Shifting Gears (196)

Buckle your seatbelts and tighten your shoulder harnesses. Based on the results from Monterey, the collector car market is in the midst of a wild and woolly ride, with little way of predicting the crests and valleys in the year ahead.There are a few things we can all agree on as we plow through the voluminous reports by SCM analysts in this issue. First, both American classics and European sports cars continue to climb-some with reason and some without.For instance, the prices made by the two LWB California Spyders sold, RM's at $4,950,000 and Gooding's at $4,455,000, didn't surprise. These…
As the market continues to surge toward all-time highs and surpass the prices made 18 years ago, questions about authenticity and provenance continue to be one of the keys to valuation. As we noted in our review of RM's blockbuster $45m Maranello sale (September, p. 68), we believe cars that had a Ferrari factory Certificate of Authenticity consistently brought better money than they would have without.The reasons are simple. For a Ferrari, there is no higher authority of correctness than a blessing by the factory. And in a world of seven-digit cars and clever fakers, every bit of expert assurance…
It's been nearly 25 years since we've seen prices like this in the sports and exotic market. As nearly everyone knows by now, RM came within just $500,000 of setting the record for the most expensive car ever to sell at auction at their Maranello sale, where the 330 TRI/LM, s/n 0808, brought $9,281,250. It is our cover car this month, and ably profiled by Steve Ahlgrim inside this issue.The previous high sale, long ago in 1987, was of a Bugatti Royale that brought $9,800,000. There is no doubt this price will be topped in the next few months-all it…
Fifty years from now the Petersen Museum may feature a diorama dedicated to the social gathering once known as an "automotive swap meet." Young children will tug on their daddy's shirtsleeves and ask, "Thousands of people just showed up and walked around for hours, hoping they might find something?" And Daddy will answer, "Yes, and they called it fun."If the display is accurate, few of the vendor and shopper manikins will be wearing Armani suits; variations of denim will be the rule. There will be no Weight Watchers or exercise equipment booths visible, although it would appear both offer services…

Old Car Tricks

Written by November 2006
"Push? We're going to push the car?"It was a balmy day in the Pacific Northwest, so I had decided to take out our orange and black 1979 Triumph Spitfire. My 15-year-old daughter, Alex, was pleased with my choice, as the previous owner had put large speakers behind the seats, making it a perfect car by her standards.After a morning spent shopping (I was surprised at just how many pairs of Citizen jeans and Juicy jackets fit in the small trunk, and how brand-name blue denim rivals Ferrari parts in cost per ounce), we stopped in Southeast Portland for a pizza…
We at SCM have long maintained that a well-filled garage is like a well-stocked wine cellar. Just as different times of day, different events, and different meals call for different pourings, so, too, do different motoring adventures require different motoring choices.And just as each wine has its own trademark taste, bouquet, and color, each car that captivates a collector's interest has its own unique approach to motoring. A car worth collecting has an essence to it: it is a reflection of the time in which it was built, of the skills of the drivetrain engineers and the desire of the…

Somebody Stop Me!

Written by September 2006
Perhaps SCM should be in the soft adventure business. But rather than offering a chance to parachute off mountaintops attached to a safety-line, or fly a Russian Mig with an instructor who will keep you from nosing into the ground, we have something even better.Last year, my former editor at Automobile Magazine, Joe Lorio, announced that he had purchased the car, or actually station wagon, of his dreams: a 1968 Mercury Colony Park.When I was last in Detroit, Lorio proudly showed me the wagon and mentioned in passing that he was thinking of selling it. At that very moment, a…
"How did you get started with cars?" is a question I'm often asked.While I have been fortunate to have a variety of careers and occupational passions, cars and machinery came first.My earliest memories of the mysteries of the internal combustion engine revolve around my grandfather, Thomas Lester McDowell, who, along with my grandmother, Dorel Evelyn, raised me.Although our family home was in the Parkside district of San Francisco, Gramps, as the family called him, had what would now be referred to as a "gentleman's farm" at 365 McClay Road, in the town of Novato, California, then a distant suburb 30…

Riding High

Written by June 2006
Sometimes ignorance is bliss, and other times it leads to nothing but trouble.Our 1978 911SC is a perfect case in point. Relatively pampered, in mostly original paint, and with 177,000 miles on it when it joined our stable last year, it rode low and had an appealing "boy racer" look.It also had a rock-hard ride that was so uncomfortable I simply stopped driving the car. I assumed that all SCs rode this way, and that to make the ride more reasonable, I should follow our Porsche analyst Jim Schrager's advice and switch to 15" wheels, which were the stock choice…
"That's a good piece, you should buy it."The auction catalog description read, "Persian Heriz carpet, geometric central medallion and stylized floral decoration on madder red ground with ivory spandrels, 9' 6" x 11' 9". Estimate: $700-$900."Offered by local auction house O'Gallerie, the rug met my three criteria: It was the right orange-red color; the size was right for my living room; and the estimate was within my budget.That the other, seemingly more sophisticated rug aficionados in the room also blessed my choice was a plus, but not a deciding factor. I still don't know what the terms Heriz, madder red,…