After twelve years and 144 issues, SCM has gone slick. Printing on coated stock allows us to reproduce black and white photos at a much higher level of quality, and the increased number of full-color editorial pages will enhance the market information in every issue. Even better, we can begin to add select pictorial concours and vintage event coverage, beginning with our photo-essay on the Chrysler-sponsored Louis Vuitton Classic in Rockefeller Center in this issue.
Cindy and I and the entire staff would like to thank you, subscribers and advertisers both, for your continued support of SCM as we have grown. Our goal is to continue to call the market the way we see it, describing deals both great and frightful. The new, coated-stock format allows us to give you even more information, with more color, every month.
We gave ourselves an early holiday present by taking our Ferrari 330 America to Portland International Raceway and running a few hot laps during a local Alfa club track day. During a pair of 15-minute sessions, we began to understand this Ferrari a little better. It's a heavy car, and at anything under 40 mph the steering feels like you're moving a paddle through mud. We're sure Mr. Ferrari would respond, in the best Frank Lloyd Wright fashion, by saying, "But I never designed my cars to go under 40 mph."
We used 6,000 rpm as our redline. Even though the factory manuals say the engine is good to 8,000 rpm, this is, after all, a 37-year old engine, whose heads appear never to have been off, and we preferred that the connecting rods stay inside the alloy block. The water temperature actually went down, while the oil temperature climbed to about 200 degrees.
There is body lean in the turns, but not as severe as with a stock Alfa; we're having a thicker front sway bar fabricated in any event. On sweeping left-hand turns we suffered fuel-starvation, but assume that's just a matter of adjusting the carburetor float levels.
The Portland track was configured with the unfortunate chicane in place (a crowd-pleasing device that gives vintage cars a place to smash into each other, while doubling the amount of shifting and braking that occurs each lap), so each lap we hauled the red monster down from 110 mph to 20 mph while shifting from 4th to 2nd, careened through the entrance to the chicane sliding left, then exiting the turn accelerating while steering with the throttle, and letting the car drift wide right.
On entering high-speed turns, the Ferrari seems to like just a tap on the brakes to throw the weight to the front and give the tires some bite, then a careful turning of the wheel to set the chassis into the chosen turning radius, followed by steering the rear end of the car with the throttle to keep the proper attitude. We've never driven a solid-axle Corvette at speed, but imagine it must feel something like the Ferrari.
Proving the value of a 2+2, we took these hot laps with the SCM staff aboard, Art Director Scott Abts in the passenger seat and Copy Editor Cecile Nierodzinski, both vaguely secured by lap belts and enjoying themselves as they were tossed from side to side.
Aside from SCM subscriber Page Steven's F50 ("I figure it costs me $7 a mile in depreciation to drive the F50, so I might as well make the miles good ones," he said.), we had the only Ferrari at the track. As the 330 hit 6,000 rpm in overdrive fourth on the back straight, engine shrieking through the large-diameter four-tipped exhaust, we could have been on the Via Emilia in Italy, returning to Maranello after a pre-delivery test drive.
GOING TO ARIZONA
We're gearing up for our annual Barrett-Jackson Insider's Tour, with many places already taken. Tomasetti has confirmed he is coming in from Italy, Schrager will be there to tell you why a 914-4 with a Chevrolet 350 V8 probably isn't a wise investment and the rest of the SCM gang will be around to help you look at cars, and hopefully advise you in your buying decisions. For more details, see page 41.
When we board the plane for Phoenix, our SCM laptop will be carefully tucked away in a superb leather Lodis briefcase (www.lodis.com), sent to us by Stan Bauer. He watched us wrestle with our old carrying bag while we were filming the "Speedvision" show about the California Mille, and remarked he was tired of seeing us haul around the X1/9 of computer cases. The Lodis briefcase has traveled more than 40,000 miles with us so far, and in addition to being ruggedly built and very stylish, seems to have all the right pockets, for all the right stuff, in all the right places. We appreciate it.
WRAPPED FOR GIVING
SCM commissioned an original water-color from Portland, Oregon artist Randell Swann for our December issue. Wouldn't it be pleasant to find a 1967 Ferrari 330 P4, gift-wrapped, in your driveway on the 25th of this month. At last, you would be allowed entry into the Monterey Historics (why won't they take your 1972 Spitfire Mk IV?) and Forza magazine would probably rush a team over to gush uncontrollably about your new acquisition.
Artist Swann's work has been featured for many years on the posters for the Portland Historic Races, and he was instrumental in creating many of the original images used by SCM as it began the transition from newsletter to magazine. Swann also works as a mechanic for the IRL Team of PDM alongside A.J. Watson, has been to all of the IRL races this year and has had the opportunity to crew at four Indy 500s. Motorcycles are also an interest; he has restored a variety of them, from a'59 Matchless 500 Thumper to a '74 CB400F Honda.
Swann's work has been shown in New York and West Palm Beach, Florida. He paints by private commission only. If interested in commissioning a painting, tee-shirt, poster or other art, please contact him directly at 503/239-9795, or through the SCM editorial office fax, 503/252-5854 (OR).