Keith’s Blog: Unrestored in Costa Rica

The crappier the car the better. That seems to be the mantra of some collectors these days.

Instead of trying to restore cars to better-than-new condition, they look for the most original vehicle they can find. The more bedraggled the better. You can even find people who will “un-restore your car” and make it look old and nasty.

Finding original, unrestored cars is becoming more difficult.

However, I came across a perfect “preservation” example a few days ago in Costa Read More

Keith’s Blog: When It’s Time for a Car to Go

We’ve decided that our time with the SCM Mehari has come to an end.

A couple of Alfas are coming out of restoration, so we need to free up some space in the garage.

We’ve enjoyed the Mehari — and we’ve done quite a bit to make it a very good driver (all things in context, of course). It has been tuned, electronic ignition installed, the shift-linkage bushings replaced, and the brakes properly set up. It’s actually quite fun for Read More

A Heads-Up on Hoods-Up

I have a pet peeve at concours. It’s owners who insist on leaving the hoods of their cars open all day long.

It’s hardly the way designers would want their cars seen.

Further, the hoods jutting upwards are a jarring contrast to the elegant setting of a concours field.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about this — and offered a solution:

I proposed an “SCM Hoods-Down” standard. I propose that hoods of all cars be down Read More

Keith’s Blog: Driven: Two Alfas, a Lotus and a Viper

I had a gearhead’s holiday last weekend.

In the course of two days, I got to put nearly 100 miles each on the SCM Lotus Elise, the ACC Dodge Viper ACR GTS and two vintage Alfas — the 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce and the 1967 GTV.

These are all sports cars, but they each represent a unique approach to spirited motoring.

The Viper is the brute of the bunch. With its massive V10 engine, it launches like a Saturn 5 Read More

Keith’s Blog: I Almost Bought a Junior Z

Online auctions have transformed the collector car world. In a matter of minutes — in your own office — you go from contemplating a quiet lunch to posting a $35,000 bid.

I was editing the next issue of American Car Collector last Friday when a text message popped up on my phone.

“BaT Auction Alert: 1970 Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato 1300 is ending in 1 hour. http://bringatrailer.com/listing/1970-alfa-romeo-junior-z/

Bidding was under $30,000 at that point, and I peg these as Read More

An Alfa is Reborn

We were crossing the Oregon High Desert at 80 mph in a 52-year-old Alfa Romeo when Bradley’s jacket blew out the window. A second earlier he had been struggling to get one arm out of a sleeve.

We were about 20 miles from Madras, OR, in a caravan of vintage Alfas. This was the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon’s 39th Annual Old Spider Tour. We covered 500 miles in two days on two-lane country roads. The 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce Read More

Keith’s Blog: Put Those Hoods Down!

Owners who leave the hoods open on their cars for the entire day are my car-show pet peeve.

Two weeks ago, while I was emcee of Keels & Wheels in Texas, I mentioned this to the organizer, Bob Fuller. He said, “It drives me crazy too. I spend all day going around asking people to shut their hoods.”

I was at a very small regional car show this past weekend — the Clark Lumber Annual Car Show and Barbecue — Read More

Keith’s Blog: What to Do When the Wipers Stop? 300 Miles in a Bugeye Sprite

We were traveling at 70 mph in a torrential downpour. Interstate 84, which runs through Oregon’s scenic Columbia River Gorge, was a nightmare of high winds and large pools of standing water.

It was not the weather I would have chosen to take Bradley’s 1960 Bugeye Sprite on its inaugural road trip.

There comes a moment of truth with any old car when you actually put it on the road. In this case, it was participating in the Austin-Healey Northwest Read More

Keith’s Blog: Wooden Boats and Gleaming Cars — Keels & Wheels Turns 22

“We expect to donate $100,000 to charity this year,” Bob Fuller said to me this past weekend at the 22nd Annual Keels & Wheels concours.

In its 22 years, Keels & Wheels has raised over $1.6m for various children’s charities, the foremost being Boys and Girls Harbor.

According to Glen R. Royal, mayor of Seabrook, TX, this money has changed the lives of many children in the greater Houston area.

Seabrook, Texas is an unlikely place for a concours. Read More

Keith’s Blog: Why I’m Not Buying a Lancia

I’ve owned well over 500 cars during the past 40 years. If I really got serious about counting them, I might reach 1,000.

They have ranged from ’62 Nova Wagons to Plymouth Superbirds to Ferrari 330 Americas to BMW Isettas.

There wasn’t a car that I couldn’t talk myself into. As Miles Collier noted, my collecting philosophy was centered around, “It’s red, I’ve never owned one and I can afford it.”

However, as I approach my maturity, my thoughts about Read More

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