Keith’s Blog: My Favorite Alfa is a 4-door Sedan

I had a chance to go for a drive in the SCM Giulia Super last weekend. We took a scenic, winding route, starting on Portland’s curvy Skyline Boulevard and passing through the tony Pearl District downtown.

From there we headed out through an industrial area on Highway 30 and then crossed the cathedral-like St. John’s Bridge before heading home.

I have owned over 100 Alfas. I currently have seven. I hate to think about parting with even one of them.

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Keith’s Blog: A Car I Wouldn’t Collect

I’ve recently been asked about the sale of a 500-mile 1987 Buick GNX on Bring A Trailer for $130,000 on March 25 of this year. On March 18, a 1986 Grand National (a very different car, I was reminded by Colin Comer) with 5,700 miles bid to $38,750 and did not meet reserve.

The buyer of the 500-mile car paid nearly a $100,000 premium to get 5,200 fewer miles.

There are a couple of reasons why this makes no sense Read More

Keith’s Blog: My Resto-Mod Zagato

The Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato is now back from Nasko’s Imports.

I decided to ignore the factory specs that concours judges adhere to and make it a better for my style of driving.

Nasko installed a 4.1 rear end in place of the 4.5 it came with. Not only will this give us a more relaxed engine speed on the freeway, it has the added benefit of being a limited-slip differential.

A 1971 model, the Z is now 48 years Read More

Keith’s Blog: The Rite of Spring

Editor’s note: Jeff Zurschmeide, frequent contributor to SCM, is taking over Keith’s Blog with week with his report on last weekend’s Portland Swap Meet and PIR Auto Swap Meet:

 

By Jeff Zurschmeide

April in Portland means two things: rain and the Portland Swap Meet. Both are as inevitable as the sunrise, but you have to take it on faith that the sun is really up there somewhere above the clouds. However, it’s the swap meet that signals thousands of Read More

Keith’s Blog: Why Bradley Won’t Drive a Bugeye After All

For his 10th birthday, I bought my son Bradley a 1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite. My first car was a Bugeye, and I was indulging in a romantic recreation of my own past.

I paid $15,000 for it because it needed nothing. Another $15,000 later, specialist Chip Starr had built and installed a 1,275-cc engine and a 3.7:1 rear end — along with freshening the suspension, electrical and wiring systems.

In a striking example of collector car math, after a total Read More

Keith’s Blog: Are Restomods and Youngtimers the future of collecting?

I once asked Craig Jackson why he thought that Restomods were so popular. He said that buyers got the looks of a classic car with the comfort, convenience and performance of a modern one.

Sometimes people new to collecting would buy a restored old car — say a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. Then how an old car drives gave them a big surprise.

By modern standards, many old cars are slow, have terrible brakes and squishy suspensions. They don’t Read More

Keith’s Blog: SCM’s Madcap Tribute to Martin Swig

SCM is gearing up for our annual madcap tribute to Martin Swig.

Swig, the founder of the California Mille, was famous for setting off on car trips at the drop of a hat. Thanks to him, I participated several times in the California Mille, along with the Carrera Nevada — a dash across the back roads of Nevada in vintage American cars.

The Third SCM Caravan to Concorso is a Swig-inspired event that runs from Portland to Monterey for Read More

Keith’s Blog: Which Three Alfas Would You Pick?

Over the years, I’ve found that the size of my collection is directly related to the number of slots I have in my garage.

At one time, I had a 30’ x 40’ pole building in Northeast Portland that came along with a rental house I purchased. Not only did I immediately fill it with cars, it had a space behind it for another six cars under an open-faced shed. I quickly went out and bought six Alfa parts cars Read More

Keith’s Blog: How Automatic is Manual Shifting

“I learned to drive on a stick” is a gearhead’s mantra. We all tell tales of the first three-pedal car we learned to operate.

For some reason, it’s a badge of honor that we learned to drive a car and learned to operate a manual gearbox at the same time.

I’ve taught several of my children to drive, most recently 10-year-old Bradley in his 1960 Bugeye Sprite.

Teaching someone to drive, and to drive a stick at the same time, Read More

Keith’s Blog: The Car as a Horse

You wouldn’t ride a horse down Main Street, and soon you won’t drive a collector car down your town’s main drag.

Twenty years ago, I wrote that in the future we would treat our old cars like horses. Our cars would be trailered to roads that were appropriate for them, we would use them there — and then trailer them home.

That future is now.

Increasingly, our old cars are simply unsuited for the mix of everyday traffic.

A few Read More