Shifting Gears (200)

Over the next few months, nearly 750,000 clunkers are going to be scrapped. Not dismantled, mind you, but smashed and melted into their base, formative materials.Whether or not this is good government policy we'll leave to our friends at The Economist. And others can debate the relative environmental effects; for instance, some claim the energy expended to build a new car, no matter how mileage-frugal it is, far outweighs any potential carbon footprint savings realized when compared with keeping an old one on the road.In the past, when various states have proposed or enacted their own versions of cash-for-clunkers bills,…

Pebble Beach, 2020

Written by September 2009
Each year, we call this our "Pebble Beach" issue. We wrap it up about one month before the Monterey week, and through the coordination of our printer and the trucking companies, copies magically appear at nearly every Monterey venue, from the Lodge at Pebble Beach to Concorso Italiano. By its nature, SCM is both reflective and predictive. The primary mission of the magazine is to interpret the current market, which we do through our Profiles and Auction Reports. That part is reflective, and I believe the team here-both in the office and in the field-does a terrific job of looking…
July is an oddly quiet month in the collector car world. While there are auctions going on, vintage car shamans are still picking apart the results of the RM Maranello ($28.4m), Bonhams Monaco ($6.2m), and Mecum Indy ($33.6m) sales.And through those results, they are attempting to cast their stones and predict what will happen in Monterey. Questions are many. Is no reserve the way to go, as the collective buying power of the crowd will be great? How many 4-cams is too many 4-cams, spread over all the auctions? Are second-tier collectibles like Maserati 3500 GTs going to hold strong,…
It's been nearly ten years since I last drove in the California Mille. Dodge was the primary sponsor then, and I enjoyed the Northern California countryside from behind the wheel of a Viper.After growing up driving Alfas, with their puny 4-cylinder, 80-ci engines, mashing the throttle on a 450-horsepower, 488-ci V10 rocket sled was like lighting the fuse on a Saturn V. With a small-displacement foreign car, passing on a two-lane road takes cunning and guile. Can you really get past that mini-van before the next turn? What if the Taurus speeds up when you pull alongside? Does that Winnebago…
It's been nearly ten years since I last drove in the California Mille. Dodge was the primary sponsor then, and I enjoyed the Northern California countryside from behind the wheel of a Viper.After growing up driving Alfas, with their puny 4-cylinder, 80-ci engines, mashing the throttle on a 450-horsepower, 488-ci V10 rocket sled was like lighting the fuse on a Saturn V. With a small-displacement foreign car, passing on a two-lane road takes cunning and guile. Can you really get past that mini-van before the next turn? What if the Taurus speeds up when you pull alongside? Does that Winnebago…
The Grays Harbor Indoor Professional Rodeo is a three-day event, and includes Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Calf Roping, Breakaway Roping, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Barrel Racing, and more.My wife's father has a race-engine shop outside Elma, Washington, where the rodeo is held. Located between Olympia and Aberdeen in central-western Washington, it's just two hours from our home in Portland.Two hours, and about one hundred years-at least as far as rodeo is concerned. We collector car types agonize about where the next generation of collectors is going to come from. Questions like, "How will someone who grows up driving a Honda…
I propose we take a break from the constant bric-a-brac of the market. At least for a few days, let's transport ourselves back to a simpler era, when the fundamental question wasn't how much your motorcar was worth, but whether it could actually travel 60 miles without breaking down.In conjunction with Steve Austin, we will be hosting a tour to the 2009 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. It's been on my short list for some time, and with the appreciation of the dollar against the pound, this seemed like a propitious time to head across the pond.The tour, October…

The New Market

Written by April 2009
Since the end of the Scottsdale auctions, the flow of emails, letters, and phone calls has been relentless. Half are shrill diatribes, demanding that SCM support the market. Any description of prices as falling, or buyers being cautious, is viewed as sabotaging the market.The second half contends that SCM is soft-pedaling the truth and doing our readers a disservice by not pointing out just how bad things really are. They accuse us of whitewashing the trends of the past six months, and painting a happy face on an Emmett Kelly-style frowning clown.In our opinion, reality lies somewhere in between these…

One Fine Day

Written by March 2009
Sometimes you just need a break. So last Saturday, we pulled out the 1965 Alfa Giulia Spider Veloce and the 2000 Boxster S. SCM Legal Analyst John Draneas and wife Carlyn fired up their Lotus Elise (or would have had it actually started; more about that later), and CM Contributor Michael Pierce and his significant other Linda unleashed their 5-speed Dinan-tuned 1988 BMW 7-series.Our goal was a boutique wine-making facility, the Carlton Wine Studio, in Carlton Oregon-in the heart of Oregon's Pinot Noir country, about 40 miles from SCM world headquarters.While the supposed intent of the trip was to taste…

"As on a Darkling Plain."

Written by February 2009
If ever we needed a respite from being pummeled by bad news, it is now. Scarcely a day goes by without a headline about an investment firm failing, a newspaper declaring bankruptcy, or a car company down to its last few billion dollars.The Dow continues to swing unpredictably like the needle of a magnet exposed to lodestone; nearly 40% of its value has evaporated. And the U.S. market rates a winner compared to that of most European and Asian stock markets, some of which have losses in the 80% range. Even the weather seems to be colder, wetter, and darker…