Old Cars — Unreliable Then, But Not Today

I used to carry a load of spare parts in the trunk of my car. Now I just bring a cellphone and a AAA towing card.

When I first started going on classic rallies 30 years ago, it was routine to see cars smoking, overheating and finally dying by the side of the road. There were even “Hook Awards” for the car that broke down the most often. I “won” that once in the Monte Shelton NW Classic Rally driving Read More

Bradley’s Bugeye – A Giant Lego

The pieces are coming together.

I maintain that the only way to get kids involved with our old cars is to engage them from a very early age. Old cars should just be one of the many hobbies and sports they enjoy.

In his after-school classes, my 9-year-old Bradley is taking computer coding — and learning to build rescue-bots. For him, the 1960 Bugeye Sprite is a cross between a giant Lego and a robotics project.

We paid a visit Read More

Don’t Buy a Project Car

Our old cars continue to make the transition from daily use appliances to coveted artifacts. This change raises an entirely different set of questions when it comes to deciding the quality and condition of a car you might buy.

Just buying something that runs and drives is not what we’re looking for these days.

As I’ve been looking around for my next sports car, I’ve come to some realizations. I don’t want a project car — or one with major Read More

New Year’s Resolution For Your Classic Cars

For most of us, December is not the best month to drive our classic cars. Aside from the cold, there often is snow on the ground — and many roads have been salted.

I would guess that somewhere more than 80% of our classic cars are sitting under covers in heated garages and attached to battery chargers.

Nonetheless, this is a good time to look at what classic cars bring to our lives, and how we can make even better Read More

Help Pick My Next Car

I’ve got that classic-car itch, and only you can help me scratch it.

In my column in the February issue of SCM, I wrote about the three cars that are calling to me right now. I invited subscribers to vote and comment on your choice. As a blog reader, I’d like to hear your opinion as well.

In brief, the three cars are similar in price and performance, but they are very different in concept and execution.

Alfa Junior Zagato

The Read More

The Spider Veloce is Finished!

Two weeks ago, Bill Gillham sent me a brief email: “Your car is ready for you to come and pick it up.”

After more than a year — and a six-figure resto bill, our 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce is ready to come home.

The notes from Bill had been getting shorter and shorter. “Tracked down another oil leak.” “Have all the electricals functioning,” “Replacing all bushings in suspension,” and so forth.

He added, “We have followed your directions, so it Read More

Alex Conquers Hog’s Back

Eight years ago, my daughter Alex (then 17) and I were trying to get up the Hog’s Back Hillclimb in our 1973 Land Rover SIII 88.

My off-roading skills were rudimentary. I attacked the hill with too much speed and tried to muscle my way up. I got hung up on some rocks near the crest, and the Rover started rocking back and forth.

“Stop right now, I’m getting out,” Alex said to me. “If I’m going to die in Read More

The Right Car for the Right Trip

I’m just back from a visit to the High Desert Museum. Located in Bend, Oregon, about 150 miles from Portland, it’s a jewel.

It’s true to its location, the desert, and to its mission, which is to help us understand the ecosystem of Central Oregon’s high desert — and the colorful history of the area.

Last time I was in Bend was in late January of 2015, when Bradley and I Read More

Old Skills for Old Cars

Last week I took the SCM Giulia Super out for an afternoon drive. There was light rain and the roads were wet — but not slick. I drove out Oregon Highway 30 towards Scappoose, and then took the turn off to Sauvie Island, a bucolic island in the Columbia River.

The highway is a gently curving two-lane road, with no elevation changes. There was little traffic.

In a recent a “Collecting Thoughts” article in the September 2016 issue of Read More

Taking Kids in Unsafe Old Cars

Should we really take our kids in our old cars?

I got word last week that Chip Star’s Race Car Resurrections, the shop that has Bradley’s 1960 Bugeye, located a 3.7 rear end and was rebuilding it. Stock ratio was 4.22, and 3.9s are common. So scoring a 3.7 was a find.

However, the installation of the 3.7 rear end caused me to think about the increased cruising speed — it will now be comfortable at 65 mph instead of Read More

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