Wandering Wednesday

This is the 17th post with the title “Wandering Wednesday.” Do you think my penchant for alliteration is an asset or a liability? I do think, and granted this is a subjective observation, that post titles affect readership.


A “dump” of links to posts from Why Evolution Is True:


Every planet in one photo (except Pluto)

Pinker: The “evolution war” is also a culture war

Peter Singer’s contrarian view on the Dobbs decision

I have avoided writing about this because, in my opinion, abortion is the very definition of a “hot button” issue. One thing I like about Why Evolution Is True is that the blog author (Jerry Coyne) can acknowledge that points of view with which he disagrees can still have merit, unlike the majority of today’s American population.

A NYT columnist accuses extremists on both Left and Right of erasing women

Once again, I lament the loss of real debate in this country. People shout at others instead of talking to them. Both sides are guilty although partisans will either not acknowledge that reality or arrogantly and blindly claim that they are right and, therefore, shouting is appropriate. From the post:


“It’s heartening to see someone of [Pamela] Paul’s stature at a paper as influential as the NYT pushing back on irrational wokeness. [My note: I think virtually all wokeness is irrational.] Is this a trend now? Will it go away? I doubt it, but voices of dissent from Leftists themselves are beginning to be heard, and this article—I’ve quoted only a bit of it—is one. I’ll just add her ending:

‘Tolerance for one group need not mean intolerance for another. We can respect transgender women without castigating females who point out that biological women still constitute a category of their own — with their own specific needs and prerogatives.'”


For the nth to the n time, NO ONE has a monopoly on truth, wisdom and good judgment and neither does ANY ideology. I once opined that if the five most liberal and five most conservative US Senators were replaced with moderates, then the country would be on much sounder footing. I don’t believe that, anymore. The division is far beyond Congress and, once again, the scourge of social media bears much/most of the blame.


Here is a link to a Hemmings piece from ten days ago about a car that may or may not be included in a Hall of Very Good Cars post, the Pontiac Fiero. A picture from the article:



While the exterior design is very much of the period I think the Fiero has a very sharp and clean look. I have never driven one or even sat in one. Despite the mid-engine layout, the Fiero was not designed as a performance car. Even the Formula/GT version was powered by an engine that produced just 135 HP/165 LB-FT of torque. However, if the car’s designers had tried to position the Fiero as a true sports car, it is likely that upper-level executives at General Motors would have never allowed the Fiero to be built as it would have been seen as potentially cannibalizing the Corvette market. How ironic is it that moving the Corvette to a mid-engine platform came to be adopted as the way to broaden the car’s worldwide appeal?


Here is a link to another Hemmings piece from late May (I no longer subscribe to Hemmings, which is why this reference is “late”) about George Murphy, owner of the largest GM dealership in the world in the mid-1960s, and his efforts to save Studebaker. From the article:


“Murphy sensed an opportunity with Studebaker, so in February of 1966, after selling Honolulu Iron Works, he approached Studebaker chairman Randolph Guthrie with an offer to buy 500,000 shares of Studebaker stock—more than a sixth of the outstanding shares of common stock—at $30 per share, above market price. The offer came out of left field, according to a lawsuit between Studebaker and Allied Products, a Studebaker supplier that also entered in negotiations to buy the company immediately after Murphy’s offer. Studebaker’s board of directors appeared in favor of Murphy’s offer but ultimately left the decision up to the stockholders, who, by all indications, let the offer die on the vine. Guthrie, in turn, rejected Allied’s offer, and a month later Studebaker shut down the Hamilton assembly line, bringing an end to the company’s car making efforts.”


By the time Murphy made his offer, the cars shown below had already been discontinued. Still, who knows what might have happened. Many of those who know far more about Studebaker than I do think the board just wanted to leave the automobile business regardless.


See the source image


The top photo is a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, a member of my Ultimate Garage 3.0, and the bottom is a Studebaker Avanti, a member of my first Ultimate Garage.

Another idea often written here is that what actually happens/happened is virtually never the only thing that could have happened. If Murphy’s bid had been accepted or Studebaker had signed any of the three offers to import Volkswagens, then the company might still exist and might still be manufacturing and selling cars. I don’t know how I would feel about Studebaker under the latter scenario, but that’s another story.








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8 thoughts on “Wandering Wednesday

  1. Anecdote: A friend and customer of my long-closed computer store owned a Fiero and he loved to drive it. He would show up on Saturday mornings to chat and maybe buy a computer part or two. I didn’t know much about the model then, but always thought that if I had the disposable income, I’d like to have one as well.


    1. Thanks, JS. The Fiero was successful in its first year as about 137,000 were sold. Unfortunately for the car, that was easily the high-water mark. As was GM’s “custom” in those days, the Fiero was sold before it was really ready. Add in a recall for engine fires and the car was doomed.

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  2. Studebaker was briefly the importer of Volkswagens into Canada in 1965-66. As a Canadian manufacturer, they were able to import the cars duty-free, and then sell them to Volkswagen Canada with a markup less than VW would have paid the government in tariffs.


  3. Many Fiero enthusiasts who desired more horsepower shoehorned small block Chevy V-8s into them. Some successful, many were not. For American buyers you could afford a Fiero, instead of trying to buy a Porsche 914 another mid-engine car of the same time.


  4. I used to hang out with a young lady whose stepfather had a Fiero. He was restoring it, so being car guys we chatted from time to time about the car. I ended up attending a small Fiero owners club gathering. They’re a small but fairly passionate group.
    As you state, sadly Fiero is indicative of GM’s corporate mindset in the 1980s: get it to market as quickly and cheaply as possible, and hope the costs of fixing problems doesn’t cut into profits too badly.


    1. Thanks, Mark. The GM paradigm of, essentially, using customers as beta testers must have arisen because bean counters thought that would lower costs. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, but it certainly hurt the company in the marketplace and negatively affected the other big component of profit/loss, revenues.

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