Monday Musings

Honest and well-intentioned people can have different opinions on various issues and that doesn’t mean that any of those people are evil. No one, including me, has a monopoly on truth, wisdom, good taste, good judgment or anything else.

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From thedrive.com is this post about this car:

See the source image

From caradvice.com.au a picture of the stunning Lexus LC500. The article from thedrive.com states that Lexus is offering a $5,000 cash discount on the car through the end of July. Sales of the LC500 fell from 423 in June, 2017 to just 161 in June, 2018.

Lexus LC500 3

This is a picture of an LC500 my wonderful wife took earlier this year when we satisfied our desire to see one in person and, serendipitously, wound up with test drives. When Kyle Cheromcha of The Drive drove one early in 2018 he called it, “an amazing machine, a triumph of futurism, and a testament to progress.”

We were offered far more than a $5,000 discount to buy one without even making an offer and probably could have purchased one for about $15,000 off MSRP, but are not in the market for a new car right now. Shortly after this experience, my wonderful wife and I paid off our mortgage, instead.

I am a huge fan of the car, though, and it was one of the seven cars listed in my Ultimate Garage on my previous blog. A 600+HP turbocharged version (the LC F) is supposed to be released sometime next year. Whenever I do Ultimate Garage 2.0 I think the probability that the LC500 is on the list is extremely high.

What do you think of this car?

 

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Remembering

My marvelous mom was born on this day in 1922. She has been gone a long time, but I think about her every day. She had a rough life as a Holocaust survivor and displaced person (recall from this post that my parents married in a Displaced Persons camp and that my older sister was born there), but she carried on as a loving mother and grandmother.

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I am thinking of dancing with the devil. I have been considering establishing a Facebook account in order to promote this blog. I have severe misgivings, but Facebook is the platform and if I want more people to read, to comment, etc. then I am beginning to think I have to use them, as much as I despise them. What do you think?

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What do you think of this car?

See the source image

From cargurus.com a picture of a Buick Reatta, another General Motors failure of the 1980s/1990s. I know the Reatta is not a performance car, but I love the way it looks. I figure I could improve the performance somehow if I were to acquire one. Innovative Performance Chips is a company that sells engine tuning chips and even, supposedly, offers such a product for the 3.8 liter V-6 Reatta engine. They claim up to 35 additional HP (no mention of increased torque) AND up to five more MPG with their product. I am skeptical, but +15-20 HP and +2-3 MPG would be fine.

When I moved to California in the mid-1990s, I purchased a car from a Buick/GMC/Pontiac dealer. I really wanted to buy a Reatta, but they were no longer being manufactured and the salesman did not want to find me a used one. Fewer than 22,000 Reattas were produced during the four model years it was offered, 1988-1991.

I hope to read comments from you on these or any other topics discussed in this blog.

 

The Facts Are The Facts

From ustr.gov, part of the Executive Office of the President:

“The U.S. goods and services trade surplus [emphasis mine] with Canada was $8.4 billion in 2017.”

“U.S. exports of services to Canada were an estimated $58.7 billion in 2017, 8.8% ($4.8 billion) more than 2016, and 37.6% greater than 2007 levels. It was up roughly 245% from 1993 (pre-NAFTA). Leading services exports from the U.S. to Canada were in the travel, intellectual property (computer software, audio visual), and professional and management services sectors.”

 

 

Oruktor Amphibolos

Huh? I’ll explain although someone reading probably knows what the title means.

First, a Friday the 13th story: on Friday, September 13th, 1991 I was driving in the downtown area of a large city when the belt that drives all of the engine accessories (power steering, fan, alternator) snapped. I couldn’t drive the vehicle especially since it was a hot day and I couldn’t risk having the engine overheat.

This was before car phones, cell phones, and membership in AAA. I don’t really remember how, but I managed to call a garage near my office who sent a tow truck. During the trip to the garage a bottle of grape juice exploded on the passenger seat. I owned that vehicle for almost four more years, but the juice stain was never fully removed. So, I am a little wary of the Friday the 13th. Oh, that’s not the only bad thing that has happened to me on a Friday the 13th, either.

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On this day in 1805 America’s first self-propelled vehicle—and the world’s first self-powered amphibious vehicle—moved under its own power for the first time.

From Wikipedia an 1834 drawing of the Oruktor Amphibolos, or Amphibious Digger.

This vehicle was designed and built by Oliver Evans (born in Newport, Delaware in 1755) and isn’t even close to being his most important invention. He designed and built the first fully automated industrial process (a system for milling and sifting flour) and the first high-pressure steam engine. In 1790, Evans received the third US patent ever granted for his milling/sifting process.

The Oruktor Amphibolos was built by Evans for the Philadelphia Board of Health as a solution to the Board’s concerns about dredging and cleaning the city’s dockyard and removing sandbars.

Evans was, obviously, a big believer in steam power. In 1812, 17 years before practical use of the locomotive began, he wrote:

“The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam engines from one city to another almost as fast as birds fly – fifteen to twenty miles an hour. Passing through the air with such velocity – changing the scenes in such rapid succession – will be the most exhilarating, delightful exercise. A carriage will set out from Washington in the morning, and the passengers will breakfast at Baltimore, dine in Philadelphia, and sup at New York the same day.”

Oliver Evans was a man ahead of his time. He was the first to describe vapor-compression refrigeration and propose a design for the first refrigerator in 1805, but it would be three decades until his colleague Jacob Perkins would be able to construct a working example. Similarly, he drew up designs for a solar boiler, machine gun, steam-carriage gearshift, dough-kneading machine, perpetual baking oven, marine salvage process, and a scheme for urban gas lighting; these ideas and designs would not be made reality until some time after his death in 1819.

Evans believed he was unappreciated and became bitter and isolated in his later years. (I can relate.) I think it’s appropriate, on this day and in this context, to remember Oliver Evans and the Oruktor Amphibolos.

I Want These, Too…

First, Happy Birthday to my amazing niece! She reads the blog (oh, she’s the one!).

Auto Signs AACA July 2018

Two signs from the AACA Museum in Hershey. The title of this post says it all. I would love to own signs like this, but our garage is not that large and I don’t know where else they could be displayed. In the meantime I have to satisfy myself with trinkets like this:

Auto Trinkets

I tried to flip the photo twice, but this is the way it seemingly wants to be displayed, so who am I to argue?

Once again, I ask you to start thinking about the cars that would be in your Ultimate Garage and feel free to comment on them. Oh, maybe something like this:

See the source image

From awheelthing.com (clever name, IMO) a picture of an E-Type Jaguar. Upon seeing the E-Type for the first time, Enzo Ferrari supposedly called it the most beautiful car he had ever seen. It sure is a lot closer to the top than to the bottom.

Keep An Open Mind

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Besides being the title of a book by Earl Weaver I think it’s a great reminder to keep an open mind and remember that no matter how intelligent one may be, no one knows everything about anything.

During a trip yesterday to the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania with my friend Charlie I discovered this car:

1963 Mustang 1

A picture I took at the AACA Museum. Although I have stopped the What Car Is This? feature, what car is this? Need more help? Another photo:

1963 Mustang 2

The tail lights should be a clue. OK, how about this?

1963 Mustang Text

I have learned a lot about cars in my life and especially in the last two or three years, but I had never heard of this car before yesterday. I also think it is better looking than any production Mustang.

I have read that in the case of cognitive dissonance—when new information contradicts previously held beliefs—up to 90% of people dig in their mental heels and hold on to their previously held beliefs even more. While people are entitled to their opinions no one is entitled to their own facts.

The famous economist John Maynard Keynes has been credited with saying, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” While he may or may not have actually uttered those words I think they are, nevertheless, a good roadmap for life.

The Car That Saved The Day

See the source image

From hotrod.com a picture of a 1961 Chevrolet Impala. This car has a 4-speed manual transmission and, probably, a big-block V-8. The ’61 Impala in my life had neither of these, but was the car that saved the day.

As I have written before, I was in an accident in my 1967 GTO two weeks before I was to leave for college for the first time. My father, understandably, was upset and threatened to cut me off from all cars. By this time my parents were divorced and my father had re-married. I think that my father’s second wife was younger than my older sister. I did not have a much of a relationship with his second wife and was indignant anytime anyone referred to her as my stepmother.

However, it was her insistence that my father let me have a car to get back and forth between college and home that led him to let me use his 1961 Impala while the GTO was being repaired. That Impala had the base 283 cubic-inch V-8 and a Powerglide automatic transmission. The two-speed (yes, just two speeds) Powerglide is much reviled now as modern automatics are so much better. The Powerglide was indestructible, though, and for basic transportation it was just fine. From 1953 through 1967 if a Corvette had an automatic transmission it was a Powerglide. For 1953 and 1954 that was the only transmission available in a Corvette.

My relationship with my father’s second wife improved after her intervention although we would never become really close. I have no idea if she is still alive and, if she is, where she lives.

I do, however, have a soft spot for 1961 Impalas. I have never been a party animal and went home virtually every weekend of my first semester in college. Without the Impala that would not have been possible. While I doubt I will ever own one, too many cars ahead of it in line, I will always appreciate the car that saved the day.