Arizona’s Dirty Little Secret

Combined, my wonderful wife and I have been driving for more than 90 years. In that time we have had three instances of our windshields getting cracked from road debris. ALL THREE TIMES HAVE OCCURRED IN THE LAST THREE YEARS IN ARIZONA! The latest victim is my six-month old Mustang GT, which was hit yesterday. (The first cracked windshield was on a rental car when we were here for the Mecum auction in March, 2020.) At first, the windshield had a starburst pattern, but the crack quickly spread, is quite unsightly and, of course, is in my field of vision when driving.

After my wife’s Corvette needed its windshield replaced last April we decided to pay a little extra on our auto insurance to have all glass repair covered without any deductible. The big auto glass repair company will be here Monday to replace the windshield on the Mustang. By the way, it was both convenient and frightening that all I had to do when scheduling the appointment was to give the glass repair company our insurance policy number and within seconds they were able to confirm coverage and that I had no deductible.

Our former next-door neighbors, Emily and Chris, told me they have had to replace their windshields twice. A quick survey at the deli this morning indicated that most of the crew that works there has had to have their windshield replaced at least once.

So, what causes Arizona’s dirty little secret? One theory is that the asphalt used for road surfaces here has too high an aggregate content. With a high diurnal change in temperature being the norm here the material used gets loose too easily only to be kicked up by some vehicle ahead.

Another theory is that after heavy rains, like we had before my Mustang windshield was hit, rocks and other debris wash over road surfaces. Regardless of the reason, and Arizona will not change its asphalt formula, vehicles here are very susceptible to having their windshields hit.

I tried to take a photograph of the crack on the Mustang windshield. No attempt yielded a usable picture. It’s probably better that I won’t have a tangible reminder.


My (i)ncomparable niece edits books for a living. These books are usually published for governmental or quasi-governmental agencies. Here is something she sent me from one of those books.



I’m sure this is one of literally millions of examples of “Captain Obvious” passages in government work. People who believe that government is a panacea need an operation to have their heads removed from their rectums.


So, as I glibly mentioned to Philip Maynard in a comment, my choice for Mustang companion is dependent on what day of the week it is. Of course, when he reminded me of the day (Mittwoch or Wednesday; Mittwoch is German/Yiddish for middle of the week) I replied that I had “No frickin’ idea.” Of course, no disrespect was intended.

I will say that, as I write this, the choice is among a Jaguar F-Type convertible (6-cylinder only), a Cadillac XLR, or a Kappa platform convertible (Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky, turbocharged engine only). Those cars are listed in order of most expensive to least expensive. The fact that the F-Type was included in the latest iteration of my Ultimate Garage is in its favor, but is not a decision-maker.

IF I buy a car, and I think that probability exceeds 90%, then the likelihood that it’s one of the three cars mentioned above also exceeds 90%. However, the timing of such a purchase is still undetermined.

If anyone has a case to make for any of those three cars or any other relatively recent convertible, for that matter, please feel free to make the case even if you’ve made it before. Many thanks.







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8 thoughts on “Arizona’s Dirty Little Secret

  1. If you need “signs” about which car to buy, yesterday, on my “gofer” run, I chanced to be following a Saturn Sky. When I returned the two little grandchildren to home after they spent the day with us, I noticed my son-in-law has a new vanity plate on his Solstice, V8RACER. Maybe the Kappa platform should be in the lead?

    I promise not to get into a rant about government publications. I will note that when I worked as an engineer and had to deal with the regulations in the Federal Register, I did find it necessary to read long, long run-on sentences. I found it helpful to ignore the portions which did not apply to my situation and just read the parts of the sentence which did apply. Sometimes it was necessary to copy the page and literally cross out the inapplicable portions and then read the remainder. There are far, far too many regulations in the Federal Register. Many of the people writing government regulations know nothing about the English language and need to increase their vocabulary.


    1. Thanks, Philip. In all honesty, the most appealing aspect of potentially buying a Kappa platform convertible is the price. I could buy one for $15,000-$17,000. A good XLR would cost me at least $10k more and a worthy six-cylinder F-Type convertible would be in the mid-30s.


  2. Would have bought F-Pace on your recommendation four years ago, but bought Audi Q7 and am pleased. F-Pace was close runner-up. Would have been happy with Jag, too. You know your car stuff, for sure. Thx, Herb.


  3. “If anyone has a case to make for any of those three cars”

    I suspect you will know which one, when you see it. Of course, within a few days you will likely see a “better” one.

    At least that’s how it often works for me.

    Me? As you well know I prefer the older iron. Were I to look into a soft top, I would probably look no newer than 1970, full size, and V8 automatic. Maybe even a big ole Cadillac. 🙂


    1. Thanks, DDM. Can’t really drive a car with a carburetor in an Arizona summer although, of course, people did it for many years. Many cases of vapor lock, too. Another former Arizona Dirty Little Secret.

      My father had a 1965 Cadillac convertible (De Ville?). I loved the car; it was the first time I ever saw power locks and power windows.


  4. The problem with carburetor cars in Arizona is the lack of technicians who know how to tune them. Carbs work just fine here without fearing vapor lock, provided they are tuned properly.

    If I were to buy a Cadillac it would be an early 1950s sedan or an XLR with the Northstar V8.

    My choice of convertible would be a 1957 Thunderbird with chassis upgrades to disk brakes and a small block Windsor V8 with fuel injection and automatic.


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