I’ve sold two cars in the past few weeks. Should you be thinking about thinning your nest this holiday season?

I didn’t dislike either car, but it was time for them to go. I had learned everything the 2004 Mercedes SL55 AMG had to teach me, so there was no adventure left. The last time I explored its triple-digit-speed capabilities I was rewarded with a set of flashing red lights.

Parting with the Alfa Junior Zagato was a little more complicated. I had driven it less than 200 miles since buying it, my medical challenges intervening. I had spent over $20k trying to get a vacuum-operated hand clutch to work effectively so I could still drive it.

I finally gave up that effort when riding in the car with SCM Editor-In-Chief Jeff Sabatini. Even with the vacuum-clutch operating at peak efficiency, the car would never shift like a 105-series Alfa.

I’ve had a lot of experience with those cars. We still have a very nice two-owner stock 1967 Duetto, and I had both a 105 GTV and a Giulia Super for over a decade.

I have often described the Zagato as a “shrink-to-fit GTV.” Its interior dimensions are not its strong point. Compared to a GTV, it feels cramped, and the lack of the 911-style rear seats is noticeable. Its striking visual appearance was its stand-out characteristic.

So, it was okay to let the car go.

Now, I have two open spaces in the garage, two less insurance payments to make, and two fewer maintenance logs to keep up.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I suggest you go out to your own garage. Look at your cars and figure out which ones you drive the least. Ask yourself if driving your classics is an adventure ever time, or just more of the same.

I suggest change is good. If you’ve extracted 90% of the experiences a car can give you, don’t be afraid to let it move on to light up someone else’s life. And to give yourself the opportunity to try a new adventure yourself. It’s the season, after all.


  1. I’m sorry to see the 2004 Mercedes SL55 AMG has been sold. To me this is a vehicle I would keep forever. I bought my 2001 SLK320 7 years ago and it is a blast to drive and, after some initial sorting by the Mercedes vintage department, it has been trouble free.

  2. So took a look and the only car I don’t get to drive and could replace is my wife’s 87 911 Targa and somehow I don’t think she’s going to let me sell her 1986 Christmas present! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Dave Hedderly-Smith

    Thanks for the push, Keith. You probably put me over the tipping point on my 1998 Porsche Boxster.

    Like you, I got some left leg issues, and while the Boxster has always been the most fun driving car I’ve ever owned, I’m getting slower and slower in getting that clutch pedal depressed, so for safety reasons the car has been parked in my shop/garage for several months. Last year I bought a 1990 Mercedes 300SL-24 with an automatic, and it has become my fun driver. It’s a great car for an older sports car guy.

    The Boxster has a couple of minor issues that really should be addressed before it hits the market, so I guess it will be a winter project leading to a spring sale.

    It’s time for somebody else to learn how nice that little car is rather than have it waste away in the shop.

  4. I have been dealing with this question longer than most. I brought a 72 2wd blazer while on military orders in 2007 in CA. About the same time I found the Nylint blazer that I drove the knees off my tough skins that inspired me to wanting too. I was going to build it to compliment the Nylint and enjoy with the family. Well, dropping off for paint on my way to Iraq seemed to be the igniter to my recent decision. The car and the painter were in CA, while I was deployed to different locations. Finally in 2013 I sent a tow truck to get the car and was so disappointed with the outcome and ended up putting it back into another shop to strip and do it again. I finally got it out this summer, although I have room for it at my families garage in AZ, I am in Washington DC now. I could rotate something here to bring it up, but just feel it is better to hopefully capitalize on the blazer frenzy right now and use some of the profits to help my young one’s college adventure next year. The idea of paying for tags, insurance and the maintain for what little seat time I could just does not align with where I am today. However, if I was still in CA or even AZ a full convertible blazer would be harder decision argument.

  5. jrz cramped? bill and ellen pryor and i+ luggage drove from nashville to miami to put my jrz 1600 on the boat for the ’84 bahama vintage races. ellen sat sideways in the back and did some light reading. soft bag under her knees. bill had a soft bag over his shins and ankles. it was a fun cozy trip!

  6. Thanks for the heart-to-heart talk, Keith, and the suggestion to take a serious look at the fleet. I did so, and realized, first, that most all of my cars were convertibles and next, that I had two open spaces in the barn that looked like the missing front teeth in a wide-open mouth. I immediately decided to take action.

    Last weekend was the McCormick Palm Springs auction where I found a beautiful 1962, one family owner, Porsche 356, which had been on my bucket list for sometime. Then, sort of following your AMG lead, I picked up a perfect 2016 Mercedes AMG GTS with 12,000 miles, on Hagerty Marketplace for a very nice price. So…thank you for the inspiration to shuffle things around a bit.

    Oh! I hope you didn’t think I was going to sell anything? 😅