We all have our favorite specialists. We have our go-to chefs, sommeliers, gardeners, travel agents and interior designers.

We also have our favorite restorers. These are the men and women we turn to when we need our cars done just right. They’re the solution providers when we come across a problem that has others scratching their heads.

In the October issue of SCM, we will be recognizing 20 of the top collector-car restorers, based on your nominations and recommendations. This is about the people — not the shops.

Your nominee can perform complete restorations, or be a specialist. We are looking for your favorite upholsterers, painters, panel beaters and engine builders.

SCM is committed to recognizing the people who make the collector-car world go around. This follows our “40 Under 40” issue of October 2017, when we recognized some of the younger “movers and shakers” in the collector-car world.

Tucker and Tesla

At the recent Greenbrier Concours d’Elegance, I had a chance to chat with automotive authority and SCM contributor Ken Gross. He mentioned that he is curating a class of Tuckers for this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

We started discussing the reasons Tucker (and other ill-fated brands such as Bricklin and DeLorean) failed.

I told Ken that I believe Tesla is just a few years away from joining the ranks of those defunct manufacturers.

Simply put, soon enough the lethargic and risk-averse major car manufacturers will start competing head-on with Tesla — and provide a full range of all-electric cars with superior performance and range. The field Tesla now has to itself will become highly competitive.

Imagine a customer who has a choice between electric cars with similar capabilities and charging-station availabilities. Suddenly your menu has more on it than a single car from an upstart manufacturer who is having trouble getting reliable product out the door.

Your options will include cars built at companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW. Which would you have more confidence owning?

Perhaps 60 years from now, there will be a display of Teslas on the lawn at Pebble, as a remembrance of a trail-blazing marque that had its moment and then faded away.

Our Mustang and the Sprint Speciale

There are two new friends in the SCM garage. They are a 1966 Mustang coupe that was purchased by our sister publication, American Car Collector, and our 1961 Alfa Sprint Speciale that has come back to life after 30 years in the Cayman Motor Museum.

While they were built just five years apart, they demonstrate vastly different approaches to motoring.

The Mustang has a 289-ci V8 and an automatic. It has been fitted with GT options.

We are the third owners. We have the paper trail that goes back to the original owner. It’s a handsome car in its mostly original white with a black vinyl roof.

I took my driving test in my grandmother’s 1965 Mustang, so being behind the wheel of the car is a homecoming for me.

Jim Pickering, the Editor of American Car Collector, plans to do some modest restoration to the car, including getting the factory a/c to work, adding rear disc brakes and replacing the headliner. He has already changed a disintegrating timing gear and put in a new roller chain.

The car lopes along quite easily at 60 mph. It doesn’t appear that the engine has ever been apart, which is not unusual for a well-maintained American car with just 56,000 miles.

The Sprint Speciale has been an entirely different proposition.

When I first saw it at the Auctions America sale in Fort Lauderdale, FL, in April 2015, I knew I had to own it. Although the engine was frozen, the car had benefited from its dry storage, was very straight and had never been hit. Further, I have always thought that “Bluette” was one of the most attractive colors on the SS — especially when coupled with the gray-and-red upholstery we plan to install.

It’s been a long road back for the car, with our local Alfa guru Nasko attending to every part of the drivetrain and suspension. Paint and bodywork expert Tom Black solved the issues with the body.

Now the Sprint Speciale is back on the road — alive and making the most wonderful sounds. ♦

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