Bad Driving Is Here to Stay

Cars are safer than ever. The fatality rate per million miles traveled in 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, was 1.1 — a nearly 25% decline since 2004, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Not only do cars handle and brake better than ever before, they are also loaded with safety features including airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control.

However, as cars have become safer, their drivers have become less so.

Some say this Read More

Seven Tips for A Successful Road Trip

Summer is the season for using our old cars. Portland’s 10-day forecast shows nothing but sunny days ahead with temperatures in the 70s and 80s.

This Wednesday, the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon have their annual summer tour, a relaxed two-hour affair that winds its way through the backcountry outside Portland. My eight-year-old son Bradley will be navigator, as he was last year. 

Last year’s tour was great, and Bradley did an excellent job, but due to a defective fuel Read More

The Sport SUV Comes of Age

I’ve never had much use for today’s “sport” SUV.

When I tested the Porsche Cayenne Turbo for the New York Times in 2003, I found that it had blistering acceleration but felt very heavy. With an as-equipped price tag of $96k, buyers weren’t likely to take the Cayenne on any serious off-road excursions. And it didn’t have the kind of interior space you’d associate with a Ford Explorer or Chevy Blazer. I doubted that automakers would ever combine SUV utility with sports Read More

Buying Cars By Accident

I have tried to keep the number of cars in my collection to a reasonable number. I. Really. Have. Tried.

But friends and circumstances are conspiring against me.

Was it really my fault that the 1972 Citroën Méhari I’ve always wanted was crossing the block at the same instant I arrived at the Silver auction in Fort McDowell? It was the fickle finger of fate, to be sure.

And the 1961 Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale? I was simply in Fort Read More

What Were You Thinking?

Having me co-host a television show about cars sold at collector-car auctions is like turning a chocoholic loose in the Hershey factory.

When evaluating cars for “What’s My Car Worth?” a TV show I co-host on the Velocity channel, I find myself slipping from the objective to the subjective. “This ’67 Healey BJ8 drives nicely and will probably sell for $80k” moves all too quickly to: “I’d really like to own this car. It’s been months since I’ve had a Read More

Heading to Italy for the Modena Cento Ore Classic

This Sunday I’ll be on a plane to Rome. I’m participating in the 15th running of the Modena Cento Ore Classic.

My copilot is Lilly Pray, and it’s her first time driving in an event in Europe.

I’ve driven in the MCO several times before, in an Alfa Romeo Giulia TI Super (with SCMer Monte Shelton), an Alfa Romeo GT Junior (with SCMer Joe Tomasetti) and a European 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera — the car we will be Read More

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