I venture to hypothesize that SCM readers are always searching for the flimsiest posibble excuse to justify buying another car.
“I don’t have one in that color.” “It’s cheaper to buy this one than restore the one I have.” “I always wanted one when I was in high school.” And the perennial favorite, “At that price, it was almost free.”
The “almost free” reason has led to any number of illogical purchases on our part, of cars that Read More
We confess. As sports car fanatics, Auburn, Indiana has never been at the center of our radar screen. But as SCM continues to expand its coverage of America’s grand luxury marques, including Duesenberg, Cord and Auburn, a trip to their home city seemed appropriate.
Additionally, Auburn is the location of the eBay/Kruse International complex, so we arranged to take in their spring sale as well. We wanted to see first-hand how the melding of two disparate cultures-the brash, Read More
Brand heritage has been the rage with new car makers for some time now. “Bentley Returns to Le Mans” trumpets one ad agency, as the now-VW-owned, once-English company attempts to regain some of the glory it covered itself with sixty years ago. The PT Cruiser is a gangster car for the 21st Century while the new Beetle provides an opportunity for today’s youngsters to experience the style of the original Bug, without having to fight a “let’s have a Read More
We of the Boomer generation grew up sneaking J.C. Whitney and Warshawsky catalogs onto our desks during biology lectures. Figuring out how to afford those trick, high-compression, .040-inch oversize pistons and rings for our Bug Eye Sprites was a daily topic of discussion. Tinkering with cars was our lifestyle.
There was all sorts of wonderful mechanical wizardry to decipher, including the mysteries of adjusting distributor points, gapping plugs and setting the engine timing with a static light. There Read More
This is all Martin Swig’s fault. The iconoclastic, San Francisco-based collector and enthusiast has been trying to lay us away in a Ford for some time. Not just any Ford, mind you, but a 1954 Mainline Six Business Coupe. “It’s the model Piero Taruffi drove in the ’54 Carrera,” Swig related. “It was sponsored by Floyd Clymer Publications, and you’re a publisher, so it’s a natural fit.”
Over the years, we’ve learned never to dismiss a Swig concept, no Read More
I have long argued that cars are machinery first, and art second. With the very rare exception of pure show cars, they were designed to be driven, not to be displayed for gawking passersby. It is only through the use of a car that its underlying magnificent strengths and disappointing weaknesses emerge.
Our Ferrari is nearly 40 years old, and is even somewhat collectible, being one of 50 cars built with the 4-liter motor in the 250 GTE chassis. Read More
The streets of X’ian, China are a maelstrom of transportation contraptions, from hand-drawn oxcarts laden with unopened, boxed color televisions to brand-new Mercedes S-class sedans. While the Chinese may suffer from a lack of political freedom, in terms of motorized conveyances, they are Joan Claybrooke’s worst nightmare. The rule of thumb seems to be, if it rolls, use it.
During our brief time there, Cindy, Alexandra and I rode in Jeep Cherokees, Korean mini-vans and rickshaws powered by both Read More
As the Pacific Northwest settles into winter and the temperatures drop below freezing each night, we dress our cars in their winter clothes just as we make sure our heavy coats and gloves are hung by the door. Cindy’s ’83 Mercedes-Benz 123-body 300 Turbodiesel, which lives outdoors, suckles nightly on an orange extension cord attached to its block heater.
Our two-car (and four-motorcycle) garage houses her ’78 Alfa Spider and our ’62 Ferrari 330 America. They sit side-by-side, Read More
Watching Formula One Champion Phil Hill tinker with the handbrake assembly on a 1929 Bentley three-liter open tourer was like being at a rehearsal in Manhattan while modern dance choreographer Martha Graham fine-tuned her ballets. Graham had an instinctive understanding of how to put a dance together for maximum artistic and intellectual effect. Hill, after a lifetime devoted to racing and restoring motorcars, can tell after a moment behind the wheel what a car needs to put it right.
It’s hard to kill a car you care about. Case in point: two years ago we bought our son Eric, then eighteen years old, a 1978 Mercedes 280 saloon. This car was chosen after his older brother managed to hasten the path of two more sporty automobiles, a Fiat 124 Spider and a ’65 VW Beetle, to the salvage yard. A larger car seemed prudent.
A European model, the 280 (123 body style) has the high-revving carbureted 6-cylinder alloy Read More