Compelled to Collect

With Monterey just around the corner, collectors’ thoughts have shifted from the restore-and-refurbish activities of winter to the buying and selling of summer. While car transactions happen year round, there’s no doubt they attract more attention in the warm months—and the most attention of all in August.

For me, there was a time, more than 30 years ago, when Monterey in August meant getting together with a group of Oregon-based Alfa fanatics, and caravanning the 700 miles to the Monterey Read More

The Season of the Road

Buzzing like a multi-colored swarm of bees, the cars of the California Mille cruised through Bodega Bay on California Highway One. It was the morning of day four, and Wendie and I had pulled over for a quick espresso and to stretch our legs.

This was the 21st running of the Mille, an event created to pay homage to the original Mille Miglia Storico in Italy. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of this event more Read More

Flying in the Star

The Martins and Flying Star owner Paul Emple

Location, location, location. The mantra of real estate agents, it applies equally to concours and vintage tours.

Who can deny that a significant part of the appeal of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is its stunning setting, on the 18th Fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Course, with Carmel Bay in the background and seals barking as a soundtrack?

While I’m not a golfer—I’ve always Read More

The Allure of the Automobile

Portland, Oregon is a quaint town. Bicyclists swarm in their own lanes, groups of runners go clomping by like gazelles or hippos—depending on their body mass—and there always seem to be a few happy people in line at the medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

Given its tree-hugging reputation, it comes as a surprise to some that the car culture, and especially the old-car culture, runs strong and deep through this city, the world headquarters of SCM, on the Willamette Read More

Sea Change in Scottsdale

By now the Scottsdale numbers are familiar: $160m in total sales, very close to the record $167m set in 2007. 2,221 cars sold. Attendance up at every event, and strong individual prices across the board.

But the biggest news to come from Scottsdale could be found in a press release issued on February 14, 2011—23 days after the last car crossed the block at WestWorld.

Barrett-Jackson announced a partial reversal of its “All No Reserve” policy, Read More

Collector Agonistes

Saved searches and RSS feeds are now the Pandora’s Box of my collecting life. Years ago, I would get giddy and feel the onset of the red mist once a month when Hemmings arrived (by first-class mail, of course). And when I went to an auction or swap meet, I would be temporarily overcome by my need to buy something, anything, that day.

But there were days—and sometimes weeks—when I wasn’t thinking about buying another car. That’s changed. Not only Read More

The Rattling Road to Reno

My first car was a 1959 Bug Eye Sprite that I bought in 1966, on the day I turned 16 and got my license. The Bug Eye was just seven years old at the time. Today, we think nothing of buying a seven-year-old car—doesn’t 2004 sound like new?

But back then, a seven-year-old sports car was very likely to be on the last of its original legs. My little Sprite had dents on every quarter, a piece of the lower Read More

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

I felt like I had entered a tinkerer’s medieval blacksmith shop. Vintage Gran Prix Bugattis from the 1920s and ’30s were strewn haphazardly about the courtyard of the tony Chaminade Resort and Spa in Santa Cruz, CA, and seemingly half of them were being taken apart and put back together.

The tap, tap, tap of a hammer came from one car as a front suspension was taken apart. Another Bug had its engine out and dismantled, and a new Read More

Yelberton and the Duesenberg

When I was growing up in San Francisco, my grandparents and I watched the ’49ers play in Kezar Stadium. Or, more correctly, we drove to our weekend farm in nearby Novato, which was just outside the 30-mile blackout range of the broadcasts, to watch the games on television.

I remember the sometimes-heated discussions that occurred when the picture would dissolve into a snowy mess at a critical time in the game, and the frantic fiddling with the rabbit ears, accompanied Read More

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