Fifty years from now, this period will be looked upon as the golden age of vintage car motoring. We are fortunate to live at a time when our classics, the cars just now becoming 30 years old, are very proficient machines, capable of satisfying back-road velocity along with high-speed autoroute transits.
Consider this. Our newly acquired 1968 Porsche 911 was built three decades ago, but apart from safety and convenience factors, is nearly as competent as cars being built today. The same can be said for the MGB or the TR4.
Sometime in the 1962-64 era the performance capabilities of sports cars made a major step forwards from the primitive MGA / TR3 standards, with non-existent weathersealing and questionable high-speed cruising capabilities to cars like the Alfa Duetto and GTV that still work on today's highways.
There are a host of interesting cars, 30 or more years old, available today at very reasonable cost.
For instance, we will have about $8,000 invested in our 911 by the time we replace the clutch and front shocks, renew the brakes and install three-point harnesses. Very nice chrome-bumper MGBs can be found in the same price range; TR6s are even less. For what is essentially pocket change, an enthusiast today can be driving a classic sports car, and enjoying all the direct, primitive emotions that these vehicles engender.
Using these cars seems sometimes like having a good bottle of French white burgundy at your disposal, with the driver and navigator taking an emotional sip each time they get into the car. The cars promise and deliver adventure and excitement, they cause you to meet new people, even while reminding you from time to time of how valuable a Triple A towing service card in your wallet can be.
It is not possible to predict what regulations car enthusiasts will have to endure 50 years from now, but chances are that the opportunities to drive our old, polluting beasts will diminish rather than increase. Therefore, we recommend that you take advantage of this rather special moment in time.
Go out this week and buy yourself a useful 30-year-old sports car for a number that fits under one of your Visa card limits, whether that is $10,000, $20,000 or more, and drive it daily through the summer. Stop making pitiful excuses to yourself about not having enough time, or garage space, or whatever other thousands of reasons you'll use to keep yourself from an adventure. Remember, having an Austin-Healey as part of your tombstone, engraved with "At last, here's the car that Mortimer always wanted," won't be nearly as much fun as getting one today and blasting down the highway for a club rally, picnic or autocross.
We'll look for you on the road.
SO MUCH STUFF, SO LITTLE SPACE
Even though this issue is nearly 70 pages, we still haven't had the space for everything we wanted to include. Consequently, our Mystery Car Updates, along with Reader's Letters and Renewal Comments have been moved to the July issue. Michael Duffey, aka Mr. Kerb, has filed an entertaining description of floating around Sears Point Raceway, during a deluge, in a variety of new cars and that will be in July as well.
We've just returned from the Tour de France, where European correspondent Giuseppe Tomasetti and I managed not to destroy his Alfa GT Junior and finish well in class; we'll have a complete report next issue. We look forward to seeing SCM subscribers who are participating in Martin Swig's La Carerra Nevada in June; we will be hosting a half-hour television program about the event that will be shown on Speedvision.
In our continuing efforts to grow and provide more value for our readers, we have added a column on car-related sites on the Internet, with commentary and ratings. Further, we have reorganized all of our Resource Directory listings, bringing them together on pages 62 and 63. We hope this will make it easier for you to find the information you are looking for.
We are just beginning to assemble our monstrous August / Monterey Historic Weekend issue. In addition to our normal subscription and newsstand distribution, we will distribute thousands of additional magazines at the auctions and other events that are being held that weekend.
If you are considering having an advertisement for your car or product in the August issue, now is the time to call and reserve space. Prime locations are limited, and we are eager to work with you to help you make the most efficient use of your marketing dollars.
Please call me directly at 503-261-0333, fax 503-252-5854 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure that we get your ad properly placed.
ON THE COVER
Spaniard Alfonso Cabeza de Vaca, 17th Marquis de Portago, godson of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, is depicted on our cover racing towards his appointment with destiny. Piloting a 4-liter, 12-cylinder Ferrari 335 S (S/N 0676) in the 1957 Mille Miglia, with American Edmond Nelson as co-driver, the talented Portago was charging hard, and declined a tire change at his final pit stop. Less than one hour later, in the town of Guidizzolo only 25 miles from the finish in Brescia, the tire burst at full speed, throwing the car into a fatal crash which took the lives of Portago and Nelson, along with ten Mille Miglia spectators. This accident signaled the end of the Mille Miglia as a high-speed competition event.
The artist is Argentinean Jose Maria Jorge, who looks to historical European events as the inspiration for his oil paintings. Mr. Jorge works primarily from commission, and prices start at $2,800. Contact Caesar Matos, Sporting Art, 136-35 Maple Avenue, Suite 3D, Flushing, NY 11355. Phone 718-460-1171.