Keith’s Blog: Rockets and Rainstorms

It’s time for an update on the SCM fleet. We’ll leave the Alfas for last.

The D90 is at Ship’s Mechanical having a few little things attended to and getting a rear step installed to make it easier for Bradley to clamber into the back. The power steering pump has started leaking, but since it could cost up to $1,000 to replace, I’ve decided just to keep a case of ATF fluid in the back and top up at every stop.

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Keith’s Blog: Keels & Wheels 2014

There’s something about the highly polished hull of a vintage wooden boat set against blue water that is alluring and exotic.

Part of what makes Keels & Wheels so attractive to me is the combination of restored wooden boats and the tantalizing array of collector cars, all sharing the grounds of the Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas (located about 40 miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport).

This was the 19th annual Keels & Wheels and my fifth time Read More

Acceptable Imperfection?

Many years ago, I was considering buying a Mercedes 230SL and called Mercedes guru, SCM contributor and collector Alex Dearborn to ask for his advice. I told him the car was straight enough, a little scruffy in and out, would need a torn swing-axle boot replaced, had a 4-speed and both tops. At that time, the price of $18,000 was about right.

Alex was direct in his response. “How much imperfection can you stand?” he said. “You’ll need to fix Read More

Keith’s Blog: 600 Miles in a 49-year-old Alfa

Every spring the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon hold the “Old Spider Tour” to celebrate and commemorate the occasion of club founder Bob McGill buying his 1958 Alfa Spider from Rambo Motors.

This year there were six old spiders (three Giuliettas and three Giulias) plus another 16 or so cars, ranging from GTVs and Duettos to a lone GTV-6.

We started at Steamboat Landing Park, just past marker 16 on WA 14 eastbound, ran along picturesque Highway 14, and ended Read More

Keith’s Blog: Buy, Discover, Spend, Persevere

A couple of weeks ago, restorer Bill Gillham finished up fettling our Alfa Giulia Super and sent it over to Dan Sommers at Veloce Motors for a mechanical checkover.

Here’s the note I just got from Dan:

Keith,

In my earlier note I talked about the list getting longer as I spent more time around your Super. Sorry… More bad news to come.

I changed the oil and noticed that the drain plug looks like Read More

Keith’s Blog: La Jolla Takes it Up a Notch

Every car event has its own flavor, from the industrial magic of Pebble, where the world’s greatest cars emerge to be ogled by some of the world’s most influential collectors, to Concorso Italiano, where the smiling-face chaos begins when the first Fiat arrives and ends as the last Ferrari exits the field.

The most successful events are sensitive to their local audience of casual car lovers, as well as to the serious collectors who bring their Read More

Keith’s Blog: Duetto Ashtray Needed and the BMW Goes to Bonneville Dam

The weather in Oregon has turned, so it’s time to get the old cars out and give them some exercise.

But before we talk about the driving experience, let me give you an update on the fleet.

According to Alfa Romeo, our 1958 Sprint was born on April 3, 1958. Last Friday we celebrated the Sprint’s 56th birthday by presenting it with a cake. The little Alfa seemed appreciative, even if it did complain that the frosting gummed up its Read More

Cranking Up the Collector World

I love the way the collector-car year launches. Arizona in January is like Mardi Gras, with cars to be auctioned replacing floats. The procession of delectable automobiles is non-stop, with the six big auctions pulling out all the stops.

For me, the action started earlier this year than usual. It included a quick trip to London for a dinner at Bonhams’ new headquarters at 101 New Bond Street — a most tony address, in a most tony part of a Read More

Keith’s Blog: Desert Concorso is a Hit

It’s a good time to be a gearhead. This is the second opportunity I’ve had in the past three months to be involved in a new car event, and both have been spectacular.

In January, I was the emcee for the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance. (See my previous blog post and column.) Despite naysayers who said the organizers needed another year to put all the pieces together, Kevin Cornish pulled a mechanical rabbit out of a hat and put Read More

Keith’s Blog: There’s a Duetto in the Garage

It’s only taken me two years to find the right car, and it was right here under my nose.

To recap, I decided last year that I would create a focus to my mini-collection. Instead of it looking like a sampling of “The Greatest Hits From Bring A Trailer,” with vehicles ranging from a Saab Sonett to a BMW 6-series to a Volvo 1800 ES, it would be just Alfas.

I picked the five Alfas that both fit Read More