Shifting Gears (183)

You Can Go Home Again

Written by January 2006
If knowledge is power, SCMers are about to become an even more formidable group of collectors. The information on all 40,000 cars in our database will soon be available to you 24/7, from anywhere in the world, via your handheld devices.Starting at the Scottsdale auctions in January, anyone with a Treo, Blackberry, or similar device will be able to query our database by sending an e-mail to \n This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . If you enter "1967 Jaguar XKE" in the subject field of your e-mail, you'll get recent…

Frommer, Zagat, and Me

Written by December 2005
What makes a car collectible? And what makes one car more desirable than another? We all might agree that a 1967 911S is more desirable that a 1977, but exactly why? At SCM, we have long felt there was a need for an evaluation and rating system for collectible cars that considered more than just transaction prices. After all, market value can fluctuate wildly. Consider the Maserati Ghibli. Its value has gyrated from $150,000 in 1990 to $35,000 in 2000. Yet the underlying characteristics that make it collectible haven't changed.To help understand what sets the Ghibli and other special interest…

An Affair Revisited

Written by November 2005
Just after Monterey, I got a call that delighted the enthusiast in me, and terrified what remains of the sensible adult. In 1995, I sold one of my favorite cars, a 1965 Alfa Giulia Spider Veloce, to Ken Metzger, a friend in Belvedere, CA, for $22,000. Now, a decade later, he offered the car back to me at the same price-after putting $10,000 into it. He cautioned that, despite being coddled, it was showing its age.Owning this car again wasn't in my thoughts or the SCM collector car budget. In addition to our 1978 911SC, SCM had just purchased a…
I took the SCM 1963 Corvette split-window out for a spin last week, a shake-down for this year's running of the Monte Shelton Northwest Classic Rally.I stopped to pick up my good friend Steve Sargent, who, although not a full-bore car guy, does drive a four-cylinder BMW Z3 convertible in addition to the practical Volvo and Subaru wagons his family of five requires.He slid into the 'Vette, noting the "safety by Gillette" protruding lip over the glovebox and the nearly useless lap belts. I revved the car to 3,000 rpm and dropped the clutch, leaving twin bad-boy strips of rubber…

Pick Six

Written by August 2005
Alfa Romeo is the featured marque at a variety of events in Monterey this year, so sprinkled throughout this issue you'll find a focus on Alfas. Putting all this stuff together had me itching to write yet another chapter in my long saga with the marque, so last week I tried to buy a Spider before going to lunch.I had found it on Portland's Craig's List, where the picture showed a rubber-bumper car with the year unstated. In an e-mail exchange, the owner said it was completely original, and needed a minor tune-up but added, "It's ready to drive to…
I drove to Seattle on a Saturday morning in a 2006 BMW 325i, and by the time I returned the following day I was behind the wheel of a 1977 AMC Pacer wagon. And yes, it was by choice.The BMW is a fine car, with a pleasing appearance less Bangle-ized than its upmarket stablemates. As you might expect, the drivetrain and suspension are world-class, capable of handling anything you or I might throw at them. Perhaps Mark Webber or Nick Heidfeld, hammering the 3-series at the Nürburgring, could cause it to lose its composure. Perhaps not.Unfortunately, BMW continues to take…
The first issue of SCM roared off the presses (or more accurately, was spit out of a mimeograph machine) in 1988. We were just in time to ride the upsurge in the market through its crest in early 1990.I was buying and selling sports and imports at the time, and day after day through February 1990, my fax machine kept spitting out orders from European clients. Selling nearly anything wasn't the problem; finding something to sell was.One of my favorite deals was a Daytona, located in New York, which had burned to the ground. The carburetors and distributors were completely…
It's time we all stopped pretending. For all intents and purposes, the last collectible serial production car rolled off the assembly line sometime in the mid-1970s.SCM has long maintained that the 1955-73 period will be regarded as the Golden Age of collectible cars, when the automotive equivalents of Van Gogh, Puccini and Frank Lloyd Wright were churning out landmark vehicles, one after another.From the 1955 Chevrolet 210 to the 1973 Carrera RS, cars simply got better and better each year. In fact, the advent of governmental smog and safety regulations in 1974 marked the first time in automotive history that…
The 1974 Mustang II, by nearly any standard, was a pathetic shadow of the original. It was also a terrific sales success, its 384,000 units sold far outstripping the 134,267 of the 1973, final-year, "Big Mustang."The reason Mustang IIs flew out of the showroom was simple. Gas prices zoomed as a result of the 1973 fuel crises, and the Mustang II was, compared to the car it replaced, a small, fuel-efficient vehicle.Fuel prices are again on the increase, and there are many daring, innovative economical autos being introduced. Unfortunately, few of them will ever be sold in the U.S. I've…
While I've never been to a 24-hour race, the Speed Channel coverage of the 2005 Barrett-Jackson auction came close. Although my duties in the broadcast booth were spread over four days, that's a lot of hours to put in watching the world's shiniest used car lot in action.Bob Varsha and Brock Yates, my boothmates, were as delightful as ever to work with, and the three blockmeisters, Alain de Cadenet, Mike Joy and Rick Debruhl, found something engaging about each car to discuss-no mean feat when you get a run of what seemed like 30 B-body Chrysler muscle cars in a…