Tuesday Toes

I was originally going to call this post “Tuesday Toes” because I was going to apologize, sort of, for writing something that would step on many people’s toes. Welcome to life over 60; I have forgotten what I was supposed to write. Anyway, I like the title.


This article by Jake Novak is about a year old, but still relevant, IMO. He makes a strong case against Universal Basic Income (UBI). Here are some excerpts:


“As the fog starts to clear from the first months of the COVID-19 crisis, at least one of America’s leading policy debates no longer needs to be debated at all. That’s because it should be clear to everyone now that the Universal Basic Income (UBI) idea is still a very bad, no good, terrible idea.

For millions of Americans still shut in at home and shut out of work, this is painfully obvious. The coronavirus lockdown has proven once and for all that cash payments can’t hold a candle to a purpose-driven life…

Of course, this also leads us back to the paramount need for more job opportunities to fill an economic and emotional void even in the worst of times. If cash handouts of X amount don’t to spur the economy and create enough jobs in times of crisis, than handouts in the amount of X + X won’t either. Something else is required.

Jobs have a funny way of bringing both cash into a person’s pocket and a feeling of self-worth into a person’s soul. FDR understood this well, and that was why his administration’s jobs programs didn’t worry too much about whether the jobs it was handing out were really essential at the time. That doesn’t mean Roosevelt’s macroeconomic response to the Great Depression was sound, because it generally wasn’t. But even scholars like Amity Shlaes, who have expertly critiqued the New Deal, can’t deny the priceless emotional boost FDR gave the country by putting people to some kind of work and giving them that daily purpose…”


Giving people incentive not to work will create a country where millions, and I mean literally millions, of people will decide not to work. Very few people always do the “right” thing and very few always do the “wrong” thing; most people respond to incentives and to disincentives. By the way, I agree and have written that for many/most people a job is not just about the income, but about having a purpose and some structure.


I suspect views of Where Is Cristy Lee? will increase once Season 8 of Garage Squad begins airing on Motor Trend. Why? Apparently, after just two seasons on the show, the lovely Ms. Lee has left Garage Squad. She will be replaced by “Bogi” Lateiner. That choice makes me think that All Girls Garage will cease to be produced. Anyway, the “obligatory” picture of Cristy Lee:



Someone whom my wonderful wife’s mother has known since her real estate days decided to visit her and her husband (my wife’s father) this past weekend. Again, I do not like the term “in-law.”

He is a good-hearted person with a yen for traveling, which partially explains his desire to visit someone that, frankly, he didn’t know all that well. Why am I mentioning this? Take a look at his car:



This is a 2007 Pontiac Solstice in GXP spec, meaning it has the turbocharged 2-liter/122 cubic-inch inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 260 HP/260 LB-FT of torque. I don’t know if this is still true, but at the time of its release the Solstice GXP/Sky Red Line engine had the highest specific output, power per unit of displacement, of any motor in General Motors history. A dealer upgrade was also available to increase power to 290 HP/290 LB-FT, but I don’t think too many buyers opted for that boost, pun intended.

As every regular reader knows, I am a big fan of the Solstice/Sky. While I prefer the looks of the Sky I am quite fond of the Solstice, as well.








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Monday Musings 68

Many thanks to Dominic Chu of CNBC. He tweeted about my blog; he also wrote these kind words to me in a message, “You’re a true wordsmith!”

The first week of May was, frankly, a disappointment in terms of blog views/visitors. In the last 2-3 days, the number of both has increased significantly. So much so that I received this notification from WordPress yesterday:



Yes, I am “liking” my own posts. I can, so I do. If you don’t “like” posts on a regular basis, please consider doing so.


Today’s number after Monday Musings, 68, takes me back to my first radio job. Why? The frequency of the station was 680 AM.

I had the title of Associate Producer for a sports talk show where listeners could call in. I screened calls, booked guests, provided facts, etc.

The pay was supposed to be minimum wage, which at the time was $3.35/hour. I told the host of the show that I would not work anywhere for minimum wage. Our “solution” was that I clocked in for three hours a night even though the show only ran for two. Therefore, I was paid, de facto, $5.02/hour. Of course, I loved being at the radio station and was usually there more than three hours a night.

This job was how I wound up being among the first members of the “media” to report the presence of Mayflower moving vans at the Baltimore Colts complex on the night of March 28, 1984. The radio station for which I worked was the Colts’ flagship station and the studios were located not far from the Colts complex.

While at work that night we started receiving calls that moving vans had been spotted heading for the complex. Rumors that the team was going to move had become quite rampant. Colts’ season ticket holders had not yet received their renewal notices for 1984 tickets, which normally would have been sent at least a month before.

In addition, beginning earlier in March–I believe–Colts’ employees paychecks had begun to be drawn against an Indianapolis bank. I think only stubborn denial prevented all Colts fans from accepting the reality of the situation: the team was going to move to Indianapolis.

Anyway, back to that night…the host of the show, a well-known Baltimore sports personality who was actually subbing for the regular host, told me to drive out to the complex to investigate given all the calls we were receiving. Sure enough, I saw Mayflower vans at the complex. I spotted another car and rolled down my windows. The driver of the other car was a reporter for the local ABC affiliate (at the time) named Lisa Champoux. We said almost in unison, “It’s really happening.”

Bob The Red-Faced Owner, I will not dignify the *ssh*le’s existence by using his real name, had so alienated thousands of Colts fans with his antics that many of them, like me, had stopped following the team as closely as before. As a result, I was not that upset at the news that the team was moving. It was only years later that I realized what I, and many others, had lost.

I worked at that job for about a year. Not long after I began that position, I landed a spot hosting my own show once a week (on Sunday) on a small radio station–that was part of the Orioles’ radio network–outside of Baltimore and did both jobs concurrently for a few months. I used an alias while hosting the show for many reasons, not the least of which, unfortunately, was that the studios were located in a less than enlightened part of Maryland and I didn’t want to use my Jewish last name for fear of showing up to work one day and find a cross burning on the lawn in front of the studios.

As I have written, I loved working in radio. I guess I could try to make a podcast, but it’s just not the same to me.

Sorry, no cars today.






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Happy Mothers Day 2021

Happy Mothers Day to those for whom this day is named. This is the 18th Mothers Day without my marvelous mom.

Today also marks 26 weeks that my wonderful wife and I have lived in our Arizona home. Yep, a half year has come and gone.

The wheels of time turn relentlessly.


One might dismiss the remarks of Andrew Bailey, Bank of England Governor, as being those of an old fogy. (By the way, Bailey is 62.) Nevertheless, this is what Bailey recently said about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, “They have no intrinsic value. I’m going to say this very bluntly again. Buy them only if you’re prepared to lose all your money.”

Once again, sovereign fiat currency is backed by a nation’s ability to tax and to borrow. Cryptocurrencies are backed by nothing except people’s faith in them.

I also believe that the dramatic rise in the value of many of these “instruments” will be halted by the same event that legitimizes them: governments regulating cryptocurrencies. It is also possible that countries will begin to issue their own digital currencies.


In this article from Classic Cars, Andy Reid (no, not the NFL coach) shares some tips for buying your first collector car. The article is worth reading. I particularly liked this passage:


Complication does not mean computers, but could mean a non-syncro gearbox, a 2-stroke engine that requires oil to be added to the fuel at each fill up, or expensive service needs.

You may find out that after doing this you don’t really want a classic Hemi Cuda or an MGB but instead want a newer Dodge Challenger Hellcat or a BMW Z4. This is where you need to listen to both your heart and your head.”


Without deep pockets and/or excellent mechanic skills many collector cars will simply be too much to handle for many owners. A relevant passage from Reid’s piece: “However, you also need to understand that, at a fundamental level, no collector car, especially one 25 years old or older, is going to be perfect…This is not the owner hiding anything from you but simply a fact of life with older cars.”

As I have written before, while at this particular moment in time I am not in a position to buy a car like the one shown below, my lack of mechanic skills would also give me pause before purchasing such a vehicle, although in the end my heart might overrule my head.


See the source image


Yes, this is another picture of a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. If you plan to watch the upcoming Mecum Auction from Indianapolis, pay particular attention to lot F276 (meaning the car will cross the block on Friday, May 21st). I have mentioned this car before and it would be the best of both worlds because it looks like a GT Hawk, but has a modern drivetrain, suspension, brakes, etc. Still, this is where the deep pockets would be relevant assuming I had room for another car.

Dirty Dingus McGee estimated that the car cost at least $100,000 to build and might have a reserve of about $60,000. The latter is simply beyond what I want to spend right now for an automotive “toy.” Of course, I have no place to park it, anyway.

I would very much like to read any thoughts or suggestions you have on buying a collector car, whether or not it would be your first.









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Car Show Photos

I don’t think I’ve ever posted photos the day they were taken. First time for everything, which reminds me of the joke: If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving is not for you.

A local “event venue” hosts a car gathering the second Saturday of every month. The advertised time for the event is 7-10 AM, but if you were to arrive at 6:30, you would not be early. I arrived at 7:05 and struggled to find a place to park my Z06.

I can tell that I am not in the mid-Atlantic anymore. An entirely different class of cars can be seen at events like this here. Without further ado:



This is a 1956 Oldsmobile Starfire convertible with which I was really smitten. Another photo of the Starfire and then photos of other cars:



As you might be able to tell, this is not a stock C1 Corvette. It has the LS7 engine from a C6 Z06 in addition to a custom chassis featuring C4 suspension and brakes. That’s my kind of C1.



The low sun angle in the early morning made taking photographs a little more difficult. In case you don’t know, or even if you do, this is a new generation Toyota Supra.



This is at least the second photo I have taken of a current/3rd generation Ford GT since we moved to Arizona. I don’t think I ever saw one in person in the mid-Atlantic. This car is a contender for the hypothetical Ultimate Garage 3.0.



I like the looks of the C6 Corvette more and more and in this color the car really stands out to me.



I think the current generation Acura NSX is an underrated car and has quite a presence in person for me.

Before I left, I couldn’t resist taking one more photo of this car and now I can’t resist showing that picture.



Oh, how I wish I had room for three or four (or five) more cars! Hope you enjoyed the photographs.





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According to 365 Days of Motoring, (an unsecured site [why?] so I won’t link to it here), on this day in 1990 the last Lamborghini Countach was produced. Other sources place the last production day as a little later in 1990, but do I need a reason to write about the Countach?

Supposedly, “Countach” is a curse word in Italian and the car was given that name because that was the reaction of Bertone’s chief the first time he saw the car. Marcello Gandini, a very famous car designer, drew the prototype.

Here is how I first became aware of the car:



In this post I wrote about this book, Automobiles of the World, Albert Lewis and Walter Musciano, © 1977, and how I had purchased it to help with my History term paper in my senior year of high school, “The Development Of The Automobile And Its Effect On 20th Century American Society.” Yeah, that was my reason. 🙂

The claimed 185+ MPH top speed was almost certainly an exaggeration. As I have learned, real testing pegged the top speed at about 170 MPH, which of course was very fast for the mid-1970s and is still fast today.

The more I talked about this car after I discovered it, however, the faster it became. I seem to remember at some point telling people the car could reach in excess of 200 MPH. Little did/could I imagine that one day I would own a car that really was capable of 200 MPH. OK, a picture; no, not of my car, but of a Countach:


See the source image


From Dupont Registry a picture of a 1989 Countach, called the 25th Anniversary model in honor of Lamborghini’s beginning as an automobile manufacturer. By the way, the average asking price for the five Countaches currently listed on Hemmings is a tad over $500,000.

I lusted after the Countach as a teenager, but am not anywhere near as fond of it now. Still, despite its total production run of just under 2,000, it is one of the most important performance cars ever produced.






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Sunrise Drive

As I write this at about 4:45 AM local time, a little bit of light appears in the eastern sky. It’s too dark, though, for me to get a good photo. “Sunrise” today is 5:33 AM here.

I don’t know why I have become so enamored of the early morning. When I was younger, say a teenager, I suspect I was like most in my age group in that, if left to my own devices like in the summer, I would stay up late–e.g. 3 AM–and sleep late, e.g. noon.

I do know that sometime in the very near future I will get in the Z06 and drive to one of my favorite spots to get an early morning view of the mountains east of here. On one of the major east-west roads there is a crest about 600 feet higher in elevation than where we live from which one has an amazing mountain view, including a view of Four Peaks, which is well known in this area. I hope I will be able to pull off to the side of the road, safely, and take some pictures.


I am closer to getting my Z06 “upgraded.” The shop owner has agreed (graciously, in my opinion; others might say he simply doesn’t want to refuse any job) to do whatever work he can given my budget instead of saying, “This is what it costs. Take it or leave it.”

I will almost certainly wait until after the expiration of the powertrain warranty in late July. Better safe than sorry and, besides, if the shop is booked 8-10 weeks out, ten weeks from today is July 15 (my marvelous mom’s birthday). What’s another two weeks after that? (Famous last words…)

Although I am a bit anxious about this, I am also excited. I hope to learn just how much HP/Torque was added by the work done by the shop in the mid-Atlantic before we moved. I am also excited about the HP and torque for my car to begin with an “8.”







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Wednesday Weirdo

Yes, it is Wednesday and I am a weirdo. To wit, this strange dream: I was driving along–destination unknown–and, apparently, in a convertible. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of green. The next thing I knew I saw lots of money just floating in the air. Some of it floated into my car. Imagine my disappointment when I realized it was only two dollars.

Then, the person who was (apparently) responsible for tossing this money pulled up very close to me–remember, we’re driving–and handed me two more dollars. I thanked him, but then forcefully told him to get away from my car before he hit it.

What would have been wilder is if the total amount I received in the dream had been six dollars. Why? After I woke up I checked my Mega Millions ticket and we won $6.

I think sharing dreams in this blog helps me to remember them better, at least long enough to write about them here. One of the few really good dreams I can remember still didn’t start out that way. I dreamt I was worried about money, about how I would pay my bills. Then, I said to myself in the dream, “What are you worried about? You have four million dollars in the bank.” The feeling of joy and relief was amazing. Oh, this dream was decades ago, long before I had anywhere near the assets that I have today, which is not to say I have four million dollars.

As for the exact amount I think I must have just watched the movie Twins. At the end, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character says to Danny DeVito’s character, “Don’t you feel better about returning the money?” The reply, “Oh, you mean the four million dollars. Yeah, it feels good to be one of the good guys.” Of course, the amount in question was actually five million, so the implication is that DeVito’s character took a million for himself.

A financial services company (Thrivent?) used to have commercials in which the announcer said, “We think money should be a tool, not a goal.” Of course, the more money you have, the bigger the hammer. All kidding aside, and as I have written before, I think it’s good to be careful with your money, but it’s OK to splurge every now and then if you can afford it. You can’t take it with you.


In Ultimate Garage 2.0, which I revealed almost two years ago (!), a Jaguar F-Type coupe was one of the cars. In a sign of my growing affinity for convertibles, if Ultimate Garage 3.0 is ever shown, then this car might be a part of it instead and might be something on which I would splurge if I had the opportunity:


See the source image


From an unsecured site (motorward.com) a picture of a Jaguar F-Type convertible. I think the rear end of that car just looks amazing and looks much better than the rear end of the coupe. I am hardly objective, but the F-Type convertible and the C7 Corvette convertible might be the two best-looking ragtops ever made, unless you count the C2 Corvette convertible with the auxiliary hardtop in place.

Happy Dreams!







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All Hail Bluetooth

For most of my life music has been an important part of it. For me, music is almost never background noise, but something that deserves my full attention.

Even though my wonderful wife and I have lived in this house for almost six months (!), my ponderous, and frankly antiquated, surround sound stereo system remains unassembled. Almost all of my music has been heard through the “speaker” of my iPhone. Even worse, the iPhone would sit to my left on a small end table next to my chair in the bonus room, meaning I was not in the center of the sound.

I don’t know why it took so long to come to this realization, nor do I know what sparked it, but I finally realized I could order a Bluetooth speaker. Here it is:



Of course, nothing in my life proceeds without difficulty. When the speaker arrived yesterday, I eagerly began to pair it to my iPhone. Unfortunately, I could not place the speaker on the TV stand at the center of the wall opposite from my chair as it was too tall to sit on the shelf and too tall to sit in front of the TV without obscuring it. This end table was an improvisation; we ordered a wall shelf on which we can place the Bluetooth speaker.

I suspect audiophiles like David Banner (not his real name) would scoff at this, but the speaker sounds amazing. Of course, part of that is no doubt due to the contrast to my little iPhone speaker. I was overwhelmed at how good the music sounded.

I am toying with the idea of just leaving my old surround sound system unassembled and, perhaps, buying a second speaker (this is an Asimom Jewel Pro, obviously in red) to create real stereo.  Of course, I could just leave it as is. Oh, the speaker was all of $70.

Bluetooth was invented by the Swedish company Ericsson. From the time the effort was started to create short-link radio technology until the first consumer Bluetooth device was sold was ten years. All hail Bluetooth!


From Bill James:


“The problem with ideology–left or right–is that in order to exist, it has to pretend that questionable propositions are solid rocks upon which extensive belief systems may be constructed.”


Very well expressed, Bill.


When it comes to automobiles, my personal ownership preference is for cars I can drive and not vehicles that are de facto museum exhibits. This Hagerty article, titled “Have imperfect cars become the perfect investment?,” is about the market trend moving towards driver quality cars and away from trailer queens. From the piece:


“But there are multiple indications that enthusiasts and collectors alike are increasingly seeking out less-than-perfect examples of certain cars…Our Hagerty Price Guide data shows prices for certain vehicles in conditions #3 and #4 (“good” and “fair”) rising faster—in some cases much faster—than values for number #1 and #2 (“concours” and “excellent”) cars.”


Yes, Different Stokes For Different Folks (DSFDF), but I completely understand buying cars that can be driven without fear of turning a 99-point concours champion into a 90-point also ran in a half hour of driving. Unless I were orders of magnitude wealthier than I am now, I would never buy a car that I would be afraid to drive for fear of lowering its value, and I might not buy such a car no matter how wealthy I was. Ironically though, the Hagerty article seems to imply one might be able to have their cake and eat it, too.

I promise no more pictures of Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawks, at least not today. 🙂 Here is a car that appeals to me quite a bit and is certainly not a trailer queen:



This is a 1963 Buick Electra convertible offered at $45,000 at our local Gateway Classic Cars dealer. Although my wonderful wife would probably let me drive her Corvette convertible anytime I wanted, I wouldn’t mind having a convertible of my own to take advantage of the Arizona weather. Of course and once again, we have absolutely no place for another car. In addition, while I really like this Buick if I were somehow able to buy a convertible of my own, another one is probably at the top of the list:


See the source image


From classiccars.com a picture of a 1993 Cadillac Allante. That model year, the last for the Allante, is probably the best of the bunch as the engine–the newly introduced Northstar V-8–gave the car the power to go with its looks. Of course, the drawback to the ’93, in my opinion, is that the auxiliary hardtop was not available. I really like the color/wheel combination of this particular example.

I could buy one of these for far less than the $45,000 Gateway Classic Cars is asking for the ’63 Buick Electra. Hemmings currently has eight 1993 Allantes listed for sale for an average price of about $16,500 and three listed for under $12,000. Of course, this car is hardly one that cannot be driven for fear of ruining its value. Brand new, the MSRP of a 1993 Allante was $61,675, which is about $115,000 in today’s dollars. One can be purchased for 10%-15% of that figure today.

I would very much like to read your thoughts on trailer queens vs. driver cars, Cadillac Allantes or anything else. Thanks.










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A Horse With No Name

On the way back from a breakfast run to McDonald’s yesterday, the song “A Horse With No Name” by America was played on the terrestrial radio station we listen to since we let the Sirius/XM subscription lapse in the Cadillac. I was transfixed and transported back to 1972, the year the song was released. I guess I had forgotten how much I liked the song.

Those with nothing better to do have gone out of their way to criticize the lyrics as being both simplistic and drug-induced. While the band members deny the latter accusation, the lyrics are a bit strange in part, I admit. Still, “A Horse With No Name” was one of the songs that brought me back to music. (Actually, some US radio stations would not play the song because “Horse” is/was a slang term for heroin.)

Even spending 89 or 99 cents for a 45 was not easy for me in those days. However, I waited so long to buy “A Horse With No Name” that it was no longer available in local record stores when I finally decided to buy it. America’s next 45/single, “I Need You,” had already been released. He who hesitates is lost? I wound up buying their first album since “A Horse With No Name” was on it. I’m pretty sure I had to ask my father for a couple of dollars to augment my meager assets so I could buy the album. It was one of the first five albums I ever purchased.

Even though I have the song on a CD somewhere, I spent the $1.29 to buy it from iTunes this morning. After I finished typing the last sentence, I started playing the song on my iPhone. I have to admit to getting a little choked up while listening to it.

“O, call back yesterday, bid time return.”

– Shakespeare


The first round of the NFL Draft was watched by 12.5 million people last Thursday. While that’s less than the nearly 16 million who watched the first round last year, this year’s first round had more viewers than the Oscars, more viewers than any game of last year’s NBA Finals, and more viewers than five of the six games of last year’s World Series. Oh, speaking of football, I have not yet decided if I am going to buy the most recent edition of the computer football game I have mentioned. Anyway, no one should doubt that the NFL is the emperor of American sports.


One other thing my wonderful wife and I did yesterday was to go shopping at an antique store for the first time in over a year. We wore masks the entire time in the store and, happily, can report that virtually everyone else was doing the same.

Yesterday’s experience was like many we’ve had. I like going to these places, but not as much as my wonderful wife. I usually become antsy and want to leave before she does. However, just before I went outside I found these:



If I hadn’t already mentally prepared myself to leave, I probably would have purchased many more of these than I did. As is often the case, I wound up spending more in the store than my wonderful wife, even though these were sold for 20% off the listed price. The DeSoto ad showing the front of a 1942 model along with military equipment really makes me want one of those cars. The ad for the 1911 Packard does indeed show the famous slogan, “Ask The Man Who Owns One.”

We will return to that store and I will almost certainly buy more automobile ads. Who knows? I may even buy some for cars that are not defunct.







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The Beginning Of The Middle

Today’s post title refers to yesterday’s post/post title.


The good news is that blog views for April, 2021 were 16% higher than for April, 2020, when views took a quantum leap up in the wake of the damn virus. The bad news is that the average number of views per day for April, 2021 was 16% lower than the average of the previous six months.

As I wrote somewhere in this blog, I believe that the six months ending in March of this year will represent the high-water mark for blog views. As people stop being confined they will read less and spend less time with their computers and mobile devices. It is what it is.


From a speech by Vince Lombardi, thoughts on a theme about which I have written:


“We as individuals have struggled to liberate ourselves from ancient traditions, congealed creeds and despotic states. Therefore, freedom was necessarily idealized against order, the new against the old and genius against discipline. Everything was done to strengthen the rights of the individual and weaken the state…and weaken all authority. I think we all shared in this rebellion, but maybe the battle was too completely won, maybe we have too much freedom. Maybe we have so long ridiculed authority in the family, discipline in education and decency in conduct and law that our freedom has brought us close to chaos.”


That last sentence rings very true for me. I think about the assault on the US Capitol in January, about the Antifa riots, about people refusing to wear masks and get vaccinated, and I think people have lost all respect for anyone except them, for any ideas with which they disagree. I would add that this behavior also stems from excessive narcissism, but that could be partly explained by the struggle “to liberate ourselves from ancient traditions, congealed creeds and despotic states.”

I have no answers, only despair. I think “social media” plays a huge role in the decay of respect for others and for other ideas. It is my fervent, albeit futile, hope that Fack Fucebook is broken up and that Zark Muckerberg ends up in prison.


On this day in 1953 Zora Arkus-Duntov was hired by Chevrolet although, initially, he had no involvement in the recently introduced Corvette. However, before the year was over Duntov wrote an internal memo titled, “Thoughts on Youth, Hot-Rodders and Chevrolet.” He expressed his thoughts that an image for high performance cars should be developed by Chevrolet with the Corvette as the focus and, as such, was linked to that effort thereafter.

It was Duntov who first proposed a mid-engine design for the Corvette in the 1950s and that culminated in the first mid-engine Corvette prototype, the CERV I of 1959. That it took 60-ish years for Chevrolet and GM to actually produce a mid-engine Corvette…well, I guess large companies are like large ships in that it’s difficult to change direction quickly.

While I doubt my wonderful wife or I will ever own a mid-engine Corvette, I think the decision to produce such a car was the “right” decision and the overwhelming success of the C8 so far seems to confirm that thought. The obligatory picture of a C8 Corvette:


See the source image


Is it really May 1?!









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