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

Give That Car an “A”

At SCM, we often describe cars as being “first tier” or “second tier” collectibles. These terms are used intuitively, rather than being based on any analytical system. While putting together this year’s Pocket Price Guide, we were reviewing our five-star short-term appreciation rating, and felt it left something to be desired.
The short-term appreciation scale, which we created five years ago in our first Pocket Price Guide, awards one to five stars to each model, based on our appreciation Read More

Shamed by Swig

Ferrari Mondials and snow-packed roads don’t mix very well. That was just one of the many thoughts that crossed my mind as we slid sideways towards the edge of the mountain road.
I hadn’t planned on using the Ferrari as a snowmobile, but Martin Swig has a way of rearranging reality to suit his priorities. Initially, he had offered to store our newly purchased metallic green 1984 cabriolet at his facility in San Francisco until a trucker could Read More

My Green Ferrari

The car hauler should be pulling up any day now, delivering the newest addition to the Martin-Banzer menagerie. Or is that collection?
It’s a 1984 Ferrari Mondial Cabriolet, in the distinctive color of light metallic green, with a tan leather interior. A birthday present, sort of, it came into my life this past December 22, the day I was celebrating (or ruing) the beginning of my 51st year.
SCM subscriber Harry Hart, of Belmont, California, called to discuss his Read More

Mooners and Masterpieces

January and August are the two busiest months on the collector car calendar, but they are as different as desert and ocean. August in Monterey is a three-day spectacle of disposable wealth, with million-dollar cars selling haphazardly across the Peninsula the way oils are splashed on a Jackson Pollock painting.

January in Arizona is more like a Georges Seurat exercise in pointillism, with hundreds of smaller transactions combining to make the collector car market visible as a whole. Nearly Read More

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