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 River.

And this summer, the Portland Art Museum is hosting a world-class exhibition of world-class automobiles, The Allure of the Automobile. It will run from June 11 through September 11. SCM is playing a significant part in helping this exhibition come to fruition, and we’d like to ask you, our readers, to join us.


Selected by the Washington Post as one of the 10 best exhibitions in the U.S. for 2010 after its successful run at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the exhibit is of 16 extraordinary vehicles, including a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante, a Porsche 550 Prototype, a 1958 Corvette Sting Ray Prototype, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Competition SWB and more. The complete list, with photos and owners, can be found at www.portlandartmuseum.org.

While many of these cars may be familiar to SCM readers, seeing them in one place—and thoughtfully displayed—in art galleries, in a respected cultural institution like the Portland Art Museum will allow collectors to view them in a new light. Further, it will give all of us a chance to bring our friends—who might not have had the chance to go to Pebble Beach or Amelia Island, where these cars might normally be seen—to learn something about the significant role these cars have played in automotive history.

Ken Gross is the curator of this event, and with his unmatched knowledge of the car community, as well as his consummate good taste, you can imagine just how powerful this exhibit will be.

Cars in the Park and Jay Leno

The Portland Art Museum has added a new component to the exhibit: Cars in the Park. For twelve Saturdays, the street in front of the Portland Art Museum will be closed, and 100 carefully chosen collector cars will be on display. There is a focus to each Saturday, including Italian cars (with some important Ferraris coming from Seattle and collections in Portland), German cars, English cars, Muscle Cars and more.

Marque specialists have helped choose the cars, and the display will be a fitting visual prelude to the exhibit inside.

As you can imagine, there will be an ongoing series of galas, seminars, guided tours and panel discussions; Jay Leno is coming up for an evening.

Join SCM’s Friends of Allure

All of this comes at a cost; the Portland Art Museum has set a fund-raising goal of $650,000 to support this exhibit. SCM is fully committed to this, and we would like you to join us.

We have created an “SCM Friends of Allure” group, with three levels of membership, ranging from $150 to $1,000. Joining our group offers a variety of benefits, from private showings to our exclusive SCM Evening with Allure at the museum. To become a part of the SCM Allure gang, go to www.sportscarmarket.com/allure.

Of course, I encourage you and your business to become a friend of SCM Allure and the museum at a higher level; if you are interested in exploring that please email me directly, [email protected] or call 503.261.0555 x 210 and I’ll happily discuss options with you. Heck, at the right contribution level we might throw in a weekend’s use of one, two or three of our fleet of MGBs!

Some cars are art, and having art cars in the Portland Art Museum is a one-time opportunity to celebrate some of the finest contributions that the automobile has made to our culture. Join me and SCM in supporting the Allure, and we’ll have a great time—with great cars—in a great setting this summer.

Florida Whirlwind

I’m just back in the office after my annual two-week visit to the land of fried gator bits and $6 lattes. It started at the Auctions America event in Fort Lauderdale, where we filmed four episodes of “What’s My Car Worth” for broadcast on HD Theater starting in July.

I was quite impressed by the manner in which the auction was presented—and the cars on offer. Along with the expected Cobras, Ferraris and muscle cars were a few lots that made me slightly crazy—including a Series IIA 109 Land Rover restored to better-than-new condition, a very tidy Alfa GT Jr. and an Alfa-powered 1952 Devin Special, which is a perfect ticket to the Colorado Grand or the California Mille.

New this year on “What’s My Car Worth” are road tests of the cars we cover, so I had the chance to drive a barn-find 1963 Cobra (sold at $467,500) and a 1969 COPO Camaro 427 (sold at $79,750).

Evan Williams, the son of the producer of WMCW, Roger Williams, immediately fell in love with a new-old Mini Cooper. Badged as a 1967, it was handsome in willow green, had aggressive flared fenders and a quartet of driving lights on the front bumper. After spiriting bidding, it went to his garage in Connecticut for $19,800, which is well-bought in my opinion.

At total sales of over $17m, the event should be rated a success by all involved.

Then it was up the always-tedious I-95 to the always-delightful Amelia Island. We shot four more episodes at the $17.8m Gooding Auction, and my behind-the-wheel opportunities included the Bill Gilham-restored 1961 Alfa Sprint Speciale that set a world record at $154,000, a 1953 Siata 208 CS coupe (sold at $605,000), another 289 Cobra (unsold at $350,000), a 1957 Bel Air Sport Coupe (sold at $45,100) and a 1971 Oldsmobile 442 convertible (sold at $36,300). Not a bad day away from the office.

Saturday I lollygagged around the RM Auction and watched Max Girardo—working single-handedly—hammer down $24m in sales. The one-two punch of Gooding on Friday and RM on Saturday has clearly energized the buyers and sellers in Florida; we’ll have a complete report in the next issue.

By Sunday, it was time to put on my judging hat, and the cars in my class included two Alfa 6C 2500s, a Lea-Francis, two Abarths, a Jag XK 120 and a Porsche 356. This was perhaps the most difficult class I have judged, as there were so many near-perfect cars entered. In the end, the 1952 Abarth 1500 Biposto coupe, known as B.A.T. 1 for its similarities to B.A.T.s 5, 7 and 9, waltzed home with the Best-In-Class Trophy.

This was the 16th Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, and thank you again, Mr. Bill Warner, for having the vision and the fortitude to create this car show that brings so many like-minded people together, in an elegant and attractive setting.

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