Throwback Thursday, Gettysburg Address Edition

On this day in 1863, as part of the dedication ceremony for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President Abraham Lincoln gave what became one of the most famous speeches in American history. Here it is:

 

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

Sadly, I think the US has strayed very far from Lincoln’s vision. Obviously, I am not the only person who has that view. We have become a nation governed by an unholy alliance of special interest groups and government bureaucrats; the former consumed by naked self-interest, the latter consumed by ideology and a need for power.

I think we are engaged in a Cold Civil War, a war of vastly differing visions for this country, but a war without bullets (mostly). Once again, I think the end result will be the dissolution of the US as we know it as the attempted departure of any state(s) from the union will be welcomed by those in states where the majority of its citizens hold different views.

Nothing lasts forever including nations. Where is Czechoslovakia? Where is Yugoslavia? Going back further in time, where is the Roman Empire? Where is the Austro-Hungarian Empire? (Speaking of Hungary, could anyone have imagined 50 years ago that it would be a NATO member before the end of the 20th century?)

Government is only supposed to exist with the consent of the governed (of the people, by the people, for the people). It is not supposed to be a monolithic, unaccountable entity. However, views on the role of government have become so polarized that I see no resolution other than dissolution.

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A more pleasant throwback and not an effort to demean the Gettysburg Address or Abraham Lincoln:

 

See the source image

 

This is a picture (from Motor Authority) of the Pontiac Banshee I concept car, unveiled in 1964, and not a C3 Corvette prototype.

From this article in Corv Sport titled “The Pontiac Banshee: The Most Influential Car That Never Was:”

 

However, in the case of the Pontiac Banshee, a design can fail to receive final approval, due solely to the fact that the car in question would likely become a threat to the sales of a brand’s flagship offering. This is a lesson that John DeLorean, much to his disgust, was forced to come to terms with.

During this same period [the mid-1960s], the GTO, originally offered as an options package for the Pontiac LeMans, had begun to garner a following of its own. However, one of the project’s chief designers, John DeLorean, was not yet content with Pontiac’s footprint in the performance/sports car sector. Instead, he set out to engineer something revolutionary by design, that would yield performance and driveability characteristics of sufficient fortitude to topple the Mustang’s elite status.

It was out of this desire that the XP-883 concept car was born. This particular car was known by the Pontiac design team staff as the Banshee. Ultimately, two original Banshee concept cars were built. Out of these two, one was a soft-topped roadster, and the other featured a removable hardtop.

The Banshee featured sleek body lines, a 90-inch wheelbase, and weighed in at only 2,615 pounds. The car also boasted a 421 H.O. engine that was mated to a Muncie M-21 four-speed transmission. It appeared that there was a bright future ahead for the Banshee, if only it reached production. Unfortunately, it never did.

When DeLorean set out to secure the approval that was needed to send the Banshee into full-fledged production, his requests were met with steadfast rejection. Although the Banshee was poised for potential greatness, there was indeed a stumbling block in DeLorean’s path.

The Banshee, with its comparable horsepower to the Corvette of the day, and its notably lighter curb weight, was seen as a direct threat to the American icon’s elite status. Because of this, rejection was levied against DeLorean’s ambitions for the Banshee. It seemed as if GM executives had taken a hardline stance against the Banshee, for no other reason than the fact that they felt it would become formidable opposition to the Corvette, in both the performance and sales arena.

Even with a revised presentation of an inline 6-cylinder option that yielded a reported output of 165 HP, the Banshee failed to secure the number of signatures required to send it to production. Instead, DeLorean was told to cease all work on the current project and proceed to design duties on a Pontiac branded version of the Camaro, which would ultimately become the Firebird.

However, the story of the Banshee was far from over. On September 10, 1965, a memo was passed down to Bill Mitchell, GM’s Head of Design, that featured a request to modify the Banshee’s clays into a more Chevrolet-esque two-passenger coupe design.

When the C3 Corvette debuted in 1968, it held a striking resemblance to the Banshee that had previously been barred from production. In an ironic turn of events, it seemed as if the Banshee had become the latest inception of the very car that it had been forbidden to stack up against.

 

If you can’t beat ’em, be ’em. As every regular reader knows, I am quite the fan of concept cars and wish more of them could be put into production more or less untouched.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#GettysburgAddress

#PontiacBansheeI

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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10 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday, Gettysburg Address Edition

  1. I see the resemblance of the Banshee to the C3 Corvette. Also the grille resembles many of the Pontiacs of that era.

    Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address should be the model for every politicians speech. Say everything you need to say with the minimum of words. At a younger age I had it memorized, and sadly my old memory does not remember all of it now. Time to challenge the brain and memorize it again.

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      1. The featured speaker was Edward Everett, one of the “great” American orators who droned on for over two hours. Lincoln was finished before most of the crowd realized he was speaking. One reporter transcribed it as Lincoln spoke.

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  2. Interesting story about the Pontiac, my friend! My first thought was that it looks too much like a Corvette of its day. Turns out that the Corvette looks too much like it. >grin<

    I don't know much about the inner workings of automotive design teams, but I do enjoy reading about the occasional concept car that comes up for sale at Barrett-Jackson.

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