Moment of Truth for SCM’s 1958 Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce

There comes a moment of truth for any old car that has been restored: the day you put that car on the road.

This past weekend, the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon and the Northwest Alfa Romeo Club (headquartered in Seattle) put on a joint tour, “Motore Alfisti Avventura NW.” Dennis Torgeson, Forrest Whit and Gordy Hyde were the organizers. The tour was to be a weekend of reckoning for SCM’s 1958 Sprint Veloce. Was the Sprint really Read More

Denise McCluggage: 1927-2015

Denise McCluggage died on May 6.

From the very beginnings of The Alfa Romeo Market Letter, she was friendly and supportive of my publishing endeavors. When I was reviewing cars for the New York Times, our paths crossed many times at events. I remember thinking, “This woman raced Porsches and Ferraris, and now she’s writing about Kias.” It didn’t make sense to me.

As I got to know her better, I came to understand that she loved all aspects of Read More

The $3,700 Turbo Tune-Up

My rule of thumb is that you can expect to spend about 10% of a car’s purchase price on it within the first few months of ownership.

Sometimes the expenditures are necessary, such as for repairs. Tuneups, tires, oil changes and the like fit into this category.

Other times they are just things you do to the car to “mark it” as yours, the way a dog lifts his leg on a tree. “Yes, I put in new carpets.” “The Read More

Keels & Wheels – Stutzes, Bugattis and a Pontiac Solstice

I’ve just returned from the 20th annual Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance. It’s held in Seabrook, Texas which is about an hour’s drive southeast of Houston.

It was a busy weekend in Texas, as just 260 miles north in Fort Worth, RM Sotheby’s sold the 78-lot Andrews Collection for a staggering $54m with 100% of lots hammered sold — an indicator that the market continues to be strong.

Back in Seabrook, enthusiasts enjoyed some of the world’s nicest classic cars Read More

When Cars Become Immortal

The market has redefined itself over the past decade.

We’ve watched it happen from the SCM crow’s nest. From multi-million-dollar catalog auction sales to text-only postings on Craigslist, we keep a finger on the ever-changing pulse of the market.

Prices have soared in the category we follow most closely — sports cars from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Yet, we find a logic to most of these high fliers, and I believe they are indicative of a healthy, thoughtful market.

Read More

Help SCM Buy a Japanese Car

It’s time for SCM to consider adding a Next Gen Japanese car to its collection.

Japanese cars from the ’80s and ’90s have been popping up on my collector-car radar screen for the past couple of years. When I go to an auction and post pictures of the cars on offer to Facebook, the ones that get the most comments are invariably late-model Japanese.

This was the case in late March at Auctions America Fort Lauderdale, where a slightly ratty Read More

Perfect Sunday — 291 Miles in a 50-Year-Old Alfa

Sometimes all the pieces just fit together.

Each year, the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon (AROO) begin the spring touring season with the “The Old Spider Tour.” The event originated as a tribute to club founder and longtime newsletter editor Bob McGill and his wife Margaret, and it always takes place around April 19 — the day McGill bought his beloved French Blue Giulietta Spider Normale in 1958.

Alfa owner Eric Roe organized this year’s run. The one-day Read More

Sea Lions and SLs: The 11th Annual La Jolla Concours d’Elegance

I take part in many concours and car shows around the world each year, and the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance continues to stand out. This past weekend I returned for my fifth year as emcee.

The setting is wonderful, right on the ocean at Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Sea lions bask in the sun at a nearby cove, and at times you can hear them bark — not something you will experience at many other car shows.

Chairman Michael Dorvillier has Read More

Planning Out My Old-Car Year

I just got a call from Nasko, our local Alfa guru here in Portland, telling me that my late-model differential has arrived from Berkeley. Jon Norman of Alfa Parts did the build.

It is going into the 1958 Sprint Veloce. The diff that’s in the car now is noisy, and although it will probably last forever, it makes cruising on the freeway uncomfortable.

I thought about trying to save the original 750 Series rear end, but Norman talked me out of Read More

Another Roadside Attraction

It was a weekend to remember.

At 6 a.m. on a Saturday in February this year, my daughter Alexandra joined me on a flight from Portland, OR, to San Jose, CA. We’d bought a 1964 Volvo 1800S last July, and it was time to bring it home.

Mike Dudek of iRoll Motors picked us up at San Jose International Airport, and soon we were at his shop in San Martin, south of San Jose.

The Volvo was better than I Read More

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