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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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