You Can Go Home Again

As you read this, the 2006 Lotus Elise that we sold in May of 2013 is in a car transporter and headed from Connecticut back to SCM World Headquarters in Portland, OR.

We first drove an Elise in 2009; Legal Files contributor John Draneas has one. We were entranced. Weighing just 1,984 pounds, and propelled by a 190-horsepower, 1.8-liter Toyota engine with a Yamaha-tuned cylinder head, the Elise was very quick indeed. The spartan — yet purposeful — interior made Read More

Here Comes the Judge

What do a 1968 Ford GT40 Mk III, a 1967 Porsche 911S, a 1972 4.9 Ghibli Spider SS, a Toyota 2000GT, a 1972 Ferrari 246 GT and a 1968 DeTomaso Mangusta prototype have in common?

These are exotics with 6- and 8-cylinder engines placed in the front, middle and rear of their chassis. The GT40 is a barely disguised race car, and the Dino is a high-speed grand touring car. Imagine the 911 as an extraordinarily original survivor, and the Read More

How Fast Is Too Fast?

It was October of 2004. I was watching the speedometer hold steady at 140 mph as I rocketed down Highway 395 in Nevada headed toward the Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley.

I was reviewing the new Ford GT for The New York Times, and I was the first journalist turned loose with the car without a horde of Ford handlers observing every move.

Accompanying me was SCM “Legal Files” columnist John Draneas. In the review, I wrote, “My co-pilot Read More

The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling! (Well, Maybe Not)

“We’ve got to separate the signal from the noise.” That’s what collector car connoisseur Miles Collier says when we are trying to find our way to the core of a challenge.

Miles’ saying refers to tuning a vintage radio, where you adjust the dial until the static disappears and a voice can be heard clearly.

As we sift through the information coming our way about Scottsdale 2016, we’ll find lots of noise — surrounding a very clear signal. This issue Read More

No Regrets in the Morning

I’m now into the restoration of my 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider over $50,000. What I have to show for it is a completely stripped body shell, with all the rust removed and damaged panels repaired. It is ready for paint and reassembly.

As I wrote in my January “Shifting Gears” column, I have been wrestling with the competing paradigms of “don’t erase a car’s history” and “repair the damage and degradation resulting from a half-century of use.”

There is Read More

People, Places and Things

Forty years ago, when I lived in a gritty section of New York City near Canal Street and Avenue of the Americas, I was happy when the cockroaches didn’t dance on my toothbrush at night. My space was so small that the refrigerator doubled as the headboard of my bed.

I couldn’t have imagined that one day, just a few blocks from my tiny studio apartment at 24 Thompson Street, I’d be looking at cars worth millions of dollars being Read More

Something Lost, Something Gained

My 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce, s/n 390290, left the factory in Arese, Italy, on January 28, 1965. It was one of 1,096 Giulia Veloces built.

It was painted the unusual and highly attractive color of Grigio Mare, with a lipstick red/orange interior.

It was just a nice used car when I bought it for $22,000 in the early 1990s. Bill Gillham of Jefferson, OR, had performed some rust repair, and the car had been resprayed once in its Read More

From Wide-Eyed to Bugeye

Being a part of the collector car world offers a multitude of experiences, from the grand to the familiar. During the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of the absolute high end of the collector car world, which included watching the car-as-art Maserati Boomerang sell as a part of the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille Concours. I’ve also had the opportunity to go back to my personal roots and experience how I got started with Read More

New Players on the Peninsula

Younger buyers want the aspirational cars of their youth

A new set of players ran onto the Monterey Peninsula this August. They were young, cocky, and didn’t give a rip about what we baby boomers thought they should buy or what they should spend. These guys in their 30s and their 40s reminded me of confident baseball players during their first season in the majors. They were going to show their elders a thing or two about playing the game.

Their bidder-paddle muscles rippled as they punched a 2005 Read More

If I Were King of a Concours

One of the magnificent spectacles in the collector car world occurs as the morning mists lift off a concours field. Dozens of rare and important machines that trace the history of the automobile are revealed.

From diminutive Hupmobile roadsters to imposing Cadillac phaetons, our love affair with cars is on display.

But like all aspects of car collecting, concours face challenges in attracting new faces. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in many concours and shows as Read More

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