The 2022 SCM 1000 is done and dusted after a picture-book week centered in the Columbia River Gorge. Keith Martin and the Sports Car Market team knocked it out of the park, and of that, there is no doubt! It was a mighty gathering that included prominent collectors, titans of the collector car world, notable guests, and car people from all walks of life.
The selection of cars was the “greatest hits” of the classic car world. The parking lot was filled with Alfas, Ferraris, Porsches, Aston Martins, Jaguars, Lamborghinis, a Mercedes Gullwing, plus a few outliers like an Amilcar, Allard, Bocar, and Citroen. The SCM 1000 caravan was a rolling car show that let us put these machines through their paces on some of the finest roads around.
I want to share five vignettes of what it was like to participate in this year’s event.
We stopped for lunch at the Maryhill Winery on the first day to find a stunning, silver 1966 Aston Martin DB6 in the parking lot -- with significant body damage. Not the way you want to start a multi-day tour. When I saw the driver at lunch, he shared the sad tale.
While driving on a winding road through a forest, a deer leapt out and ran into the car. It first impacted the front passenger fender and then spun around so that its rump hit the passenger door. It happened in an instant so the driver had no chance to avoid it. Probably a good thing for him, since it’s usually not the wildlife that causes the accident, but the driver’s attempt to avoid it that does. (Thankfully, the driver is also a former Air Force pilot, so is not easily startled!) However, it was not a good thing for the deer, although no definitive reports were available as to its ultimate condition. On the plus side, the DB6 soldiered on and made it through the tour.
My good friend Ed Godshalk joined me for the first day. We each had a series of unfortunate events with our own car collections leading up to the event, and one by one our vehicles got waylaid by mechanical issues. The lone survivor was his 1925 Amilcar that he restored about 20 years ago, and also happened to make an appearance in the 2004 Mille Miglia.
We headed out in the only pre-war car on the SCM 1000. The car is totally original right down to the battleship-gray paint. I had a brief experience in the Amilcar, but a full day in a century-old voiturette is a whole other deal.
In short, it was a blast! The car’s pep belied its 40hp 1.1L engine, but it did struggle a bit on long climbs when carrying a pair of dudes who were not strangers at that morning’s breakfast buffet. The Amilcar was a real trooper and ran 200 miles that day. I must send some gratitude to Ed for making the effort to prep and haul the car out for us to enjoy.
The brilliance of being based in Skamania Lodge is that a wide variety of terrain is only a short distance in any direction. Our Routemaster, Bob Hui, did an impeccable job.
After returning home, I associated each day with a different season. The tour visited the Gorge and farmland (Autumn), then a jaunt along the wild Oregon Coast (Spring). Those were followed by a cruise through the endless orchards of the Hood River Valley, and on up to Mount Hood, where we were greeted by skiers at Timberline Lodge (Winter). Finally, we weaved around the beautifully barren and sun-drenched Columbia Plateau to complete the cycle (Summer).
Make no mistake, the weather was as perfect as could be. I believe I am right in saying not once did anyone have to turn on a windshield wiper or put up a top for the event's duration.
Before there was a movie by that name, there was the actual outlaw race across the country that was the Cannonball Run. The no-rules race conceived by journalist Brock Yates ran from New York to L.A. in any vehicle, by any route, and at any speed you chose.
The legend that is Bill Warner participated in the inaugural Cannonball in his Porsche 911. He shared hilarious stories of how the racers used every conniving trick to outsmart the cops, including dressing as priests. (That made it into the movie, btw. Who knew it was a documentary!?!) The practical advice I took away was that it was important to stay on the good side of the truckers. Not doing so could result in a serious penalty.
This was not a tour for poseurs, but rather a way to gather real motorheads to run real cars. Having said that, some cars were better than others. The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder Competition is extremely rare and beautiful, but what I can’t get out of my mind is the color. I had never seen a vintage Ferrari in this particular shade of red, which is richer and darker than the typical Ferrari red. Another favorite (as it was last year) was an original 1957 Porsche Carrera GT with patina for days. Best of all, the owner puts thousands of rally miles on it every year. As it should be.
I was not just around the cars, I got to drive a few too. Keith Martin generously shared his 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce. That car is a "10 out of 10" having gone through a recent restoration. I now understand what a perfectly sorted vehicle looks and drives like -- and I have some work to do!
On the last day, I was a co-driver with Hagerty’s Doug Clark, in a 1956 Austin-Healey 100M BN2 from the Hagerty Collection. In the morning I was searching for a ride and Doug invited me to join him. Having previously only met in passing, we were BFFs by the end of the drive, which is the best part of tours of this nature, second only to driving incredible cars on incredible roads. I had an opportunity to get behind the wheel and what I'll remember is just how precise that gearbox is -- it felt like a Swiss timepiece.
It was an amazing week, sharing roads and meals with friends old and new. Last year I wrote about how it was “summer camp for car people,” and that is still the best description I can think of. We all go off to a remote location and spend every waking hour amongst this wonderful tribe. It was truly a privilege to be there, and a finer and smoother tour I cannot imagine.
Every person involved in the SCM 1000, either as a guest, volunteer, or staff member, is a true enthusiast at heart. That authenticity is the je ne sais quoi that makes this event one that should be on everyone’s must-do list. My compliments to SCM Publisher Keith Martin, Tour Director Sue Counselman, and the great staff and volunteers for a week I'll never forget.