Building on the success of the SCM 1000, we are going to be offering more driving tours for those who own special cars, both old and new, along with immersive experiences for these participants.

The events will be a part of the SCM 1000 “Modern Enthusiast” Touring Series, beginning with an AMG Invitational held in July 2022.

Lights, cameras, action!

I like to call this “Touring 2.0.” We’ve come a long way since the first California Mille in 1991, the progenitor of today’s vintage-car tour. That was really a band of Martin Swig-inspired automotive outlaws.

It is a different world now. More collector cars, particularly modern ones, can easily go much faster than is safe on a public road. Technology makes staying “below the radar” on a tour all but impossible.

Cell phones weren’t invented when I first went on the California Mille. After their advent a few years later, I recall passing through a small town, and a disgruntled citizen held up his cell phone and shook it at me, saying, “I’ve already called you in.” The officer’s lights were soon flashing ahead of me.

Some states have a political climate that offers flexibility and cooperation between the highway patrol and the touring organizations. Others don’t.

I recall when Martin Swig secured a California Highway Patrol motorcycle escort for his event through offering a generous donation to the CHP Widows and Orphans fund.

The officers’ feigned indifference to our disregard for traffic regulations was not long lasting. On one series of mountain switchbacks near Lake Tahoe, they grew so frustrated by the continued misbehavior of the Mille participants that they positioned a CHP helicopter above the road. The car numbers of those who crossed the double yellow lines were called down to officers waiting below, ticket books in hand.

I was a columnist for AutoWeek at the time, reporting to Deputy Editor Sam Moses, who was also on the event. We compared tickets at the end of the day. He had more of them than I did.

Changing the game

The California Mille is now part of Hagerty. CEO McKeel Hagerty has this to say about the future of the event:

There is nothing more fun than driving a sports car on a great, twisty road. The California Mille is as much a celebration of great cars as great roads. While it is a sort of cover song of the famous Italian rally, the Mille Miglia, its bad-boy days are behind it. We emphasize the stewardship and preservation of these cars when we drive them. And we ask our participants to be ambassadors for the car world instead of rebels. There are great track days at other events for those who want to test their high-speed driving skills.

SCM agrees that tours today are about much more than seeing how fast an old car can go on a public road. While the scenic and challenging routes are the heart of every SCM 1000 event, equally important are collectors meeting and sharing their thoughts and opinions about the market and the future of the collectible motorcar.

Launching the “Modern Enthusiast” Touring Series

With the involvement of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, AMG, The Star magazine, Avants magazine and America’s Automotive Trust, we think the 45 available slots on SCM 1000 AMG Invitational will fill quickly.

The tour will be open to all “real” AMGs, pre-and-post merger, from 1967 to the present. Specialty Mercedes models such as the SLS AMG, SLR McLaren, CLK DTM AMG and 190E 2.3-16 will be considered by application. 

This will be the first of several SCM 1000 “Modern Enthusiast” tours, where the camaraderie and overall experience will match the exceptional two-lane roads. Planning is underway to have future tours featuring BMW M cars and Audi RS models. Plans for off-road events, called SCMX, are also being formulated.

For more details on this event and others in the SCM 1000 Touring Series, visit

“Conversations With Collectors”

The 2022 SCM 1000 “Classic” (for cars built in 1975 and earlier) will highlight the cars of Italy, celebrating Lancia and Maserati. The following year, 2023, we will spotlight the cars of France, with Citroën being the featured marque.

Other vehicles for each of these SCM 1000 Classic tours will be accepted by application. We won’t reject you out of hand just because you want to enter your Tatra.

A feature of every SCM 1000 tour will be our nightly “Conversations With Collectors,” where participants can gather and ask questions about their cars and the market. In addition, we will have walkarounds and evaluations, “What’s My Car Worth®”-style.

As an SCM member, you will receive advance notification and special discounts to these SCM 1000 tours. Be sure to watch your inbox for the weekly SCM Insider newsletter for updates.

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