The SCM Fleet takes Shape

Our 1967 Alfa Duetto

There have been many cars in the SCM Garage over the years, and most go on to new homes — while a select few are members of the family.

For example, the 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo that we’ve enjoyed for almost two years has found a new home with ACC contributor — and Corvette expert — Michael Pierce.

The guided missile from Stuttgart is sitting comfortably between Pierce’s 1967 427/435 Corvette and his 1967 Corvette 327 Convertible in Lynndale Blue. Both Corvettes are NCRS Top Flight cars, and Pierce already has the Turbo looking better than ever. He did give me back a bag of Legos he found in the car — a legacy of Bradley’s time as co-pilot.

As I look back on what we’ve kept in the SCM Garage and what we’ve sold, the term “value in use” comes to mind.

My recent 1,100-mile road trip in SCM’s three 1967 Alfas brought home that driving our old cars is the best way to appreciate what they add to our lives. SCM spends enormous amounts of time and money getting these cars “on the button,” but the reward is  serious satisfaction when behind the wheel.

There are always new tasks with even the best-maintained old cars. Suspension bushings have to be replaced, shocks and springs upgraded and proper tires fitted.

Driving the 50-year-old Alfas helped me decide to let a couple of cars go. The 1967 Volvo 122S had to go because when it was sitting next to the 1967 Alfa GTV, I would always pick the Alfa. The GTV is just more of a sports car than the Volvo.

The Porsche 911 Turbo is an incredibly capable car, but it’s a very modern car for my tastes. If I were going on a 1,000-mile run, I’d probably grab the Alfa Giulia Super and put Bradley in the back seat. just as important, Pierce had driven the Turbo and really enjoyed it, so I know it has gone to a good home.

Strangely, the 911 Turbo is just too good and too easy to drive quickly, and it didn’t give me a chance to practice the driving skills I’ve developed in Alfas during all these years.

The car that seems to be getting the most use is, oddly enough, the Citroën Méhari. On hot summer days, it’s the perfect clown-mobile to run around town. Of course, it has terrible brakes, no airbags and safety is definitely spelled with a small “S” here. Luckily, you’re going slowly — 0-60 mph can be measured with an egg timer. And the car is so odd looking that other drivers tend to notice it — and slow down.

We’re now down to the three 1967 Alfas, the Méhari, the Bugeye, the Land Rover D90, the Lotus Elise and the Dodge Viper.

This lineup has something for everyone, but what all of the cars have in common is that they offer unique driving experiences.

So now, when I’m thinking about adding a car to the collection, the first question I will ask myself will be: “What will I do with this car, and what driving experiences does it offer?

I’ll be driving our 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto to Monterey this year for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Duetto at Concorso Italiano. I’m driving the Super to the Wallowa Mountains in Eastern Oregon on an Alfa tour after Monterey. So there are definitely adventures ahead — and the SCM Fleet is perfect for the roads ahead.

 

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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  1. I am thinking of letting go of my three Giuliettas for the same reason. Whenever I want to go somewhere I inevitable choose either the Duetto, Super, or Guilia GT. They’re more fun and less fiddly to deal with…………..

  2. I first knew of you via the Alfa Market Letter, so it’s fitting that you end up with the Italians. Thanks for sharing your insights with us.

    I evolved into more and more Porsches. I enjoyed the stronger performance, reliability, and track worthiness. As I do almost all of my own maintenance, I discovered it was a lot easier to remember how to work on things when I didn’t stray from the marque, thus a few interesting Italian and Brit cars moved on.

    Still, I find similarities with your situation. I hate the idea of ever selling my early GT2 but the performance level is so wickedly high that it is nearly impossible to enjoy it on public roads. When I have used it in a mature and conservative fashion I return home feeling that I have wasted an incredible performance car. I drive my wife’s Boxster S and can use enough of the performance to really enjoy the experience. [One nice thing is that the experts recommend that you “use the revs” to help avoid potential IMS issues. ;-> ] I quickly discovered that it easily attains “arrest-able” performance levels! I am fortunate to have other P cars, most of which fit somewhere between these 2 cars. All in all, I am forced to admit that the .. cough cough.. Boxster S is by far the most FUN real world car. When I explain this to my P car friends they are devastated and most don’t want to hear any of it. Their loss.