Last Monday Musings Of 2020

I was originally going to show another sunrise photo, but when I looked at it on my computer screen, the picture was just ruined by the screen and dirt on my office window.

The views of mountains look better in real life to me than the pictures I take. The views of color in the sky look amazing to me either way. So…

 

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I must admit to a paucity of ideas for blog posts in recent days. Maybe it shows…

I thought skipping a day would recharge my mental battery, such as it is, but that has not been the case. Trying to analyze and unearth reasons for the lack of ideas is not worthwhile, in my opinion.

Obviously, I’m not writing this blog for the money. I really enjoy writing and, frankly, think I’m very good at it. I enjoy receiving thoughtful comments from regular readers and first-time commenters. Being consistent in creating content is important in building an audience.

If anyone reading wants to offer some ideas for a post or posts, I would like to read them. Thanks.

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On this day in 1953 production of the Corvette began at its new “dedicated” facility in St. Louis. The 300 Corvettes produced for its first model year, 1953, were kind of cobbled together in a garage in Flint, Michigan. Chevrolet/General Motors, anticipating annual sales of about 10,000, had decided the Corvette needed a “real” production plant to meet the expected demand.

The best laid plans of mice and men…after producing only 700 Corvettes for model year 1955, Chevrolet/GM almost shelved the Vette. The introduction of the two-seat Ford Thunderbird in that model year and the growing influence of Zora Arkus-Duntov kept the car alive. Still, Corvette sales didn’t reach the 10,000 level until 1960.

The re-bodied C1 Vette for 1956 that included “modern” features like roll-up windows instead of window curtains and external door handles/locks was really the catalyst for saving the Vette, in my opinion. Automobile enthusiasts like to credit the introduction of the V-8, but the V-8 was available in 1955 and all but seven ’55s had it, but the car still sold only 700 units. I think that by the mid-1950s, the American car-buying public didn’t want to buy a car without modern windows and locks, period. For 1956, production approached 3,500 cars and then the introduction of fuel injection and a four-speed manual transmission for 1957 cemented the Vette as a performance car with broader appeal and sales topped 6,300.

The St. Louis facility produced Corvettes until 1981 when production was moved to its current venue in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Bowling Green facility had been previously used by Chrysler, I believe, but for the manufacture of industrial HVAC systems and not cars. Chevrolet/GM wanted a more modern home for Corvette manufacture and Bowling Green wanted a tenant for the recently vacated plant. Some tax incentives later and, presto, a new home for the Corvette. Oh, if I have gotten any of that story wrong, please let me know. I’m relaying those details from memories of our tour of the Corvette Museum in August, 2019.

From Hemmings a picture of a Corvette that was built in St. Louis, a 1954 model:

 

See the source image

 

Nearly two million Corvettes later and the car is now a world-class performance automobile in its eighth generation. It didn’t have to turn out that way, though. What actually happens in the world is not the only thing that could have happened. Life is a Monte Carlo simulation.

 

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#LifeIsAMonteCarloSimulation

#somanycarsjustonelife

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3 thoughts on “Last Monday Musings Of 2020

  1. You’re pretty spot on with the details concerning the Corvette. The impetus for the Vette may have lain in the European and British sportscars servicemen imported home after WWII, but that first version may have been a little too slavish a copy. Inline 6, plastic screens allowing in wind and weather… I think it showed the market liked the ‘idea’ of those sportscars more than the car themselves. Interesting that the powers that be picked up on the idea a V8 was needed, but still kinda missed the mark on the other accoutrements, at least until they saw how many Tbirds Ford could sell. That said, by the early 60s even Triumph and MG were using roll up glass windows.
    Of course, the other thing that helped out the Corvette was that Ford abandoned the market just as quickly as they got in. Had McNamara not ordered a 4-seat Tbird, had Ford kept it a 2-seater and used the 406 and 427, it would have been interesting to see the sales competition between the cars. Makes me wonder that had the Tbird remained a 2-seat sportscar, maybe the Shelby Cobra never comes to be.

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    1. Very well put, sir. The story of the T-Bird shows that short-term success doesn’t always equal long-term staying power. After the move to the Square Bird, T-Bird sales improved dramatically, but those are not as valuable now as the Baby Birds. Besides, can you even buy a new T-Bird? 😉

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  2. Ford’s mistake was changing the T-Bird to a 4-seater or they might have been serious long-term competition to the ‘vette. Maybe they knew at the time they wouldn’t have the chops to keep up with Chevrolet in that regard.
    On the other hand, their Mustang continues to sell well and, if I understand the new Ford production schedule, it remains the only automobile in their line since focusing for the future on the SUV platform.

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