A Tough Day For Cars

Some might say this is a tough era for cars, especially those powered by internal combustion engines (ICE). They seem to be on their way out. Anyway…on this day in 2014 a large sinkhole “swallowed” eight Corvettes that were on display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. From a Minion of the Evil Empire, here is a link to video of a security camera capturing the event.

Among the cars damaged were a 2009 “Blue Devil” ZR-1 prototype, the 1,000,000th Corvette and the 1,500,000th Corvette. Only three of the eight cars have been restored; the other five are part of an exhibit about the event. Here are two pictures I took of that exhibit in August, 2019. I must admit to getting a little choked up upon seeing the damaged cars.

 

 

The “feel good” part of the story is about the “Blue Devil” ZR-1 prototype, which was the first car recovered. (Did I mention the sinkhole was sixty feet deep? Of course, not every car fell all the way down.) The ZR-1 seemed not to have suffered too much damage and, sure enough, started up right away after recovery leading to an emotional reaction from those at the scene. Oh, the event was great for museum attendance, which doubled in the year after the sinkhole.

 

On this day in 1957 Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory and 270 cars in various states of finish were destroyed in a fire. Among the cars lost were nine of 25 Jaguar XKSS models. These were street-legal versions of the famous Jaguar D-Type racer. From Gooding & Company a picture of an XKSS:

 

See the source image

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In this post I wrote “It is only when machines fail that they remind us how powerful they are,” a remark often attributed to the late Clive James. Well, do toilets count? My wonderful wife and I literally celebrated yesterday after the installation of three new toilets to replace the awful ones that came with this house. While the event did not happen as smoothly as it could have, to use a more familiar phrase, “All’s well that ends well.”

The late Edward Bennett Williams, noted attorney and former owner of the Baltimore Orioles, often said, “All’s well that ends.” My first year as a full-time employee of a major league baseball team was 1988. I worked for my then-hometown Orioles. Needless to say, that was a tough year.

The team started the season by losing its first 21 games, easily the longest such streak in major league history. Then and sadly, Williams died in August after a decade long battle with cancer. Most graciously, in April of 1988 he committed to keeping the team in Baltimore with an agreement to build the venue in which the team will play its 30th season this year. Of course, he knew he would never live to see the ballpark.

After the season ended, the team had an “All’s Well That Ends” party. It was surprisingly upbeat, as if since we had survived 1988 maybe we could survive anything. I wonder if New Years celebrations this year, in whatever form they took place, had a similar feeling.

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RIP, Chick Corea. The acclaimed jazz keyboard artist, winner of 23 Grammy awards, died on Tuesday from a rare form of cancer that was discovered not long before his death.

He is best known for his work with his band Return To Forever. Corea is considered a father of “jazz fusion,” a genre that, sadly from my perspective, seems to have disappeared or been absorbed by other forms. For me, though, my favorite work of his is the acoustic collaboration with noted jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton, Crystal Silence.

In one of its iterations, Return To Forever might literally have had the most talent of any four-man group in history. Corea on keyboards, Stanley Clarke on bass, Al DiMeola on guitar and Lenny White on drums is a collection of players that is almost impossible to comprehend. If you’ve never heard of them you’ll just have to take my word.

 

#AToughDayForCars

#CorvetteMuseumSinkhole

#JaguarBrownsLaneFire

#EdwardBennettWilliams

#ChickCorea

#ReturnToForever

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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7 thoughts on “A Tough Day For Cars

  1. When I was a self-employed engineer doing heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) and plumbing design for various projects, mostly commercial and industrial with some special residential, I was particularly specific about the toilets I specified. If the contractor wanted to do a substitution for a toilet, I rarely approved. If, on inspection I found a toilet which did not meet my requirements, it was replaced. Toilets come in a huge variety of styles, many of which I would never specify. Toilets are an important appliance rarely appreciated except by a few. Many people have need for a special toilet, yet do not know what will help them. Both of the toilets in our current house were replaced with what we needed very shortly after we moved in. Being the engineer/handyman that I am I completed both replacements. Needs change, so there will be another replacement shortly as soon as I can take delivery of the very specific appliance. Lowe’s and their 10% veterans discount are greatly appreciated by this customer.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Philip. The late, great Bill Withers (a very accomplished musician, if you didn’t know–or even if you did) worked at a factory that manufactured aircraft toilet seats before “hitting it big.” When someone once made fun of him for that he replied, “I’ll stop singing for a month. Let’s see how long you can go without using a toilet.”

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  2. No we don’t have to take your word for it. YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora can all stream Chick Corea’s music so people can experience his greatness.
    I was very sad when I heard the news, as if a piece of me had died. He had been a part of my musical life for four decades, and never disappointed. I think I have seen him in concert with RTF, with Herbie Handcock, and with his last trio. R.I.P. romantic warrior.

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    1. It was a sad day, but was actually good for the museum in the long-run. Apparently, that part of Kentucky is full of sinkholes. It’s not as bad there as in the sinkhole capital of the world, though: Florida.

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  3. I visited the Corvette Museum in 2009, after a vacation in Memphis and Nashville I decided to make the stop on the drive home. It turned out to be a bit of a two-fer as there was a bonus Corvair exhibit that just opened. Of course I very much enjoyed seeing the place and the cars. I was shocked as anyone 4 and a half years later when news came of the sinkhole. A friend of mine was from Kentucky, we had a number of conversations about underground caves and how he used to explore them as a kid.

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