Skinned-Knuckle Diagnostics

We of the Boomer generation grew up sneaking J.C. Whitney and Warshawsky catalogs onto our desks during biology lectures. Figuring out how to afford those trick, high-compression, .040-inch oversize pistons and rings for our Bug Eye Sprites was a daily topic of discussion. Tinkering with cars was our lifestyle.

There was all sorts of wonderful mechanical wizardry to decipher, including the mysteries of adjusting distributor points, gapping plugs and setting the engine timing with a static light. There Read More

Our Own Fakey-Doo

This is all Martin Swig’s fault. The iconoclastic, San Francisco-based collector and enthusiast has been trying to lay us away in a Ford for some time. Not just any Ford, mind you, but a 1954 Mainline Six Business Coupe. “It’s the model Piero Taruffi drove in the ’54 Carrera,” Swig related. “It was sponsored by Floyd Clymer Publications, and you’re a publisher, so it’s a natural fit.”
Over the years, we’ve learned never to dismiss a Swig concept, no Read More

Just A Car

I have long argued that cars are machinery first, and art second. With the very rare exception of pure show cars, they were designed to be driven, not to be displayed for gawking passersby. It is only through the use of a car that its underlying magnificent strengths and disappointing weaknesses emerge.
Our Ferrari is nearly 40 years old, and is even somewhat collectible, being one of 50 cars built with the 4-liter motor in the 250 GTE chassis. Read More

Computers, Chickens & Bedsprings

The streets of X’ian, China are a maelstrom of transportation contraptions, from hand-drawn oxcarts laden with unopened, boxed color televisions to brand-new Mercedes S-class sedans. While the Chinese may suffer from a lack of political freedom, in terms of motorized conveyances, they are Joan Claybrooke’s worst nightmare. The rule of thumb seems to be, if it rolls, use it.

During our brief time there, Cindy, Alexandra and I rode in Jeep Cherokees, Korean mini-vans and rickshaws powered by both Read More

The Rites of Winter

As the Pacific Northwest settles into winter and the temperatures drop below freezing each night, we dress our cars in their winter clothes just as we make sure our heavy coats and gloves are hung by the door. Cindy’s ’83 Mercedes-Benz 123-body 300 Turbodiesel, which lives outdoors, suckles nightly on an orange extension cord attached to its block heater.
Our two-car (and four-motorcycle) garage houses her ’78 Alfa Spider and our ’62 Ferrari 330 America. They sit side-by-side, Read More

Legends in Kentucky

Watching Formula One Champion Phil Hill tinker with the handbrake assembly on a 1929 Bentley three-liter open tourer was like being at a rehearsal in Manhattan while modern dance choreographer Martha Graham fine-tuned her ballets. Graham had an instinctive understanding of how to put a dance together for maximum artistic and intellectual effect. Hill, after a lifetime devoted to racing and restoring motorcars, can tell after a moment behind the wheel what a car needs to put it right.Read More

Kill It Or Keep It?

It’s hard to kill a car you care about. Case in point: two years ago we bought our son Eric, then eighteen years old, a 1978 Mercedes 280 saloon. This car was chosen after his older brother managed to hasten the path of two more sporty automobiles, a Fiat 124 Spider and a ’65 VW Beetle, to the salvage yard. A larger car seemed prudent.
A European model, the 280 (123 body style) has the high-revving carbureted 6-cylinder alloy Read More

Hitting the Road

Can there be any time of year better than this for the enthusiast? As this issue of SCM is being put to bed, we are preparing our 1962 Ferrari 330 America for its vintage event debut on the Monte Shelton Northwest Classic Rally, and, simultaneously, the SCM staff is packing all of the requisite paraphernalia for our annual sojourn to Monterey. Both events will provide an opportunity to renew old friendships in the collector car community and make new Read More

Is That Your Car, Mr. Bond?

The array of cars being offered by RM’s Monterey Sports Car Auction, Christie’s at Pebble Beach and Brooks at Quail Lodge during the Monterey weekend is unprecedented in its scale, scope and quality. There will be over $50M in cars crossing the block during a three-day period, a tribute to the American economy which continues to grow, despite the recent bursting of the dot-com, now dot-splat, bubble.
As shown in this issue’s Quarterly Price Guides, important, extremely limited-production cars Read More

The Beat Beat Beat of the Auctions

With the driving rhythm of a Cole Porter tune, the names of the summer’s events unfold. Collectors are tidying up their bank letters of credit and consignors are performing last minute detailing. RM at Meadow Brook. Mecum at Road America. Silver at Reno. Kruse at Auburn. Spectrum at Palm Springs. Christie’s, RM and Brooks at Monterey. These are most of America’s premier auction companies, and July, August and September are when they put on their shows.

World records for Read More

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