will continue to work to make it ever more useful and entertaining for you in your collecting.
STREAKING ACROSS THE COVER
It's an explosion of Teutonic color by German artist Uli Hack that's streaking across this month's cover. Hack was recently commissioned to create the official series of posters for the 1998 FIA Formula One championship. The scene on our cover, "Le Mans Porsche," according to Uli, "is a powerful Gulf-Porsche 917 which I imagined as it was braking down from its 200+ mph top speed at the end of the Mulsanne Straight." A few prints, from a hand-signed edition of 500, are still available at $100 plus shipping from the artist (fax (Germany) +49-761-702395). Prints of some other of Hack's work, along with some original paintings, are available from Gary Schmidt's Mysteries and Motorcars, in Florence, Oregon (phone 541/997-1023).