An Apology To Hemmings

In this post I complained that Hemmings refused to publish my comment about this article. Well, once again we have an example of why patience can be a virtue. They did publish the comment although more time passed than usual between submission and publication. I apologize.


Motor Trend published an article titled, “10 Cars You Won’t Believe Cost More Than A Base C8 Corvette.” Of course, everyone is focused on Mark Reuss’ comment that the base C8 will start at less than $60,000. (His comment that was surprising to me was the C8 will be offered with right-hand drive in the appropriate markets.) Of course, $59,995 qualifies as less than $60,000. More importantly, I doubt many people will buy a 1LT, non Z51 car with no options at all. However, I don’t think anyone will buy a C8 that costs as much as this Toyota:



From that Motor Trend article a picture of a Toyota Land Cruiser. The price of this “vehicle” is listed at…$86,460! NFW! Save the car! By the way, the subtitle for the Motor Trend article is, “This ‘Vette might be the bargain of the century.”

Here’s an interesting photo from


See the source image


Yep, that sure looks like a C8 convertible. Maybe I shouldn’t have shown this photo or my wonderful wife might want to buy one. Just kidding, I think. She really likes the C8, by the way, more than I do.


I’ve written about the difference between stated preferences and revealed (or actual) preferences. When being polled or just in normal conversation, people often say they feel one way about something, but their actions reveal they actually feel another way.

In Ultimate Garage 2.0 I included a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado among the 11 cars. (No Toyota Land Cruisers were included.) I really do love that car and for awhile I would, on occasion, look on websites where “classic” cars are sold to see what a ’67 Eldo would cost.

In the last 2-3 weeks, though, my browsing has almost exclusively consisted of one car: a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. I look almost every day at multiple websites to see what a GT Hawk will cost. By the way, I do not look for a 1964 model as I like, for some reason, the rear deck molding that was really only there to cover the grooves stamped into the rear of the deck lid that was added to the GT Hawk’s “predecessor” in 1956. For 1964 a new stamping was made that eliminated those grooves. I looked for a public domain photo of the molding, but was unsuccessful. Therefore, from Studebaker’s 1962-64 Gran Turismo: Final Flight Of The Hawk by Mark James, a picture of the relevant item from a ’63:



I mean if you’re going to have one might as well tell the world what it is, right? Actually, I just think it looks better than the unadorned rear deck of the ’64.

So, what do they cost? I have seen cars that are running listed anywhere from just under $5,000 to over $30,000. According to Hagerty a base 1963 Gran Turismo Hawk has an “average” value of about $15,000. Coincidentally that is the same value they place on a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado.

Anyway, this tangent is about what car really “should” have been in Ultimate Garage 2.0. The GT Hawk has been on the “cars that missed the cut” list in both Ultimate Garage iterations, but maybe it should have been in instead of out. I sure think about it a lot more than some of the cars that were included. At this point I am also forced to conclude that I am more likely to buy one as a companion to my 2016 Z06 than any other car. Of course, that’s not going to happen any time soon, anyway.









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Loewy Coupe Concerto In Four Movements

Greetings from tropical Panama. No, I am not really in Panama, but with the dew points here having been in the mid-to-upper 70s for most of the last week it sure feels like I could be.

If the air temperature is 105°, but the dew point is 35°—which can happen in a place like say…Arizona—it will feel hot, but your perspiration will evaporate helping to cool you down. Evaporation is a cooling process.

If the air temperature is 90° and the dew point is 75°, like it’s been here for much of the last week, your perspiration will not evaporate anywhere near as quickly. When people say “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” what they’re referring to, whether they know it or not, is the dew point. The dew point is the temperature at which the water vapor in a sample of air at constant barometric pressure condenses into liquid water at the same rate at which it evaporates. It is also referred to as a measure of the absolute amount of water vapor in the air as opposed to relative humidity, which is the amount of water vapor present in air expressed as a percentage of the amount needed for saturation at the same temperature. Meteorology lesson over…


It’s another melancholy Monday as my wonderful wife, for the second time in three weeks, is away on a week-long business trip. I have expressed these thoughts before, but I don’t understand the “macho” attitude that many men express when they indicate they’re happy their wife is away. If you don’t like spending time with your wife then why did you marry her?


I just acquired and finished reading Studebaker 1946-1966, The Classic Postwar Years by Richard Langworth. I devoured the book. Langworth wrote a concise, yet very informative recap of this period in Studebaker’s history.

The introduction of the legendary Loewy coupes in 1953 did not, unfortunately, turn out as planned for Studebaker. Let me start at the beginning, though, quoting liberally from Langworth’s book:


“Ask any industrial designer for the best automotive shape of the fifties and he’ll almost certainly pick the 1953-54 Studebaker coupes…One must be very careful here: The fifties was not a time of universal stylistic perversity, anymore than an era of uniform ugliness. The Continental Mark II, the Chevrolet Nomad, the 1953 Packard Caribbean, all deserve credit for purity of line. But none of them matched the sheer perfection in every detail of the Studebaker coupes. They were, and are, magnificent-looking machines. Before their first year was up they’d won Motor Trend’s award for ‘the most aesthetically styled cars.’ They’ve been cited as the outstanding industrial design of the decade by authorities who never before considered an automobile for that title.”


While it would have been great if Langworth had given us more specific cites in this paragraph, his point is still well-made. From a picture of a 1953 Studebaker Commander Regal Starliner coupe:


See the source image


From flickr a picture of a 1953 Studebaker Champion Regal Starliner coupe:


See the source image


With the “failure” of the coupes (reasons for which will be discussed shortly, it was really a failure of the sedans) and the trend in the US auto industry for yearly updates to styling and engineering, Studebaker felt compelled to update the cars. From a picture of a 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk:


See the source image


While one can see the similarity in the front fenders and roof line, one can also see the changes in the hood, front grill and rear quarters. With the industry trend towards more fins and chrome, Studebaker continued to “update” the cars. From a picture of a 1959 Studebaker Silver Hawk:


See the source image


By 1959, the Hawk line was just a footnote for Studebaker. That was the year the company introduced the Lark compact, which was successful especially in light of Studebaker’s situation in the first years after the “merger” with Packard in 1954. Hawk sales were less than six percent of Studebaker’s 1959 total. As the Hawk became really dated Studebaker called on Brooks Stevens to update the car for a pittance. His creation was a masterpiece, in my opinion. From by way of, a picture of a not stock 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk:


See the source image


One can still see the original front fenders from the 1953 Loewy coupes, more or less, as well as a strong resemblance to the ’53s in the rear. I must confess that in the past 2-3 weeks I have become even more obsessed than usual with the Gran Turismo Hawk. That obsession is one reason I purchased Langworth’s book.

OK, why didn’t the introduction of the original Loewy coupes turn out better for Studebaker? I’ll let Langworth tell the story:


“What happened to the brilliant ’53s was a tragedy, one of the major automotive tragedies of the fifties. When people in the late fifties didn’t buy Edsels, nobody cared much because Edsels were—well—ugly. [Sorry, C/2. Langworth’s words, not mine.] But when people didn’t buy Starliners and Starlights, everyone who loved cars mourned. So why didn’t they buy them? Ah, there’s the rub. One problem is that there weren’t enough and the scarcity was owed directly to management policy.”

“…In model year 1952, the company built about 134,000 two- and four-door sedans against some 49,000 hardtops and coupes—nearly a three-to-one proportion. In model year 1953 the proportion ended up at nine sedans to eight coupes. Studebaker had originally based production planning on the 1952 ratio, not taking into account the tremendous appeal of the coupes…To this extent, the coupes were too good. Their percentage of overall production was far higher than normal for the industry and well in excess of 1952. As the Loewy people had warned, previously designed sedans, using coupe styling details that were applied at the last moment before tooling, were just ghastly mistakes.”


The Studebaker sedans, at that time sedans were the bread and butter of the US auto industry, were an abysmal failure. Also, as Langworth points out, the production lines for the coupes were stopped almost as soon as they started by a tooling emergency. When the front-end sheet metal of the first coupes was mated to the chassis, it didn’t fit. Why? That’s really too long a story to tell in this already long post, but all of this contributed to coupe sales not matching their appeal.

As I have written often, I don’t really believe the axiom that if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door. That is certainly not true anywhere near 100% of the time. People who think life is always fair or that people always get what they deserve are blind, stupid or both.










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Sunday Pontiac: July, 2019

Pontiac was established by General Motors as a companion make to Oakland in 1926. Unlike the other such makes created at that time (Marquette for Buick, Viking for Oldsmobile and LaSalle for Cadillac) Pontiac was so successful that it “killed” its parent as Oakland production ceased with the 1931 model year.

My first car was a 1967 Pontiac GTO, shown here. The car I’ve owned the longest, at least as of now, was a 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix that I purchased new upon moving to California and that I owned for nine years. I am a big fan of many Pontiac models up to and including the Solstice. Given my personal connection I probably lament the loss of Pontiac more than that of any other defunct American make.

From Mecum Auctions a picture of a 1962 Pontiac Catalina convertible offered for sale at their Kissimmee auction in 2016:


See the source image

See the source image


The second picture is also from Mecum and is of a ’62 Catalina convertible offered at their Indianapolis auction in 2015. Note the famous Pontiac eight-lug wheels on the second car.

Pontiac produced 16,877 Catalina convertibles in 1962. They also offered a convertible in the Tempest (20,635 produced) and the Bonneville (21,582). The famous Pontiac 389 cubic-inch V8 with the Tri-Power setup, three Rochester two-barrel carburetors, was offered on the Catalina. It was rated at 318 HP/430 LB-FT of torque. Buick had a reputation for making motors with lots of torque, but Pontiac engines did as well. Some sources list the Super Duty 421 cubic-inch engine with dual four-barrel carburetors as being available on the Catalina. According to this article, most of the 180 or so Super Duty engines made in 1962 were installed in Catalinas. This engine was conservatively rated at 405 HP, but was probably closer to 450. The actual torque output was almost certainly at least 500 LB-FT.

I acknowledge that some/most of my interest in this car stems from the fact it’s a Pontiac. If you’re a Pontiac fan I would very much like to hear from you and/or post your thoughtful comments.








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PS, PPS and Boo on Hemmings

From earlier today a series of comments, replies and replies within replies.



8 hours ago·



7 hours ago·

Thanks, sir. I saw the Hemmings piece this morning. A sign of my malaise is that I just didn’t feel like contributing a comment even though I could have included a link to yesterday’s post. I wonder if it’s the damn awful weather we’re having here with dewpoints approaching 80°.


PS, I did submit a comment on the Hemmings piece about the C8 reveal that included a link to my post about it. Thanks again, 56packardman, for giving me a nudge.


PPS, Hemmings did not publish my comment. I can only surmise that since the post included a link to an AutoTrader listing they did the petty thing (I don’t mean Richard) and deleted without publishing. Boo on Hemmings! 🤬


Talk about small-minded…I think I will refrain from reading Hemmings for a while and I hope you will do the same.




50 Years From History

Today is, of course, the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon and of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin becoming the first men to walk on the moon. I have nothing profound to offer nor do I have any new information. I think the Apollo program was an amazing achievement and, sadly, one we can probably not duplicate today. Too many people are satisfied with the banalities of today’s life and too many people think they are owed something by mere virtue of their existence. Real achievement only comes from work.


See the source image


From (originally from NASA, I suspect) a picture of Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon. I have mentioned this before, but after 500+ posts I am going to repeat myself—tough noogies. My father, who was born in Poland and didn’t arrive in the US until his mid-30s, was skeptical that the mission would succeed. He said it was impossible for men to go to the moon. IIRC, Armstrong and Aldrin first walked on the moon late on a Sunday. That was the only day my father closed his gas/service station before 10 PM so he was home to watch. When Armstrong first put his feet on the lunar surface I turned to my father and said, “What do you think now, Dad?” Yes, I guess I have always been at least a little bit of a wise-ass.


The number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 the day that Armstrong and Aldrin first walked on the moon was In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) by Zager and Evans. Rick Evans actually wrote the song in 1964 while a member of a band called the Eccentrics. The song’s bleak view of the future was a stark contrast to the triumph of Apollo 11.


The best-selling US car model in 1969 was, still, the Chevrolet Impala. About 777,000 were produced for the 1969 model year. Fewer than 2,500 were SS427 models like this:


See the source image


A picture of a lot offered at Mecum’s Indianapolis auction in 2017. Although I am comparing model year sales of the Impala to calendar year sales by make, the Impala outsold every car make in the US in 1969 except Chevrolet, Ford and Pontiac.









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C8 Reveal & Frugal Friday

Yes, I watched the C8 reveal presentation in its entirety on my phone. My so-called “smart” TV browser does not support HTML5 so it’s not really very smart. I’m sorry, but I do not understand how anyone can watch video for more than two minutes on their phone, even though I watched for an hour last night. (I paid for that with a nasty neck ache/headache this morning.)

I thought the production was overdone. GM/Chevrolet brought out two astronauts to talk about their lives and the importance of science and technology. Of course, this was done to tie the “launch” of the C8 Corvette to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. What it did, though, was to stretch what could have been a 30-minute event into a 60-minute one.

So, do you care what I think? Hey, this is my blog. For a mid-engine car, the C8 Corvette exterior is good. It has enough Corvette styling cues so that the car shouldn’t be mistaken for anything else, although the car does resemble, in some respects, a Ferrari 488 in my opinion. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. However, I have—and will probably always have—an innate preference for a long hood/short deck design. I was hoping to show some photos of the C8 from Chevrolet’s website. I mean, now that the car has been revealed no need to keep the photos a secret, right? Well, capturing any of the “gallery” of photos does not seem possible, so let me do the best I can:


EMBARGOED: H/O: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 1

EMBARGOED: H/O: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 2

EMBARGOED: H/O: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 3


From and General Motors, two exterior pictures and one interior photo of the new C8 Corvette. I think it was Mark Reuss, President of GM, who “directly” addressed the issue of the rationale behind making the major change to a mid-engine design. Here are some of his points as well as I can remember them:

First, as has been expressed elsewhere, Reuss (I think) said that Chevrolet/GM had concluded that it had taken the front-engine architecture as far as it could go in terms of performance, especially handling and visibility. He made sure everyone realized that the driver would be sitting much closer to the front of the car, which should give him/her a better view of the road.

Second, the new layout puts the car’s center of gravity almost directly beneath the driver.

Third, Reuss specifically mentioned broadening the Corvette’s appeal in right-hand drive markets. [emphasis mine] He could really only be talking about Japan and the UK. Maybe he thinks Great Britain will leave the EU and its restrictive emissions standards. I and others have speculated that part of the push to switch to a mid-engine layout was to broaden the international appeal of the Corvette. Along those lines here is something pertinent from Steve Magnante’s 1001 Corvette Facts:


“…The assertion was that most buyers of cutting-edge supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, McLaren, etc., simply wouldn’t consider Corvettes despite the fact that the supercharged ZR1 and Z06 outperformed some of them. Put bluntly, the traditional Corvette lacked snob appeal. A mid-engine alternate remedied the situation.”


The US is not the only car market in the world, nor is it the largest. General Motors is a business, not a hobby. Businesses have to make profits in order to survive.

At first, the C8 will be available in a base configuration as well as with a Z51 performance package. The Z51, as it does/did in the C7, will feature upgraded brakes and suspension as well as more aggressive differential and transmission gearing. Reuss claimed that the C8 Z51 can produce sub 3-second 0-60 times. He didn’t come right out and say that Chevrolet will call the Z51 a sub 3-second car. Pricing for a base Corvette will start at less than $60,000 although $59,995 is less than $60,000, too. I’m guessing that a well-equipped Z51 will cost in the low $70,000s. Still, for a car with that performance that price is amazing.

The engine, designated LT2, will produce 495 HP/470 LB-FT of torque. The transmission will be a dual-clutch, 8-speed automatic.

The C8 will be offered in 12 exterior colors, the most ever in a Corvette, and with six interior color schemes. As for when the car will actually be available, Reuss said to watch developments in “the coming months.”

I would like to read your comments. The only constant in the world is change.


I am throwing everyone a curveball and not featuring a Corvette in this week’s Frugal Friday. Also, since this post is already long I am only going to show one car.


Used 2013 MINI Cooper Coupe S Saint George, UT 84770 - 520930192 - 2


From this Autotrader listing a picture of a 2013 MINI Cooper Coupe S in Red over Black with a little less than 42,000 miles. The seller, a dealer, is asking $10,050. This car has an automatic transmission and is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The output? Well, I have seen conflicting data so I will report the most conservative numbers: 184 HP/177 LB-FT of torque.

The car looks like fun and for ten grand-ish it’s not a lot of risk for many people.







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Throwback Thursday/C8 Reveal Day

See the source image


From one of many renderings by “ChazCron” of the C8 Corvette as well as the announcement of the reveal date, which is today, of course. Since most of us were not invited to the event in Tustin, California I think you can watch here. If you live on the East Coast, the event doesn’t start until 10:30 or 11 PM.

I think that the entire future of the Corvette could be decided by the success, or lack thereof, of the C8. While Chevrolet/GM can rationalize the sharp decline in Corvette sales since 2014—the first model year of the C7—by “blaming” the drop on the rumors surrounding the C8, the American automotive landscape has changed dramatically. In the back of my mind I wonder if the upcoming discontinuation of the Camaro has as much to do with helping the Corvette as with declining Camaro sales. Of course, if that were really true then Camaro production would probably be stopped before 2022 or 2023.


Schedule of Events for the C8 Corvette Reveal Now Public


From a picture of an invitation to and the schedule of the C8 reveal. I really hope the C8 is a success although I have no desire to own one at present. I think it would be a shame if Chevrolet didn’t get to produce the two millionth Corvette, which is about 300,000 units away.


From a picture of an example of the last year of the C4 Corvette, 1996:


See the source image


While I am not a big fan of their TV commercials, my wonderful wife and I both found our current Corvettes on CarGurus. As I have written before, I have not always been a big fan of the C4. For many years I thought the styling was bland and until the introduction of the “new” LT-1 engine in 1992 I don’t think the cars were great performers. However, I have grown to appreciate the looks of the later models of the C4. In addition, the 1995 and 1996 models had improved fuel injectors that were better able to deal with ethanol content in gasoline, or as I call it, the corn farmers subsidy program.

As almost every Corvette fan or person in the collector car business knows, C4 Corvettes are not expensive at all. A search on AutoTrader, limited to a 100-mile radius of my house, unearthed six 1995 or 1996 Corvettes with list prices under $10,000. A nationwide search, but only for cars with 75,000 miles or fewer, revealed 18 such cars under $10,000. Of course, if you don’t have to have a 1995 or 1996 model then your choices multiply greatly. C4 production totaled 359,028 in the 13 model years it was manufactured (1984-96).

The Corvette world will never be the same after today. I would very much like to read your thoughts, either before or after the reveal or both.






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This is the 500th post on Disaffected Musings. When I tweet the link to today’s post along with the hashtags it will be my 1,500th tweet or re-tweet. This is the 553rd day this blog has existed.

I have learned that oddball post titles do not generate blog views. I have learned that when famous friends tweet links to the blog, the number of views/visitors increases dramatically. (Hey, Bill…anytime you want to tweet the main link to the blog or a link to a specific post I’m OK with that…hint, hint.)

Here are the five most-viewed posts so far this year, not counting the main page, of course:


Saturday Salary Arbitration


The “End” Of Packard; More From The AACA Museum

Saturday Song

Throwback Thursday [1/31/2019]


Sunday Studebaker from June of last year remains the post with the most views on Disaffected Musings. As I keep writing, blogging is cheaper than therapy and almost as effective. Although the average number of views per day for 2019 is about twice that of 2018, it is not an apples-to-apples comparison as I have also written before. Even with the millions of active blogs that exist I still remain convinced that this blog should have many more views/visitors than it does. All I can do is to keep writing and to hope I find that audience, I guess.


See the source image


From a picture of a 2003 Dodge Viper. As far as I can surmise this was the first US car to be offered with an engine that was officially rated at 500 HP or more. (Because this is the 500th post, get it?)

It is an open secret that the L88 engine option installed on 216 Corvettes from 1967-69 produced well in excess of 500 HP, probably between 530 and 560. However, it was officially rated at 430 HP to keep the insurance companies from going apoplectic AND to keep too many people from actually ordering it. The L88 cars were also only offered without radios and heaters. The famous “elephant,” the 426 cubic-inch Dodge Hemi, was underrated by the company and might also have been a 500+ HP engine in actuality.

Back to the Viper…as was always the case the 2003 model was powered by a large V-10 engine; in 2003 the displacement was 505 cubic inches/8.3 liters. In addition to the 500 HP rating the engine was rated at 525 LB-FT of torque.

Viper devotees are proud that the car didn’t offer ABS or traction control for a long time and that it was never offered with an automatic transmission. The facts are, though, that only about 32,000 were made in total and the car is no longer in production. How many Corvettes have been made? (The answer is about 1.7 million.) The devotees can say the Viper was never meant to be a “mass-production” car, but the automobile business is a business, after all, especially at the level of the Big Three US automakers. Yes, different strokes for different folks, I guess.







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Hobgoblin Of Little Minds

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

In my opinion, people who blindly follow ideology are engaging in the hobgoblin of little minds. One of Emerson’s themes in his writings was that individuals should avoid conformity and false consistency and follow their own instincts and beliefs. I agree with that paradigm.


Fifty years ago today Apollo 11 launched from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Unfortunately, I think this country is so divided today that the near-universal support this mission enjoyed would not exist. Was the level of support a foolish consistency? I don’t think so; the Apollo program was an amazing achievement.


From a picture of the new Ferrari F8 Tributo:


See the source image


OK, so the car doesn’t really look much different than the 488 to me although Ferrari claims that this “new” design is the bridge to future exteriors. The engine is the same as in the 488 Pista, a 3.9 liter, twin-turbo V-8 that produces 710 HP and 568 LB-FT of torque. That is the most powerful V-8 Ferrari has ever produced. [So, should it be V-8 or V8? I use both; don’t want engage in the hobgoblin of little minds, I guess. :)] The car is supposed to be able to accelerate from 0 to 100 KM/H (62 MPH) in 2.9 seconds with a top speed of 211 MPH. Like all Ferraris the engine is mated to a 7-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission that can be paddle-shifted or used in auto mode.

From Ferrari’s website: “The name [Tributo] is an homage to both the model’s uncompromising layout and to the engine that powers it with a massive 720 cv and a record specific power output of 185 cv/l.” The base MSRP is about $275,000. By the way, the price of Ferrari’s stock (traded under the symbol RACE, of course it is) is up almost 70% year-to-date. The stock even pays a dividend.

Obviously, that’s a desirable automobile, but I think owning a red Ferrari is asking for trouble. Maybe owning any Ferrari is.








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P.S. Nine years ago today my wonderful wife and I moved into this house. That is the longest we’ve ever lived in the same dwelling. The odds we make it to ten years? Of course, they’re not 100% (life is finite), but I suspect those odds are far less than 100%. For the cryptographers out there: ukhfh ymbfe flwdfh





Bittersweet Birthday

On this day in 1922 my marvelous mom was born. She has been gone a long time (pancreatic cancer), but I still think about her every day. Her life was far from easy; she and her parents escaped from their little village in Poland just before the Nazis burned it to the ground. They saw too much of the Soviet Union during World War II. There, she met the man she would later marry in a Displaced Persons camp in Austria after the end of the war.

My father divorced my mother after 29 years of marriage. His behavior was a classic mid-life crisis, but the way he “executed” his choices was cruel. I’ll leave it at that.

My mother LOVED her children; we NEVER had any doubt of that. Not surprisingly, though, she would often say, “We don’t get what we want. We get what we get.” My less than optimistic view on life is not derived out of thin air.


Today is the birthday of legendary rock guitarist Joe Satriani. Fans of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and others will want to boo me or sue me, but I think Satriani is the greatest rock guitarist ever. I am entitled to my opinion even if it differs from yours. Not only has Satriani composed and played a lot of great music, but he has been a teacher of many great guitarists such as Charlie Hunter and Steve Vai. Two of Satriani’s “albums,” Time Machine and The Extremist, are among my absolute first-tier of favorites. (The others are Enigmatic Ocean by Jean-Luc Ponty, Pressure Sensitive by Ronnie Laws, Joyous Lake by Pat Martino and Heavy Weather by Weather Report.)

Happy Birthday, Satch!


Thanks again to 56packardman and to the readers of the Studebaker and Packard forums, the former for posting links to these posts on the Studebaker and Packard forums and the latter, of course, for clicking on the links and reading the posts. The last two days have seen a larger than normal number of views/visitors. Besides writing more about those makes (which I will do from time to time, of course) does anyone have any ideas how I can get those S-P fans to read Disaffected Musings more often? How about ideas to get more readers, period? Thanks.


I couldn’t really find anything interesting to me that happened on this day in automotive history. I will note that it is now just three days until the official unveiling of the next generation Corvette, the C8. I let fate decide the “car of the day.” I opened my well-worn copy of Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® and…the book opened to page 500 and the beginning of the write-up on Hudson. Whadda ya know! Another defunct American car company…

In 1948, Hudson earned more money than it ever would again, netting about $13 million in profit on gross sales of $274 million. I’ll let the aforementioned book take over from here:


“The reason was a brand-new car, the now-famous “Step-Down.” Named for its innovative recessed or dropped floorpan, it completely surrounded passengers with strong frame girders in one of the safest packages of the day—maybe one of the safest ever. It also offered rattle-free unitized construction and a radically low center of gravity that made for great handling.”


Hudson sales increased from about 92,000 cars in model year 1947 to more than 117,000 in 1948 and over 159,000 in 1949. From Wikimedia a picture of a 1948 Hudson Commodore convertible, of which only an estimated 112 were made—48 with a six-cylinder engine and 64 with an inline-eight:


See the source image


Back to the book:


“But there was one big problem. As a unitized design, the Step-Down couldn’t be greatly changed without great expense and Hudson sales wouldn’t be sufficient to cover the cost once the postwar seller’s market ended in 1950. A slow-selling ’53-54 compact only accelerated the depletion of cash reserves. As a result, the Step-Down wouldn’t be updated until 1954, by which time it was way too late, forcing Hudson to seek refuge with Nash under the American Motors banner. [Hudson was definitely the weaker partner in that merger.] Nor would Hudson be able to afford a station wagon or V-8 engine, two very popular ’50s commodities.”


By the way, if you are into cars I highly recommend the Encyclopedia of American Cars and History of the American Auto, both by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®. AMC continued to manufacture cars under the Hudson and Nash names through the 1957 model year. For the last three of those years Hudsons were just re-styled and badge-engineered Nashes. AMC dropped both makes to concentrate on the Rambler and that decision did pay off, but at the cost of two long-standing names in the American automotive world.







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