Bidding and Touring With One Good Arm

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Mitch Silver was ready for me last Saturday at the Portland Expo Center. I asked if I could have a left-arm bidder’s paddle, and he said yes. Tuesday I’d had rotator-cuff surgery, and my right arm was in a sling. That wasn’t going to stop me from seeing if the collector car of my dreams was waiting for me at Mitch’s auction.

I’ve always enjoyed going to Silver’s auctions. There’s something there for every budget and taste, from thousand-dollar beaters to $100,000 Packards.

Perhaps because I was still under the influence of post-surgery drugs, I found myself drawn to four cars that, if I had bought them, would have given me the instant Worst Collection Ever. A 1989 Buick Reatta and a 1989 Maserati TC sat next to one another. Across the hall, a 1987 Citroën CX and a 1980 Rover 3500 softly called my name. As if these collector car orphans weren’t weird enough, a 1958 Willys Forward Control 170 winked as I walked by.

I was there with good friend and ACC Contributor Michael Pierce. Like an offensive lineman protecting his quarterback, Pierce threw his body between me and any strange car I showed interest in. We escaped without buying anything.

The President’s Tour

Sunday was the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon‘s annual President’s Tour, and the SCM 1967 Guilia Super was ready to go.

It is only through the use of our classic cars that we can find the true enjoyment in them. Roger Dilts has been the president of AROO for five years, and he organizes this annual opportunity for us to exercise our old cars. We gathered at 8:30 a.m. at Home Valley Park on Washington State Route 14, nine miles east of the Bridge of the Gods. There were about 20 cars entered, mostly Alfa Romeos, with a vintage Morgan and a new Miata as well.

My driver was a good friend from out of town who enjoys vintage sports cars and looked forward to putting the Super through its paces. SCMer Doug Hartman brought his 1967 Giulia Super as well. Our matching green, 48-year-old four-door Italian sport sedans were an unusual sight.

Dilts’ 100-mile route took us through Gifford Pinchot National Forest and onto Wind River Road. Our first stop was a 15-minute break at McClellan Overlook. From there we could see the devastation that occurred when Mount Saint Helens erupted in 1980.

The SCM Super is still in its break-in phase. Dan Sommers built and installed the new 2-liter engine about 400 miles ago. It pulled strong; third gear was especially useful on the two-lane mountain roads. The suspension has been completely gone through and modified, and the car tracks extremely well and stays flat through the turns. In short, it’s a joy to drive.

Twelve miles later we came into the Lower Falls on the Lewis River and took a short walk to see the river cascading over blocks of granite. The tour ended in White Salmon with a tasty lunch at Everybody’s Brewing. Following that, we took SR 14 back to the Bridge of the Gods, crossed over the Columbia River into Oregon and then made our way to Portland on I-84. The Super never missed a beat and ran easily at 75 mph.

And now it’s back in the garage — primed and ready for the next adventure.

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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