Wandering Wednesday

<Bitching About Blog Views> I am at least 99% certain that it’s been more than two years since a post has had as few views on the day of publication as yesterday’s installment of Threes And Sevens. That small number means the day had very few views as well. Very disappointing to me…<End Bitching>


I have written, on occasion, about the very imperfect nature of record keeping by people, especially the further back one goes in time. I have also written that many people, even intelligent ones, don’t seem to grasp this truth. I have had very smart people express incredulity that we don’t know for certain what was the first American car produced, for example.

ALL endeavors of human beings are imperfect because ALL human beings are imperfect. That truth is not understood, or is ignored, by people who blindly follow any ideology because it seems to me that all of the people in that category cannot acknowledge the possibility that their view, their belief, might be wrong.

I humbly offer this photo as an example of the fallibility of record keeping, even in modern times.



I showed the sheet on the left here. The sheet on the right arrived in yesterday’s mail. Note that except for the valuation date, none of the other figures match.

While none of the figures on either sheet indicate(s) the pension plan is in poor shape, it would be reassuring if they matched since they are supposed to measure the same things at the same time. I am in no position to ascertain which set of data is correct, or if either is even correct. (Oh, I’m not sure if “none” is singular or plural in the first sentence of this paragraph so I covered my bets with conjugating “to indicate.”)

NOTHING human beings do is perfect and that applies to recording/displaying data even in this day and age of computerized “big” data and analytics.


This piece from Hagerty is about which “classic” cars have the least and most volatility in their prices. Hagerty has (have?) calculated something they call the “annualized volatility score.” From the article,


“Hagerty Insider does this regularly by calculating vehicles’ annualized volatility score. Considering vehicles that have run in the Hagerty Price Guide for at least 3.5 years, our data analysts plot percent changes in value over time.

A lower score denotes the car’s market value is fairly stable, with higher scores indicating volatility—they can swing wildly from one price guide update to the next.”


The most volatile car, by their measure, was the 1988 BMW M5. This car was the least volatile (picture from the article):


1957-Pontiac-Star-Chief-Convertible front three-quarter


This picture represents the 1955-57 Pontiac Star Chief, which has an annualized volatility score of 1.6 percent. I think that is a 1957 model actually shown in the photo. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

I don’t want to get into an esoteric discussion of the difference between structural and reduced-form mathematical models. I will say that statistics are not truth in themselves, but are an approximation of the truth. The underlying structure of a situation can change before we can ascertain that it has changed. Oh, show me another “car blog” where you would read anything remotely resembling this paragraph. (I’ll try not to break my arm patting myself on the back.)


As always, I welcome thoughtful comments. Like all other blog metrics, the number of comments has markedly declined in recent months.






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One thought on “Wandering Wednesday

  1. I believe you are correct, 1957 Pontiac.

    I often wonder about the value of these types of articles Hagerty publishes. I mean, I understand and agree that more information is beneficial, and users have the option to read, apply or ignore the content. And so perhaps Hagerty feels the time and effort (and even criticism) is worthwhile even if it’s just a handful of speculators using the information to try to maximize their ‘classic car flipping venture’.

    I’ve said before though that I think too many people end up with incorrect takeaways from these exercises. People see a ‘value’ put on something (1957 Pontiacs have the lowest number in this case) and think it means their beloved Bonneville is being dissed by Hagerty in favour of some eurotrash ubermobile (and their neighbour had one of those and it was a lemon by the way!)

    Then again, knowing your background, I know you are familiar with the trials of trying to get folks to understand the value analysis and statistics can have as tools.


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