Fried Chicken

In one of his books Bill James wrote something like, “It’s hard to compare the pizza you’re eating now to the fried chicken you ate three weeks ago.” He was trying to illustrate the importance of temporal proximity to judgment.

In A List For Saturday I showed a list of my favorite songs with lyrics. Even though I wrote that it was probably an incomplete list, one omission was quite glaring: “Riders On The Storm” by The Doors, of course.

I have the 45, but don’t think I have a digital copy (at least not as I write this) so I just don’t hear it when I listen to music from my iPhone. What reminded me of how much I like the song was hearing it today on the way back from a breakfast run to Chick-Fil-A.

Maybe I just need to stop worrying about lists, about trying to make order out of chaos. (Yes, I should just ignore my OCD. Why haven’t I thought of that before? [sarcasm]) One of the reasons I haven’t published my Ultimate Garage 3.0 is I am agonizing over the Cadillac XLR and Saturn Sky.

In Ultimate Garage 2.0 I left both cars out because familiarity with them had left me a little sour. I had a friend who bought two XLRs new and both had to be repurchased by Cadillac under our state’s lemon law while my wonderful wife and I had test-driven a Sky and were put off by the interior.

I have not driven most of the cars that are likely to be a part of 3.0 if it is published. Is it fair to exclude the XLR and Sky because I am more familiar with them? This reminds me of the obstacle that caused my Masters Thesis to be completed much later than I had hoped.

I was trying to figure out a way to apply the significant cost of player development in baseball to a player’s Marginal Revenue Product (MRP) in the hopes of being the first to calculate a net MRP. I just couldn’t get my head around how to apply player development costs to each player, in large part because much, sometimes even most, of a team’s major league roster was originally in another team’s organization.

One of my former professors finally told me that I was worrying too much about nothing, that any reasonable solution would suffice. That pushed me to an idea that had been percolating for awhile and I used it in my thesis, “Pay and Performance in Major League Baseball, The Early Free Agency Era.”

So, what should I do about the XLR and the Sky? I’m all eyes; I can’t be all ears because I can’t hear you.

 

See the source image

See the source image

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I found each of these pieces to be interesting reads, Article 1 and Article 2. It might be difficult for those of you reading to realize they were written by a Democrat. I suspect he would be labeled a traitor by the lunatic component of the party, a group that–in my opinion–grows larger all the time. One of these pieces addresses my pet theory of increasing temporal arrogance.

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It’s only about a month until I take my Z06 in for the “bolt-on” application that will increase horsepower, torque and decibels. Of course, one of the cool things about the NPP exhaust option for C7 Corvettes (standard on the Z06) is that with a couple of touches on the screen I can quiet the exhaust. The cost is 5-10 HP.

 

 

Will that be the end of the performance upgrades? If you ask me now I would say yes. If you ask me in a year, I don’t know what I would say.

 

#FriedChicken

#RidersOnTheStorm

#OCD

#Woke=Evil

#My2016CorvetteZ06

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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PS, this post about the disturbing trend of ideology being injected into science is also worth reading. I will note, though, that since science is an endeavor of human beings it can never be purely objective.

 

Monday Musings 72

I must admit that I often have the feeling, “What good does any of this do?” I often feel as if I am spending too much time preaching to the choir. I actually think it’s almost impossible to do anything else these days.

Due in large part to the scourge of “social media” too much of the world’s population is firmly entrenched in bubbles of thought, never considering that their “favorite” ideology is filled with dangerous inconsistencies and is woefully inadequate in dealing with real-world complexities.

In the current debate over infrastructure one truth that is being left out is simply how difficult it has become to actually get such projects completed in a timely manner. Consider that it took four years to build the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in the 1930s whereas it took two decades to repair one-third of it after the 1989 Bay Area earthquake. Here are some words of wisdom, IMO, from George Will:

 

“Can today’s nation — divided by the politics of envy and race-mongering; with “leaders” too timid to ask 98.2 percent of Americans (those earning less than $400,000) to pay for the gusher of new government benefactions — perform great feats?

Last month was the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s speech summoning the nation to send astronauts to the moon in the 1960s. Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalist, says of the speech: “It seems like it comes not just from a different time but from a different country.” Kennedy’s challenge required accomplishing 2 million tasks, a million of which involved then-uninvented technologies. He did not stoke racial or class divisions; he spoke of a national identity receptive to great and uncertain exertions. He did not pander to particular constituencies, promising union jobs and racial “equity” throughout the space program. Instead, he asked the nation to take gigantic risks for the nation’s, and humanity’s, benefit.

Whereas “Kennedy called the nation to dare,” today, Domenech writes, America is where “schools can’t fail kids for giving the wrong answers, where teachers refuse to teach even with precautions and vaccinations, and where local authorities won’t put down riots.” A different country.” (My question: would Kennedy be considered a traitor by today’s Democratic party? He also played a major role in a large tax cut.)

 

The US is headed for dissolution, which is not surprising when such a large segment of the population does nothing except harp on differences. Whatever happened to “first earn, then receive?” Yes, I suspect I am preaching to the choir as people who think differently from me don’t read this blog. However, just as the rest of the world laughed at me in the 1980s–and was wrong–when I said baseball teams eventually would use data as the linchpin of their decision-making processes, I am more certain than ever that the US as we know it will not exist in 50 years. Unfortunately (maybe not), unlike in baseball where I lived to see my predictions come to fruition, I will not live 50 more years.

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Yesterday marked 31 weeks that we moved into this house. We decided to make a real dent in the mess in the room that is supposed to be, eventually, our guest bedroom.

Let me repeat my belief that the interstate moving business is a racket. Anyway…many of the items in this room were packed pictures. Opening one of them made my heart sink. The glass for a framed picture of Secretariat had broken and one of the shards had left a six-inch long scratch on the picture.

We have already “settled” on our damage claims, so we cannot be reimbursed for this. It’s not as if this piece is worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, but it has/had tremendous value to me.

While I am happy to be in Arizona, this move was even more stressful than my first cross-country move when I left the area in which I was born and raised. Not only does the financial bill seem to increase without end–you cannot imagine how much money we have had to spend on this house already–but it seems as though I am suffering from sort of a delayed stress syndrome.

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OK, I had another strange dream. Yes, I know that dreams often don’t mean anything, that they are–supposedly–the brain filtering and sorting information without the intent of that information being interpreted. However, I think dreams are often an expression of fears and wishes. Anyway…I had an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. My appointment was in room S151; yes, the room number was very prominent.

After a long and angst-inducing search, I finally found room S151 and its large sign that read “Room S151.” However, I heard people calling my name and after another stress-inducing interval I saw three people, each sitting in a separate chair with plexiglass partitions, on the other side of the wide hall. They were the ones calling my name. I then woke from this dream. All I can write is WTF?!

Sorry, no cars today.

 

#MondayMusings

#FirstEarnThenReceive

#MovingStress

#MoreStrangeDreams

#disaffectedmusings

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Pictures For A Saturday

Without further ado:

 

 

Partially obscured by the C5 on the left is my wonderful wife’s 2018 Corvette in Z51 spec and 3LT trim. The beautiful exterior color is Watkins Glen Gray Metallic.

 

 

IF I were to acquire a C6 Corvette, which is highly unlikely, I would get one in this color, Atomic Orange.

 

 

Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

 

#PicturesForASaturday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Power Corrupts

This CNBC article reports on the second UAW (United Auto Workers) president to be sentenced as part of a multiyear corruption probe into the well-known American labor union. Power corrupts, whether it’s a high-ranking labor union official, CEO of a large company or a high-ranking government official. Of course, I have opined that many/most people seeking these posts are already corrupt and achieving their goal is “positive” reinforcement for their behavior, which worsens their corruption.

In general, I believe it is best for a country, for a society for power to be diffuse and not concentrated. When exceptions should be made is, of course, a very tricky matter, indeed.

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From this article titled “How Software Is Eating The Car” comes this estimate from Deloitte Touche: as of 2017, some 40% of the cost of a new car could be attributed to semiconductor-based electronic systems, a cost doubling since 2007. Obviously, a shortage of those semiconductors, like the world has been experiencing, makes it difficult to manufacture cars, whether they are ICE-powered, EVs or hybrids. From the piece is this tidbit:

 

“Today, high-end cars like the BMW 7-series with advanced technology like advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) may contain 150 ECUs [Electronic Control Units] or more, while pick-up trucks like Ford’s F-150 top 150 million lines of code. Even low-end vehicles are quickly approaching 100 ECUs and 100 million of lines of code as more features that were once considered luxury options, such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, are becoming standard.”

 

One can certainly understand the preference for non-computerized cars by many of those in the hobby. One should also understand that many of these systems are the result of ever increasing government standards. Some of those, of course, result in safer cars, but worse drivers. Much of the explosion in ECUs and lines of code, though, comes from customer expectations regarding comfort and performance. It is the automobile business, after all.

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It seems as though inventory is thin right now at the local luxury make complex. Nevertheless, here are some pictures I took yesterday:

 

 

I am still hoping for a real-world look at a Maserati MC20, but haven’t seen any, yet. The Maserati dealer in the complex was allocated eight MC20s, all of which were sold within days of availability. From Wallpaper Cave a picture of said vehicle:

 

See the source image

 

Can I put this car in Ultimate Garage 3.0? Can I include three different generations of Corvettes? Yes, it’s my blog and I guess I can do what I want. Sometimes, though, what we want to do is not what we should do.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

#PowerCorrupts

#SoftwareIsEatingTheCar

#LuxuryAutoMakes

#MaseratiMC20

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Solstice Drive 2021

I woke up yesterday about 3 AM as I was too hungry to go back to sleep. So, I thought I would use the opportunity to get in my “Solstice Drive” for the year and get some great pictures from what I call “Dynamite Ridge.”

Well, instead of leaving the house (after breakfast) at first light around 4:35, I decided to write my post first. When I reached my destination, the sun was already high enough in the sky to be an impediment in taking photographs. In addition, I hadn’t thought this project through and when I arrived I realized I didn’t really have a great vantage point from which to get pictures.

The best views are actually from the road itself. Obviously, I wasn’t going to leave my car in the one-lane road, even at that time of day, and I wasn’t going to park on a side street and walk to the road, where I could be hit by cars traveling at 50+ MPH. (The speed limit is 50 MPH.) Anyway, this is the only picture even marginally worth sharing.

 

 

That mountain on the right is Four Peaks, one of the more notable features of this area. I wish I had a drone. Anyway, here are two recent photos from a different location.

 

 

The top photo is from around sunrise and the bottom from around sunset. The best laid plans of mice and men…

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Friend and former neighbor MB sent me this link to a quiz in which American cars from the 1950s had to be identified. Click the link with caution as it is not a secure site.

I scored 81% correct, better than the average of 73%, but not as good as MB who scored 88%. Of course, the average is skewed by selection bias. People with little or no interest, and therefore little or no knowledge of the subject, will not take the quiz.

Here are pictures of some of my favorite cars from the 1950s:

 

See the source image

See the source image

https://i2.wp.com/www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cadillac-eldorado-brougham_1957.jpg

See the source image

 

From top to bottom: 1956 Packard Caribbean Convertible, 1956 Continental (not Lincoln, technically) Mark II, 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, 1956 Chrysler 300B.

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This is a link to an article by the American Survey Center. This particular survey is about friendship in America and is quite interesting. This result will be reported without comment, well, at least not too much comment:

 

“Ending friendships over political disagreements occurs more among liberal and Democratic-leaning Americans. Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans are to report having ended a friendship over a political disagreement (20 percent vs. 10 percent). Political liberals are also far more likely than conservatives are to say they are no longer friends with someone due to political differences (28 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively). No group is more likely to end a friendship over politics than liberal women are; 33 percent say they stopped being friends with someone because of their politics.”

 

I hear the words “smug, self-righteous and arrogant” in my head…

 

#SolsticeDrive2021

#CarsFromTheFifties

#MythOfLiberalTolerance

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Just Couldn’t Pull The Trigger

Yesterday, I went to the website of the computer football game I have mentioned in this blog. I clicked on the game package I wanted to purchase and put in a discount code. When it came time to actually fill in some information and click “Buy” I couldn’t do it.

I think last year’s experience with bugs in the game and the dismissive attitude of the game’s creator and publisher has just left me cold. I guess I could try to find another pro football computer game, but I am just not at a point where I want another learning curve for something that is, truthfully, not that important. Of course, ask me next week and I might have purchased a game, a new one or the “old” one.

Why I am so indecisive is not as easy to explain as not being able to find a satisfying career post-baseball. That is part of it, of course, but something else is at work. I wish I knew what it was.

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On this day in 1869 Charles Hires sold his first root beer, in Philadelphia. He was the first person to brew root beer commercially.

OK, why did I bring this up? On Monday, my wonderful wife and I went to Denny’s for lunch. The results of my blood work before my recent physical were good enough, quite good in fact, so that I am giving myself a month of indulgence. You Seinfeld aficionados remember the episode “The Summer Of George.” Well, this will be The June Of Me.

For Monday lunch I had pancakes and root beer. I think it’s been more than a year since I consumed root beer. When I was younger I disliked it, but it is one of the few comestibles that I have grown to like. OK, you fussbudgets, comestibles is supposed to refer to food and not drink. So sue me…by the way, the pancakes were excellent, but I have hardly eaten them in the last year, either.

I have a fair amount of willpower and discipline, even with food. However, I think you have to reward yourself from time to time.

******************

I cannot indulge myself with the purchase of another vehicle, however. No room at the inn, if you will. No, this is not an excuse to show another picture of a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. No, this is not more exposition about my Ultimate Garage 3.0.

What do you think of this car listed in Hemmings?

 

 

This is a 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix. The odometer reads 42,239 miles, but I’m guessing that’s more like 142,239 miles. The seller, Country Classic Cars, is asking $12,950, which seems a tad steep to me for a car with “uncertain” mileage, but I really like the way this car looks. The car would also connect me to my first car, a 1967 Pontiac GTO, and to the car I owned the longest, a 1995 Grand Prix. The hashtag that has been part of this blog from almost the beginning really does resonate with me, #somanycarsjustonelife.

 

#JustCouldn’tPullTheTrigger

#TheJuneOfMe

#1969PontiacGrandPrix

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Tuesday Tidbits

No, I don’t mean these although I wish they were still available:

 

See the source image

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This CNBC article reports on the recovery of much of the Bitcoin paid to the Colonial Pipeline hackers. With a court order, US government officials were able to identify a virtual currency wallet used by the hackers and retrieve the “funds.” This morning, the price of Bitcoin is declining sharply. Let’s see: the bad guys suffered and now Bitcoin is “suffering.” I think there’s a message in that…

The main reason that Bitcoin has become the favored payoff for modern digital criminals is that it is supposed to be untraceable after the transaction. Well, I guess it isn’t.

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This piece reports on how “wokeness” and “cancel culture” threaten real freedom of speech in the publishing industry. It’s not written by a person of conservative ideology, by the way. While the author maintains that freedom of speech doesn’t really apply to publishing companies, here is the last sentence of the post: “It would be sad if senior editors started capitulating to their offended or woke staff, for that would lead to the homogenization of literature (most publishing staff are liberals).” By literature, he means all books and not just fiction.

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Ultimate Garage 3.0 is getting out of control. My list is up to 17-18 cars. While that represents an infinitesimal fraction of all cars ever made, of course, it sure is a case of “garage inflation” when one considers the first Ultimate Garage I published had 7 cars.

Does that increase stem from learning more about cars, about being more immersed in the automotive world than ever before? Am I just getting more indecisive as I age? I guess I’m supposed to show a car photo here. Let’s see…

 

 

This is a picture of a 1967 Corvette restomod I took at the 2019 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. (I wonder where that is? Yes, that is sarcasm…) I had hoped to bid on the car, but the bidding took off and the car hammered for $192,500 all in.

The prices of C2 Corvette restomods at that auction, in addition to the cost and time of having one built, were major factors in my decision to buy a C7 Z06. Of course, I actually bid on two C7 Corvettes at that auction, but had the next-to-last bid both times and each of those bids was $71,500 all in, a long way from $192,500.

While I don’t think I will ever be in a position to acquire a C2 Corvette convertible restomod, at least not without parting with my Z06, I still very much would like to have one. If Ultimate Garage 3.0 is published, it will come as no shock that one of these will be included.

 

#TuesdayTidbits

#Bitcoin

#ProtectRealFreedomOfSpeech

#UltimateGarage3.0

#1967ChevroletCorvetteRestomod

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Musings 71

In Monday Musings 70 I wrote about how 1970 was a great year to be a young Baltimore sports fan. Well, 1971 was a most disappointing year to be a Baltimore baseball and football fan.

The Orioles earned their third consecutive World Series berth and through the first two games of that series had won 16 games in a row. Unfortunately, they lost four of their next five games. You know what four losses mean in the World Series.

The Baltimore Colts had a fine 1971 season earning a playoff spot led by one of the great defenses in NFL history. They easily won their first-round playoff game, but alas, that was the end of the good news.

In the 1971 AFC Championship Game, played on January 2, 1972, the Colts were shut out by the Miami Dolphins 21-0. The irony was thick for Colts fans as the Dolphins’ head coach, Don Shula, had been the head coach of the Colts from 1963 to 1969. The Dolphins were found guilty of tampering with Shula and the Colts were given the Dolphins’ first-round draft pick in 1971 as compensation.

I have often written, and firmly believe, that human beings almost never judge events by “objective” reality, but instead against expectations and the status quo. For sports fans in many cities, having their MLB franchise reach the World Series in the same season their NFL team plays in the conference championship game would be a great year. For Baltimore sports fans, with both teams having won it all in 1970, the following year was quite a letdown, especially when you’re not even a teenager.

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The most interesting American car for 1971, to me, might be this one:

 

See the source image

 

From Hot Rod a picture of a 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger. The engine output ratings didn’t change in the six years the second-generation Hemi was offered in street cars: 425 HP/490 LB-FT of torque. Of course, many of those “in the know” think both of those numbers were understated on purpose by Chrysler Corporation.

This article makes the claim that the 426 Hemi really had about 470 HP. Other “experts” think that number was closer to 500. 1971 was the last year the second-generation Hemi was offered in cars from Chrysler Corporation. That was also the year almost all automobile aficionados mark as the last year of the original muscle car era.

I think we’re living in the real golden age of automobiles, but that will come to an end with the widespread adoption of alternatively powered vehicles, whenever that happens. I’m going to drive my Z06 as long as I can.

 

#MondayMusings

#1971BaltimoreSports

#1971DodgeHemiChallenger

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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22 Years!

On this day 22 years ago (or 8,036 days ago, but who’s counting…), which was also a Sunday, I married the kindest, cutest, sweetest, most wonderful person in the world. I LOVE YOU, V Squared!

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Speaking of 1999, for that model year Chevrolet introduced this Corvette variant:

 

See the source image

 

Although the higher performance Z06 based on this body style would not be introduced until 2001, and this car had the same engine as all Corvettes, it was only available with a six-speed manual transmission. As a reference, two-thirds of all non-hardtop ’99 Vettes were sold with an automatic. At one point before I bought my Z06 I had the borderline insane idea of buying one of these and having an automatic transmission installed in place of the manual.

To me, these were the best looking C5 Corvettes. An auxiliary hardtop was no longer a factory option for the convertible. Don’t get me wrong, I liked all C5 Corvettes. I bought one, remember. I just think these are quite sharp in appearance.

 

Nothing else to add today. Be well.

 

#22Years!

#C5CorvetteHardtopCoupe

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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PS, it is not my intent to diminish the significance of this day in 1944. Others who are far more qualified than I to write about it are the people whose thoughts should be read today.

 

A List For Saturday

For most of my life almost all of the music I have listened to is instrumental. That wasn’t always the case, though, and every now and then I play songs with lyrics.

From my OCD need to make order out of chaos, but my ADD tendency to get scatter-brained comes an idiosyncratic, probably incomplete list of my all-time favorite songs with lyrics. Let the arguments begin! Oh, they’re not in any particular order. Take that, OCD!

 

“Everybody Is A Star”  Sly & The Family Stone

“Reelin’ In The Years”  Steely Dan

“Look What You’ve Done For Me”  Al Green

“Stormy”  Dennis Yost & The Classics IV

“I Don’t Want To Do Wrong”  Gladys Knight & The Pips

“It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”  Boyz II Men

“Trouble’s A Comin'”  The Chi-Lites

“Berimbau”  Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

“A Horse With No Name”  America

“Walk Away Renee”  The Left Banke

“Raindrops”  Dee Clark

“Green-Eyed Lady” (Album Version)  Sugarloaf

“You’re All I Need To Make It”  Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr

 

The songs by Al Green and America were partly responsible for bringing me back to music. The reasons are long forgotten, but for about a year I had almost completely stopped listening to music on the radio. I also did not have a stereo system on which I could play music. One day while just happening to listen to the radio in my father’s Jeep those songs were played in a space of about 15 minutes. I was transfixed and returned to the fold.

When I was 11, I think, I actually made a list of my all-time 200 favorite songs, in order. The compilation was inspired by a similar endeavor from a local radio station. “Love Or Let Me Be Lonely” by the Friends of Distinction was at the top of my list. I still like the song, but not as much as I did way back then.

You’ll note the lack of “current music” on my list. I will write this again: the phrase “current American music” is an oxymoron.

“A List For Saturday” may become a regular feature on this blog, but may be constrained by my highly eccentric view of the world.

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A picture taken by my wonderful wife:

 

 

Mountains and fire…

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During a recent episode of Shift Talkers on Motor Trend, one of the panelists/contestants asked where this car had gone:

 

 

From Cadillac’s website, this is a picture of the Escala concept car. For awhile, it looked as if this car would actually be produced. Now, it seems to have been lost in the mad dash to EVs.

I don’t remember which person asked the question (Faye Hadley?), but she said she thought it was a great car and asked why wasn’t it being produced. Later in the show, in response to a question about Cadillac dealerships being forced to “upgrade” to selling only EVs or not being Cadillac dealers, at least two of the participants made a comment about how passé the make has become. Obviously, I think all of that is related.

The perception is that Cadillac makes boring cars (perception is reality even if it isn’t) and is out of touch with younger buyers, almost regardless of how that segment is defined. Well, people over 50 have more money than people in their 20s. I think it’s OK to market to “older” drivers, too.

I know it was Hadley who said she would rather leave Cadillac than be forced to “upgrade” to only sell EVs, if she were a dealer. She criticized the “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” approach to EVs, although she didn’t phrase it that way.

For the nth time: yes, electric (or some other “alternatively” powered) vehicles will eventually become the dominant paradigm in personal transportation. For the next 10-20 years, though, that will not be the case.

 

#AListForSaturday

#MountainsAndFire

#CadillacEscala

#FayeHadley

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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