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

Andalusian Suite

VALENCIA, SPAIN

Somewhere outside of Grenada, Spain, I watched from the passenger seat as Jean Sage ran the engine in his 250 SWB to 6,500 rpm. Accelerating up a short straight on a closed-road hillclimb, he cracked a perfect upshift into third before hitting the brakes, double-clutching back down into second, and pitching the car sideways through the next hairpin.
Manager Editor Cindy Banzer and I were participating in the fourth edition of the Tour de España, a five-day Read More

Different Strokes

Leaving Helena, Montana, we passed the Wok ‘N’ Roll sushi house on our way towards the Continental Divide. Our mount was a newly purchased 1965 Saab 96, with a 46-horsepower, 841cc two-stroke engine.
My co-conspirator John Draneas and I found the car on eBay Motors, the result of a late-night Internet search after a few too many glasses of wine. It met our criteria of being relatively interesting, not too expensive, and located somewhere off the beaten path-in this Read More

The Stuff of Dreams

STRATFORD-ON-AVON, England

As I write this, we are nearing the end of our SCM Goodwood Tour. Yesterday we visited the ruins of Old Sarum, where the builders of Stonehenge are thought to have lived, and then went on to the monument itself. A superb and provocative performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company of “The Tempest” filled our evening. Today the group is enjoying a private tour of the Jaguar plant in Coventry as well as a visit to the Read More

It’s a Jungle Out There

While getting ready to take our Healey to the frame shop (more on that later), I thought back on the collector cars Ms. Banzer and I have owned over the past few years.
A few, like the ’72 Datsun 240Z, were painless experiences. Others, including our ’59 Isetta and ’72 Chevy Impala convertible, involved minor automotive bumps and bruises, while bringing our ’62 Ferrari 330 America back to life was like being caught in an endless loop of “Night Read More

Quality Seat Time

We hadn’t gotten more than 20 miles from our Portland, Oregon, home. Trapped by rush-hour traffic, the big Healey’s temperature started to climb. The needle on the gauge quickly passed the 212-degree mark, and visions of warped heads and steaming radiators danced in my head.
“Just drive on the shoulder, around the traffic,” offered my copilot, Doug Hartman, who was looking forward to his first road trip in an English convertible. “What’s worse-a ticket or a toasted engine?”Read More

The Cuban Galapagos of Yankee Cars

Sometimes we collectors should just leave well enough alone.
A recent article in the New York Times about American cars in Cuba, written in part to preview a PBS program entitled “Classic American Cars of Cuba,” extolled the creativity of the owner/mechanics there. Since the embargo in 1959, no American cars or parts have been allowed onto the island.
The result has been an automotive time warp with a Latin twist. American cars from the ’40s and ’50s are Read More

SCM, Phase II

In October, 1963, Austin-Healey introduced the BJ8, with an updated interior including a wood-veneered dash. Several months later, the so-called phase II version of the Big Healey was unveiled, with many updates such as dual lenses for braking and winking, and exterior refinements including such advanced features as locking door handles.
SCM is moving at a slightly faster pace. Last month, we presented phase one of our redesign, simplifying the interior look of the magazine without sacrificing any editorial Read More

A Thousand Here, A Thousand There

In Oregon, May 1 is the official beginning of our sports car season. Our garage is soon filled with the chirping of a half-dozen vehicles, each, like a hungry baby bird, crying out for hundred-dollar bills to be tossed under its hood in an annual rite of spring awakening.
Cindy’s 1978 Alfa Spider was first out of the gate, with a quick trip to Alfa-meister Nasko for a retorqueing of its head, the final step in the valve job Read More