Sometimes You Just Say No

Whether it’s a cheap car or a million-dollar one, some elements of the buying decision are the same. And sometimes, even though a car is priced right and is in excellent condition — in fact, it is just what you have been looking for — saying no and walking away is the absolute right decision.

Being in the hunt for a car is like having an itch that needs to be scratched. Some cars pop onto my radar because I Read More

And Mechanics Everywhere are Smiling! – The Status of the SCM Fleet

This is the moment we wait for each year – the weather turns, we dig out the sunscreen, do a little work in the garden and drive our collector cars.

You’re probably thinking that we, the scions of collector car forethought, have all of our cars on the button, everything prepped and ready to road into the sun. Well, think again.

Here’s where we stand, on the foreign car side of things (Jim Pickering, editor of American Car Collector, has his hands full with his share of the garage occupants).

Leapin’ Lutefisk – The Volvo Needs an Engine!

The last step in refurbishing our 1973 Volvo 1800ES was to be a simple one: a minor tune at Harold’s Auto Service, in order to remedy a slight misfire. The news that came back wasn’t so simple—two cam lobes were nearly gone.

Hoping for the best, I had Wayne Atkinson pull the head for an inspection. I burned some incense at the old car temple we have set up in the office and prayed that the car would be back on the road with a simple valve job and cam and lifter replacement.

It wasn’t going to happen that way.

Affordable Classics, Porsche Style

I was straightening up my office and came across a copy of the book by SCM’s Jim Schrager, Buying, Driving and Enjoying the Porsche 911 and 912, 1965-1973. In it he talks about the early 911s as still being affordable, compared to 356s. The book was published in 2007.

That was  five years ago. Since then, prices of first-gen 911s have gone up at least 100% – where $20,000 might have gotten you a decent early 911 in 2007, you’ll be lucky to find one you want to own for $40,000 today, and great “S” models have asking prices of over $100,000.

So let’s just call those cars gone when it comes to affordable classic status. They’ve been discovered, for all the right reasons, by a strata of collector that doesn’t think twice about spending six figures for a car.

Where does that leave us if we want to own something from Stuttgart with six cylinders?

Keith’s Blog: Snow White’s Coffin Flattens My Wallet

The Volvo 1800ES has pulled a fast one on me.

I got it back from Guy’s Interior Restorations last week, with the front seats redone and a very nice match on the blue vinyl. Other items attended to during the general freshening include new interior door hardware, carpet pad in the rear and struts for the rear glass. (I just learned that, the German nickname for the ES was “Schneewittchensarg” – Snow White’s Coffin – due to the car’s large glass tailgate which reminded some wag of the fairytale glass casket.)

Two Coasts, Two Weekends, 5,000 Cars

“To Infinity, and Beyond!” That’s how I felt as I left Scottsdale, AZ, where 2,694 cars had crossed the block, and headed to Kissimmee, FL, where another 2,326 consigned vehicles were looking to find new owners.

For 25 years, attending the January auctions in Scottsdale has been a fixture in the SCM calendar and in my personal life. A detective could easily determine my profession by looking at my Outlook calendar — there, Read More

Keith’s Blog: Why Amelia Belongs on Your Bucket List

I’m sitting in the Jacksonville terminal as I compose this, decompressing from my 15th annual trip to Fernandina Beach, FL, and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. 17 years have now passed since founder Bill Warner went out on a very long limb and put on the first of what has grown into a world-class event.

The activities this year were not out of the ordinary—for me, the week started on Tuesday with filming for episodes of What’s My Car Worth, along with co-host Donald Osborne. I could say that it is hard work, often with 12-hour days, but then we’d get to the part where I’m riding in the $3.7m Porsche 550, and surely you wouldn’t feel very sorry for me.

Keith’s Blog: Collector Car Therapy, Rover Style

Sometimes it’s good just to get away from it all. As you read this, I’ll be on a 6 a.m. flight out of Portland, with an eventual destination of Amelia Island, FL. During my week there, I’ll be shooting episodes of What’s My Car Worth at the Gooding auction, with Donald Osborne as my co-host. I’m also a judge at the Amelia Island Concours.

While on the one hand I look forward to seeing the familiar faces, the terrific cars, stopping by the RM auction and lollygagging around the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton where the concours is held, on the other hand it is my day job and there’s a lot of work to be done.

The SCM gang, both auction reporters and office staff, will be there; stop by our booth at Gooding and at the concours and say hello.

Compound Low

So last Saturday, I jumped at the opportunity to go far, far away at a slow, slow speed. The Pacific Coast Rover Club, of which I am a member, held a snow run in Tillamook State Forest. The Jolly Jeepers were invited as well.

The Future of Collecting

Dear Mr. Martin,

I’m a 20-year-old college student from Dallas, TX. I’ve been a car guy since birth. A few years ago I stumbled upon television coverage of Barrett-Jackson and Mecum, and that’s when I discovered my passion for the collector car market.

However, whenever I watch televised car auctions, I notice that the majority of the crowd is composed of middle-aged and older men. I rarely see young guys my age. And that seriously worries me.
Although I’ve Read More

Keith’s Blog: Are there any good reasons to buy this Alfa?

For the past 15 years, I have watched a three-car mini-collection, parked on the street, slowly degrade. The cars all have some interest. They include a 1967 Duetto, a chrome-bumper 914 and a first-generation 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle 300 Deluxe. They were all parked within four blocks of SCM World Headquarters.

All three cars carry current tags, and are drivable. The latter point has now been positively confirmed, as the “collection,” which had sat undisturbed for a few years (as shown in the right-hand image), was recently dispersed around the neighborhood. We surmise this was done because of complaints.