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

Black LT1s and Blue 308s

“I love you guys. When a new SCM hits my mailbox it feels like a letter from good friends. Seriously. So as your friend, Keith, I want to help you enjoy a Ferrari and NOT LOSE LOTS OF MONEY ON IT. Which can be done despite your last two experiences, with your 330 American and the Mondial. (Recall, I warned you not to buy the 330 America beforehand and only learned about the Mondial after the fact.)
“Cindy, your Read More

The $22-A-Day Ferrari

Our 1984 Mondial has gone to a new home. For $23,000, a Ferrari enthusiast in Benicia, California, put it into his garage. It seemed a fair-enough price for a 53,000-mile car, in light metallic green, that was in need of its major service.
And then I did something no owner of an exotic car should do.
I totaled up the cost of my ownership and translated it into dollars (not cents) per mile. It’s not a pretty Read More

Art is Where You Find It

RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS, SOUTH PACIFIC

Oregon’s a nasty place to be in the winter, dismal with gray skies and endless rain. Hence, when spring break comes along and our eleven-year-old daughter Alexandra has some time off, Managing Editor Cindy Banzer (my spouse) and I make sure our annual vacation takes us somewhere very far away and very warm. There are two further conditions: No cars and no auctions.
This year, we made the Cook Islands, our destination. Isolated Read More

Puttin’ On The Ritz

Amelia Island, Florida
Rain is the natural enemy of car shows. Carefully manicured golf courses quickly turn to muddy quagmires and cars that have been meticulously cleaned for judging get spattered with grime. Spectators, rather than trying to snap memorable photos, vie to see who can carry the largest umbrella.
All of which makes what happened at the recent Amelia Island Concours the more remarkable.
The weather had looked menacing from the moment we arrived in Jacksonville, Florida. Read More

Lord, Won’t You Buy Me A 4Matic Benz

For the first time in 18 years, there’s a new car with SCM Managing Editor Cindy Banzer’s name on it, heading our way. Well, not exactly brand new, but new to the Martin-Banzer family. A 1999 Mercedes E320 4Matic sedan in champagne with tan leather, it’s currently on a transporter making the journey from St. Louis, Missouri, to Portland, Oregon.
You might reasonably wonder why we would buy a recent production car 2,000 miles from our home. 4Matics, while Read More

It’s a Vision Thing

DETROIT, MICHIGAN

The future of the automobile will be shaped by the collision of grand strategies and the realities of the marketplace. At the recently concluded North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), held at Cobo Center in Detroit, the struggle between car makers to hold and increase market share was palpable and ferocious.
Like gladiators in a Roman coliseum, the manufacturers are squaring off, and not everyone is going to survive.
On the practical side, there is growing recognition Read More

Sweet Fifteen

Fifteen years ago, in 1989, the first issue of Sports Car Market magazine rolled off the presses. Or more accurately, the eight pages of the Alfa Romeo Market Letter, as it was then called, spewed out of a mimeograph machine. At the time, we thought we were launching a business. But we were really just starting another road trip, with the final destination still to be determined.

My fascination with sports cars started early. At the age of five, Read More