We've been using our 330 America as a daily driver. Picking up our daughter, Alexandra, from elementary school and taking her to gymnastics. ("Daddy, are you going to drive me in the noisy red car today?") Going shopping. Running errands. A 29-gallon aquarium, perfect for rearing Apistogramma agassizi cichlids, fits nicely in the back seat and the trunk swallows the 60 lb. of gravel that accompanied it. The 1962 V12 Ferrari's interior is littered with empty pop cans, squashed Capri Sun bags and partially eaten McDonald's Kid's Meals.
All of this is due in no small part to the proddings of Csaba Csere, Editor of Car & Driver. While whining to him a couple of months ago about how difficult our vintage Ferrari was to drive in traffic, and how our Suburban was really a much easier car to go running errands in, Csaba interrupted with an immediate and visceral response. He wanted to know how I dared call myself a vintage car fanatic when I would choose to be behind the wheel of a mobile mountain rather than a classic sports car. "Get out and drive the old slug," he said. "Let it teach you how it wants to be used and enjoyed. Give up a little of your 'practicality' and 'comfort'."
And so I have become a part of the neighborhood lore. I'm the car guy up the street wearing blue jeans and a Pendleton shirt who drives that noisy, smoky old sports car with wire wheels to the store to get a six-pack of Diet Pepsi and a bag of pre-mixed dinner lettuce. Who's behind the wheel of the car with a horse on its nose that has a gas-powered rotary lawnmower stuffed in the trunk, mower handle sticking out and rear deck bungee-corded shut.
We're inflicting the Ferrari on our friends as well. Last night Ms. Banzer and I took our good friends, Bill and Nita Woodard, (they've got custody of our co-owned '72 240 Z this month) out for a Chinese dinner. We drove the 330 America because it offered far more comfortable seating for four than Nita's 3-series BMW, and besides, the Woodards get a kick out of the way the Ferrari exhaust sets off every car alarm in their neighborhood.
The Ferrari likes being used. Csaba was right. The more it's driven, shifted, braked, even parallel parked with bicep-building effort, the more rewards it offers as rpm by rpm, mile by mile, it slowly reveals the thoroughbred heritage and the commitment to performance, as well as practicality, its builder had 40 years ago. It may be just a lumpy old 4-seat Ferrari, but it's also turning out to be a pretty damned good car.


We're sad to report that Peter Egan of Road & Track recently succumbed to the allure of the "driving without a tool kit" syndrome and purchased a used Mazda Miata. While the Miata is arguably the best old-style Lotus Elan built, ultimately the MX-5 is just a Coffee Mate substitute for a vintage convertible. Like a Stepford Wife, the Miata succumbs to your every wish, and asks for nothing in return.
We're sure Mr. Egan will enjoy his trouble-free, reliable, non-demanding Miata, but worry that his acquisition will lead to columns with topics like, "We talk with an MX-5 owner who had to add oil to their car between scheduled changes," or, "After ten years, we replace the yellowed plastic rear window." Perhaps, if he's been very fortunate, he's unknowingly purchased the legendary vintage-spec prototype Miata fitted with Lucas ignition, SU carburetors, ATE brakes and Marelli electrics. That combination would keep him busy indeed.


Two new features debut in SCM this month. "The Wrenching Truth" (page 31) will focus on repair and restoration shops that are recommended to us by SCM readers. Finding a good mechanic for a collectible car can be much more difficult than finding a car itself. If you've had a particularly rewarding experience with a shop, please e-mail the name and contact information along to us at [email protected], or fax it to 503/252-5854.
Responding to the enthusiastic response to our first foray into vintage motorcycles (Sotheby's motorcycle auction, SCM, December 1999, page 38), we've added "Bike Buys." Motorcycle guru Tom Young will be our guide, and provide us with a brief look at a collectible bike every month. We begin on page 16 with the fabled Ducati 900 SS.


The longhorn steer on our cover is casting a wary eye at the leather interiors of the cars accelerating by in the 1998 Texas 1000 rally. Artist Bill Neale's water color depicts an alloy-bodied 300SL (1 of 28) driven by Hyatt Cheek and Ozzie vom Orde, of Dallas, followed by a '57 Ferrari 250 GT Boano belonging to Chris and Sandra Hutchins of Bangor, Maine, and a '66 Shelby Mustang GT 350 piloted by Rick Kopec, national director of the Shelby American Automobile Club, and his wife Colleen, from Sharon, Connecticut.
The Texas 1000, another of the highly-regarded Rich Taylor/Jean Constantine events (800/645-6069, www.vintagerallies.com), winds through the Texas back country. Depicted here is a road on the YO Ranch, near Comfort, Texas, once the largest spread in the state at nearly 600,000 acres, and still populated today with exotic animals, including giraffes and gazelles.
Artist Neale, of Dallas, Texas, is a founding member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society and has won awards at Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and the Cavallino Classic. A retired amateur race car driver, his work draws heavily on personal experience. A limited number of 16 x 20-inch prints of this water color are available for $175. (Contact: 972/701-0171, www.billneale.com)

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