Cacti and Campari

Just weeks ago I was toodling through the Arizona desert, sneaking away from the auctions for a quick drive to Sedona in a lovely dark blue Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

I was seeking a brief respite from the ceaseless shattering of world records at the auctions being held, where one high sale after another was recorded. And it wasn’t just Gullwings and Ferrari Cal Spyders causing skyrockets — lesser cars, such as Alfa Duettos ($50,600/Gooding) and Fiat 124 Spiders Read More

Let’s Get On With the Next 25

I remember clearly when I decided to launch the Alfa Romeo Market Letter. It was 1988, and the market was beginning to heat up. I had recently left my day job as a manager of Ron Tonkin’s Gran Turismo in Portland, OR, where I sold Ferraris, Maseratis, Alfa Romeos and Lotuses.

I devoured the various market letters when they arrived. The patriarch of the clan was Gerald Roush’s Ferrari Market Letter, unique in its insistence that sellers list the Read More

It Was a Very Good Year

As this is our December issue, it’s the right time to reflect on the past 12 months, and to project forward into 2013.

Sports Car Market is by design a reflective magazine; we report on sales and events that have happened, and analyze and comment on them. Our world is large and all-inclusive, as we imagine yours is. You’ll find us at the most exclusive catalog auctions — as well as sales where decrepit trucks are sold by the pound.

What all of us at SCM — subscribers, contributors and staff — have in common is a delight in old cars, from their brilliant styling to their misguided mechanicals. We glory in their imperfections, we swap tales about how they let us down, and we believe that after reading Thor Thorson’s latest encomium about an Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 or Porsche 917/10, we have become instant experts on the subject — of course!

But SCM’s primary focus has always been the market. What’s selling, where, for how much, and why. We continue to be the only magazine that offers firsthand reports from trained analysts, with exclusive photos, chassis numbers, hands-on descriptions and informed analysis. You can expect even more in the future, as our Platinum database is revved up to accept multiple photos, videos and direct feeds from the auction houses for upcoming sales.

Riding the Wave

Our Executive Editor, Chester Allen, is a dedicated surfer. He tells me there is a moment when a paddling surfrider catches the pulse of energy traveling through the water, pops up on the board and starts the ride — accelerating effortlessly as he becomes part of a wave.

This year, every auction house in Monterey had its own waves. Some bigger than others, some faster than others, and some breaking sooner or later than others. And on the face of every wave were bidders, in fierce competition, racing each other to be the last man standing when the wave crashed to shore — and stepping onto the beach as the new owner of the car of their dreams.

The Triumph of Time

Fifty years ago, Bob Russell was driving home from work when a flashy red sports car caught his eye.

“I had been thinking that we needed a second car, and my wife needed to learn to drive a stick,” Russell, 84, said. “So I just bought it.”

He brought the 1962 Triumph TR3B home and presented it to his wife, Wanda. It has been in their family ever since. He recalled fitting a single seatbelt in the rear to strap Read More

Martin Swig, 1934–2012

He lived on his own terms

I only saw Martin Swig two or three times a year. So the fact that he is now gone, forever, doesn’t create an immediate void. Instead, there’s a small, dull ache that will become a little more apparent each August when I think about his traditional Sunday night party on the last night of Monterey Car Week — and there will be no Martin to swap tales Read More

GTOs and Cobras: Investments or Insanity?

Here at SCM, we like to maintain two simultaneous views of the collector world, with one seen through a long-range spotting scope, and the other viewed through close-range binoculars.

For example, in the short-term viewfinder, the sale of a 250 GTO for $35m is a breathtaking escalation of the value of these most-watched Ferraris. Long term, isn’t it a sign that GTOs are finally being valued correctly?

And with Carroll Shelby’s death, our inbox is already full of “mourning Read More

12 Years of SCM — Searchable Online

We expect instant gratification from our computers. Type in “How many times have Ferraris won at Le Mans?” “Nine,” Wikipedia answers instantly.

How many Corvettes have been sold since 1953? More than 1.3m, you learn after a few keystrokes. What’s the current wheel-driven land speed record over one mile? You’re an instant expert as your computer spits back, “470.444 mph, set by Don Vesco at Bonneville in October of 2001.”

SCM Read More

From Car Show to Concours

In the course of a year, I attend at least 30 car shows, ranging from the Beaches Cruisin at Portland International Raceway to maximus supremo, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Despite wildly varying locations, audiences and car offerings, I have come to recognize that the shows have more in common than they have differences.

As fascinating to me as the cars on display is the back end of the shows. Deciding on classes, inviting cars, recruiting and training judges, Read More

Sometimes You Just Say No

Whether it’s a cheap car or a million-dollar one, some elements of the buying decision are the same. And sometimes, even though a car is priced right and is in excellent condition — in fact, it is just what you have been looking for — saying no and walking away is the absolute right decision.

Being in the hunt for a car is like having an itch that needs to be scratched. Some cars pop onto my radar because I Read More