Soon you will have the entire contents of 35 years of SCM at your fingertips. We are about to unveil a project we’ve been working on since the very first issue was created.

This magazine was born in the midst of a revolution in desktop publishing and database management for microcomputers. The database program dBase II and desktop publishing software Aldus Pagemaker changed our world.

In 1979, dBase II was launched, soon becoming one of the first desktop database-management systems, and the most successful in its day. Pagemaker was introduced in 1985, setting the standard for desktop publishing. Magazines and newsletters that used to take weeks to create, lay out and print could be produced in a matter of days.

Jack of all trades

In the early days of SCM — then called “Alfa Romeo Market Letter” — I wrote nearly all of the articles and auction reports. I also took the photos (once we started including them), laid out the magazine and eventually supervised the printing of it on our own Multilith 1850 offset duplicator. (As we grew, this was followed by a Hamada two-color press, a Heidelberg KORD 64 gray model and finally, a 40-inch Komori two-tower. Thankfully, SCM is no longer in the printing business; we are now produced on a commercial web press.) The folding, binding and mailing of each issue was also my responsibility.

It was like farm-to-table, using all local ingredients. Or perhaps more appropriately, Henry Ford’s vertically integrated manufacturing operation.

Unlike legacy car magazines like Car and Driver and Road & Track, SCM was never produced by having paste-ups of pages made, then photographed, then turned into plates that were mounted on presses.

We standardized our auction-reporting format early. I quickly grew tired of having to enter all the car details, and then formatting them in our style. I had to boldface and italicize every entry.

While reading a copy of PC Magazine (born in 1982; the print version died in 2009), I discovered a plug-in for dBase that would become the backbone of SCMs data acquisition and management. It would take data entered into dBASE II and spit it out as a formatted auction report, ready for the magazine page.

It’s all here

Every auction report in SCM has been entered into a database since the very first issue. Hence, we have the VIN (or serial number) of every car we have reported on stored on our computers (or now, in the cloud).

Currently, you are able to use the SCM Platinum Auction Database to look up cars by VIN, or conduct searches of auction results by year, make and model and other parameters. The database contains over 400,000 entries and is growing every month.

But MegaSearch will offer more. If you enter “Iso Grifo,” for example, every profile referencing that model will show up, as well as every auction report entry. When it is fully operational, you will be able to search the entire contents of every single issue of SCM from the first to the current.

Both National Geographic and The New York Times have such a global search feature. To my knowledge, we are the only collector-car magazine that will offer that to our members.

Brian Baker, SCM’s IT specialist, has been working on this since he joined us in 2012. Along with Marc Emerson at Bluefire Interactive, they are just finishing up the last bits and tweaks before we deploy a beta version. Once that happens, we look forward to your feedback.

Completing the circle

During our three decades of publishing, we’ve watched the relationship of print and the internet intersect and diverge in a variety of ways.

In the early days of the internet, everyone was positive that digital was the wave of the future. Surely, printed magazines were dinosaurs on a path to extinction.

Do you recall the Apple Newsstand? The app where everyone was going to subscribe to their favorite magazines and have them delivered digitally? It’s gone.

Some car magazines rushed to create online hybrid versions of their print products. The digital editions included “bonuses” like sound and animation and video. Also now gone.

SCM has had a relaxed and evolving relationship with social media and the internet. Each medium we offer augments and reinforces the other.

We have learned that the print publication is best for one form of information, social-media posts another, and our email newsletters a third. They share the same purpose: to help you, the SCM Member, be a more-informed collector, using information and data from as many sources as possible. 

With the introduction of the SCM MegaSearch, we are completing the circle of data access that we started 35 years ago.

Watch your inboxes. We will be launching soon. We invite you to join us.

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