Keith’s Blog: Datsun Ratrods and Alfa 8Cs

It’s been a busy car weekend.

I spent Friday and Saturday in Olympia, Washington attending the Alfa Romeo National Convention. “Sempreverde,” Sea to Summit, attracted more than 200 Alfas and 400 registrants.

I drove the 1958 Sprint Veloce to the convention, and Doug Hartman and Julie Brown drove her 1969 GTV.

There were four “big Alfas” there. David Smith brought his 6C 2500 that just won Best of Show at the Forest Grove Concours along with one of just three V8s Alfa made in period. Jon Shirley brought his Pebble-Beach-winning 8C 2900B, along with the P3 that Nuvolari drove to victory in the German Grand Prix.

For the first time, I entered the 1958 Sprint Veloce in formal concours judging. The judging team, led by Delmas Greene from Clearwater, FL, included Peter Tusnady from Vancouver, BC and an apprentice judge, Alessandro Lanius-Pascuzzi from West Vancouver, BC.

They spent over an hour inspecting the car. I was hoping for a 95-point score which would qualify the car for a recognition of being  “very correct.”

I was pleased to see a score of 93.3, and I now have a small list of things to change.

At the formal dinner on Saturday night, Dave Rugh (I bought the SCM GTV from his wife Colleen seven years ago) received a 50-year-membership pin. I was awarded a 25-year-pin. Where have the years gone?

SCM awarded the Spirit of Motoring trophy to Matt Earnest and his 1989 Milano.

I left Sunday morning for the 100-mile-drive home. I came across the 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce of Bill Degolia being winched onto a truck on the shoulder of the freeway. He was alone, and headed home to Los Angeles in his 53-year-old Alfa.

I stopped, and he said he had lost all of his spark. He had spoken with guru Tom Sahines, who had told him to replace the voltage regulator (it is the same as a ‘60s VW Beetle), install a new battery and chances are he would be fine.

I told him if things didn’t work out, he could come by the SCM offices and take the voltage regulator out of my Giulia Spider Veloce to get him home. He texted later that he had found a regulator at Cost Less Auto Parts in Vancouver, WA, installed it and had reached Medford, nearly 300 miles south of Portland. Analog cars do have their advantages.

At the Starbucks in Centralia there was a very original 1969 Datsun 2000 roadster in the parking lot. For reasons I don’t quite understand, I found myself writing a note saying, “If you ever want to sell your car, let me know.”

I’ve never owned a Datsun 1600 or 2000, and they’ve always intrigued me. The owner came out, and told me he was on the way to a Datsun Owners field meet not far from my house in Portland.

So I dropped off the Sprint and fired up the Autozam, thinking that taking a Japanese car to a Japanese event was the thing to do.

I arrived to find well over 100 Datsuns from pristine to piggy on display. I enjoy automotive enthusiasm — in any way it manifests itself.

I wrapped up the day by taking the Autozam to a car stereo shop, where they replaced the shattered 5-inch door speakers with 6-inch ones. I want the “Bradley Boys”, Luke Chennell and Richard Lincoln, to have tunes while they drive the Zam in the Caravan to Concorso starting next Wednesday.

It was a weekend full of cars, from different countries and different decades, but it was filled with enthusiasm. And it was just a taste of what’s ahead in Monterey Car Week.

 

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 and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

Posted in Blogs, Keith Martin

5 comments

  1. These cars from the 50s and 60s capture a purity of design and golden age that will never return. However if you don’t start falling in love with cars from the 70s and 80s (even the 90s) your magazine of which you should be proud will not continue. You cannot lament the dearth of young people in the collector car market while simultaneously ignoring the cars they grew up with. Most young people cannot afford the great cars from the 50s and 60s, but they can afford cars from their youth. Granted, these cars were compromised by smog and safety regulations but if you don’t look past that your magazine while enjoying success now will leave no legacy for the future. Pretty soon the only motorized conveyances the young will be exposed to will be autonomous pods. Love the old sports cars from the golden age but realistically it’s the cool cars we saw from ages 10 – 16 that wow generations the most.

  2. Keith- You owe it to yourself to drive a well sorted Datsun Roadster, either a 1600 or preferably a 2000. They are a great drive, easy to work on, have plenty of parts available, strong enthusiast support and are still very affordable. They were very well engineered and received great reviews.

  3. GLK…. that car you were driving when you first went to the submarine races will always be a collector car and there will be some magazine to support them.

  4. As the owner of both a ’66 Roadster and an Alfa Giulia, I’d encourage Keith to do both Alfa and Datsun. My two Favs for 60+ yrs and two of the best marquees on the planet. Combined almost 200 yrs of automotive history and some of the most iconic cars over the past century.

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