Lucky Drives Again

It was 18 months ago that SCM Legal Analyst John Draneas and I bought a 1965 three-cylinder, two-stroke Saab 96 on eBay, plucked it out of a barn in Rimini, MT, and tried to drive it home to Portland.
Readers may recall that we covered 400 of the 700 miles with little drama aside from a shredded rear tire, broken ignition key, permanently open air vent that gave sub-zero a new meaning, and windshield wipers that confused streaking with Read More

E-Types, E55s and XR-75s

I recently spent two weeks streaking across Florida in a Mercedes E55 AMG, one of today’s definitive high-performance full-size sedans. From its 469-horsepower supercharged V8 to its crisp-shifting, manually-controllable automatic transmission, the car is a finely-tuned machine that delights in gobbling up vast distances effortlessly.
Aside from its expectedly pathetic navigation system, the E55 is so well set up that after a few minutes of familiarization, you feel as if you could be turning hot laps at the Read More

Reality TV, Barrett-Jackson Style

I like auctions as much as the next guy. In fact, I probably like them a little more than that-a good thing given my day job. But even for me, an hour or so at a time is about all I can take of the cacophonous babble emanating from most auction podiums.
But I put in 15 hours in the Barrett-Jackson tent this year, as part of the live broadcast of its Scottsdale auction on the Speed Channel. Along Read More

America By Fiat

Chalk it up to the power of the press.
Two months ago, I mentioned that I was looking for a Ferrari GTC/4. In response to that, SCMer Howard Jacobs, of suburban Cleveland, wrote us advising that rather than a C/4, we should consider a 456 GTA, similar to the one he used as a daily driver. (“You Write,” March 2004, page 14.)
A few days later, as part of a continued e-mail exchange, he dropped this fatally baited hook Read More

“At The End Of The Day, The Best Car Wins”

We all love cars of such varying types, shapes and accoutrements that it’s hard to generalize what makes a car appealing when new, or to predict whether it will become collectible as it ages.
The North American International Auto Show is a litmus test of attitudes, of each car company’s ability to achieve that hallmark of success, a production car that excites and delights and could one day be parked in a garage next to a ’57 Chevy, Read More

His ‘n’ Hers Ferraris

The Martin-Banzer garage is about to get more interesting. It appears that Cindy Banzer, my wife and SCM Executive Editor, has found her blue 308 GTS, and I’m back in the hunt for a GTC/4.
The past few months have been a collector-car dry spell for us, as we’ve focused on growing the magazine. In August, as SCM faithful are aware, we embarked on a massive newsstand campaign. Plus, responding to your requests, we’ve expanded our coverage of concours, Read More

“I Don’t Care What You Say, You’ll Never Have As Many Cars As Harold E. LeMay”

Harold LeMay was a car guy, just like you and me in a lot of ways. He figured out how to use his day job, owning waste-hauling franchises, to help him build his car collection. Myth has it he paid a spiff to garbage collectors who told him about interesting cars they came across on their route.
But where LeMay differed from you and me, and indeed from every other collector on the planet, was the amount of Read More

Why Healeys are Worth More Than Ferraris

Watching an Austin-Healey 3000 sell for $90,000 is both exhilarating and bewildering. The bidding in the crowded auditorium at the DoubleTree, for the brilliantly restored blue BJ8, started at $30,000 and sped quickly to $60,000.
RM’s auctioneer, Peter Bainbridge, was enjoying himself. And why wouldn’t he, when he’s got real bidders, a good product and a healthy sum displayed on the screen? As the bidding continued, to $65,000 and then $70,000, the room began to go quiet as both Read More

“Better Than New”

In the midst of the thunderstorm, a bolt of lightening struck the century-old, 200 foot tall fir tree next to our home, and then jumped to our roof. The force of nature is powerful; The electricity that surged through the house blew me back five feet from my computer keyboard. Our network router melted, the wires to the alarm system were toasted, the circuit boards inside the DVD player and the AV receiver were destroyed and two TVs were Read More

First Drive

There’s a lot going on at SCM world headquarters this month, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

There’s been a milestone occurrence in the Martin-Banzer family. Last weekend, our 11-year-old daughter, Alexandra, learned to drive.

Early piloting is a tradition in our family; My grandfather, Tom McDowell, taught me how to operate his early ’50s Ford 8N tractor on our farm in Novato, California, when I was eight years old. He showed me how to set the hand-throttle Read More

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