Keith’s Blog: Driven: Two Alfas, a Lotus and a Viper

I had a gearhead’s holiday last weekend.

In the course of two days, I got to put nearly 100 miles each on the SCM Lotus Elise, the ACC Dodge Viper ACR GTS and two vintage Alfas — the 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce and the 1967 GTV.

These are all sports cars, but they each represent a unique approach to spirited motoring.

The Viper is the brute of the bunch. With its massive V10 engine, it launches like a Saturn 5 Read More

Keith’s Blog: I Almost Bought a Junior Z

Online auctions have transformed the collector car world. In a matter of minutes — in your own office — you go from contemplating a quiet lunch to posting a $35,000 bid.

I was editing the next issue of American Car Collector last Friday when a text message popped up on my phone.

“BaT Auction Alert: 1970 Alfa Romeo Junior Zagato 1300 is ending in 1 hour. http://bringatrailer.com/listing/1970-alfa-romeo-junior-z/

Bidding was under $30,000 at that point, and I peg these as Read More

Keith’s Blog: Put Those Hoods Down!

Owners who leave the hoods open on their cars for the entire day are my car-show pet peeve.

Two weeks ago, while I was emcee of Keels & Wheels in Texas, I mentioned this to the organizer, Bob Fuller. He said, “It drives me crazy too. I spend all day going around asking people to shut their hoods.”

I was at a very small regional car show this past weekend — the Clark Lumber Annual Car Show and Barbecue — Read More

Keith’s Blog: What to Do When the Wipers Stop? 300 Miles in a Bugeye Sprite

We were traveling at 70 mph in a torrential downpour. Interstate 84, which runs through Oregon’s scenic Columbia River Gorge, was a nightmare of high winds and large pools of standing water.

It was not the weather I would have chosen to take Bradley’s 1960 Bugeye Sprite on its inaugural road trip.

There comes a moment of truth with any old car when you actually put it on the road. In this case, it was participating in the Austin-Healey Northwest Read More

Keith’s Blog: Wooden Boats and Gleaming Cars — Keels & Wheels Turns 22

“We expect to donate $100,000 to charity this year,” Bob Fuller said to me this past weekend at the 22nd Annual Keels & Wheels concours.

In its 22 years, Keels & Wheels has raised over $1.6m for various children’s charities, the foremost being Boys and Girls Harbor.

According to Glen R. Royal, mayor of Seabrook, TX, this money has changed the lives of many children in the greater Houston area.

Seabrook, Texas is an unlikely place for a concours. Read More

Keith’s Blog: Why I’m Not Buying a Lancia

I’ve owned well over 500 cars during the past 40 years. If I really got serious about counting them, I might reach 1,000.

They have ranged from ’62 Nova Wagons to Plymouth Superbirds to Ferrari 330 Americas to BMW Isettas.

There wasn’t a car that I couldn’t talk myself into. As Miles Collier noted, my collecting philosophy was centered around, “It’s red, I’ve never owned one and I can afford it.”

However, as I approach my maturity, my thoughts about Read More

Keith’s Blog: It’s The Little Stuff That Makes You Crazy — Fettling Two Alfas

I made two round trips to Jefferson, Oregon last week.

That’s where “Hooligan Racing,” Bill Gillham’s restoration shop, is located — 63 miles south of Portland.

I’ve been taking Alfas to Gillham for over 30 years, my first being the ex-Ivan Zaremba 1967 Duetto owned by my college friend Arthur Levy.

When Arthur was deciding on a car to drive from San Francisco to law school on the East Coast, we looked at the Duetto and at a Lancia Aurelia convertible. They were both priced the same, around $2,000. Arthur Read More

Keith’s Blog: Buy – Learn – Repent – Move on

I’ve bought and sold a lot of cars over the years.

They tended to come in bunches. There was an MG period, then a Porsche period, then a Rover period and so on.

Some more-disciplined collectors have a linear approach. For example, having one car of each year of Corvette production.

That’s never appealed to me.

My guiding principal has always seemed to be, “It’s red, I’ve never owned one and I can afford it.”

What I call the “stray Read More

Keith’s Blog: The La Jolla Concours d’Elegance Raises the Bar

If location, location, location is the mantra for real estate, it’s the location, the cars and the people for car shows.

Seven years ago, when I was emcee at my first La Jolla concours, the show was called the La Jolla Motorcar Classic. It was a good event at that time, but it wasn’t quite ready to be a highly-ranked classic car event.

Under the leadership of concours chair Michael Dorvillier and his vice chair, Harry Clark, the event has Read More

Keith’s Blog: Happy 59th Birthday to the Sprint!

On April 3, 1958 my Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce rolled off the assembly line. Six days later it was sold to a dealer in Switzerland. Its history is lost from then until about 30 years ago when it was found sitting, not running and with the nose punched in, at the side of the road in Southern California. It had a “For Sale” sign in the window.

Somehow it had crossed the Atlantic to the U.S; how and why Read More