Keith’s Blog: It’s Road Trip Time

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One of my favorite sounds this time of year is the door to the SCM under-office garage opening and closing. Most often, it means that one of the SCM cars is either heading to the shop or returning, getting ready for the tours ahead.

For instance, this morning Subscriptions Manager Rich Coparanis drove the 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce to one of our favorite shops, Nasko’s, in Southeast Portland. Nasko has been servicing this Alfa for nearly 30 years and treats it like one of his children.

Conrad Stevenson in Berkeley did the engine a few years back, Bill Gillham redid the upholstery and some other bits, Guy Rekordon tidied up a few more items, and Tom Black recently “rehabbed” the paint and made it look better than it has in my memory.

We may be taking this car to Alfa California 2013 in Northern California early this July, so I wanted to get it to Nasko for a quick going-over. His list includes changing oil and filter, flushing the brake fluid, flushing the coolant, checking the valves and just giving the car a good pre-road-trip inspection.

The brake pedal has been a little soft for a while now, and I’m hoping Nasko has some magic cure up his sleeve. I considered changing out the original mechanical fuel pump with an electric one, but I decided that what is on the car is working, and why mess with something that isn’t causing any problems?

The Spider has been dead reliable since we brought it back from California, and with old cars, the way to keep them running right is to drive them every month or so and have them regularly serviced by mechanics who know what they are doing.

Maserati to the Rescue

The first event on the calendar is the Oregon Porsche Club’s Northwest Passage, sponsored by SCM, Chubb and Sunset Porsche-Audi. The Lotus Elise was our ride of choice the past couple of years for this event, but it’s gone on to a new owner. Further complicating things is a minor foot operation I had recently, which means I won’t be able to drive a stick-shift car by the June 20 start date.

Solution? We’ll be taking Wendie’s 2007 Maserati QP, equipped with the Sport GT package. When you press the “sport” button on the dashboard, the car becomes an entirely different animal – the 4.2-liter, 400-horsepower Ferrari-sourced V8 starts to snarl, and the entire car feels as if it is shrinking around you, getting tighter and smaller as it gathers speed.

I’m looking forward to surprising some of the late-model 911 owners on the back roads to the wine country of Walla Walla, Washington, as they see a four-door Italian GT hurtle past them into the corners and streak away on the straights.

Forest Grove, Donald and Ken

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The Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance is coming up on July 21, and Donald Osborne will be co-emcee with me. 

Good friend and long-time SCM contributor Ken Gross will be Senior Judge, and we’re looking forward to showing Ken and his wife Trish a good Oregon time.

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The Tour d’Elegance takes place on Saturday, July 20, and we plan on having cars for Donald and Ken. For sure the 1967 GTV will be ready, as will the 1967 Giulia Super – the Super is going to the Line-Up Shop today for an alignment and a diagnosis of a “clunk” in the rear end. The 1972 BMW tii has been behaving itself as well, and is what we call “in service.”

I am looking forward to the completion of the 1958 Giulietta Sprint Veloce. What started as a “minor fixing of some small things” has become nearly a full-blown restoration, including a complete rebuild (and upgrade) of the engine and tunnel-case transmission. I’ll have more to report on that car in the near future.

That takes us through July. As you can see, summertime is old-car time around here.

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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