First and Historic Impressions of the SCM 1000

Keith Martin brings collectors, racers and fans together in Portland, Oregon for the second year

by | Jul 16, 2019 | Shows & Events

Photo Credit: Paul O’Brien

First and Historic Impressions of the SCM 1000

Keith Martin brings collectors, racers and fans together in Portland, Oregon for the second year

by | Jul 16, 2019 | Shows & Events

Photo Credit: Paul O’Brien

Dozens of incredible and historic automobiles line SW Jefferson Street in front of the Portland Art Museum as residents of Portland, Oregon stroll the park and enjoy the sights and music courtesy of Sports Car Market magazine. The participant badge around my neck with the car I will be riding in grabs the eye of some visitors, and occasional questions remind me how much the classic automobile continues to inspire as much as Mark Rothko or Jackson Pollack.

Stories bubble from the din of the street as guests and badge holders reminisce about their first car, inquire about the 1959 MGA Twin Cam Roadster, or merely stop a smiling face to ask what brings such a collection of vehicles to Portland. Old friends hug and jest about last year while new friends find kinship in the art and engineering of the automobile.

Red and Black Vintage Car at The 2019 SCM 1000 in Portland, Oregon
The SCM 1000

Writer, publisher, and television personality Keith Martin brings collectors, racers and fans together for the second year. As a storyteller myself, it is Martin’s work to develop the SCM 1000 that personally drew me to this experience. Beyond the 1970 Buick Wildcat convertible that was my love as a college student in Arizona, I feel a bit of a fish out of water as a formal participant. But in a matter of hours I’ve swapped stories with dozens of enthusiasts from Los Angeles to New York, including a handful with roots in my suburb of Austin, TX. Onlookers note the blue 1965 Porsche 356C Coupe on my badge and ask what I think of the car. “I’ll tell you tomorrow after I experience it for the first time,” I answer, remarking that it is still making its way from Miles Collier Collections at Revs Institute.

The SCM 1000, brought to life by Keith Martin, began in 2018 as a celebration of Sports Car Market (SCM) magazine’s 30th anniversary. The magazine began as a newsletter called the Alfa Romeo Market Letter in 1988. It expanded to become the Sports Car Market Letter in 1993 and  found its way online in late 1995, in the form of the early websites so many of us fondly remember.

“Here you’ll find samples of SCM’s hard-hitting commentary, as we report on collectible sports cars. We describe the great buys we see along with the village-idiot specials. You’ll find out which European sports cars are poised to explode in price, and which ones are destined to stay in the toilet for the next 500 years! Take a look at bits from our 500 car classified section, mini-profiles of sports cars that are hot, and recent auction reviews. According to Peter Egan of Road & Track, every issue of SCM is a ‘monthly rush of adrenaline.’ Enjoy your cruise through our site. And check out our On-Line Free Sample offer.”
– Keith Martin, Publisher; Sports Car Market On-Line, 1996

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I’m told over lunch that while a cavalcade of Porsches line Portland’s Jefferson Street this year, it is the Alfa Romeo that inspired this road tour of Oregon. Keith Martin bought his first Alfa Romeo in 1969, a red Giulia Spider, and in 2006 published Collecting Alfa Romeo.

This book brings together the magazine’s best articles on Alfas over the years giving detailed coverage of every car from the four-door 164s of the 90s to the Spiders of the 50s and 60s to the earliest pre-war 6C and 8C classics; from Giulias, Giuliettas, Duettos, Sprints, Zagatos, and more.

What better way to celebrate such an impact on meaningful cars and a love for the Alfa Romeo than with fellow gear heads in a rainbow of sports cars, racing down 1,000 miles of winding, two-lane roads?

The SCM 1000 is a car tour as unique as Portland, with a focus on the roads and these “artifacts of our culture,” as Keith Martin describes the cars with a gleaming smile of joy. Drivers take their time, enjoy the scenery, stop for pictures, and celebrate the journey that began not just with the turn of the key but with the childhood fascination with such gorgeous machines.

Blue Vintage Car at The 2019 SCM 1000 in Portland, Oregon

Martin’s charisma is as attractive as the cars sparkling like jewels around the Portland Art Museum. His warmth and deep knowledge of collectible cars have made him a well-known ambassador in the car community. He has been an emcee at Pebble Beach, the Concours of America, Concorso Italiano, Legends of the Autobahn, and the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance. He has served as Chairman of the Meguiar’s Collector Car Person of the Year Award, on the Board of Trustees of the LeMay Museum, on the faculty of the Collier Museum symposium on Connoisseurship, and has received two of the most prestigious awards in the collector car hobby – The Lee Iacocca Award and the Edward Herrmann Award. He created an event in the SCM 1000 that distinctly represents what the automobile means to each and every one of us, in our own ways.

Notably in my mind, cars like the ones featured at SCM 1000 pass on a lasting legacy and a love for art, engineering and the freedom they give us on the open roads. That’s no more evident than in what Keith Martin has started in Portland, Oregon where Bradley, his young son and budding car collector, fixed his attention on a 1960 Bugeye Sprite and his daughter, working with Daimler Trucks North America, can be seen driving her 2006 Lotus Elise and telling stories for SCM. As I anticipate the start of motors on the 2019 SCM 1000, I have to admire the environment that Keith Martin has created for this event.

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