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

A Supercar for the Ages

During the 900 miles I drove a McLaren 650S Spider, my heart only stopped twice.

Once was at a gas station at Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde near the Oregon coast.

When you come to a halt in the McLaren, it takes the transmission a couple of seconds to realize you really are stopped, and then it shifts into neutral. But for a brief moment, the car continues to edge forward.

I had taken my eyes off the road, Read More

Modena Cento Ore 2015

It was 6 p.m., and we were driving towards Perugia, the capital city of Umbria, in central Italy. It was 100 degrees, and we were in the thick of rush-hour traffic. Our day had started in Rome, and we had completed four laps at the Vallelunga track as well as three timed hillclimbs on closed roads. The interior of our 1974 Porsche Carrera was stifling, and we were tired and sweaty.

Our group of four cars, including Team SCM in Read More

Bad Driving Is Here to Stay

Cars are safer than ever. The fatality rate per million miles traveled in 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, was 1.1 — a nearly 25% decline since 2004, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Not only do cars handle and brake better than ever before, they are also loaded with safety features including airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control.

However, as cars have become safer, their drivers have become less so.

Some say this Read More

What Were You Thinking?

Having me co-host a television show about cars sold at collector-car auctions is like turning a chocoholic loose in the Hershey factory.

When evaluating cars for “What’s My Car Worth?” a TV show I co-host on the Velocity channel, I find myself slipping from the objective to the subjective. “This ’67 Healey BJ8 drives nicely and will probably sell for $80k” moves all too quickly to: “I’d really like to own this car. It’s been months since I’ve had a Read More

When Cars Become Immortal

The market has redefined itself over the past decade.

We’ve watched it happen from the SCM crow’s nest. From multi-million-dollar catalog auction sales to text-only postings on Craigslist, we keep a finger on the ever-changing pulse of the market.

Prices have soared in the category we follow most closely — sports cars from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Yet, we find a logic to most of these high fliers, and I believe they are indicative of a healthy, thoughtful market.

Read More

Another Roadside Attraction

It was a weekend to remember.

At 6 a.m. on a Saturday in February this year, my daughter Alexandra joined me on a flight from Portland, OR, to San Jose, CA. We’d bought a 1964 Volvo 1800S last July, and it was time to bring it home.

Mike Dudek of iRoll Motors picked us up at San Jose International Airport, and soon we were at his shop in San Martin, south of San Jose.

The Volvo was better than I Read More

Crowdsourcing Our 911 Turbo

This all started innocently enough. A friend gave me a ride to a Porsche event in her black 993. I hadn’t had a sip of that clattering air-cooled elixir for some time, and it was intoxicating.

I immediately emailed my good friend and Porsche guru Jim Schrager, and asked him for the best buy in late-model air-cooled 911s (the 993 models).

His response was immediate and definite. Forget the 993s. A first-gen 996 turbo with a Tiptronic (automatic) was his Read More

To Patagonia and Beyond In an E-type

We had just crested the 4,311-foot Cardenal Antonio Samoré Pass, crossing from Argentina into Chile. The 1969 Series 1.5 Jaguar XKE we were driving was performing brilliantly.

It was a clear day, and we were surrounded by the snow-covered peaks of the Andes.

This was the second day of the 26th Annual 1000 Millas Sport de la República Argentina — the premier classic-car rally in South America. SCMer Martin Sucari introduced me to this rally eight years ago. This year, Read More

Barrett-Jackson is the Pebble Beach of Arizona

Tony Piff

Our collector car world has four epicenters, and each has its own anchor event.

The vintage car calendar starts with Monterey in August, followed by Arizona in January, Paris in February and Amelia Island in March.

The signature event for the Monterey Classic Car Week is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It follows the auctions, marque shows and historic races. All eyes are on the cars displayed on the 18th Fairway that Sunday.

Five months later, and now nearly upon Read More

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