Keith’s Blog: My Resto-Mod Zagato

The Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato is now back from Nasko’s Imports.

I decided to ignore the factory specs that concours judges adhere to and make it a better for my style of driving.

Nasko installed a 4.1 rear end in place of the 4.5 it came with. Not only will this give us a more relaxed engine speed on the freeway, it has the added benefit of being a limited-slip differential.

A 1971 model, the Z is now 48 years Read More

Keith’s Blog: Why Bradley Won’t Drive a Bugeye After All

For his 10th birthday, I bought my son Bradley a 1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite. My first car was a Bugeye, and I was indulging in a romantic recreation of my own past.

I paid $15,000 for it because it needed nothing. Another $15,000 later, specialist Chip Starr had built and installed a 1,275-cc engine and a 3.7:1 rear end — along with freshening the suspension, electrical and wiring systems.

In a striking example of collector car math, after a total Read More

Keith’s Blog: Are Restomods and Youngtimers the future of collecting?

I once asked Craig Jackson why he thought that Restomods were so popular. He said that buyers got the looks of a classic car with the comfort, convenience and performance of a modern one.

Sometimes people new to collecting would buy a restored old car — say a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. Then how an old car drives gave them a big surprise.

By modern standards, many old cars are slow, have terrible brakes and squishy suspensions. They don’t Read More

On the Road to Recovery

January 5 was a crisp and clear Saturday in Portland. I had no inkling that my life, in the blink of an eye, was about to turn upside down.

I ran an easy three miles along the Willamette River that morning. That afternoon I watched the NFL playoffs. The Ravens were playing catch-up to the Chargers. I lost interest and decided to take a shower during halftime.

While in the shower I noticed my left leg getting wobbly, but I Read More

Keith’s Blog: SCM’s Madcap Tribute to Martin Swig

SCM is gearing up for our annual madcap tribute to Martin Swig.

Swig, the founder of the California Mille, was famous for setting off on car trips at the drop of a hat. Thanks to him, I participated several times in the California Mille, along with the Carrera Nevada — a dash across the back roads of Nevada in vintage American cars.

The Third SCM Caravan to Concorso is a Swig-inspired event that runs from Portland to Monterey for Read More

Keith’s Blog: Which Three Alfas Would You Pick?

Over the years, I’ve found that the size of my collection is directly related to the number of slots I have in my garage.

At one time, I had a 30’ x 40’ pole building in Northeast Portland that came along with a rental house I purchased. Not only did I immediately fill it with cars, it had a space behind it for another six cars under an open-faced shed. I quickly went out and bought six Alfa parts cars Read More

Keith’s Blog: How Automatic is Manual Shifting

“I learned to drive on a stick” is a gearhead’s mantra. We all tell tales of the first three-pedal car we learned to operate.

For some reason, it’s a badge of honor that we learned to drive a car and learned to operate a manual gearbox at the same time.

I’ve taught several of my children to drive, most recently 10-year-old Bradley in his 1960 Bugeye Sprite.

Teaching someone to drive, and to drive a stick at the same time, Read More

Keith’s Blog: The Car as a Horse

You wouldn’t ride a horse down Main Street, and soon you won’t drive a collector car down your town’s main drag.

Twenty years ago, I wrote that in the future we would treat our old cars like horses. Our cars would be trailered to roads that were appropriate for them, we would use them there — and then trailer them home.

That future is now.

Increasingly, our old cars are simply unsuited for the mix of everyday traffic.

A few Read More

Keith’s Blog: Car Restoration and Human Restoration

I’m learning that just as car restorations have their own progressions, so does physical rehabilitation.

This week I made some decisions about the restorations on my cars, and I made some steps forward with my own rehab.

I’ve decided not to proceed with the full-bore, glass-and-headliner- out interior restoration of our 1961 Giulietta Sprint Speciale.

While the body is dry and with great panel fit (partly from 30 years of indoors storage in the Cayman Islands Motor Museum), the paint Read More

Keith’s Blog: Does Every Car Require a Pebble Beach Nut-and-Bolt Restoration?

In preparation for the Revs Institute Symposium on Collecting, founder Miles Collier sent out a list of questions for participants to consider. Since not all of us can make it to Naples, FL, I will share some of the questions and my responses in the next few newsletters. I also invite you to submit your own questions as well.

Miles Collier: Does every restoration have to be to the highest possible level, involving a complete disassembly and reassembly of Read More