Keith Asks: What’s the Best First Collector Car?

“I’m thinking of getting into collector cars. What’s the best car to start with?”

It’s a question we are asked all the time. There is no correct answer, just as there is no “right” choice for which pinot noir to pair with salmon, or which running shoes to wear for a marathon. There is a simple place to start, however. And that is, “Get ready for an adventure.”

Familiarizing yourself with old cars is no different than engaging in any Read More

How Many Mods to Your Collector Car?

As I shepherd the SCM fleet through its never-ending process of repair, restore and improve, I am constantly making judgment calls about when to upgrade and when to leave things alone.

For instance, I just delivered the 122S to Guy Recordon at Guy’s Interior Restorations to have the front seats restuffed and rebuilt.

While it’s there, should I have him uprade the seats with inflatable lumbar supports and seat heaters? In theory, because the Volvo will be a four-seasons car, Read More

Keith’s Blog: How Many Cars is Enough?

I’ve spent the morning checking with the shops caring for the various mechanically and cosmetically infirm members of the SCM fleet.

The shop that has the Amazon put the rear sport springs in the front perches, and that didn’t work out so well.

Tom Black reports that he was able to remove the Duetto‘s incredibly ugly add-on door-ding guards, and he won’t have to respray the whole car to get it looking much better.

The engine pieces for the Giulia Super Read More

Keith’s Blog: Volvo Immersion Weekend

The SCM 122S “Amazon” rolled off the carrier last week and was immediately pressed into service.

I’ve been surprised at what a good car it is, given some of my previous “sight unseen” purchases. The seller, Jim Perry of Wisconsin, races an 1800S, and this was his street car.

Before taking delivery, I had him install an overdrive transmission (sourced from Chris Horn in Portland) and go through the car completely, including charging the factory a/c unit.

It fired right Read More

Keith’s Blog: Rockets and Rainstorms

It’s time for an update on the SCM fleet. We’ll leave the Alfas for last.

The D90 is at Ship’s Mechanical having a few little things attended to and getting a rear step installed to make it easier for Bradley to clamber into the back. The power steering pump has started leaking, but since it could cost up to $1,000 to replace, I’ve decided just to keep a case of ATF fluid in the back and top up at every stop.

Read More

Keith’s Blog: Keels & Wheels 2014

There’s something about the highly polished hull of a vintage wooden boat set against blue water that is alluring and exotic.

Part of what makes Keels & Wheels so attractive to me is the combination of restored wooden boats and the tantalizing array of collector cars, all sharing the grounds of the Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas (located about 40 miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport).

This was the 19th annual Keels & Wheels and my fifth time Read More

Keith’s Blog: 600 Miles in a 49-year-old Alfa

Every spring the Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon hold the “Old Spider Tour” to celebrate and commemorate the occasion of club founder Bob McGill buying his 1958 Alfa Spider from Rambo Motors.

This year there were six old spiders (three Giuliettas and three Giulias) plus another 16 or so cars, ranging from GTVs and Duettos to a lone GTV-6.

We started at Steamboat Landing Park, just past marker 16 on WA 14 eastbound, ran along picturesque Highway 14, and ended Read More

Keith’s Blog: Buy, Discover, Spend, Persevere

A couple of weeks ago, restorer Bill Gillham finished up fettling our Alfa Giulia Super and sent it over to Dan Sommers at Veloce Motors for a mechanical checkover.

Here’s the note I just got from Dan:

Keith,

In my earlier note I talked about the list getting longer as I spent more time around your Super. Sorry… More bad news to come.

I changed the oil and noticed that the drain plug looks like Read More

Keith’s Blog: La Jolla Takes it Up a Notch

Every car event has its own flavor, from the industrial magic of Pebble, where the world’s greatest cars emerge to be ogled by some of the world’s most influential collectors, to Concorso Italiano, where the smiling-face chaos begins when the first Fiat arrives and ends as the last Ferrari exits the field.

The most successful events are sensitive to their local audience of casual car lovers, as well as to the serious collectors who bring their Read More

Keith’s Blog: Duetto Ashtray Needed and the BMW Goes to Bonneville Dam

The weather in Oregon has turned, so it’s time to get the old cars out and give them some exercise.

But before we talk about the driving experience, let me give you an update on the fleet.

According to Alfa Romeo, our 1958 Sprint was born on April 3, 1958. Last Friday we celebrated the Sprint’s 56th birthday by presenting it with a cake. The little Alfa seemed appreciative, even if it did complain that the frosting gummed up its Read More

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