Keith’s Corner: The SCM Fleet is Leaving the Harbor

We continue the rush to get five SCM vehicles ready for two events happening over the next 10 days.

The 2006 Lotus Elise and the 2000 Boxster S have to be ready to launch on this Thursday, heading out in the afternoon to meet everyone in Eugene, Oregon. It’s the start of the 1,000-mile Oregon Region Porsche Club of America Northwest Passage event, sponsored by Chubb Insurance and SCM. The producer of What’s My Car Worth, Roger Williams, is flying in to join the SCM five-car team and will be piloting the Boxster.

Keith’s Corner: May 24th

While the multi-million dollar auction sales make exciting reading, it’s more prosaic stuff that’s keeping the SCM car teams busy this week.

SCM “Legal Files” columnist Draneas took the burgundy MG for a couple of days and came back with this report:

It drives pretty good although not as good as the GT. Here is the repair list:
Alignment is toed out
Leaks oil badly
Excessive brake pedal pressure – master cylinder?
Wipers on constant very slow and need blades
Steering is too heavy
Lopes at idle – too rich?
Turn signal won’t return. Very annoying for people behind me.

All points duly noted. (Though I happen to think that it would be okay for John to learn to return the turn-signal lever manually.)

Keith’s Corner: Will You Drive Our MGs Back From Reno?

We’re looking for a couple of drivers to pilot two of our 1974 MGs from the MGA/B National Convention in Reno, back to Portland. The cars would be available as of Monday night, June 13 or Tuesday morning, June 14.

SCM will pay for your gas and publish the story of your trip in our newsletter. There are close to 100 MGAs and Bs headed down for the convention (which ends on Friday morning after a 1,500 MG show-and-shine and concours on Thursday), and we can put you in touch with the Oregon organizers so you can get hooked up with a group.

Keith’s Corner: May 10th

Portland car season is heating up, and the pace of car repairs and refurbishments at SCM proves it.

SCM staffers Chad Tyson and Tony Piff have been running a non-stop MGB shuttle program, running the three cars between the SCM Garage,  Guy’s Interior Restorations (for new seat cushions, new dash pads), and Harold’s Auto Service (new ignition switch for the MGB-GT, tracking down why the burgundy roadster smells like a fuel refinery after a sharp turn, etc.). The Road to Reno, now in the company of at least 30 other MGs, starts here in Portland at 8 am, June 12. We’ll forgive you if you’re not there for the kickoff party – watch this space for parts depot addresses where you can send “mercy packs” of points, condensers, and wheel bearings.

Keith’s Corner: From Infineon Raceway to Seabrook, Texas

This is the season. As the weather continues to improve, enthusiasts begin bringing their winter-stored beauties out for tours, rallies, and shows.

Wendie and I spent a delightful four days on the California Mille last week, starting in front of the tony Fairmont Hotel. Organizer Martin Swig and sponsor Chopard graciously provided us with a 1956 Giulietta Spider Normale for the tour.

A very solid car, it had been upgraded with a 2-barrel Weber downdraft carb, and the rear end swapped out with a 4.1 in place of the standard 4.5, for a significant increase in pulling power at low rpms. The mechanical operation of the two barrels, which open simultaneously, is a great improvement over the primitive OEM Solex, which had a vacuum-operated secondary, and the long legs provided by the 4.1 rear end made the car an absolute delight to drive. The experience caused me to rethink the whole notion of Veloce vs Normale.

Keith’s Corner: One Day in Palm Springs

Sitting in the airport at Palm Springs, waiting for my flight back home to Portland.  Forecast here is a sunny 93 degrees today—I’m afraid to look at the weather report for Rainland.

I came down to Palm Springs yesterday, flying in Lear-jet luxury, courtesy of Portland Art Museum supporters Eric and Ronna Hoffman. Sports Car Market is actively involved with bringing the show, “The Allure of the Automobile,” to Portland, and helping to raise the $750,000 needed to make it happen.

Keith’s Corner, April 12th

Charlotte Autofair, The B Team Update and Alex Goes Off-Road

Just back from spending a weekend shooting four more episodes of “What’s My Car Worth” at the Charlotte Autofair in North Carolina. I was joined by dealers Peter Klute and Mark Hyman, and Auctions America CEO Donnie Gould. The three circled the swap meet looking for cars—and then tried to buy them live, on TV. In fact, only two cars of the twelve we shot went back to the infield. Mark bought a 1964 Ford Galaxy convertible for $22,750, and Peter a 1948 Willys Jeepster resto-mod, with a 502-ci Cadillac V8, for $22,500. The season starts April 17 on Discovery HD Theater, and this episode will probably air in June.

Peter Klute’s 1948 Willys Jeepster resto-mod
Mark Hyman’s 1964 Ford Galaxie

Keith’s Corner, April 5th

Where’s My Sunscreen? The La Jolla Motoring Classic and Other Adventures

I’m just back from a weekend in La Jolla, where I was the emcee of the 7th Annual La Jolla Motor Car Classic. The weather was fantastic, and the setting, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, couldn’t have been better.

On the Saturday tour, Wendie and I got to drive Paul Emple’s 1930 Isotta Fraschini Type 8A Flying Star. Powered by a 400 cubic inch V8, it’s a beast of a car. (Who needs first gear?)

Wendie went to the event with me, and SCM contributor and etceterini specialist Donald Osborne, along with Frank Garofolo, helped take care of the booth. Wendie brought Patricia Hai from her company, Enthusiast Media Group and had some nifty metallic-red SCM water bottles as subscriber giveaways.