Gloriously and Completely Wrong

In our August, 2010 issue, I went out on an automotive limb and predicted that the aggregate total of the sales from the 2010 Monterey weekend would rebound from last year’s paltry $120m and reach the lofty, record-breaking plateau of $140m. The reaction on the web was immediate, with various chat rooms and blogs using that number as a way of pointing out just how out of touch I was with the market. Further, there was a certain delight evident Read More

Art Cars and Gladiators

Mix American artist Jeff Koons, the 35th anniversary of the BMW Art Car Collection, a 3-series prepped for the GT2 Class at Le Mans and a gala reception at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the result is a striking race car that reaffirms BMW’s commitment to high performance, and to high art.

In May of this year, I had the opportunity for a complete immersion in BMW’s Classic Center program (you’ll find more information on page 30), and an Read More

Buy the Car, Start the Journey

{vsig}2010-9_2530{/vsig}There are two new members of the SCM menagerie, aka collection, representing opposite ends of the car world. The first is a 2006 Lotus Elise, the best new vintage car you can buy. The second is a 1958 Mercedes 220S, the beginning of the fabled S-class model that continues today.

Each of these cars has taught us something unexpected, and each has changed our perspective of collecting.

The Lotus is the newest car we own; we have been looking for Read More

Looking Into The Crystal Piston

Here are two extremes of collector car acquisition. The first is the barn find, where, wearing your “Tom Cotter Taught Me How to Buy Cars” T-shirt, you slog through the backwoods of the (usually southern) countryside, until you see the back of a Ferrari 250 Monza or Split-Window Fuelie inside a falling-down garage.

You find the owner, offer him pennies on the dollar, and scurry home with your kill. You’ve just saved tens of thousands of dollars, Read More

Happy Days are Here Again

On September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11.

A direct consequence of that was the collapse of the collector car market. For instance, Daytonas, the poster children of the Ferrari market, fell almost overnight from their August 2008 heights in Monterey of $350k, to a more earthly $225k. Alfa TZ-1s stopped changing hands at $750k and became $600k cars. Even Austin-Healey 3000s, once the king of second-tier collectibles, dropped from $125k to $75k.

Buyers and Read More

Buckets of Fun

“Not all who wander are lost.”

That’s a fitting description of the day I spent trolling for treasure at the Portland Swap Meet. The largest event of this type on the West Coast, it has over 4,200 vendor booths and attracts more than 50,000 gearheads. But that’s not the end of it.

Right next door, Portland International Raceway simultaneously hosts another swap meet, with an additional 1,000 booths arrayed around the entire race track. So you’re faced Read More

March Madness

I’ve just returned from a sensory overload collector car experience in the Sunshine State.

Somewhere between RM’s BMW 600 “limousine,” Gooding’s Alfa 2000 spider, Sam and Emily Mann’s Mercedes 540K Special roadster, and the Collier ex-Martini Porsche 917, ten days of March have disappeared in a collector car blur. Between auctions, seminars, meetings, and television shooting, a relentless frenzy stole all the minutes and hours of every day.

It all started in Naples. Every other year, Miles Read More

The Market Walks Tall

Two years ago, the art market had cratered, with both Sotheby’s and Christie’s suffering huge year-over-year declines in their annual New York sales.

But on February 3, the market spoke with an authoritative voice, as “Walking Man I,” a life-size bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, was sold by Sotheby’s for $104.3m, a world record for the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

Sotheby’s total for the evening was $235.6m.

To put that in perspective, the Read More

Government-Created Collectibles

At every car club meeting, gray-haired elders debate the future of car collecting. They wonder if the current generation will wean itself from texting and playing World of Warcraft long enough to learn to use a Uni-Syn to balance their SU carburetors, or feeler gauges to measure valve clearances.

They also wonder where are the Austin-Healey 3000s, Jaguar XK 120s, and Alfa Romeo Giuliettas of the current era. Each was a distinctive sports car with its own look Read More

Pleasure and Punishment, Collector Car Style

With this February issue, we are now well into the 22nd year of Sports Car Market.

Twenty-two is my lucky number. My birthday falls on the 22nd, and my race cars have always been numbered 22. When we first started SCM in our basement, as the four-page mimeographed Alfa Romeo Market Letter, we never imagined that over two decades later we’d still be pumping out auction reports and market commentary about cranky old cars.

While our page count Read More

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