1999 Monday Musings

Wouldn’t that be something if this post contained 1,999 thoughts? (You’re probably thinking, “No!”) However, note the lack of a comma in the number in the post title.

1999 was, of course, the year I married my wonderful wife. That was also the last year I worked for a major league baseball team in a full-time position. To this day, many people can’t understand how I gave up a high-paying, high-ranking job in professional sports (Director of Baseball Operations). In retrospect, my only mistake was not having a landing spot secured before I jumped off the sports job. I had become absolutely miserable working in that role for that team. My path for advancement in baseball, in or out of that organization, seemed blocked as long as I remained there. I also was dismayed at what I perceived to be a lack of morality among many of those working in that organization. Let me leave that thought there.

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1999 was the model year for a significant redesign of the Ford Mustang. The exterior had crisper lines, structural stiffness was increased and the output of all engines was raised. Not being a Mustang “guy” I don’t know this for sure, but I believe the 1999 redesign was not a new generation, but a significant update.

 

See the source image

 

From elviscadillac.com (!) a picture of a 1999 Mustang. The 4.6 liter/280 cubic-inch V8 for the GT was boosted by 35 HP for 1999 to 260 and produced 302 LB-FT of torque. Motor Trend said the 1999 GT was “as good or better than any stock Mustang we’ve ever tested, Cobra or not.”

 

1999 was the last year for the Buick Riviera. Only 2,154 were produced; the last 200 were designated as Silver Arrows with silver paint and special trim. The Silver Arrow was the concept car that was the basis for the original 1963 Riviera. The front-wheel drive 1999 Riviera was powered by the well-known Buick V6 of 231 cubic-inch displacement, but with a supercharger instead of the turbo-charged variety made famous in the Grand National/GNX of the 1980s. The supercharged type produced 240 HP/280 LB-FT.

 

See the source image

 

In a still from a YouTube video this is a 1999 Riviera, supposedly a Silver Arrow. I don’t like every iteration of the Riviera, unlike John Kraman (@CarKraman on Twitter), but I like most of them including the last generation. Every photo generated in an Internet search shows a ’99 Riv in gray/silver, white or black. To me this body screams for red or green.

 

1999 was the 50th and last “birthday” for the Oldsmobile Eighty Eight. Of course the entire Oldsmobile make would be kaput five years later as the last Olds car rolled off the assembly line on April 29, 2004.

 

See the source image

 

From cardomain.com a picture of a 1999 Oldsmobile 88. For calendar year 1999 Oldsmobile finished 7th in sales among American car companies and saw an almost 8 percent increase compared to 1998. However, Olds sales slumped by 23 percent in 2000, which played a large role in GM’s announcing in December of that year that Olds production would be phased-out. Once again, Oldsmobile has the distinction of being the only American car company to produce cars in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

According to History of the American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®, 85.6 percent of the cars and light trucks sold in the US in 1999 were assembled in North America, 9 percent were imported from Japan, 3.8 percent came from Europe and 1.6 percent from South Korea. According to the Kogod School of Business, 65 percent of cars and light trucks sold in the US in 2016 were assembled in North America. Of course, foreign car makers have many plants and facilities in North America.

A world without tariffs and trade disputes would be a wonderful thing, but so would a world in which I could eat ice cream every day. The exigencies of the real world make for difficult choices.

 

#ByeByeBaseball

#1999FordMustang

#1999BuickRiviera

#JohnKraman

#1999Oldsmobile88

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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A Week Sunday

Hard to believe it’s been a week since the Elegance at Hershey. Just going to post some photos. Be well and please keep reading.

 

 

The top car is a 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante, the middle is a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS Spyder and the bottom is a 1970 Lamborghini Miura S. Many consider the Miura to be the first supercar.

 

#1936BugattiType57Atalante

#1967Ferrati330GTSSpyder

#1970LamborghiniMiuraS

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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What’s A Collectible Car?

First, to paraphrase Asimov once again, living in a democracy does not mean that Person A’s ignorance equals Person B’s knowledge. My addendum is that lack of credentials doesn’t necessarily mean lack of knowledge.

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This article from Hagerty is about the 25 most collectable vehicles going into this summer. This ranking, if you will, is based on their proprietary Hagerty Vehicle Rating (HVR). From the article: “The Hagerty Vehicle Rating, based on a 0–100 scale, considers the quantity of vehicles insured and quoted through Hagerty, along with auction activity and private sales results. A vehicle that is keeping pace with the overall market has an HVR of 50.”

They almost brag that half of this list is composed of cars: “Something else to keep an eye on: while the HVR is typically dominated by trucks and SUVs, the 28 vehicles listed (top 25 plus ties) are evenly divided—14 trucks, 14 passenger vehicles. That’s a high water mark for cars.”

What I found interesting is that the only two “old” cars on the list—and by old I mean cars built before I was born—are two Cadillacs, the 1959-60 Series 62 and the 1959-64 DeVille.

 

See the source image

 

From Hyman Ltd Classic Cars a picture of a 1959 Cadillac 62 convertible. Of course, 1959 was the peak (no pun intended) of the fin craze on American cars, with Cadillac being the pinnacle of that style.

Not surprisingly, the convertible was last in production among Series 62 cars in 1959 not counting a model specifically made for export. Cadillac made 11,130 62 convertibles in 1959; total 62 production was almost 71,000. The convertible was the most expensive Series 62 model at $5,455.

From 1961 through 1969, inclusive, all Cadillac models shared the same engine. However, in 1959 the 390 cubic-inch V8 came in two specs with the upscale, limited-quantity Eldorado motor having a little more power. The Series 62 spec was rated 325 HP/430 LB-FT of torque. The engine was mated to a 4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. The convertible came standard with power windows and a two-way power seat.

While for me the ’59 Cadillacs are a tad much with the fins I fully understand the appeal of these cars. I think it can be difficult to actually create a formal definition of a collectible car. Different strokes for different folks, right?

What do you think is a “collector” car? Does it need sanctioning from a group like the CCCA or the AACA? If it’s rare enough can a new car be considered a collectable?

 

#IsaacAsimov

#IgnoranceIsNotBliss

#OldCadillacs

#1959Cadillac62

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday, 1956 Edition

Not 1956 again! Hey, my brain has a mind of its own. 🙂

This week’s Frugal Friday will feature four cars not all of which will be bargain basement. Trying to clear the deck of this idea in one post, I will show a 1956 model Oldsmobile, Packard, Pontiac and Studebaker, each of which is still less than the current average “transaction price” for a new vehicle in the US. I can’t believe I have to write this, but those four makes are all defunct American car companies. I will use Hemmings and AutoTrader.

OK, the Oldsmobile…

 

 

From this classics.autotrader.com listing a picture of a stunning 1956 Oldsmobile 98. Yes, the dealer is in Canada—the Toronto area, to be exact. While the ad states that the car has about 100,000 miles, the copy also states that the engine has been rebuilt (although it doesn’t say when) and that it is a “show and go car, spend no money, just enjoy.” What’s the asking price? $23,500. Surprisingly (or maybe not), Oldsmobiles of this vintage in decent condition are not super cheap.

The 98 was Olds’ top of the line model. This is a Holiday hardtop coupe of which 19,433 were produced in 1956 at an asking price of $3,480, actually a tad less than the hardtop sedan. The engine for the 98 was, of course, a V8. 1956 was the last of three model years in which the Olds engine displaced 324 cubic inches, but HP/Torque were increased each year reaching 240 HP/350 LB-FT for 1956. Given Oldsmobile was the company that introduced the Hydra-Matic automatic transmission it should be no surprise that this car was equipped with a 4-speed Hydra-Matic.

 

 

Also from classics.autotrader.com a picture of a 1956 Packard Executive, but not the one I showed a while ago. The ad copy is skimpy; the list price is $16,000. The ad does read “Complete, running. Will need some restoration.” The Executive model, of which only 2,815 were produced (1,031 were hardtop coupes like this one), was a very late entry into the 1956 American market not being introduced until April of 1956. It was a cross between the “entry-level” Clipper and the “senior” Packards. The drivetrain was the Packard 352 cubic-inch V8 (senior cars had the 374 cubic-inch engine) with either a 3-speed manual or Packard’s own Ultramatic transmission. Engine output was 275 HP/380 LB-FT.

I would consider purchasing a car like this in the future, especially for $16,000 or less, but I am wary of parts scarcity as well as the lack of mechanics who could service it.

 

 

From this Hemmings listing a picture of a 1956 Pontiac Star Chief. I am smitten with the two-tone paint. Unfortunately, in the ad it is spelled “tu-tone” and not just once, but three times. The seller is asking $19,500 and claims the car is in “excellent” condition. Pontiac made 43,392 of the Star Chief hardtop coupe in 1956 with an “MSRP” of $2,665; the Safari wagon was $3,129. Only for 1956 the Pontiac V8 had a displacement of 317 cubic inches; output was 227 HP/312 LB-FT. This car has an automatic transmission, but the ad doesn’t state whether it’s the original Hydra-Matic.

The car below is listed on Hemmings and AutoTrader and has been shown before on a Frugal Friday. While I would prefer a pillar-less hardtop coupe (Golden Hawk or Sky Hawk) one in decent condition doesn’t seem to be available right now so I will show this pillared Power Hawk.

 

 

Country Classic Cars in Staunton, Illinois has had this car listed for awhile, but the asking price remains $12,750. The Power Hawk used Studebaker’s 259 cubic-inch V8 engine that produced 170 HP/260 LB-FT with a two-barrel carburetor and 185 HP with a four-barrel. The top of the line Golden Hawk actually used Packard’s 352 cubic-inch engine that was in the Clipper and Executive. Remember that Studebaker and Packard were one company in 1956. This car has an automatic of unknown origin, but the base transmission was a 3-speed manual. Studebaker produced 7,095 Power Hawks in 1956—the only year for this model and the year before the Hawk series was “adorned” with tail fins—with an asking price of $2,101.

So we have four classic 1956 American cars made by defunct companies, three of which can certainly be purchased for less than $20,000 and who knows about the fourth. Do any of you have even a tiny fraction of my interest in defunct American makes?

 

#FrugalFriday

#1956Oldsmobile98

#1956PackardExecutive

#1956PontiacStarChief

#1956StudebakerPowerHawk

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday Returns

First, on this cool and very rainy morning in the mid-Atlantic a bit of a personal throwback from not very long ago although my time in baseball seems like a long time ago. In this post I wrote, “As has been our experience, people at this car event were, almost without exception, friendly and polite. I find more camaraderie among strangers at car events than among co-workers at every place I’ve worked and that includes major league baseball teams with the exception of one of my consulting clients.” I decided to send a link to the post to the President of Baseball Operations and the General Manager of the team that was the exception; I worked with both of them for 10+ years. Of course, both responded quickly. One response was very nice, and yet, very sad to me.

 

“That is very kind of you.  I hope you’re doing well.  I was recently reminiscing with one of the now 35 people that work in our front office that we used to have 8 of us in the front office, and you consulting with us as our analytics “department”!  Baseball has changed a ton over the past 10-15 years.  You were at the forefront of that change, and helped to get us thinking about the right things in the right way.

Best to you, and thanks for the email.”

 

I am not so full of myself that after not having worked in baseball for almost a decade and not having followed the game for almost a decade that I think I could still contribute to a major league organization. However, I firmly believe that if I had stayed in the game I would have continued to be an asset and no one will EVER be able to convince me otherwise. The fact that I am a “father” of Moneyball, but that no one seems to know or to care will always be a source of anger and frustration. Sorry, I’m only human.

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Another voice in the “Automatic vs Manual” debate…Steve Strope is the founder and owner of Pure Vision, one of the most respected and most decorated custom car shops in the country. During an episode of Hand Built Hot Rods when a client brings his custom Firebird in because he can’t really drive the 6-speed manual in the traffic and hills of southern California Strope remarks, “So having a high-performance car with a stick and a heavy clutch. I’m sorry, we’ll just blow the whole romance out of the water. It sucks.” An automatic 4L80 is installed in the car and the client enjoys driving it much more than before.

A note: this episode makes me even more suspicious about all of these car “makeover” shows. I remember the person and his Firebird from an episode of Overhaulin’. One would think that would have been mentioned.

Speaking of first-generation Pontiac Firebirds:

 

 

From this listing on Hemmings a picture of a 1969 Firebird for sale. It no longer has the original engine, but supposedly has new paint, a new interior and a new stereo system. No mention of anything else about the mechanicals other than the non-original engine.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#IamNOTobsolete

#SteveStrope

#PureVision

#1969PontiacFirebird

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Even More From Hershey

I’ll try to let the pictures do the talking today.

 

 

Pictures of a magnificent 1930 Cadillac Model 452 V-16 All-Weather Phaeton, body by Fleetwood. As best as I can tell, Cadillac produced no more than 258 of this particular model in 1930-31. The “MSRP” was either $6,650 or $7,350; this was during the Great Depression when one could buy a Chevrolet for $495.

 

 

This gorgeous 1934 Packard Twelve Sport Phaeton (body by Lebaron) finished second in the judges voting at Hershey. When new this car was offered for $7,065. Packard produced 55 models for 1934 including custom-bodied cars like this; however, they only sold 8,000 cars for that model year, their nadir during the Great Depression. By 1937 Packard sales had increased to almost 123,000, which I believe was the most in company history.

 

 

Two views of the beautiful venue. We were lucky in that the weather was excellent; in 2018 it rained on Elegance day.

I’ll probably resume Throwback Thursday tomorrow with no guarantees that it will be automobile related.

 

#EleganceatHershey2019

#1930CadillacV16

#1934PackardTwelve

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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More From Elegance At Hershey 2019

I guess I am being a hypocrite when I complain that a beautiful 1934 Packard finished second for Best Of Show at the Elegance at Hershey 2019. I didn’t vote for a Packard as my favorite car, either.

 

 

This 1962 Ferrari 250GT California Spyder was my choice. However, I ALMOST voted for this car, instead.

 

 

How about that last paragraph from the catalog copy?! “The Speedster line was not advertised and quietly disappeared without fanfare; most Packard dealers weren’t even aware it was available!” 145 horsepower from a 1930 model year car was quite impressive. For example, the top HP from any Chrysler engine that year was 100; the Ford Model A, the only car offered by FoMoCo in 1930, was powered by a 40-HP engine.

As for the venue, my wonderful wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Hershey. The property is beautiful and the staff were unfailingly polite and helpful. Here is a view of part of the show field for the Elegance.

 

 

Sharp-eyed readers might notice a Tucker without suicide doors. That is, indeed, the Tin Goose prototype, one of two Tuckers shown this year. While a little more than half of the Elegance cars were from 1903-1938 that means almost half were post-World War II.

I would very much like to read feedback about the Elegance or any other topic. I am disappointed that no one has written about the change in the blog header photo from a single picture to a random assortment of multiple pictures.

 

#EleganceatHershey2019

#HotelHershey

#1962Ferrari250GTCaliforniaSpyder

#1930PackardSpeedsterEight

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Elegance At Hershey; Iso Grifo!

Either I really love cars or I am really messed up. Of course, it’s probably both.

Below are four photos of a car that, once again, literally brought me to tears. This car was not part of the Elegance at Hershey 2019 per se, but was among the cars at the Cars and Coffee event the day before. It is shown here as one of the 11 cars in my recently unveiled Ultimate Garage 2.0. Here is a beautiful small block Iso Grifo:

 

 

My wonderful wife and I met someone who had a car in the Elegance; Dr. Chris (first name) brought his big-block Iso Grifo. I don’t think I had ever seen one in person before and then I saw two in two days. Remember that only 412 Iso Grifos were produced.

We had a great time at the Elegance and I can write that our experience exceeded our expectations. I was disappointed when a beautiful 1934 Packard finished second in the judges voting for Best of Show, but eight Packards were among the 75 cars. As has been our experience, people at this car event were, almost without exception, friendly and polite. I find more camaraderie among strangers at car events than among co-workers at every place I’ve worked and that includes major league baseball teams with the exception of one of my consulting clients.

I will show more pictures and write more about Hershey in the coming days.

 

#EleganceatHershey2019

#IsoGrifo

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Neon C7!

No, my wonderful wife did not buy me a neon C7 for our anniversary. However, she did buy me this:

 

 

No, not two clocks. The top picture was taken with my office lights on, the bottom with the lights off. If I couldn’t buy an orange Vette maybe this is the next best thing. Other than a calendar this clock is the only thing hanging on the walls in my office. However, I have A LOT of bookcases in here. I love to read. I also love the clock. Thanks, V Squared!

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From today’s post by 56packardman:

 

bakerToast

 

I wasn’t going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.

Have you ever tried to eat a clock? It’s very time consuming.

The other day, I held the door open for a clown. I thought it was a nice jester.

My tailor is happy to make a new pair of pants for me. Or sew it seams.

What is a thesaurus’s favorite dessert? Synonym buns.

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Barring unforeseen circumstances Throwback Thursday and Frugal Friday will return next week. In the meantime,

 

 

From this listing on Hemmings a picture of a gorgeous 1956 Cadillac Coupe deVille. I don’t like all the asterisks and exclamation points in the ad (much worse than anything I do in Disaffected Musings), but the car looks great. Cadillac produced 24,086 of these cars in 1956 with an MSRP of $4,624. The most expensive Chevrolet that year, not counting the Corvette, was $2,608.

When the day arrives in, hopefully, the not too distant future when we have more garage space and I will have access to my retirement accounts I am thinking about targeting 1956 as the year for the car I want to buy. It will have been built before I was born and it will honor the 1956 Buick Century that was the first car I ever drove and is the first car I remember. Also, by 1956 all American manufacturers had switched to a 12-volt electrical system. I almost certainly will buy a car from a defunct make so that excludes a Century or this Coupe deVille. Anyway, this is off in the future and will not replace my 2016 Corvette Z06.

Have a great weekend!

 

#1956AmericanCars

#2016CorvetteZ06

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Happy Anniversary!

Twenty years ago today (or 7,305 days) I married the kindest, cutest, sweetest, most wonderful person in the world. V Squared, I LOVE YOU!!!

 

 

No disrespect intended to those who were part of the Allied D-Day forces, which happened 75 years ago today. The success of that action may be the single most important military event in history.