I feel like someone who keeps trying to lose weight and does just fine until another cream-filled doughnut comes along.

In the past two years, I have sold a few cars and acquired a few more. I thought I had sold more than I had bought, but somehow my counting skills have failed me.

Here’s what’s been happening with the SCM collection:

I decided that it was time to move beyond four-cylinder Alfas. I had owned every model I had ever wanted that was within my budget. I had taken each of them on tours and events. I had climbed my own double-overhead-cam Everest.

But just as nature abhors a vacuum, a few empty slots in a garage combined with cash-in-fist from the sale of some cars – along with an absolute inability to avoid the red mist of acquisition – has left me with a changed collection.

What got sold? First the fabled 2002 Chevy Suburban has gone to SCMer Richard Lincoln. I bought this rig new, and it has made two decades worth of trips to Monterey with the SCM gang on board. It has towed my boats and my motorcycles. But times have changed and I just didn’t need the capacity any longer.

The SCM Land Rover D90 Turbo Diesel has gone to another SCMer. Over the past decade, Doug Shipman at Ship’s Mechanical has developed it into a weapons-grade off-road vehicle. But it’s too tall for me to clamber into, and I’m still not able to safely operate a clutch. So off it went.

We replaced it with a 2000 Land Rover Discovery II that belonged to a long-time client of Shipman. It has 220,000 well-maintained miles on it, and everything works. Compared to the D90, it is like a Cadillac. But I can climb into it, and it allows me to be a part of the Rover tribe again.

I sold our beloved 1967 GTV, 1967 Giulia Super, 1961 Giulietta Sprint Speciale and 1958 Giulietta Sprint Veloce Confortevole. While I was sorry to see them go, each represented a completed quest. I found them, restored them, and toured with them. My fantasies fulfilled, it was time for someone else to create their own stories with them.

Bradley’s 1960 Bug Eye is also gone. Having Chip Starr build that car for him was partly reliving my own childhood, as my first car was a Bug Eye. Bradley and I took a couple of short trips in it. I recall in one rainstorm him asking me, “Dad, is it supposed to rain inside the car?”

It became clear to me that it I would be irresponsible as a parent to allow him to drive the car when he turned 16 in three years. It was simply too dangerous for today’s traffic.

The kicker came when I asked him if he would rather go on a road trip in the Bug Eye or something safer, like a Miata. His response was, “I don’t care what we are driving as long as we are doing a road trip together.”

I know you are already visualizing all these empty slots in the SCM garage, and the pile of car-buying Benjamins stuffed under my mattress.

Replacements weren’t long in coming. As I began to explore sports cars with automatic transmissions, I ended up with an original-paint 1965 Volvo 122S, a 1971 Jaguar V12 coupe, a 2004 Mercedes SL 55 AMG and most recently a 1991 928 S4.

I am learning to enjoy grand touring, being relaxed on sweeping curves at 80 mph rather than being in a 1300cc Alfa driving like my hair was on fire.

I still have three Alfas: Our 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce I’ve had for more than 30 years, my three-owner 1967 Duetto and a 1971 ex-Gordy Hyde Junior Zagato (upgraded to 1750 and being fitted with a handclutch).

And then there’s the 2006 Lotus Elise which my daughter Alex has claimed as her own. Who am I to argue with that decision?

While I wouldn’t have chosen the path that led to this new mixture in my collection, at the same time I feel fortunate every day to be able to drive and enjoy motoring in these different cars. Bradley and I have put 5,000 miles on the AMG in two memorable trips to Yellowstone and Montana. We most recently put 300 miles on the Jag in a day on a trip to the coast.

Both of us are eager to stretch the legs on the 928.

Clearly, 10 cars is more than enough to meet my transportation needs. (Did I forget to mention my Hyundai daily driver?)

My guess is that the some of the manual-shift Alfas will be moving on if I am unable to drive a stick-shift safely. But I can’t say that I am sad about the change from agile small-bore sports cars to grand tourers. It’s just a different phase in my life, and like every phase, I intended to wring every last bit of adventure out of it.

Here’s the current SCM Collection:

1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce

1965 Volvo 122S

1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto

1971 Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato

1971 Jaguar E-type V12 2+2

1991 Porsche 928 S4

2000 Land Rover Discovery II

2004 Mercedes SL 55 AMG

2006 Lotus Elise

Plus the daily driver…

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  1. Please keep us posted on the progress of fitting a hand clutch on the Jr Z. I would love to see the details of how it works.

  2. Well I just sold my last Alfa. After my 1900 PF Cuba went to Don Lee I still had my 57 sprint that I kept in Perugia for rallies. Now I have sold out to Mike Baum I will bring it back to the states.That was a hard sell after so lovely memories doing rallies over there in that very original auto.

    Since I am Alfalees I would consider buying your 58 Sprint if you ever so decide to sell.
    I have about the same amount of cars would be happy to give you the list if you have any interest.

    Let’s all have a happy new year,
    Tom Gallagher

  3. Keith, like you, I have owned a multitude of various “Sports” cars …most performance oriented but with their inbred flaws …
    Amongst my Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, and Lancia cars in my stable, I must tell you that my daily driver is a 2009 Honda Element- the most reliable car that I have EVER owned … now with 286,000 miles on it with no serious issues since Day 1. When asked, I always tell other enthusiasts
    “The Honda Element is the most reliable car (SUV) EVER made ….! Period.

  4. I once borrowed a Zlin 50 aerobatic plane to enter the European aerobatic championship contest. The owner was a paraplegic who had hand controls fitted to operate the rudder.

    So, with two hands he had to simultaneously operate the control stick for ailerons and elevator, throttle, and rudder. He was more than just safe, he was very good! At 250 mph and upside down.

    I’d think a push button, hydraulic blip release (with controlled-bleed release) on the steering wheel would make the clutch control a snap.

  5. Dude,
    You need a 240Z, I recommend a 72. They are fun to drive, easy to maintain, reliable and amazingly useful.
    The automatic will take some of the fun out of course, however it also makes for a cheaper aquisition.

  6. I’ve written it before, to you…if a GREAT car is what you seek, please look at the Z8 Alpina. It is everything you want in a sports/touring car, although the price point may be more than you’d like.
    Think of it as “consolidation”, rolling many cars into fewer/better ones.
    Wishing you miles of smiles,
    Tony

  7. If you can afford it, a 458 Ferrari with the F1 tranny . I was a “ gotta be a manual” guy until I drove a friends 458. I’m a convert

  8. Yup, I cant resist the cream filled doughnut either. I’m at the baker’s dozen point and actually sold my 2007 Audi RS4, but after a couple years, bought it back. We should have done some swapping as I’m pretty sure i saw the Bug Eye on the market, but must have had a full stomach at the time. I’m down to the 49 MG TC, 67 and 74 Mini Coopers, 69 Mercedes 280 SL, 70 Land Rover Series II 88, 72 BMW 3.0 CSi, 77 Ferrari 308 GTB, a 79 VW Super Beetle convertible, an 88 Porsche 911 Carrera coupe and the “just one more” 74 Alfa 2000 GTV. Oh and the “I’m still hungry” 1993 NAS Land Rover Defender 110. I’m officially on a self imposed diet. But there is this Porsche 914-6 that I’m sure wont make me feel like i ate too much. Burp.

    1. I forgot the 2008 Lotus Elise SC. Kind of like not realizing you left a kid at the doughnut shop until you you arrive at home.