When It’s Time To Drive a Boring Car

I was driving home from a holiday dinner last week on Sauvie’s Island, about 15 miles from downtown Portland. The country road I was on was unlit, two-lane and winding. It was raining, but not heavily.

The road presented no challenges to the modern car I was driving. Cocooned by the touch-screen nav system, the heated seats, automatic climate control and powerful high beams, I motored along above the 45 mph speed limit and didn’t think much about the actual Read More

Car Club Survival Tips: Part 2

I was at the Oregon Region Porsche Club holiday dinner recently, and several members came up to talk about my November 11 column, Tips for Car Club Survival, concerning things that car clubs might consider to help them survive and grow as we move deeper into the 21st century.

Our new world is not particularly automobile-friendly, as we have so many options now for entertainment and socialization. How then do we keep old car clubs relevant?

In my column, Read More

I’m Not Really Looking, But…

There are many stock phrases in the vocabularies of car collectors.

They range from “that’s one of one” to “wonderful patina” to “I never should have sold it.”

The one that seems to get me in the most trouble is, “Well, I’m not really looking, but…”

You know the drill. You have a vague interest in a certain car. In my case, it was a Volvo P1800, the sports coupe Roger Moore drove in the television show “The Saint.”

Not Read More

1,000 Miles of Patagonia in a Jaguar E-type — The 2014 Argentine Millas

I’ve just completed the 1,000-mile Monte Carlo-style rally held every year in Argentina. The Argentine Millas brings together old-car enthusiasts for three long days of challenging roads and timed legs that are measured to 1/100 of a second.

My co-pilot was Round-Fender Volvo Club leader Dean Koehler, recently retired from Alaska Airlines and who is also an ex-Navy carrier pilot.

The flight path is not a direct one. We left Portland around noon on Monday, went through Houston Read More

Alfa 4C: The Right Car for the Right Time?

I’ve been around Alfas for a long time.

When I was at Ron Tonkin Grand Turismo in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Alfas we were selling were the Milano, the 164 and the beloved-but-aged Spider.

At that time, corporate Alfa had, in its infinite wisdom, decided that since Americans bought a lot of four-door sedans equipped with automatics, they would send four-door automatic sedans to the U.S. They were sure buyers would snap them up in Read More

Tips for Car Club Survival

I’ve been thinking about what it takes for a club to survive in the 21st century. I belong to a fair number of automotive marque clubs, and I regularly attend meetings for other clubs as a guest. Here are my tips for making a club a more effective organization.

Make it Appealing

Car clubs have to offer enthusiasts more reasons to attend meetings and events than simply “Gosh, we all own MGs!”

The local Alfa Club, Alfa Romeo Read More

Hilton Head Motors Forward

How often do you get to discuss advances in Civil War artillery with Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal while driving in his 1962 Porsche 356 twin-grille roadster under a canopy of Spanish Moss?

Over the past 13 years, the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival has grown from a car show to an entire week celebrating the vintage car world, including vintage races, a tour, elegant receptions and of course the concours itself.

This was my second time attending. Read More

Priced Fresh Daily

At the highest level of the U.S.-based catalog-sale collector car auctions, Gooding & Company and RM Auctions are the major players, with Bonhams now a hard-charging, fast-rising contender.

All three of these companies are now going toe-to-toe in Monterey, Scottsdale and Amelia Island. There will be no shortage of high-dollar fireworks as billionaires compete for delectable multi-million dollar collectibles.

That’s not to say that there aren’t other important, high-end players including Barrett-Jackson, Auctions America, Mecum, Russo and Steele, and Worldwide Read More

Winter’s Coming – Store Your Car or Drive It?

We had an unseasonably hot summer in Portland. I went so far as to buy a vintage Volvo 122S with factory air-conditioning just to beat the heat. It’s been dry as well – the desiccated skeletons of the potted plants on my deck bear mute testimony to the futility of my normal watering routine.

But in the last three weeks, summer finally decided to leave, and we’ve skipped early fall and gone directly to near-winter.

Sheets of rain have washed Read More

Should Alex Say Goodbye to Her BMW?

My daughter Alex has had her trusty 1995 318i BMW for more than six years. The car is white over tan with a 5-speed, and Alex has put over 50,000 miles on it.

I find that the 4-cylinder engine is a perfect match for the chassis, offering enough speed for any situation, good gas mileage and low maintenance costs.

The engine is showing its age, with some oil seepage; it takes a quart of oil now and again. Read More