Time to Buy, Sell, or Hold?

It’s been nearly 25 years since we’ve seen prices like this in the sports and exotic market. As nearly everyone knows by now, RM came within just $500,000 of setting the record for the most expensive car ever to sell at auction at their Maranello sale, where the 330 TRI/LM, s/n 0808, brought $9,281,250. It is our cover car this month, and ably profiled by Steve Ahlgrim inside this issue.

The previous high sale, long ago in 1987, was Read More

Jurassic Swamp Meet

Fifty years from now the Petersen Museum may feature a diorama dedicated to the social gathering once known as an “automotive swap meet.” Young children will tug on their daddy’s shirtsleeves and ask, “Thousands of people just showed up and walked around for hours, hoping they might find something?” And Daddy will answer, “Yes, and they called it fun.”

If the display is accurate, few of the vendor and shopper manikins will be wearing Armani suits; variations of denim Read More

Old Car Tricks

“Push? We’re going to push the car?”

It was a balmy day in the Pacific Northwest, so I had decided to take out our orange and black 1979 Triumph Spitfire. My 15-year-old daughter, Alex, was pleased with my choice, as the previous owner had put large speakers behind the seats, making it a perfect car by her standards.

After a morning spent shopping (I was surprised at just how many pairs of Citizen jeans and Juicy jackets fit in Read More

A Six Pack of Sense and Sensibility

We at SCM have long maintained that a well-filled garage is like a well-stocked wine cellar. Just as different times of day, different events, and different meals call for different pourings, so, too, do different motoring adventures require different motoring choices.

And just as each wine has its own trademark taste, bouquet, and color, each car that captivates a collector’s interest has its own unique approach to motoring. A car worth collecting has an essence to it: it is Read More

Somebody Stop Me!

Perhaps SCM should be in the soft adventure business. But rather than offering a chance to parachute off mountaintops attached to a safety-line, or fly a Russian Mig with an instructor who will keep you from nosing into the ground, we have something even better.

Last year, my former editor at Automobile Magazine, Joe Lorio, announced that he had purchased the car, or actually station wagon, of his dreams: a 1968 Mercury Colony Park.

When I was last in Detroit, Read More

A Steering Wheel as the Circle of Life

“How did you get started with cars?” is a question I’m often asked.
While I have been fortunate to have a variety of careers and occupational passions, cars and machinery came first.
My earliest memories of the mysteries of the internal combustion engine revolve around my grandfather, Thomas Lester McDowell, who, along with my grandmother, Dorel Evelyn, raised me.
Although our family home was in the Parkside district of San Francisco, Gramps, as the family called him, had what Read More

Riding High

Sometimes ignorance is bliss, and other times it leads to nothing but trouble.
Our 1978 911SC is a perfect case in point. Relatively pampered, in mostly original paint, and with 177,000 miles on it when it joined our stable last year, it rode low and had an appealing “boy racer” look.
It also had a rock-hard ride that was so uncomfortable I simply stopped driving the car. I assumed that all SCs rode this way, and that to make Read More

Going to the Mat with a Paddle

“That’s a good piece, you should buy it.”

The auction catalog description read, “Persian Heriz carpet, geometric central medallion and stylized floral decoration on madder red ground with ivory spandrels, 9′ 6″ x 11′ 9″. Estimate: $700-$900.”

Offered by local auction house O’Gallerie, the rug met my three criteria: It was the right orange-red color; the size was right for my living room; and the estimate was within my budget.

That the other, seemingly more sophisticated rug aficionados in Read More

Another Soft Adventure

The two emotions dominating the market today are exuberance-especially from new collectors-and wariness, from those who have seen this all before.
I’ve just finished participating in the three-day, Miles Collier-hosted symposium, Connoisseurship 2006. This was my third time attending, and the second time I have been privileged to be a member of the faculty.
In addition to Collier, who offered thoughtful presentations on the current state of collecting and restoring, other instructors included auctioneer and now collector-car financier Simon Read More

It’s Not a Bubble, It’s a Wave

For the past decade, we’ve been watching the price of real estate escalate, seemingly without an end in sight. Some houses seem to double every decade, and, despite the increases, there appears to be no shortage of eager, willing buyers.
So why are we so surprised when GT350s, worth $50,000 five years ago, routinely sell for $200,000? Or when Z/28s, worth $35,000 in 2003, go for $100,000?
A great deal of the increase in values is due Read More