Desert Concorso 2015: Something For Everyone

I’ve just returned from the second Desert Concorso, which was in Palm Springs, CA, this year. The clear, sunny skies and 75-degree weather provided a perfect setting for more than 100 collector cars.

The weekend kicked off with a reception at Landmark Aviation, held at the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport at Thermal.

Palm Springs Stadium was the venue for the concours this year. The cars were displayed on the baseball field, which provided a visually and physically enclosed way to Read More

Exploding the “Needs-Nothing” Bugeye

It was just two months ago that I bought Bradley his first car, a 1960 Bugeye.

I drove the “needs-nothing” car home 65 miles from White Salmon, WA, made a short list of minor items in need of attention and gave Bradley a ride around the block.

The car didn’t idle well, so I sent it to Commonwealth Classics, owned by SCM contributor Reid Trummel, in Vancouver, WA. Surely, I thought, it just needs a little tweaking and will Read More

The 911 Makes a $2,500 Visit to the Mechanic

A few issues cropped up on SCM’s 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo after the 1,000-mile Northwest Passage tour this summer. The airbag warning light came on, and a few days later the PSM/ABS light joined it. Then I began to hear a low whirring sound from the engine.

And now the car is back from its visit to Sunset Porsche. Once again, Service Advisor Gabe Wiley took it under his wing and shepherded it through the “find, Read More

New Players on the Peninsula

Younger buyers want the aspirational cars of their youth

A new set of players ran onto the Monterey Peninsula this August. They were young, cocky, and didn’t give a rip about what we baby boomers thought they should buy or what they should spend. These guys in their 30s and their 40s reminded me of confident baseball players during their first season in the majors. They were going to show their elders a thing or two about playing the game.

Their bidder-paddle muscles rippled as they punched a 2005 Read More

The Méhari Out-Climbs a Land Rover

We were sitting in the SCM Citroën Méhari, watching a Land Rover Discovery make several attempts to climb a wet, grassy hill. The Rover would get halfway up, its wheels would lose traction and back down it would come.

“Watch this!” said Bill Lonseth, caretaker of the Méhari. He revved up the mighty 600-cc twin-cylinder, air-cooled engine, and we attacked the hill — and cruised right up and over, to the applause of those watching.

This was the 2015 Read More

Winter and the SCM Fleet

Our unseasonably long, hot summer is finally coming to an end. The temperatures today are in the 60s with overcast skies and a light drizzle. While this would be considered summer weather in my native San Francisco, here in Portland it’s time to start prepping for winter.

I’ve begun shuffling the SCM fleet around, in some instances to take care of deferred maintenance after a summer of use, and in others to make major improvements.

Also, as I am still Read More

The Viper and the Alfa – Two Different Types of Snakes

As I’m still recovering from rotator-cuff surgery, I’ve become a passenger in the cars in the SCM collection.

This weekend I rode in two of them: the 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce and the 2000 Dodge Viper GTS ACR.

Aside from the snakes they each have in their logos, they have little in common – except that they each offer a distinct approach to motoring.

The Alfa was pressed into service as a frontispiece for the Oregon Ballet Theater’s Read More

The Best First Sports Car

This is a question that comes up all the time. Sometimes I’m asked, “What’s the best first Alfa Romeo or Ferrari?” Other times it is just, “I’m thinking of getting into vintage sports cars. Which one would I have the most fun with?”

There are many layers to these types of questions.

My first answer is always, “Buy the best example you can afford.”

Most people buying their first sports cars today are looking for a driving experience — not Read More

Bidding and Touring With One Good Arm

Mitch Silver was ready for me last Saturday at the Portland Expo Center. I asked if I could have a left-arm bidder’s paddle, and he said yes. Tuesday I’d had rotator-cuff surgery, and my right arm was in a sling. That wasn’t going to stop me from seeing if the collector car of my dreams was waiting for me at Mitch’s auction.

I’ve always enjoyed going to Silver’s auctions. There’s something there for every budget and taste, from Read More

Two Alfas in the Shop, Four in the Garage – SCM Fleet Update

Fall is here. It’s time to start shuffling the SCM cars around, putting the convertibles away for the winter and making sure the coupes and sedans are ready to go.

Here’s a quick look at the status of the cars in the SCM fleet:

The 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce (pictured above) went to Bill Gillham’s for minor rocker repair. That has turned into major surgery, as there was rust lurking that needed to be addressed. Also, Gillham is replacing the trunk Read More