Deliverance on the Road to Astoria

There was no one home at the farmhouse; I knocked on all the doors.

I had seen a rototiller in the nearby shed, with one-gallon gas cans next to it.

“Anyone here?” I called out again. There was no answer, so I picked up a can and poured the contents into the empty tank of my 1960 Bugeye Sprite.

Solving an old-car problem

A couple of months ago, I recalled the story of my 1958 MGA that threw a rod Read More

Keith’s Blog: Four Questions Before You Buy

Those of us who are addicted to old cars have daily opportunities to add to our collections. Whether it is an online auction, an ad in a club magazine — or simply a friend who has decided it’s time to sell — the temptation is there.

As an inveterate car hoarder, I’ve learned to ask myself a few questions before I pull the trigger:

First, am I ready for the agony of adding a car to the collection?

By now, Read More

Keith’s Blog: Half a Century with Alfas

Last weekend, the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The four days were chock full of activities, mostly thanks to Lisa McNabb, the energizer bunny of the club.

I first joined the club in 1969, when I came to Reed College. Over the years, it has been my support group as I have dealt with my hopeless addiction to and infatuation with the cars of Alfa Romeo.

On Friday, ex-GTA racer Stu Moss organized a 200-mile tour Read More

Keith’s Blog: 6,000 Miles in Six Alfas

Covering 1,000 miles in a 50-year-old car can be a daunting challenge.

For SCM30, coming up in early July, SCM will have all six of its Alfas entered. In all, they will be covering 6,000 miles. What could possibly go wrong?

SCM30 (our 30th anniversary tour) is in part a fundraiser for the Portland Art Museum. To that end, we made four of our Alfas available to those coming from out of state. For a $5,000 donation made to Read More

Keith’s Blog: The Bugeye or the 911 — Which Car for a Road Trip?

SCM’s 30th Anniversary Tour is fast approaching, so it’s time to test and finalize the route.

The route master is Neil d’Autremont of Sidedraught City. He’s given me the instructions for the last section of the final day. By freeway, it’s about a 100-mile stretch.

I’ve been planning to take the 1960 Bugeye on the scouting expedition. My plan is to head to Astoria, on the Oregon Coast, then down to Newport, then over to Sweet Home. It’s about Read More

Keith’s Blog: The Sprint Speciale – Preserve or Restore?

Now that our 1961 Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale is coming back to life, we’ve got some questions to address.

The car is an unusual mix of a well-aged mediocre paint job, excellent original chrome and a completely incorrect interior.

From 20 feet away, the car looks terrific. This is why I was attracted to it at the Auctions America Fort Lauderdale sale a couple of years ago.

It had been in a museum for nearly 30 years. The engine was Read More

Who is Your Favorite Restoration Tech?

We all have our favorite specialists. We have our go-to chefs, sommeliers, gardeners, travel agents and interior designers.

We also have our favorite restorers. These are the men and women we turn to when we need our cars done just right. They’re the solution providers when we come across a problem that has others scratching their heads.

In the October issue of SCM, we will be recognizing 20 of the top collector-car restorers, based on Read More

Keith’s Blog: Going to a Swap Meet

There’s been a lot written about the demise of swap meets. We’ve all heard how the Internet is now the quick-and-easy way to find and or sell what you need.

However, the human factor is overlooked in all this. Just as I believe land-based auctions are a way for like-minded enthusiasts to come together, so are swap meets.

The Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon (www.alfaclub.org) host an annual swap meet each spring. This year I volunteered the SCM “Bat Read More

Keith’s Blog: A Concours in A Bunker Dodges the Rain

During the Cold War, a top-secret fallout shelter designed to house 1,100 people (every member of the U.S. Congress and one aide per politician) during a nuclear war was constructed under The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV.

This past Sunday, for the first time, The Greenbrier’s bunker became the home for a variety of sports and racing cars, including a 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC and a 1972 McLaren M8F CanAm.

The Greenbrier is a “Grand Hotel” in the traditional Read More

Keith’s Blog: A Bugeye Nose Becomes a Dinner

“Do you want the spare parts that go with it?”

It’s a familiar phrase when you make a new acquisition. More often than not, the seller is anxious to get rid of the spare parts that accumulated during their ownership. Sellers waving goodbye to a car are often happy to clear out their garage — and help fill yours.

When I bought Bradley’s 1960 Bugeye Sprite a couple of years ago, the seller threw in a 1,275-cc block, head and Read More