Last Sunday

Before I even write this post today and before this WordPress week ends at the close of this Sunday, Disaffected Musings has had more blog views and unique visitors this week than in any other week in its history. This month, which is not yet over, has had more unique visitors than any other month. (Thanks.)

Of course, many of the views/visitors came from people trying to find out why Cristy Lee was not on the Barrett-Jackson telecast that ended yesterday. I am a little surprised that so many of her “fans” didn’t realize that the Barrett-Jackson auctions were no longer televised on Motor Trend and that contractual arrangements probably prevented her from continuing, assuming that she even wanted to.

However, more views were of the main page of this blog than of Where Is Cristy Lee? so it’s possible other events also drove blog traffic. For more than a week before the Barrett-Jackson broadcast began, the number of views referred from search engines had increased dramatically. Maybe the news that Belly Biane (intentional misspelling) is probably leaving the Oakland A’s and baseball led people to search for “Moneyball Pioneer” and that led them to find this blog.

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This is the last Sunday my wonderful wife and I will be living in this great house. In addition, this is the last Sunday I will post for awhile. I cannot say with certainty exactly how long.

My strong belief that nothing in life is all good or all bad, that everything is a trade-off is being reinforced by this move. I was very sad after leaving Wegmans for the last time. I have made a point to walk around the house and to take photos, some of which I will show on the blog after the move. I am not happy about many aspects of this change, such as leaving our wonderful neighbors. However, my wonderful wife graciously agreed to two major moves at my request so I cannot deny her wish to move to the desert.

I am hoping that a new venue is a fresh start for my life, which in many ways has become a rut. I hope that “post-virus” we will both find new friends at the numerous car events held in the desert, which has a car culture far beyond that of the mid-Atlantic.

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I was originally going to title today’s post “Lexus A or Lexus B.” I can still proceed with that idea, though.

At the recently concluded Barrett-Jackson auction, one of these was offered and sold for $440,000 all in.

 

 

This picture is of the actual auction car and is, obviously, from Barrett-Jackson’s website. Oh, this is the amazing Lexus LFA. Jeremy Clarkson, famous co-host of Top Gear and The Grand Tour, said this is the best car he’s ever driven, or at least that’s what he said after he drove one for the first time.

The LFA had to be fitted with a digital tachometer because no analog tach could keep up with its amazing ability to rev. The LFA can rev from 0 to 9000 RPM in less than one second!

The LFA’s naturally aspirated 4.8 liter/293 cubic inch V-10 engine produces 553 HP/354 LB-FT of torque. In that way, it’s like a traditional Italian “supercar” engine in that the emphasis is on high RPM horsepower and not low-end torque. (Yes, I know the Lexus is Japanese in origin, not Italian.)

OK, the LFA is Lexus A; you can probably guess the identity of Lexus B.

 

See the source image

 

From carmagazine.co.uk a picture of a Lexus LC (500). The LC is more of a GT car than the LFA, which is more of a “pure” sports car.

At present, the LC is powered by a 5 liter/303 cubic inch V-8 with output of 471 HP/398 LB-FT of torque in its non-hybrid version. A twin-turbo V-8 of smaller displacement but more power has been rumored to be in development for this car, but those rumors have faded recently.

OK, which of these cars do you prefer? Neither is inexpensive although the LFA is in another league in terms of rarity and price than the LC. Which do I prefer? Believe me, if I could afford it I would have both. I think the LFA is a marvel of automotive engineering and it’s far from ugly. The LC is one of the most handsome cars I have ever seen. Remember that it has been named to both editions of my Ultimate Garage.

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

 

#LastSunday

#CristyLee

#Barrett-Jackson

#LexusLFA

#LexusLC

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Goodbye, Wegmans

I love shopping at Wegmans supermarket. Well, I guess I should write that I loved shopping there. Wegmans does not have stores in the desert being solely Northeast/Mid-Atlantic in location.

Yesterday I went shopping there for the last time. How much do/did I love that place? For the last five years, the closest one to us has been about 18 miles away–one way–and yet it has been our main supermarket as well as our primary pharmacy. Before November of 2015, the closest one was about an hour’s drive–one way–and yet we still went shopping there on occasion.

Since 1998, Wegmans’ employees have put the company on the FORTUNE magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For®. The list began in 1998. Wegmans has always ranked at or near the top among supermarkets in the American Customer Satisfaction Index® and has had at least one year as the top retailer in America regardless of sector. I miss 56PackardMan’s contributions to the blog, but especially miss him here as he spent much of his career in the grocery business. Anyway…the selection of items was fantastic (it should be in a 110,000 square foot store), the prices were very good and the service was amazing. When I asked an employee where an item was instead of being told “Aisle 8A” they would walk me over to the right location and make sure I found the item.

Before I finished loading the groceries in the Z06 (which was another reminder of our impending change as I almost always went shopping at Wegmans in our Kia Sportage, which we sold on Thursday), I took some photos of the exterior of the store.

 

 

Goodbye, Wegmans… 😦

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Thanks to all of the people who read this blog yesterday, which had the second highest number of views in a day in the history of Disaffected Musings as well as one of the top five in the number of unique visitors. Once again, people trying to find out why Cristy Lee is not on the Barrett-Jackson telecast were a large percentage of those views. I finally added a timely update to Where Is Cristy Lee? that answers why she is no longer a part of those broadcasts, at least my best guess. From showbizpost.com a picture of Cristy Lee that has been shown on this blog before.

 

See the source image

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Events like selling the Kia Sportage and the last trip to Wegmans are making the move more real, but for part of me all of this is surreal and won’t believe we’re moving until we’ve actually done so. My mood has been more erratic than usual and it’s intrinsically erratic. My sleep has been even more disturbed than normal, which is both cause and effect for my mood. Unfortunately, I think the hardest part is yet to come.

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On this day in 1900 the first meeting of stockholders and directors of the Ohio Automobile Company was held. You know the company better by the name it adopted on October 13, 1902: the Packard Motor Car Company.

I haven’t written as much about Packard (and Studebaker, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, etc.) lately as I used to. Part of that is explained by the departure of 56PackardMan from the blogosphere, part by the shift in the search for a Grocery Car/Taxi/Corvette Companion to something more modern and not from a defunct American car company. I still admire the cars, though, and still wish some or all of the Independent car companies had survived along with makes like Pontiac and Mercury.

Given that Barrett-Jackson has resumed live auctions, here is a picture of one of my favorite Packards, a 1956 400 model, that was sold at their Scottsdale auction in 2010.

 

See the source image

 

At the current Scottsdale auction, a 1955 Mercury Montclair convertible sold for a strong $75,900 all in. I am mentioning the car because it bears more than a passing resemblance to Packards of the same time frame. Let’s see if I can paste in a photo of that car:

 

1955 MERCURY MONTCLAIR CONVERTIBLE - Misc 1 - 242749

 

I will continue to dream about owning a car like either of these two although I know it’s likely to remain a dream unfulfilled. Once again, what is life without dreams?

 

#GoodbyeWegmans

#CristyLee

#MovingStress

#Packard

#1956Packard400

#1955MercuryMontclair

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Dream Addendum

No, the post title does not refer to an addition to a sales contract where the seller agrees to give us a huge credit for home repairs AND throws the family Ferrari into the deal.

I had a very disturbing dream last night. I dreamt I was watching a woman in a funeral home being taken to view the remains of her husband or son or brother, I don’t know which. The funeral home employee opened a large door that led to a collection of long, rectangular metal boxes. The employee pulled one out and opened it, but instead of a funeral urn or body being visible what looked like the skeleton of an alien being appeared made of something that looked like wood, but was obviously not. Both women reacted with horror as did I; I woke up. WTF?

This is the second time in recent weeks that a rectangular metal box has featured in a dream. I am attributing the tone of these dreams to moving/virus stress, but the details remain inexplicable.

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While I was compelled to share that dream (OCD), let me offer something more pleasant. According to 365 Days Of Motoring, it was on this day in 2007 that Nissan announced the “new” GT-R. The car went on sale in Japan in December of 2007, but was not available in the US until July of 2008.

The GT-R has always been powered by a “hand-built” twin-turbo 3.8 liter (232 cubic inches for Bill Stephens) that now produces, the car is still being built, 565 HP/467 LB-FT of torque in base spec. In the Track Edition and NISMO versions, the output is 600 HP/481 LB-FT. The specialty GT-R50 engine produces 710 HP/575 LB-FT.

The car used to be a relative bargain among performance cars, especially one bordering on supercar status. With the NISMO MSRP now exceeding $200,000, it’s not so much of a bargain and, let’s face it, the car is a little long in the tooth. Still, it reads like it’s a hell of a car with all-wheel drive and great handling to go with its powerful engine. From Car Scoops a picture of a Nissan GT-R:

 

See the source image

 

A GT-R is not on my immediate “want to have” list, but I wouldn’t mind having one in my stable if I suddenly found myself orders of magnitude wealthier. Anyone have anything to offer on this car?

 

#DreamAddendum

#DisturbingDream

#NissanGT-R

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday After Momentous Thursday

Yesterday was a day of major change for my wonderful wife and me. First, the extensive repairs (stucco remediation and associated repairs) were completed yesterday after four weeks of work. We want to thank Rob and Jaime for their yeoman efforts on our behalf.

Second, we had much furniture removed yesterday, some to be consigned for sale and the rest to be donated to charity. The kitchen and master bedroom were particularly denuded of furniture.

Third, we said goodbye to our dependable Kia Sportage, selling it to CarMax. One last picture:

 

 

If one looks closely a small dent can be seen on the left front fender, courtesy of a tree limb launched during Tropical Storm Isaias. The proceeds received for the Kia will be used to buy its replacement. The backdrop for this photo is one that will soon be foreign to us, both in terms of location and type of setting.

We owned the Sportage for eight years, during which time we drove it about 42,000 miles. It was a reliable vehicle and served us well.

When I put “Momentous Thursday” in the post title you didn’t think I was referring to the last Presidential debate, did you? I will reiterate my extreme disdain for American politics. To Democrats and Republicans, a plague on both your houses!

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Barrett-Jackson returned to live auctions yesterday with their “Fall” event held at Westworld in Scottsdale, Arizona. The auctions are now broadcast on fyi and History.

I guess people didn’t understand that the TV move meant the end of Cristy Lee as a participant in the broadcast. Disaffected Musings had many views by people trying to find out why she didn’t appear on the Barrett-Jackson telecast, which led them to Where Is Cristy Lee?, this post and this one.

One more time…Cristy Lee is under contract, ultimately, to Discovery Communications. (Motor Trend, the previous “home” of the Barrett-Jackson telecasts, is part of Discovery.) History and fyi are jointly owned by Disney and Hearst Communications, not by Discovery.

In addition to other commitments, Steve Magnante actually works for Barrett-Jackson, which is why he is still on the broadcast. Mike Joy and Rick DeBruhl must have a contractual arrangement (i.e. not under contract to Discovery) that allowed them to continue on the broadcast after the change in channel/networks.

So, what did I think of the telecasts? The energy seemed a little low, particularly at first. I don’t know if someone with input into the broadcast reads this blog, but it did appear as if an effort was made to have the telecast be a little more of a conversation among the hosts and less of Person A says x and Person B says y with no interaction. I have remarked that the Barrett-Jackson telecasts have seemed a bit stiff, in part because of the seeming lack of real dialogue among the hosts.

It was good to watch a Barrett-Jackson auction again although I still think the docket lacks diversity. Way too many pickup trucks and Mustangs for my taste although, once again, I realize that Barrett-Jackson is at the mercy of consignors and potential bidders. They have to offer what they think will sell for good prices.

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Speaking of good prices (what a segue!), this is a Frugal Friday post. Oh, also speaking of CarMax, here is a picture of a car offered at $19,998 (a popular price for CarMax offerings):

 

 

This 2015 Mustang has about 45,000 miles. CarMax makes it much easier to find pictures and how much you would pay per month if you financed the purchase than it is to find out about the drivetrain, suspension, etc., but this car has a 6-cylinder engine (300 HP/280 LB-FT of torque) and an automatic transmission. That price ($19,998) is the price you pay–no negotiating–with the addition of an “administrative” fee and possibly shipping if your local CarMax dealer is more than x miles away from the CarMax location where the car is. Oh, an aside: if the picture disappears please let me know here. Thanks.

 

#FrugalFriday

#MomentousThursday

#NoCristyLee

#Barrett-JacksonReturn

#2015FordMustang

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday, Beautiful Highways?

On this day in 1965 President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Highway Beautification Act. The new law called for control of outdoor advertising, including removal of certain types of signs, along the nation’s growing Interstate Highway System and the existing federal-aid primary highway system. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.

LBJ’s wife, Lady Bird, played a major role in the passage of the act. In the movie Good Morning, Vietnam, Robin Williams (as disc jockey Adrian Cronauer) comments about the passage of the bill and says one of its provisions is that Lady Bird will no longer be allowed to drive in a car with the top down. Since most of Williams’ dialogue in the scenes in the radio studio was ad-libbed, I assume that line was also ad-libbed.

I don’t really remember what America’s major highways looked like before passage of the bill, but frankly I think that unless some natural scenery exists, interstate highways project too sterile an appearance. I also think the bill (and its descendants, more on that below) has been ignored on US routes–as opposed to interstate highways–and many of them have long stretches that are nothing but a harsh, dissonant mix of stores, advertising and more stores, a cacophony of sight, if you will.

I’m sure Lady Bird Johnson meant well, but as is the case with most government regulations the Highway Beautification Act has spawned a cottage Congressional “industry” of subsequent committees and more laws. In writing about the George Brett homerun that was nullified because of the placement of pine tar on his bat, Bill James wrote, “Laws that are not enforced are unenforceable.” The “pine tar” rule had been in effect for awhile, but had never been applied until that instance making that enforcement the definition of arbitrary. Despite the myriad of laws that are supposed to govern the appearance of major roads and highways, many of them are either garish or sterile in appearance.

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

– Mark Twain

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In this piece Colin Windell notes that Fords sold in South Africa are available with a USB port in the rear-view mirror to accommodate dash cams. Does anyone know if Ford or any other vehicle manufacturer sells cars so equipped in the US?

My wonderful wife’s 2018 Corvette is equipped with option code UQT (say that out loud), which gives her the ability to record high-def video and audio and save it to a storage device so the A/V can be played on most computers. However, in this instance the ability to record sight and sound is built into the car.

I think dash cams are a great idea and have looked into adding one to my Z06. I think the use of such devices is a prime example of “Better Safe Than Sorry.”

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So, is this car going to be released or not? Does anyone know?

 

See the source image

 

From carmagazine.co.uk (obviously) a picture/rendering of the 2021 Alfa Romeo GTV. Some time last year Alfa announced that all of its 2021 offerings would either have a hybrid or all-electric drivetrain, which most of the automotive world interpreted as the end of the Giulia-based GTV coupe. Other publications say such a car may still be introduced, although perhaps not until model year 2022, and it may or may not have a non-ICE drivetrain.

It would be a sad day if all Alfa Romeo builds are SUVs and four-door sedans, regardless of how they are powered. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (Dylan Thomas, of course…)

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#HighwayBeautificationAct

#MarkTwain

#DashCams

#NewAlfaRomeoGTV?

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wednesday Update

OK…IF everything goes as scheduled, I will post for about another week and then not for 10-15 days. Yes, we are getting ready to move to the desert. Once again, until the move is done it’s not done (channeling my inner Yogi Berra), but we have dates for being packed, loaded and for flying out. Obviously, we also have tentative dates for closing on the sale of this house and the purchase of our desert home.

I am sorry to have to take the interruption (bloggus interruptus) as blog traffic has been very good this month. The number of unique visitors for the month is already the second highest in the history of Disaffected Musings and even with the looming hiatus may still “break the record.” Thanks for reading and please tell your friends!

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Corvette Blogger recently published a post about an episode of Everyday Driver that featured a C4 Corvette as one of three used and affordable sports cars one could buy. Via Corvette Blogger a still of the C4 Corvette tested in the episode:

 

[VIDEO] To Know One Is To Love One: Everyday Driver Digs the C4 Corvette

 

I am not really a fan of automobile racing. I appreciate that some advancements for “everyday” cars were originally developed for racing, and maybe I would enjoy racing if I were a participant (or would have before my reflexes diminished with age), but watching races on TV is virtually impossible for me. I didn’t exactly enjoy the one time I attended the Indianapolis 500 in person, either.

That being said, here is an interesting passage from the Corvette Blogger article:

 

“It [the C4 Corvette] was also a demon on a road course. In fact, it was so good and so fast, the Sports Car Club of America [SCCA] banned it in the late eighties. According to an article from our friends over at Hagerty, ‘Auto racing might be the only sport that penalizes a team for winning. When that happened to the C4 Corvette in the late 1980s, the incident started an intriguing new chapter in the marque’s racing history. The C4 Corvette thrust Chevy’s sports car into supercar handling territory, if not ultimate speed, when it debuted in 1984. With 0.9-g cornering, reliable Chevy small-block V-8 performance, and excellent brakes, the C4 quickly proved its mettle in SCCA Showroom Stock GT racing. The Vette utterly dominated the podium in the Playboy and then Escort Endurance Championship from 1985–87, relegating the Porsche 944 Turbo to a cameo role in the series.'”

“The Corvette beat Porsche 29–0 [emphasis mine] from 1985 to 1987, says John Powell, who ran a racing school at Canada’s Mosport track in Ontario, Canada, and campaigned ‘Vettes in that series. Corvette fans were happy, but the ‘Vette’s dominance threatened race participation by other brands, as well as fan attendance.”

“And so, after the 1987 series, the SCCA booted the Corvettes…”

 

I think a lot of car snobs have looked down at the Corvette. “A real car is made in Europe.” Bullsh*t! The base price for a Ferrari 812 Superfast is $340,000 and one can pay nearly a half million for a car fully equipped. The car will accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in just under 3 seconds. The 812, which debuted in 2017, is the first Ferrari with electric power steering.

My 2016 Z06 stickered for about $100,000 new although I paid far less than that for a used one with 4,400 miles. All C7 Corvettes, the generation that debuted with the 2014 model year, have electric power steering. My Z06, stock, would do a sub-3 second 0-60. By the way, it was a big deal that the C4 Corvette could manage 0.9-g cornering. My Z06 will do 1.2-g. I couldn’t find data for the 812 Superfast, but even with rear-wheel steering I can’t imagine it can beat the Z06 cornering.

Magnetic ride shocks made their Ferrari debut with the 599. That technology was first used on the Corvette.

Hey, I understand the desire of those who can afford to buy a Ferrari to actually buy one. If I could afford one, I would almost certainly buy one as well. I still would keep my Z06, though.

Back to the Corvette Blogger piece…one of the main points of the article is how much the two Everyday Driver hosts liked the C4 Corvette. I used to have that episode saved on a DVR, but at some point the episode developed an inability to play on any receiver in the house so I deleted it. Wonder why we’re jettisoning DirecTV after we move? Oh, many of the saved episodes of all shows that have been saved for more than just a few weeks have stopped playing. Anyway…

As I have written before, if you have an uncontrollable urge to buy a Corvette, a C4 can be a very affordable way into one. I would, though, recommend one from 1992 or later, particularly from 1995 or 1996 if you can find one. A ZR-1 would be an exception, of course, although probably not as affordable as a “base” Corvette.

A Car Gurus search for 1995-96 Corvettes nationwide yielded 19 examples with a list price of under $10,000. Most of them had high mileage, though. Limiting the search to cars with 60,000 miles or less yielded 8 cars listed below $12,500. Would you rather buy a Toyota 4runner for more than $40,000? NOT me!

107,677 Corvettes were produced from 1992 to 1996. I think you can find one if you look.

 

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#C4Corvette

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In Or Out? 14

An eerie coincidence…almost as soon as I woke up today I began thinking about the subject of the next In Or Out? post. I decided to show/write about the Nash Airflyte. A few minutes later I checked my email and this link had been sent to me. It is an article on Macs Motor City Garage about…the 1949-51 Nash Airflyte. I guess I’m supposed to feature that car today.

Remembering that picture links from Macs Motor City Garage are not stable, I found a picture from somewhere else, David’s Classic Cars.

 

See the source image

 

From Macs:

 

“While the Motor CIty’s bathtub styling trend of the late ’40s was a brief one, it produced some truly memorable cars. Hudson and Packard, to name two, were leading proponents of the upside-down bathtub look, while Mercury and Lincoln, among others, also adopted some of its elements. But the queen of the bathtubs was the 1949-51 Nash Airflyte. As the often bombastic Tom McCahill of Mechanix Illustrated wrote at the time,  ‘Nash, one of the oldest automakers in America, has gone overboard for the newest fad in automotive designs and come up with two hot candidates for Miss Upside-Down Bathtub of 1949.’ The new Nash 600 and Ambassador, he blasted,  ‘jumped into the latest fashion with both faucets wide open.'”

 

I think my inspiration for writing about a Nash today came from the most recent episode of Junkyard Gold. Steve Magnante went to Rambler Ranch in Elizabeth, Colorado. Their website reads, “Dedicated to the Preservation & Restoration of NASH, RAMBLER, & AMC Automotive History.” Magnante featured an Airflyte during the show.

The 1949 Nash line of cars were its first totally redesigned lineup after World War II. In that year they also became the first US manufacturer of mass-produced automobiles to totally commit to unitized single-unit construction as opposed to body-on-frame. From Connors Motor Car, another picture of a Nash Airflyte, this one a 1949 model.

 

See the source image

 

Calendar year 1949 sales for Nash increased by 20 percent compared to 1948, but the company’s market share actually declined slightly. 1949 saw an explosion in car sales/production as the end of post-war teething pains combined with many new styles by a slew of companies, including GM and Ford, led to an upsurge in interest by buyers and ability to meet that demand by sellers.

Nash’s good fortune continued, though, in 1950 as the company set its all-time record for single year production reaching almost 200,000 units. Included in those cars from 1950 was a new model, the compact Rambler, but that’s another story.

OK, 1949-51 Nash Airflyte…In Or Out?

 

#InOrOut?

#NashAirflyte

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Monday Musings 57

Can a brain return to its “native state” after a half-century? Before I discovered sports at the age of 8 or 9, I read about cars, science, history, countries. Some of my favorite books were just compilations of data, such as information on countries.

This morning, my “bathroom reading” was the 2008 edition of the CIA World Factbook, a compendium of facts and figures about nations, dependencies, etc. Sports books have virtually ceased to be “throne reading material.”

Most people I know, even some of those whom I have known for decades, seem to be in denial that I have reverted to my “native state.” As I have written here before, I came relatively late to the sports world. For the most part, my male neighbors and classmates were following sports by the time they were 5 or 6.

I can assure you that I am not secretly following sports, but pretending not to. I really have little to no interest in sports, anymore. If other people don’t understand or don’t approve, that’s their problem.

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On this day in 1987, also a Monday, world stock markets experienced a pronounced decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by a frightening 22.6%. (An equivalent percentage fall today would be almost 6,500 points on the Dow.) The S&P 500 declined by 20.4%. Some “pundits” also believed the decline was unexpected, although the Dow had fallen a total of 10% over the previous three trading days.

Because (or in spite) of action taken by the US Federal Reserve, the stock market rallied strongly on Tuesday the 20th and Thursday the 22nd. While it was almost two years (September, 1989) before the Dow reached its pre-crash levels, for calendar year 1987 it actually eked out a small 0.6% gain.

Because of “Black Monday” equity markets have instituted circuit breakers or trading curbs that temporarily shut down trading in the wake of large price declines. Based upon the idea that a cooling off period would help dissipate panic selling, these mandatory market shutdowns are triggered whenever a large pre-defined market decline occurs during the trading day.

As of the close of trading on Friday the 16th of this year, the Dow was 16.4 times higher than its close on October 19th, 1987. The S&P 500 was 15.5 times higher. A hypothetical investment worth $10,000 in an S&P “index” instrument at the close of trading on “Black Monday” would have a value of about $155,000 today, not counting dividends. If one had removed 40% from that S&P investment before trading resumed the next day, the remaining $6,000 would be worth about $93,000 today.

Unlike the stock market crash of 1929 that precipitated the Great Depression, the US economy did not enter a recession until 1990-91. US GDP grew by 3.5% in 1987 and 4.2% in 1988.

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I assume (everyone knows what happens when one assumes) that by late October, 1987 the 1988 model year cars were available. Here is one of interest to me:

 

See the source image

 

From Car Gurus (crossing my fingers the picture link doesn’t break) a picture of a 1988 Corvette. Chevrolet built 22,789 Corvettes for model year 1988, of which 15,382 were coupes like the car shown here.

The base MSRP for the 1988 Corvette coupe was $29,489; the convertible base MSRP was $34,820. Except for the 125 Callaway-installed twin-turbo cars, costing an additional $25,895, all ’88 Vettes had either 240 or 245 HP. (The Callaway had 382 HP and 562 LB-FT of torque.)

1988 represented the 35th anniversary of the introduction of the Corvette and Chevrolet marked the occasion with an anniversary edition car that was only available as a coupe. The differences in the anniversary edition were solely in appearance; 2,050 of these cars were sold.

In a world where my net worth was 10 or 20 times more than it is today, I might have a C2 restomod AND a C4 restomod. Too bad I haven’t been invested in the stock market since the mid-1980s.

 

#MondayMusings

#NativeState

#BlackMonday

#1988ChevroletCorvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Almost…

only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and nuclear explosions. Or so the saying goes…

Yesterday, while driving back from a “farewell lunch” with some friends/neighbors, we were almost in a serious accident. We had the green, but a car coming from the other direction insisted on turning left into our path. My wonderful wife sped up and swerved to get out of the way and narrowly missed the vehicle and its clueless driver, of which there are far too many on the roads.

I haven’t been feeling well, anyway, for days and the stress of the “almost” accident left me utterly drained. Research cited in the Harvard Business Review in 1994 showed that 60% to 90% of doctor visits were stress-related. I can’t imagine those percentages have diminished, certainly not this year.

A bad outcome for me is that even though I know running is a great stress reliever, when I feel drained due to stress I sometimes skip my run for the day. I have been suffering from extreme fatigue and dizziness for almost a week. I am attributing that to the accumulated stress of selling a house, buying a house, having to make extensive and costly repairs to complete the sale and the unknown of a significant move. I keep hoping that “This, too, shall pass.”

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This gives me a few seconds of happiness…

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Another concept car that should have been produced, in my opinion:

 

 

From this article a picture of the 2005 Chrysler Firepower concept car. From the article: “With the Firepower concept, Chrysler designers set out to transform the thuggish Dodge Viper into a sleek and elegant luxury GT. Chrysler’s 2005 Firepower concept immediately brings to mind that time-honored auto writers’ cliche: the iron fist in a velvet glove…the Firepower combined the brutish Dodge Viper chassis with refined Euro-GT bodywork, a silky V8 coupled to an automatic transmission, and a luxurious, leather-lined cabin.”

Viper enthusiasts are quite stubborn in their affection for the car, but I think that its “thuggish” nature–people have described the car as driving as if it were built in a barn–including lack of ABS and traction control for much of its history and it only being offered with a manual transmission, ignoring the 95%+ of American car buyers who buy an automatic, is the reason that no more than 35,000 Vipers were built during its production run from 1991 to 2017, with a two-year hiatus from 2010 to 2012. (c.f. Chevrolet built almost 33,000 Corvettes in 2017 alone, of which more than 6,000 were the awesome Z06.) It is the automobile business, after all, and even though a car like the Viper can be a “loss-leader” or a halo car, at some point a company has to see, or at least perceive, monetary rewards for its efforts.

The Firepower combined with the Viper might have led to both cars still being sold today. I don’t know how close Chrysler came to putting the Firepower into production. It is sad, but probably true, that cars like the Firepower or the Viper will be phased out and we will be stuck with electric automatons. Not for me…

 

#Almost…

#ChryslerFirepowerConcept

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Cadillac Saturday

On this day in 1902 or not, the first Cadillac was completed. From the Wikipedia article, “Cadillac’s first automobiles, the Runabout and Tonneau, were completed in October 1902…Many sources say the first car rolled out of the factory on 17 October; in the book Henry Leland—Master of Precision, the date is 20 October; another reliable source shows car number three to have been built on 16 October.”

OK, so we’re not sure of the exact date of the first Cadillac. Regardless, for decades the Cadillac name was the most aspirational among American car buyers. Sadly in my opinion, few car buyers desire Cadillac, especially buyers under 40. From Car Sales Base, some data on Cadillac sales:

 

YEAR SALES MKT SHARE
1985 298,762 1.95%
1990 258,168 1.87%
1995 180,504 1.14%
2000 189,154 1.10%
2005 235,002 1.38%
2010 146,925 1.27%
2015 175,267 1.00%
2019 156,246 0.91%

 

Let me say I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the Car Sales Base figures and, in fact, have seen different numbers. For example, if one accepts the 1985 sales figure as a given, data from other sources would peg that number at an almost 4 percent share of the market, not a share of about 2 percent. For illustrative purposes, though, this data makes the point that Cadillac market share is declining to a dangerously low level. From Barrett-Jackson a picture of a lot sold at their Northeast auction in 2016, an auction that my wonderful wife and I attended.

 

See the source image

 

OK, why did I jump to 1949? That was not the first year for tail fins, that was 1948, but it was the first year for Cadillac’s modern, overhead-valve V-8 engine. (Oldsmobile also introduced such an engine for model year 1949.) By the way, according to History of the American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®, Cadillac had about a 1.5% market share in 1949.

Cadillac’s history as an innovator can stand with that of any other company. Their most important innovation was a long time ago, but changed the automobile world forever. In 1912, Cadillac was the first automobile manufacturer to incorporate an electrical system enabling starting, ignition, and lighting. That made the hand crank starter obsolete and made automobiles accessible to many more people.

From supercars.net a picture of one of my favorite cars ever, a car that might make my Ultimate Garage 3.0, if I ever reveal it.

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, a car that has been the subject of an In Or Out? post. This car also brought numerous innovations such as the use of air suspension (which in this iteration was a failure, though) and the first automatic two-position “memory” power seats.

Here is a picture of a car that did appear as part of my Ultimate Garage 2.0, the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado:

 

 

The picture is from the aforementioned book by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®. The Eldorado, and the Oldsmobile Toronado introduced in 1966, brought front-wheel drive to the American market in a meaningful way.

Next and last, a picture of a car that shows both the promise and the disappointment of Cadillac, the XLR:

 

See the source image

From Classic Cars, a picture of a V-spec XLR, meaning this car has the optional supercharged engine. The XLR, first previewed as the Evoq concept in 1999, was almost five years from concept to production, but still had a myriad of quality issues when introduced, particularly in the first two model years, 2004 and 2005.

Cadillac/General Motors overpriced the car so it was particularly vulnerable when the “Great Recession” hit in 2008 and it was discontinued after model year 2009. For example, the V-spec was basically a $100,000 car when new in 2006. A 2006 Corvette convertible, a car that shared much with the XLR, had an MSRP of about $52,000. The base 2006 XLR had an MSRP of more than $75,000.

Obviously, the two markets were not exactly the same, but must have had some overlap, which makes their relative pricing suspect. Yes, hindsight is 20-20, if not better. Still, one wonders what might have happened if the base XLR had been priced at about $65,000 and the V-spec at about $80,000 or maybe $85,000.

As part of a large company, I don’t think Cadillac is in danger of extinction, but I could be wrong. The end of Cadillac would be a most sad day for automobile enthusiasts.

As always, I would like read your thoughts on this topic that, admittedly, I have written about before. As I wrote here, a picture of a beautiful 1948 Cadillac convertible was my inspiration for writing about cars on an almost daily basis.

 

#CadillacSaturday

#DeclineOfCadillac

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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