Shifting Gears (186)

In 1988, I had just finished a stint as a sales manager for Ferrari dealer Ron Tonkin at his Portland Gran Turismo store, and was beginning to sell collector cars, by the container-full, to the then-hot European market. While at the GT store, I had discovered Gerald Roush's Ferrari Market Letter, the grandfather of all collector car value publications. Later, a Maserati Mistral I bought and sold had some correspondence in it from Frank Mandarano and a copy of his fledgling Maserati Market Letter. I became aware of the Porsche Market Letter as well.As an Alfa guy, it seemed odd…
The Insider's Seminar is the one time each year that SCMers can come together to discuss the state of the market and the trends to come More than 20 years have passed since my first vintage-car-themed Monterey visit. The tale below is now an oft-heard one, repeated by nearly Monterey veteran. Back then the vintage races were by far the most important part of the weekend, with the concours at Pebble Beach a distant second, and a young man named Rick Cole put on a collector car auction in a downtown Monterey hotel (after he was denied permission to hold…
"My brother and I just wanted to have a car that would always be the fastest at a stoplight drag race, and it has been" Driving a 427 Cobra with sidepipes and an open exhaust is a ticket to be the badboy you always dreamed of being in high school. Within seconds of turning the key, you're revving the engine every chance you get, especially in underpasses and tunnels, and generally hoping that cows will stop giving milk because of your roaring drive by.Bill and Bud Jones provided the opportunity for Wendie and me to drive their 427, CSX 3005,…
It's a miserable, wet, 45-degree day in Portland as I compose this. And for the first time in a decade, I have missed the 44th annual Always-in-April Portland Swap Meet.Billed as the largest event of its kind west of the Mississippi River, it claims to have over 4,200 vendor stalls and 50,000 shoppers. An event held at Portland International Raceway, just next door, attracts a large crowd as well.But as I have said before, swap meets of all kinds are rapidly losing their relevance in today's collecting world. Fifteen years ago, when I owned a restoration shop, Exotics Northwest, I…
As I look at these pictures of my children, Alexandra and Bradley, taken 16 years apart, I wonder what kind of automotive world they will inherit.We Baby Boomers are the last generation to experience raw, unregulated cars as daily drivers; those built from 1955 through 1974 represent a golden age of motoring. Engineers and stylists answered only to their own whims and the marketplace, with no concerns about government safety and environmental regulations.Egg-shell bumpers on a 1967 Duetto? No problem. Gas-guzzling Hemi engine in a 1966 Dodge Coronet? Why not. The cars from that era had an ebullient sense about…
At times, being at the epicenter of a collector car weekend is like sitting in a command bunker. In Scottsdale, SCM's boots-on-the-ground team included nearly 20 market analysts, staff, and support crew.During the weekend, they fanned out to all the events, notebooks and cameras in hand, and began submitting their reports back to HQ. Each sale or no-sale immediately became part of the emerging new market reality. They also engaged in numerous conversations with buyers and sellers, getting a feel for the mood of the market.A pattern quickly emerged, which we detail in the Market Reports this month beginning on…
If I worked in a regular job, I would surely be fired for sendingand receiving so many links about collectible cars for sale First, I'd like to thank SCMers Craig Wood, of Brighton, Michigan, and Donald Sanders, of Durham, North Carolina, for being so quick to respond. When I wrote in the January issue that I was looking for an Alfa GT Junior or two-headlight GTV, they responded nearly as soon as the issue left the printing press.Wood had a white '67 GTV and Sanders a red '70 GT Junior, both in good condition and within the SCM price range…

Leaving 1990 in the Dust

Written by February 2008
In my 20 years of writing about the market, I have never seen high-end cars accelerate in value like this For the first time in two decades, we're considering pulling a tattered banner out of storage and hoisting it above SCM world headquarters. It bears the fabled words of Monterey Sports Car Auction founder Rick Cole: "You can never pay too much; you can only buy too soon." I never thought I'd write those words in a column again. It was the sale of a BMW 507, s/n 70015, for nearly $1m that got me thinking about this. RM got…
We began to wonder if the BMW had had some conjugal visits with our failure-prone Fiat 2100 and been the recipient of its DNA You might think that with all the transactions we track, and all the conversations we have, the principals at SCM world headquarters would make nothing but brilliant deals. We'd buy perfect cars cheap, have no repairs or unexpected surprises during their time with us, and then sell them for absolute top dollar. After all, what potential classic car owner could resist the descriptive phrase, "As written about in the pages of Sports Car Market magazine?"At the…

On the Road Again

Written by November 2007
If you're reading SCM, chances are you're an enthusiast. Your friends may uncork a vintage Barolo and marvel over the bouquet; you'd just as soon go out to the garage and inhale the gasoline and oil vapors that constantly seep out of a vintage car.This has been an exceptionally busy year for me and SCM, as well as our parent corporation, Automotive Investor Media Group. We've launched a new magazine, Corvette Market, to critical acclaim, and subscriptions and advertising revenues continue to grow for both our publications. On the personal side, I have a wonderful bride, Wendie, and a handsome…