Keith’s Blog: A Quick Road Trip in the Lockdown Era

I question the wisdom of my own decision to leave quarantine, even if briefly.

Last weekend, Bradley and I piled into the SCM Volvo 122S and drove to the Oregon coast and back.

Our destination was the fabled Bowpicker Fish and Chips in Astoria. The establishment is housed in a free-standing boat on a trailer.

At 69, I am in a high-risk group if I contract the Coronavirus. So we exercised what I thought were proper precautions. We went directly Read More

Keith’s Blog: Write Your Car Diary

Our world is changing daily.

Five years from now, we will look back on this as an extraordinary time in our lives.

But for the moment, we don’t know from one moment to the next how much — or how little — freedom we will have.

I suggest that you to take this moment to codify your experiences with the cars you own.

I’ve always wanted to keep a journal of my experiences with my cars. One where I notated Read More

Keith’s Blog: Stay Home and Plan

We are in uncharted waters. No one can predict what the next weeks or month will bring. It’s a time of uncertainty for all of us.

I suggest we all use this quiet time to chart out the next decade with our cars.

Look at all the activities you are interested in — and decide which ones you want to attend.

Also, think about which events would be fun to attend with your children and/or grandchildren. You’ve got plenty of Read More

Keith’s Blog: Why I Didn’t Buy an RX-7

There was a first-gen Mazda RX-7 on Bring A Trailer recently. It had only 16,000 miles, a rare automatic transmission — and was located fewer than 15 miles from SCM World Headquarters in Portland, OR.

I’ve always been attracted to these cars. Their lines are period-interesting, and the rotary engine is intriguing.

It sold for $9,500.

As much as I wanted to bid, buy and drive it home, voices of reason in the SCM offices prevailed.

First of all, it Read More

Keith’s Blog: Drive and Save

Every mile I drive the SCM Volvo 122S, I save myself money.

There are two rules after you acquire a car that never change:

First, do what it takes to make the car safe to drive.

Second, put 500 miles on it before you do anything else.

When you get a car, it’s tempting to “start doing stuff” to it. Whether it’s getting WeatherTech floor mats or a new outside mirror, you can’t help yourself. You want the world to Read More

Keith’s Blog: Jaguar or Mercedes?

My adventures with the 1965 Volvo 122S continue. I am thoroughly enjoying being back behind the wheel of a vintage vehicle. The joy of driving a classic sports car reminds me of why I started SCM 32 years ago.

It also reminds me of how many stories you readers have shared with me.

For 90% of the driving I am doing, the BorgWarner Type 35 3-speed automatic transmission in the 122 does just fine. (Of course it’s the other 10%, Read More

Two-Pedal Mettle

I broke “The Draneas Rules.” Again.

Our “Legal Files” columnist, John Draneas, constantly says that you should never buy a car without an inspection — and you should never send money to someone you don’t know (for a refresher, see this month’s column on p. 48).

After willfully and intentionally disregarding both these maxims, I added a new car to the SCM fleet. From finding to owning took less than four hours.

While my clutch leg is coming along nicely, Read More

Keith’s Blog: Old Car or New for My Spring Break Road Trip?

I’ve written many times that old cars are not safe in modern traffic.

It’s one thing to type that out. It’s another to experience it.

Sunday I took the SCM Volvo out for a drive, through Portland, onto the freeway and back.

As old cars go, the Volvo is relatively safe. I have installed inertia-reel shoulder belts for all four seats. It has front disc brakes. With the handling kit I had installed by Swedish Relics, it still has pathetic Read More

Keith’s Blog: Upgrading Your Cars

When the SCM 1965 Volvo 122S automatic arrived last week, SCMer Dean Koehler arrived to inspect the car.

Dean is the founder and the self-appointed Volvocrat of the PDX Round Fender Volvo Club. He’s also the iron-fisted content arbiter of the PDX Volvos FB page.

As he walked around “ELF” (my powder-blue 122S) he immediately and emphatically said, “Just don’t touch anything on the car. Leave it alone. Don’t modify it like you always do. It runs fine now.”

Dean Read More

Keith’s Blog: Caravan to Concorso Is Back!

Mark your calendars.

The third annual Caravan to Concorso will leave Portland on Saturday, August 8.

With the addition of the Volvo 122 Automatic to the SCM fleet, I’ve got a ride even if my clutch leg isn’t completely up to snuff.

Any pre-1975 car is welcome. Aside from providing a route and cities for overnight stops, we will be on our own. We’ll just head south on I-5, cut over to the coast near Eugene, then follow 101 South.

Read More