Eight years ago, on June 18, 2011, I was sitting in my office cleaning off my desk.
I was about to throw away a three-month old copy of the local Alfa Romeo Club Newsletter, “Alfa Bits.”
An ad for a Daytona Blue 1967 GTV caught my attention. It had a 1750 engine and an upgraded Rugh suspension. I knew the car instantly.
The seller was local Alfa engineering legend Dave Rugh. The price was $18,000. It didn’t say “firm,” but Read More
According to my notes, on June 18, 2009 — 10 years ago — I bought a 1973 Land Rover Series III 88.
The crude-but-entertaining 88 was the beginning of our exploration of the world of Rovers.
The Rover saga started with the 2009 annual Porsche Northwest Passage 1,000-mile tour. I was driving our 2002 Boxster S.
At the final dinner, the owner of the Rover came up to me and said, “I’m thinking of selling our Land Rover, and John Read More
As I wrote in my last column, I have decided that it is time for the SCM Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite to go. I’ll be sad to see it leave, as we have done so much to make it exactly the excellent driver that we wanted.
At the same time, chances are it will go to a new home — one where it is a better fit in someone’s collection.
I’ve asked Matt Crandall at Avant-Garde Collection to sell the Read More
“Value in use.” That’s always been the motto of the cars in the SCM collection. What’s the point in having classic cars if you are not going to use them?
Most of the SCM cars were built more than 50 years ago. They were never designed to be in service this many years after they left their factories of origin. Consequently, keeping them roadworthy, comfortable and visually attractive has required a substantial investment in mechanical and cosmetic refurbishments.
It’s these Read More
This is the continuing saga of my first Alfa Romeo. It was a red 1963 Giulia Spider Normale. I bought it in 1968 when I was 17 years old.
It was an exotic, alloy-engine, twin-camshaft sports car. I tried to maintain it on a shoestring budget. This lead to many types of improvised roadside repairs.
During the summer of 1968 I was following my friend Bjarne Holm, who was driving his mother’s white 1958 Giulietta Spider Normale. We started out Read More
It was the summer of 1968. I was 17-years-old and had just graduated, as class valedictorian, from Lincoln High School in San Francisco. I was accepted to Reed College in Portland OR, but there was no financial aid available.
Tuition, along with room and board on campus, was about $3,000 a year — the same price as a new car. I couldn’t afford it, nor could my maternal grandmother, Dorel McDowell, who had raised me.
I decided to stay out Read More
My first two cars were British — a 1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite and a 1958 MGA.
“When are you going to get a real sports car?” asked my good friend Bjarne Holm.
Bjarne was driving his mother’s 1958 Giulietta Spider Normale. We were parked outside Lakeside Presbyterian Church near Stonestown in San Francisco. This was in 1969.
Bjarne walked me around the car. He proudly showed off its amenities — wind-up windows, a top that stayed attached to the car, Read More
Last Saturday my daughter Alexandra and her mother Cindy Banzer took the SCM 1967 Giulia Super on an Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon tour. It was a 112-mile dash from Portland to Astoria on the Oregon coast and back.
This was the 41st running of The Old Spider Tour, celebrating the founder of the club, Bob McGill, and the sky-blue 1958 Giulietta Spider Normale he bought new.
Neil d’Autremont, owner of Sidedraught City and official car herder for SCM, Read More
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.
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