Torrential Tuesday

Welcome to Disaffected Musings post number 1,575…

In the SMH file, SMH is Internet shorthand for shaking my head, the title of this Why Evolution Is True post is “The ideologues: why we can’t use statistics any more.” This is example #1,575,000 of the hypocrisy of ideologues. These idiots rail against climate change “deniers” saying they ignore science, but a large subset of them want to ignore statistics on claims the field is biased. Mathematics is the language of science; math is the language of the universe. People in glass houses…

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In the Cars A To Z series, the “G” post about Graham-Paige was easily the most read entry although I have no idea why. This piece from yesterday on Mac’s Motor City Garage is about the supercharger Graham used on their cars from 1934 until they ceased automobile production in 1941. What was unusual about that is that Graham cars were not expensive and these were the first affordable cars with a blower. It is a virtual certainty, remember that human record keeping has never been–and never will be–perfect, that Graham sold more supercharged cars than any other company before World War II.

Graham and Hupmobile joined forces after the demise of Cord to build cars based on Gordon Buehrig’s classic design. Hupmobile had acquired the Cord dies, but lacked the financial resources to build the car. From Wikipedia: “Graham agreed to build the Hupmobile Skylark on a contract basis, while receiving the rights to use the distinctive Cord dies to produce a similar car of its own, to be called the Hollywood. The striking Skylark/Hollywood differed from the Cord from the cowl forward with a redesigned hood, front fenders and conventional headlights, achieved by automotive designer John Tjaarda of Lincoln-Zephyr fame. The Cord’s longer hood was not needed, as the Hupp and Graham versions were rear-wheel drive. This also necessitated modifying the floor to accept a driveshaft. Graham chose the four-door Beverly sedan shape for the Hollywood rather than the two-door convertible, as they wanted the Hollywood to be a popular, mass-market car.”

Graham’s car was available with the supercharged inline 6-cylinder engine. From Barrett-Jackson comes a photo of a 1940 Graham Hollywood supercharged sedan:

 

1940 GRAHAM HOLLYWOOD S/C SEDAN

 

The resemblance to the Cord 810/812 is obvious, but the cars are also not identical in styling. Once again, sources “disagree” (imperfect record keeping), but somewhere between 1,500 and 1,900 Graham Hollywoods were built in 1940-41. In its last year of production, the supercharged Hollywood was priced at $1,065, about $22,000 in today’s money. The average price for a new vehicle in the US today is about twice that much. In 1941, Buick’s most expensive non-limousine was $2,360.

Like most defunct companies, Graham is forgotten today except, perhaps, for its connection to Paramount and Madison Square Garden. However, they made a major contribution to the automobile industry, forgotten or not. They are kind of like me in that I am a pioneer of sports analytics, a father of Moneyball, but I am forgotten today.

 

#TorrrentialTuesday

#TheHypocrisyOfIdeologues

#GrahamSuperchargedAutomobile

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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25 Years!

Although it was the day after Thanksgiving in 1997, it was on this date in that year that my wonderful wife and I met for the first time. Other than to write that it was not love at first sight, I will spare you the details that we find amusing, but that you will likely find yawn-inducing.

I LOVE YOU, V SQUARED!

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“Jews Don’t Count” This is the title of a book by David Baddiel, a Jewish comedian from the UK. (Here is a relevant link to Why Evolution Is True.)

The book is about the rapidly growing anti-Semitism on the “progressive” left. As I have written before, there is nothing “progressive” about the idiocy of woke.

Even though Jews comprise just two-tenths of one percent of the world population, and just two percent of the US population, the so-called progressives do not defend Jews as they do other minorities. Baddiel’s central thesis is that “Jews don’t count as a proper minority” when it comes to contemporary notions of prejudice and racism. He sets out to explore why so many people seem to ignore antisemitism, as well as “the dysfunction between progressives and Jews.”

The neo-Nazi morons of the far right have always been anti-Semites; it is the woke left where anti-Semitism is growing at a disturbing pace. My contempt for anti-Semites of all stripes cannot be measured with existing technology.

Let me ask this question: how is it that so many Jews who came to the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were successful DESPITE facing enormous discrimination, DESPITE not even speaking English at first and DESPITE no government affirmative action programs??!! (I am vehemently opposed to any affirmative action schemes.) Think about that and apply that to today where some groups want special treatment. First earn, then receive.

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A couple of stories from CNBC. This morning, long-time CNBC host Jim Cramer wrote this, “China lockdown: Real impact from the lack of science? Why do they keep doing this? Why should our stock market react negatively each time? There are fewer and fewer connections with China, and I would prefer a slowdown there that cuts our commodity inflation. In case in point, oil prices sank roughly 3%.”

Once again, the Chinese government is not all-knowing. Their own vaccines were not that effective against the original strain of the damn virus and are basically useless against the variants. It is only very recently that they have agreed to purchase the more effective vaccines from Western companies. Blind adherence to ANY ideology is a road to ruin.

In this post I wrote about this CNBC piece that reported consumers intended to spend this holiday season seemingly unfazed by inflation and recession clouds on the horizon. This CNBC article reported that 2022 Black Friday online sales topped $9 billion, up 2.3% from last year and a new record. People did, indeed, put their money where their mouth was.

I expect a US recession next year, especially if the Federal Reserve leaves interest rates at their terminal point for months on end. I don’t think it will be anywhere near as severe as 2007-09, but I think it will be more than just a technical recession.

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I think Nebraska’s hire of Matt Rhule as the new head football coach has been very effectively countered by Wisconsin’s hire of Luke Fickell. As I wrote here, he would have been my first choice for Nebraska. Obviously, I was wrong when I wrote that the “consensus” was the only two jobs that could entice Fickell to leave Cincinnati were Ohio State and Notre Dame. I do wonder if he was on Nebraska’s radar and, if so, why did he prefer the Wisconsin job.

 

#25Years!

#JewsDon’tCount

#TheIdiocyOfWoke

#StopWorshippingTheChinese

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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1964 Pontiac GTO | Hemmings.com

 

Bye Bye, Clemson

Despite starting the season 6-4, South Carolina’s football team has had an outsized influence on the College Football Playoff (CFP). Last week, they defeated Tennessee 63-38 at Tennessee to end the Vols playoff hopes. Yesterday, they came back from a 9-point halftime deficit to beat Clemson 31-30 ending their 40-game home winning streak and their playoff hopes as well.

As I have written before, something I can’t quite articulate really rubs me the wrong way about Clemson’s head coach. His team resides at the bottom of my college football hierarchy along with the other team that beat them this season, Notre Dame.

With Michigan’s convincing win over Ohio State in “The Game,” USC’s win over Notre Dame and Texas A&M’s upset of LSU, I think the four teams for the CFP may already be set: Georgia (12-0), Michigan (12-0), TCU (12-0) and USC (11-1). I guess the latter two teams have to win their respective conference championship games next week, but maybe not.

Speaking of Michigan-Ohio State, the Buckeyes had a 20-17 halftime lead and according to ESPN analytics had an 85% chance of winning the game at some point in the second quarter. Michigan didn’t pay attention to any of that and completely dominated the second half outscoring Ohio State 28-3 and defeating the Buckeyes in Columbus for the first time since 2000.

Michigan sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy only completed 50% of his passes yesterday (12-of-24), but I guess even in college yards per pass attempt is the more significant metric. He averaged about 11 yards an attempt, a great number, throwing for 263 yards. He also did not throw any interceptions. In all, Michigan scored five touchdowns on plays of 45 yards or more, the most against a top-5 opponent since at least 2004.

I have to admit that I turned off “The Game” after Michigan scored on a 75-yard run by backup tailback Donovan Edwards, who was playing with a cast on a broken hand, to make the score 38-23 with about seven minutes left in the game. I missed Edwards scoring on an 85-yard run about four minutes later. I also changed the channel after USC quarterback/magician Caleb Williams scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make the score 31-14, USC.

I think Williams deserves the Heisman Trophy, which is given to the player that is voted the best in college football that season. He has thrown for more than 3,700 yards with 34 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions, is averaging over 9 yards an attempt through the air AND leads his team with 10 rushing touchdowns. Both he and South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler started their college careers at Oklahoma (and were teammates last season), but both transferred, obviously.

 

Caleb Williams Makes a Heisman Statement in Beating the Irish - On3

 

Yes, I am enjoying watching college football more than I have in a long time. Maybe Matt Rhule can return Nebraska to national relevance and I will enjoy it even more.

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On this day in 1996 the last Cadillac Fleetwood left the assembly line. Although the Fleetwood existed as its own model “only” since 1976, it had been used as part of Cadillac model names since 1935. Of course, the plant used to make Fleetwoods in Arlington, Texas switched to only building full-sized General Motors SUVs.

 

 

Approximately 15,000 Fleetwoods were manufactured in that final year of production. The nearly 4,500-pound car, easily the heaviest Cadillac of 1996, had an MSRP of $36,995–about $70,000 in today’s dollars.

Nearly 20 percent of Cadillac dealers took a buyout instead of spending a quarter of a million dollars to convert to selling electric vehicles. General Motors gave them that ultimatum. Once again, at least for now Ford is still giving dealers and consumers a choice. How long they will continue to do so is an open question.

 

#ByeByeClemson

#CalebWilliams

#CadillacFleetwood

#EVTyranny

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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The Game

Maybe it’s arrogance that the annual Ohio State-Michigan college football game is often called simply “The Game.” However, this season it is the game in college football. For the first time since 2006 both teams are undefeated headed into their annual contest.

Even though I have a very good friend who is a long time Buckeyes fan, I don’t think I will be rooting for either team. I just want to see an exciting and close game.

 

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I could have watched the Nebraska-Iowa game yesterday and did watch it briefly. Nebraska was ahead 7-0 and on a drive that would ultimately result in a field goal. The day got away from me, though, and I didn’t see the Huskers get out to a 24-0 lead only to have to hold on to defeat the Hawkeyes 24-17.

The loss ended Nebraska’s current losing streak at at five games while ending Iowa’s winning streak at four. It also ended Nebraska’s seven-game losing streak to Iowa. By the way, yesterday’s game was played on the 51st anniversary of Nebraska’s classic 35-31 win over Oklahoma in a matchup of two undefeated teams. Those were the days…

The big news for Huskers football, though, is that it seems they are going to hire Matt Rhule as their new head coach. He was a very successful coach at Temple and Baylor, reviving two programs that had been moribund or under a cloud. He was unsuccessful as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL.

My choice would have been Luke Fickell, current head coach at the University of Cincinnati, but–of course–it’s possible he wasn’t interested in the job or even on Nebraska’s wish list. Word is the only two jobs that could entice him to leave Cincinnati are Ohio State and Notre Dame.

Is Rhule a good enough choice to get me to resume watching Nebraska football in earnest next season? (Hey, I thought you lived in Arizona. Where’s Earnest? 🙃) I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

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Although this potential purchase seems more distant every day, at present the choice for my next car–to complement the Mustang GT, not to replace it–will be one of these two.

 

 

Making the choice more difficult is that I would not buy a Solstice made before 2008 as those cars had a problem with leaking differentials nor would I buy an XLR from 2004 or 2005 as those cars had a lot of teething pains. The XLR is a better looking car in my opinion, I’ll never forget how enthralled with the car I was the first time I saw it at the Dallas Auto Show, but the GXP also looks good, pays homage to my Pontiac roots and is much less expensive.

I hope I can execute this purchase sooner rather than later, but there are many moving parts in our life right now. Wish us luck.

 

#TheGame

#OhioState-Michigan

#NebraskaFootball

#GXPOrXLR?

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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Farrowing Friday

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.

 

My wonderful wife and I probably watch too many episodes of The Incredible Dr. Pol on Nat Geo Wild. How else would I know that farrowing describes the birth of pigs?

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The first time I saw the sketch in this video, sadly the link is from a minion of the Evil Empire, I think I laughed harder than I have at any other time. It is still unbelievably funny to me, even after having watched it 5 or 6 times the past two days.

The bit was performed on the British version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” The American version? Well, for whatever reason I am no fan of Drew Carey and despite the fact that Aisha Tyler is very easy on the eyes she proved to be another clueless entertainer who doesn’t just want to bite the hand that feeds her, she wants to amputate it.

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This CNBC article is about people still using ridiculously easy passwords on the Internet. My understanding is most hacks of company computers are not the result of clever, but criminal, people going to great lengths to crack protection. Instead, every company has people who use passwords that are too simple and are easily guessed.

This CNBC piece is titled, “Inflation? Recession? Starting Black Friday, holiday shoppers are planning to spend.” Here is the first paragraph of the article:

 

“Americans are not planning major cuts in holiday spending this year, starting with Black Friday, despite inflation fears and the risk of recession being top concerns among the majority of consumers, according to an annual survey conducted by CNBC and SurveyMonkey ahead of the first big shopping weekend of peak season.”

 

Since 70% of US GDP comes from consumer spending I guess that is good news. It is also an indication of how much economic activity can be the result of self-fulfilling prophecy. If people really think a slowdown will occur soon, then many of them will spend less, further adding fuel to the slowdown fire, which may or may not exist in the first place.

Whether one looks at the 2-year/10-year or 3-month/10-year Treasury yield spreads, both are inverted, meaning the yield on the shorter maturity debt is higher than that of the longer maturity. (At this moment, the 1-year yield is actually the highest for all Treasury-issued debt.) Such inversions are considered to be a strong indicator of a looming recession. Of course, the lag time could be as high as 20 months or as few as 10. I won’t call Economics the “dismal science,” but it is certainly not precise and never will be, in my opinion, no matter how much decision makers rely on machine learning or deep learning. For the nth plus n time, history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.

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Here is a more or less random collection of photos. Hope you enjoy.

 

 

#FarrowingFriday

#WhoseLineIsItAnyway?

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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Thanksgiving Eve

Seems appropriate to share this link even if it’s from a minion of the Evil Empire. The video shows the classic scenes from the “Turkeys Away” episode of WKRP In Cincinnati. The show still remains one of my favorites and I think it is orders of magnitude funnier than any so-called sitcom being produced today.

 

WKRP's 'Turkeys Away' Episode Celebrates Another Anniversary This Year

 

I’m not sure I will post tomorrow–I wasn’t sure I would post today–so I want to wish all of you Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays. Unlike last year, my sister and niece will not be joining us for the holiday, which puts a bit of a damper on the day.

I am not going to use a disingenuous tone and write about all of the things for which I am grateful. I see much in the world and much in my life that needs to improve, but I am glad to be married to my wonderful wife and, this will probably seem like a shallow perspective, glad to be debt-free.

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In the first 2 1/2 months (!) I have owned the Mustang GT I have driven it about 1,600 miles. Without a third car to “absorb” mileage, both the Mustang and my wonderful wife’s Corvette are accumulating more mileage.

 

 

All I want to write is so far, so good. While I don’t really believe in karma and I know that human memories are selective, it does seem that when I “brag” about something or engage in hyperbole bad things seem to happen.

The car is more comfortable and more practical than the Z06 even if it isn’t as fast although it’s certainly not slow. In all honesty, I think the engine and exhaust sound better in the Mustang, especially in Sport mode. I wish I could make that the default setting upon startup, but have not been able to find a way to do that.

So far my overall mileage is about 22 MPG, which–not surprisingly–is better than the Z06, which made a tad less than 19 MPG while I drove it. I cannot stand the Ford logo at the top of the windshield so I have ordered an Arizona sticker to cover it. I think that’s the only visible Ford logo or badge on the car.

I have to admit that I am not as excited about the Mustang as I was about the Z06, nor am I as proud or as willing to take it to car shows. I mean, Mustangs are everywhere. Still, for what I wanted as a primary car–a good-looking car with good performance and without a six-figure price tag–the Mustang is more than good enough. If a Dodge Challenger would fit in our garage I might have considered one, but if my mother were green I would have been a frog.

In all seriousness, this could still be the newest car I own ten years from now. With the insane, blind march to EVs I doubt I will buy a 2025 or 2027 model year car. Any “new” car, which will have to wait until we have space to comfortably park more cars, will certainly be older, maybe even much older.

 

#ThanksgivingEve

#WKRPInCincinnati

#2022FordMustangGT

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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Where Were You When?

Obviously, I am referring to the killing of John F Kennedy on this day in 1963. As the median age of the US is still under 40 (although probably not for long), most people alive today were not alive when Kennedy died on that day in Dallas.

Even though I was only about 3 1/2 years old, I remember that day. My younger sibling (from whom I have been estranged for a long time) was upstairs taking a nap. I was downstairs on the sofa reading–yes, reading–while my mother was watching TV, As The World Turns. My older sister was in school.

At first, the news broke that Kennedy had been shot. It was not for another hour, I believe, that word broke that he had died. My mother began screaming and crying although I don’t remember for how long. Remember that my mother, a Holocaust survivor, had only been in the US six years when Kennedy was killed.

As I have written before, I concur with the theory of ballistics expert Howard Donahue as laid out in Bonar Menninger’s book, Mortal Error. Donahue presents compelling evidence that while Lee Harvey Oswald shot at Kennedy in an attempt to assassinate him, the fatal shot was an accident as a Secret Service agent in the motorcade accidentally discharged his weapon. People are going to believe what they want to believe, but if an open-minded person studies the information I think it is difficult, although not impossible, to reach any other conclusion.

 

 

Some have called that event the end of innocence in the US, but I think that is a temporally arrogant view. For example, I can’t imagine that the Civil War and assassination of Abraham Lincoln didn’t have a profound effect on the country even if electronic communication hadn’t yet been invented.

I also recall watching Lee Harvey Oswald being killed two days later in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters as it was shown on live TV. I am in no position to say if the events of those few days left a lasting impact on me as I have no frame of reference to do so.

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On a (much) lighter note, legendary automobile designer Harley Earl was born on this day in 1893. Earl was really the father of the Corvette being influenced by the European sports cars he saw on a trip to Watkins Glen. He was the first top executive ever appointed in design of a major corporation in American history. Credit should be given to the man who hired Earl for that position, then GM President/CEO Alfred Sloan. (Yes, I am sure I have written about Earl in a post on this day in the past.)

I have often dreamed of having a replica built of a famous concept car in the very unlikely event that my wonderful wife and I win a huge lottery jackpot. As much as I love the design of Tom Tjaarda’s Rondine, I think that I would try to have a replica of this car built first.

 

The Buick Y-Job, the First Concept Car, Designed and Built in 1938 - Flashbak

 

This is the Buick Y-Job. Designed by Harley Earl, who is behind the wheel, and produced in 1938, it was the auto industry’s first concept car. By the way, Earl drove this car until 1951. Again, the sad irony that Buick produced this car and at this moment in time doesn’t manufacture anything except SUVs is very disquieting to me.

Although I have to admit that current trends in the automobile industry have robbed me of some of my enthusiasm, my profound feelings of wonder and admiration for cars like the Y-Job have not diminished. If I could afford it, which I cannot, I would pay a seven-figure sum to have a replica of this car built for me.

 

#WhereWereYouWhen?

#HarleyEarl

#BuickY-Job

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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Munday Mosings

I wasn’t going to post today, in no small way due to the fact about which I am going to write. Yesterday saw fewer views on a day with a post than on many days without. Sorry, but that bothers me.

 

Here is some news:

Etxe bat erosteko eskaintza egin genuen.

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On this day in 1945 Robert H. Jackson, United States Supreme Court Justice and US Chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials under an international military tribunal, gave the opening speech for the prosecution at Nuremberg. From Jackson’s perspective, the purpose of the trial was not just to convict the defendants but also to assemble irrefutable evidence of Nazi crimes, establish individual responsibility and the crime of aggression in international law, offer a history lesson to the defeated Germans, de-legitimize the traditional German elite and allow the Allies to distance themselves from appeasement. Jackson maintained that while the United States did “not seek to convict the whole German people of crime”, neither did the trial “serve to absolve the whole German people except 21 men in the dock.”

Recently, the FBI reported that crimes against Jews in the US have risen fourfold in the last decade. The Holocaust did not begin with bullets and gas chambers, it began with words and hate. I think the beginning of another Holocaust is in the making.

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From Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated: “CFP [College Football Playoff] presidents do not plan to guarantee the Rose Bowl an exclusive January 1st window in future playoffs, giving the bowl a deadline to make its decision on early expansion.” Early expansion refers to increasing the playoff field from 4 teams to 12 before 2026.

I think those who govern the Rose Bowl need an operation to have their heads removed from their rectums. The Rose Bowl is NOT bigger than college football. They have continued to insist that their game be played at 2 PM Pacific Time on January 1st regardless of what else is happening with the CFP. Basically, the Rose Bowl “issue” is the last thing to be resolved before early expansion becomes likely.

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A cousin of the Kia Stinger, the Genesis G90, has recently been named the 2023 Motor Trend Car of the Year. I don’t know if this link will break, but here is a picture of the G90 from the Motor Trend article.

 

2023 genesis g90 07

 

The first paragraph of the piece contains the following:

 

“Cars are becoming a niche commodity. Once the dominant form of family transportation, the “car” as we once knew it now toes the endangered segment list…And as cars get rarer, they’re also becoming rarified. The few remaining producers of mainstream econoboxes, compacts, and midsize sedans fielded no newcomers this year. In their place was a roster of mostly sporty or luxurious contestants.”

 

I see an irony in the fact that while pure electric cars are still primarily the plaything of wealthy urban dwellers, particularly in the US, some with money still want performance and luxury from an “old-fashioned” car. (The G90 is about $100,000.) My tweet to General Motors tells you everything you need to know about where I stand, as if you didn’t already know.

 

#MundayMosings

#NurembergTrials

#DeathBeforeEV

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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College Football Craziness

I watched a lot of college football yesterday, starting with the Ohio State-Maryland game. On paper it was a mismatch, but Maryland hung in there to the very end, with the final score of 43-30 being misleading as Ohio State scored on a fumble recovery with seconds remaining.

I must admit to mixed emotions while watching that game. I have a soft spot in my heart for Maryland, being born and raised there, but I really don’t want Clemson to get in the 4-team playoff so a win by Ohio State would make that less likely. With Ohio State and Michigan both 11-0 before their annual game next week it is possible both schools will be selected for the playoff. Add likely SEC winner Georgia and that would only leave one spot, which will go to TCU if they win out or to USC if they win out and TCU loses a game. What will happen if two-loss LSU upsets undefeated Georgia in the SEC Championship game? I don’t know for sure, but I think Georgia will still get in.

Both TCU and USC won classics yesterday. TCU won their game at Baylor 29-28, after trailing 28-20 with two and a half minutes left. The winning score was a field goal made on the last play of the game while the clock was running as TCU had no timeouts left.

USC defeated cross-town rival UCLA in a wild game, 48-45. The California Board of Regents is supposed to have a meeting in December to determine if UCLA will be “allowed” to join the Big Ten for athletics. Since it is a “private” school, that board has no jurisdiction over USC.

If the board denies the move can UCLA de-certify from the California university system and change its name to the University of Los Angeles, ULA? Will lawsuits ensue? As Andrew Brandt–former football player agent and front office executive for the Green Bay Packers–often writes, there will be lawyers.

I later watched most of South Carolina’s upset win over Tennessee that knocked the Vols out of the playoffs. South Carolina was a 22-point underdog at home having just played a very poor game against SEC rival Florida. Talented but erratic South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler played the game of his life as the Gamecocks destroyed Tennessee 63-38. (I turned the game off at 49-31.) The 63 points is the most ever scored by an unranked team against a team ranked in the top five.

Because of more GI distress I stayed up long after my wonderful wife went to bed and I watched much of the Oregon-Utah game that Oregon won 20-17 at home. Utah had four drives of ten plays or more, but only scored on one of them.

So, I watched games from the Big Ten, the SEC and the Pac-12. They were all competitive (at one point Tennessee only trailed 35-31) and two of the three did not go as expected. Yes, I am looking forward to Ohio State-Michigan next weekend. As I have written before, even though I think college football games are too long and the overtime scheme is brain-damaged, I like watching them more than NFL games. Depending on Nebraska’s hire for its next head coach, I might resume watching their games next year.

 

#CollegeFootballCraziness

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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See the source image

 

Studebaker Saturday

Many thanks to those of you who read the blog the past two days. The two-day total for views was the highest for any such period in the last month. I even received the “Your stats are booming!” notification from WordPress yesterday.

Spurred by Dirty Dingus McGee’s efforts I made a contribution to Arizona Food Banks. Please consider donating to the charity of your choice to aid those less fortunate.

 

I thought I would return to this blog’s roots–such as they are–for today. I actually think that the amount of automotive content and the number of views are inversely correlated, but there you go.

I have little doubt that I have expressed the following views and shown the data below in previous posts. However, after 1,560+ posts and about 825,000 words I don’t even remember what search terms would find those posts.

 

Some have opined that Studebaker’s demise was inevitable after the bankruptcy and reorganization of 1933. Perhaps that is the case. However, the company did not do everything wrong in the interim. I want to show that the Hawk series was viable, at least initially, and that as memorable as the Avanti was, its introduction may have killed the Gran Turismo Hawk.

Consider this data comparing the Hawk series in its first two model years to its closest competitor in the US market, the Ford Thunderbird.

 

Hawks Thunderbird
1956 19,165     15,631
1957 19,674     21,380
1956-57 38,839     37,011

 

Even with Ford’s advantages in size and marketing clout, the Studebaker Hawk series–despite four different variations being offered in 1956–matched the T-Bird sale for sale. Of course, in 1958 the Thunderbird became a four-seater. Yes, the Hawks were always four-seaters, but the Thunderbird was still the closest analogue for 1956-57. OK, a photo.

 

1956 Studebaker Sky Hawk | S63 | Salmon Brothers Collection 2012

 

Just like the Baby Birds have aged well, I think these Hawk models still look good also. While the larger Thunderbird introduced for the 1958 model year sold much better than its two-seat predecessors, in the present it is not as desirable as a collector car.

However, Hawk sales declined by 58% in 1958 to about 8,200. Whether it was the sharp recession of 1957-58 or the increasing rumors of Studebaker’s demise, the cars lost favor with the American public.

By 1961 sales of the Hawk–by now just one model as opposed to the four available in 1956–declined to just 3,900 (including exports). The automotive press figured the car was doomed, especially since Studebaker’s “renaissance” due to the Lark had faded. Little did anyone know what Sherwood Egbert, Studebaker CEO/President, and talented designer Brooks Stevens had in store.

 

1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk | T220 | Indy 2017

 

The similarities in the two cars is unmistakable, such was the timelessness of the original “Loewy Coupes” which were actually designed by Robert Bourke, but the Gran Turismo Hawk had just enough changes to remain fresh.

While sales of the Gran Turismo Hawk didn’t reach those of the first two years of the Hawk series, sales improved by 138 percent compared to 1961 to more than 9,300.

The Avanti is hailed today as Studebaker’s brilliant, but doomed last gasp. Believe it or not, it was not perceived as the company’s salvation by all of those working for Studebaker. I believe the introduction of the Avanti doomed the Gran Turismo Hawk, which could have continued in production after the South Bend plant was closed as some GT Hawks had been produced in Canada.

For 1963, the first model year of the Avanti and second year of the Gran Turismo Hawk, the latter outsold the former by 21 percent. The combined sales total, about 8,500 units, was not that far below Hawk sales for 1962. I think the Avanti cannibalized the market for the Gran Turismo. Given the Avanti’s teething pains, I think the company’s demise was actually sped up by its introduction.

Here are some thoughts by Otto Klausmeyer, who served as Assistant Production Manager for Studebaker for quite some time, courtesy of Studebaker 1946-1966: The Classic Postwar Years by Richard Langworth:

 

“The painful truth was that although we had very serious body difficulties, they were soon overcome and unsold Avantis were all over the shop and in dealer’s hands…The verdict of the public was conclusive and quite unmistakable. They didn’t want any part of it…The fastback prototype should have been built instead of the Avanti…Yet the Avanti was in production and had been abundantly rejected by the public, before the sedan prototypes were finished.”

 

The Avanti had a revolutionary exterior design, and still looks good today, but it was built on a beefed-up Lark chassis and cost Studebaker $3.5 million to develop that it really didn’t have. Here are some words by Langworth:

 

“But had Avanti been introduced by Chevy, as the new Corvette–and then been followed a year later by sedan derivatives named Chevelles–who can doubt GM would have met with success?…Deciding to build an Avanti would have been little risk for GM, but it’s easy to make the one hundredth straight right decision, after the first ninety-nine.”

 

After losing significant market share for almost all of the 1950s, Studebaker was basically doomed no matter what they did. My relatively newfound preference for the Gran Turismo Hawk is, no doubt, clouding my judgment.

 

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