Successful Collecting? Trust the Force

“I’ve never owned a collector car, and I’d like to get into the hobby. How should I start?”

It’s a question we hear often. The path to collector car happiness is relatively straightforward; regular readers of SCM are familiar with our maxims. But this, our first issue of the new year, is a good time to revisit them.
Here are three things to keep in mind as you start your search for your first collector car, and to revisit if Read More

BMWs at Buttonwillow

I’ve been to a variety of driving schools, with instruction ranging from cursory to custodial. When the opportunity came for my daughter Alex and me to attend a two-day BMW Car Club of America high-performance driving school in Southern California, I thought I knew what to expect.

I’d be in the advanced class (of course — after all, I have my vintage license), lollygag around at a fairly high speed, and mostly feel good about myself. Read More

From Carlisle to Carousel

The collector car summer goes out with a roar. For me, it was a blur of events that included Fall Auburn, the Kirkland Concours, Funfest, Fall Carlisle and a visit to the Milhous Collection.

My airline status for next year is assured; I’ll always be the one who gets asked first whether he wants the spinach lasagna or the shrimp chef’s salad. Travel has its rewards.

What all these events have in common is that they celebrate our passion for Read More

Monterey Millions

This issue offers the most complete and incisive coverage of the Monterey weekend, with 75 pages of comments and analyses. More than 220 collector cars are discussed in detail. Million-dollar cars sold like there was no tomorrow, with no fewer than 31 going to new homes. In short, Monterey 2011 was a particularly good time to be rich.

For a car enthusiast of means, the vagaries of nearly all other forms of investment mean that front-rank, blue-chip collectible cars look Read More

The Demise of the SCM Ponton

It happened in the blink of an eye. I was standing in the repair shop, VISA in hand to pay a $4,500 repair bill, and the next moment I watched as my 1959 Mercedes 220S rolled backwards down a ramp from the second floor, sans brakes, and slammed into another car.

This was our second ponton. Deciding that the best SCM family car would be this classic Mercedes model, due to its attractive shape and robust mechanicals, we bought Read More

A “B-Ticket” Ride

Old cars are admission tickets to old car events. You can’t go on the Mille Miglia unless you have a pre-1958 car similar to one that was raced in the event. Pre-1968 Alfa convertibles are the preferred ride for the local Alfa Club’s annual “Old Spider Tour.” Think horses for courses.

So when the National MG Register announced that its annual convention would be in Reno, 600 miles away, and a local MG group decided they would caravan down with Read More

Compelled to Collect

With Monterey just around the corner, collectors’ thoughts have shifted from the restore-and-refurbish activities of winter to the buying and selling of summer. While car transactions happen year round, there’s no doubt they attract more attention in the warm months—and the most attention of all in August.

For me, there was a time, more than 30 years ago, when Monterey in August meant getting together with a group of Oregon-based Alfa fanatics, and caravanning the 700 miles to the Monterey Read More

The Season of the Road

Buzzing like a multi-colored swarm of bees, the cars of the California Mille cruised through Bodega Bay on California Highway One. It was the morning of day four, and Wendie and I had pulled over for a quick espresso and to stretch our legs.

This was the 21st running of the Mille, an event created to pay homage to the original Mille Miglia Storico in Italy. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of this event more Read More

Flying in the Star

The Martins and Flying Star owner Paul Emple

Location, location, location. The mantra of real estate agents, it applies equally to concours and vintage tours.

Who can deny that a significant part of the appeal of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is its stunning setting, on the 18th Fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Course, with Carmel Bay in the background and seals barking as a soundtrack?

While I’m not a golfer—I’ve always Read More

The Allure of the Automobile

Portland, Oregon is a quaint town. Bicyclists swarm in their own lanes, groups of runners go clomping by like gazelles or hippos—depending on their body mass—and there always seem to be a few happy people in line at the medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

Given its tree-hugging reputation, it comes as a surprise to some that the car culture, and especially the old-car culture, runs strong and deep through this city, the world headquarters of SCM, on the Willamette Read More