100 Miles in Four Old Cars on the Forest Grove Vineyard Tour!

Most concours weekends now incorporate some sort of driving event. Driving allows participants to enjoy the mechanical aspects of their cars — something that really isn’t a part of concours event.

Participation in a tour often serves as a tiebreaker in concours judging. If two cars have an identical scores (which is possible but unusual), the car that participated in the tour is awarded the “Best of Class” trophy.

This is done to recognize that an owner has done more than gotten the paint and interior perfect. To have the various mechanical, and electrical systems on the car working properly is no small feat when you are performing a total restoration.

Team SCM consisted of four cars. My daughter, Alex, was reunited with her beloved 2006 Lotus Elise that I stupidly sold in 2013 and just bought back. She was delighted to be behind the wheel of “her Lotus” and she explained that at 5’2” tall, it’s hard for her to find cars that she fits into perfectly — and the Lotus was one of them.

Donald Osborne, SCM editor at large, drove our 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto, which was just back from traveling 1,100 miles on the Northwest Passage Tour. We had the heavy-feeling steering attended to, and Donald reported that it was perfect. Now all that is left before we head to Monterey for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Duetto at Concorso Italiano is a little fiddling with the convertible top to get it to seal better.

Our 1971 Citroen Mehari, a completely ridiculous fiberglass car, provided the comic relief for the tour. I drove it the 40 miles to Forest Grove, and then Forest Grove chairman Allen Stephens drove it on the tour. I then drove it back to Portland. The Mehari at one point was parked next to Jon Shirley’s 1960 Ferrari LWB California Spider and Frank Mandarano’s beautiful ‘60s Maserati Vignale Spyder. However, the homely Mehari attracted more attention and comment than the beautiful exotics.

I won’t share the exact nature of the comments.

I drove our 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce with Miles Collier, a longtime SCM contributor and noted collector. Collier was Senior Judge for the concours. Miles has a similar Sprint, and we enjoyed swapping Alfa stories as we drove.

The 60-mile drive wound through then wine country of Oregon, starting in downtown Forest Grove, passing through Gaston and ending up in the lovely Elk Cove Vineyard. For much of the way, we followed Peter Gleeson in his extremely original 1981 BMW M1. It was a treat to watch this supercar from a different era carve through the turns.

Soon enough the tour was over, and the SCM cars were all returned to our World Headquarters in downtown Portland to wait for their next adventures.

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market, now in its 33rd year. Keith has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and had his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity. He has received many honors, including the Lee Iacocca Award, the Edward Herrman Award, was inducted into the Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame and more. He is on the boards of directors of The LeMay Museum and Oregon Ballet Theater, and was formerly the chair of the board of the Meguiar's Award.

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