If you're reading SCM, chances are you're an enthusiast. Your friends may uncork a vintage Barolo and marvel over the bouquet; you'd just as soon go out to the garage and inhale the gasoline and oil vapors that constantly seep out of a vintage car.

This has been an exceptionally busy year for me and SCM, as well as our parent corporation, Automotive Investor Media Group. We've launched a new magazine, Corvette Market, to critical acclaim, and subscriptions and advertising revenues continue to grow for both our publications.

On the personal side, I have a wonderful bride, Wendie, and a handsome baby, Bradley McDowell Martin. We've moved into a 101-year-old, historic Craftsman-style home in Portland's vintage Irvington district, and celebrated the 16th birthdays and first driver's licenses of Wendie's son Tyler and my daughter Alex, along with teaching her 14-year-old son Drew the joys of riding a vintage Piaggio moped (no, he's not legally old enough to do that in Oregon, but as my grandfather taught me, there are laws and there are laws.)

In the past couple of months, Wendie, Bradley, and I have had the good fortune to participate in the Meadow Brook Concours outside Detroit, the Pebble Beach Concours, the Forest Grove Concours near Portland, and the Kirkland Concours in Washington. We are going to have the tires on his jogging stroller recapped in the near future.

Where's the Seat Time?

But the one thing lacking this year has been road trips and seat time. Until recently, we simply hadn't made the time to get into our old cars and spend some time enjoying the open road.

That's changed, and for the better. As noted elsewhere in this issue, I had the chance to go with Mitch Katz, of Premier Financial Services, on the Colorado Grand. In addition to getting to drive his Alfa Giulia Spider Veloce, through the graciousness of other participants, I had some time behind the wheel of a 300SL roadster and a Lancia Aurelia convertible. Watching Jon Shirley fuel his 1956 Ferrari 290 MM at a self-serve stop brought its own pleasures.

And as you'll read in an expanded Glovebox Notes on page 130, Alex and I celebrated her 16th birthday with a trip to L.A. and four days in a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

We didn't stop there. A two-owner, near-new, 4-speed, 1977 BMW 320i has joined our fleet, and Alex and Tyler immediately commandeered it for our first two-car family road trip through the ghost towns of central Oregon. Being unable to fit a rearward facing childseat into SCM's Porsche 911SC, Wendie and I ended up driving a 2007 Ford Shelby GT500, which was stylish in appearance and brutish in performance.

In two days, our mini-caravan covered 400 miles, with stops along the way including the Discovery Center in the Dalles, OR, for a quick history of the Columbia Gorge, lunch in not-so-exotic Dufur (I wonder if the local high-school football team is called the Dufuses?), and a visit to Shaniko, a once-prosperous sheep industry-based town that lost its reason to exist when the railroads went away.

Then we went on to the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, where we hiked along trails with 40 million-year-old fossils poking out from the rocks, and finally to Condon, for a stay in the historic Condon Hotel.

While Wendie and I thundered along in the fast but ponderous Shelby, both Tyler and Alex took turns harassing us like an angry bumble-bee, the under-powered but lithe BMW falling back on the straights but attaching itself to the Shelby's rear bumper at any hint of a turn. Our first family road trip with driving-age children was proclaimed by all involved to be a major success.

Alfa Come Home

But wait there's more. Prior to the Shaniko trip, Alex and I took a quick 200-mile trip around Mt. Hood with her driving the SC, following an invigorating route laid out by Tom Cotter for a Mercedes C-Class launch. The next day, Wendie and Tyler took the SCM 1963 Corvette Split-Window on the same roads, with Wendie teaching Tyler how to drive a manual transmission in the process.

We saved the best for last. Veteran SCM readers will recall that when Alex was born in 1991, I owned a 1965 Alfa Giulia Spider Veloce in the unusual but correct color combination of very light blue/gray with a red interior. A 100% complete car, it had had some rust repairs performed by our local wizard, Bill Gilham. I regretted selling the car in 1992, and was pleased 25 years later when I had the opportunity to buy it back.

A $14,000 "tune-up" by Berkeley guru Conrad Stevenson followed, and SCMer Doug Hartman and I drove it up Highway 101 to Portland two years ago. In April of this year, the only part of the Alfa Stevenson hadn't ministered to, the lower end of the engine, finally gave up, a knocking rod bearing being the signal that ye olde checking account was about to suffer more invoiced slings and arrows.

Nearly $8,500 later, with a fresh bottom end, including crankshaft, pistons, liners, balancing, align boring, and more, Wendie and I flew down to pick up the car. After a brief reunion with the "Griswold punks"-Dan Marvin, Patrick Ottis, Jon Norman, and Dennis Etcheverry-we were on our way.

Suffice to say it was a glorious 800-mile trip, top down in the brisk fall air most of the way, with a memorable meal at Willy's Seafood & Raw Bar in Healdsburg, CA. While we haven't taken the Alfa over 5,000 rpm in deference to its freshness, it seems to pull stronger, and certainly smoother, than we remember. We have rediscovered how the gears seem perfectly matched to the engine, that the cockpit is surprisingly spacious, and the trunk usable.

Frankly, I'd forgotten just how good Alfas are, which is a little odd, since it was my passion for Alfas-which started when I bought my first, a 1963 Giulia Spider Normale, in 1968-that created the emotional foundation for this whole publishing thing.

So it's time for more Alfas in the SCM garage, and here's what we're looking for. A two-headlight GTV (1600 or Junior), a Giulietta Sprint (Normale upgraded to Veloce specs okay), and to carry Bradley, a Giulia Super. Good number 2 cars with no stories are what we need. (Since we're in the hunt, I'm told by the Corvette Market gang that we could use an Iso Rivolta as well, as it could not only carry Bradley, but serve as our very own SCM/CM crossover vehicle.).

If you can help out, drop me a note at [email protected], or call 503.261.0555 x 210.

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