Two Collector Car New Year’s Resolutions

2014 is winding down, and it’s been quite a 12 months for SCM and me.

On the magazine side, our page count is up significantly over 2013. We have more subscribers, more advertisers and higher newsstand sales. We’re distributing in bookstores in England, Australia and other countries for the first time, and the results have been great.

The SCM editorial, art, sales and financial team is clicking together like a race engine that is nicely broken in, hitting a healthy redline every month just as we upload files to the printer in Wisconsin.

On the personal side, I traveled the circuit this year, from Scottsdale to Paris to Amelia and more. I’ve seen a lot of old friends and made new ones. Three highlights stand out. The first was going white-water rafting on the Rogue River with my seven-year-old son Bradley.

Second was a series of road trips around Oregon with Bradley as navigator, in the 1967 Volvo 122S, in the 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce, and even in the gnarly 1984 Land Rover D90 to the annual meeting of the Oregon Rocket Club outside of Bend.

Capping it all off was the Argentine Millas in November. Driving a 1969 E-type roadster across the Andes was a gearhead’s dream come true.

Two Requests

I have two New Year’s resolutions for the collector-car world at large.

First, I’d like to see a new judged class at shows for cars that have been lovingly maintained.

Car shows and concours already honor cars that are restored to better-than-new condition, as well as cars that have been untouched since they were born (the preservation class). But the vast majority of collector cars fall into a third category. These are cars that have been regularly used for 40 or more years and have been repainted, reupholstered and had their engines rebuilt — appropriately, because cars wear out as they are used.

I propose that preserved cars be divided into two categories: stock and modified. A stock car would be one in its original colors, with the engine it was born with. A modified car would not be penalized for a color change, an engine replacement, or even an engine upgrade, if done in the original spirit.

Cars would be expected to be in clean driving condition, without overly detailed engine bays or undercarriages. I like restored and original cars as much as the next guy, but I also like cars that have been used as intended and retain their authentic flavor, even if the paint has been renewed.

Second, I’d like to see a national touring club for cars built more than 20 years ago, and for special-interest cars sold since then. This would be a rolling date, so the cut-off this year would be 1994.

Why 1994? If we are serious about encouraging the use and appreciation of classic cars, then we have to be inclusive rather than exclusive. It does seem strange to think of a 1994 car as “old,” but most cars are used up and thrown away by age 20. So let’s cast a wide net and make it as easy as possible to involve all of those who have an appreciation for cars that are more than two decades old.

To keep membership current, the cars should be required to participate in four events of any kind in a calendar year. That would include cars-and-coffee, show-and-shines, concours, tours, rallies and road trips.

With an online register, people could update their activities and post photos of their participation. I would like to see a way to reward people who use their old cars. Through use, our old cars stay young, and we stay young with them.

I’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of the SCM gang during the past year. I wish you the happiest of New Years, and many miles of winding two-lane roads in 2015.



Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market, now in its 33rd year. Keith has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and had his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity. He has received many honors, including the Lee Iacocca Award, the Edward Herrman Award, was inducted into the Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame and more. He is on the boards of directors of The LeMay Museum and Oregon Ballet Theater, and was formerly the chair of the board of the Meguiar's Award.

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