In the interest of fairness I must write about the following…

The new C8 Corvette is, of course, the first mid-engine Vette. As such, the space in front of the passenger compartment is a trunk of sorts, or a frunk as it’s been dubbed. NHTSA has received complaints that the frunk lid can just open on its own while driving.

The number of complaints received so far is only in single digits, I believe, but I think Chevrolet/GM need to be proactive. Still, maybe my wonderful wife will wait on that C8 convertible.


This Hemmings article is titled, “Mid-life Crisis Motoring: What sporty car would you pick at $5K, $10K, $20K, or $40K?” Of course, the idea is similar to Frugal Friday in this blog and, no doubt, to dozens of other features across the Internet.

Is my obsession with cars–more specifically, with buying cars–a mid-life crisis? I think I am actually way past mid-life and I have almost always been interested in cars far more than the typical American male. Still, I remember when I bought my first Corvette 16 years ago (!) one of my clients asked me if I was having a mid-life crisis.

One of the $5,000 cars is very familiar to readers of this blog:


Post Image


From Hemmings:


“The Reatta has always been a polarizing car, seemingly out of step for Buick in the late 1980s as a racy-looking, sports-tuned two-seater that was sold alongside the traditionally styled Riviera luxury coupe. But this front-wheel-drive GT had a different mission than its larger, four-seat sibling, being intended to draw in younger, more technologically savvy buyers. Not many visited Buick showrooms though, and fewer than 22,000 Reatta coupes and convertibles were sold between 1988 and 1991. At least this Arctic White ’89’s tried-and-true mechanicals, including the 3800 V-6 and four-speed automatic, are durable and easy to repair, and its sleek body still turns heads. [emphasis mine]”


Perhaps the Reatta would have been more successful if Buick had positioned it as the replacement for the performance-oriented Regal Grand National and put a turbocharger on the V-6, at least as an option. Perhaps the car was just too odd for its market.

From the same article a picture of one of the $20,000 cars, a 1990-96 Nissan 300ZX (represented by a 1994 model):


Post Image


The last sentence of the write-up about this car reads, “In the future, this one will undoubtedly appreciate.” Most people who follow the car market would agree and think that Japanese cars will increase in value.

How much one pays is usually at least as important as what one buys, unless your last name is Bezos, Gates or Buffett, I guess. I will never succumb to the SUV/pickup truck paradigm and will always want to own and to drive an interesting car as long as I’m able. Without a nine- or ten-figure net worth, though, acquisition cost will always matter.

Keep Driving!









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Frugal Friday, Hemi On A Budget

“There are more things in heaven and earth…than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”

– Shakespeare


The Chrysler Hemi engine has a long history, dating back to the introduction of the first version in the 1951 model year. That iteration was produced through 1958. The second generation, the famous “Elephant,” was available from model years 1966 through 1971. The current generation was first introduced as a truck engine beginning with the 2003 model year.

The “baby” of the modern Hemi family (Chrysler Corporation trademarked the word Hemi) is the version first used in 2003, a 5.7 liter/345 cubic-inch engine with an output of either 345 HP/375 LB-FT of torque or 340 HP/390 LB-FT. A revised version of this engine was introduced in 2009, producing 372 HP/400 LB-FT in the Challenger R/T automatic and 375 HP/410 LB-FT in the manual version. Without further ado, from AutoTrader, a 2012 Challenger R/T Classic:



This car has about 33,000 miles and is in Bright Silver Metallic over Dark Slate Gray (the interior looks black in the photos). The ad copy differs on what transmission is in the car, listing it as an automatic in one place and as a manual in another. Regardless, the asking price is just $18,991 and is actually well under the Kelley Blue Book® value range of $21,359-$23,868 shown at the bottom of the ad. Of course, the fact that the car was, apparently, involved in two accidents between June, 2017 and August, 2018 is the major contributor to the car’s asking price relative to “value.” Some hood misalignment is visible in a couple of the photos and the CARFAX® reports the first accident caused damage to the right front.

So, how comfortable would you be buying a car with prior accidents? Sometimes, buying a car on a budget or below “value” means buying a car with some issues. Still, being able to buy a Hemi Challenger built in the last 10 years and with under 35,000 miles for less than $20,000 might be worth the “risk.”








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Throwback Thursday, Old TV Edition

From The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh a picture of the page showing the TV schedule from the season during which I was born, the 1959-60 season. No, I am not a TV character…



As you can see, the schedule is dominated by Westerns. There were 30 prime-time Western series on American TV in this season. Four seasons later, that number had dwindled to 8. Of course, the most-watched TV show was Gunsmoke; Wagon Train and Have Gun Will Travel were second and third in the ratings, respectively. From TV Guide a picture from the first season of Gunsmoke:


See the source image


On the left, of course, is the star of the show: James Arness as Matt Dillon. Gunsmoke was produced and shown on CBS for 20 seasons. That was the longest run by any live-action, primetime series on US television until September, 2019 when the 21st season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit debuted.

I have a confession to make: I have never seen an episode of Gunsmoke. I have another confession to make: the primetime TV schedule shown below (also from the Brooks and Marsh book) is more interesting to me than the one from 1959-60:



This is the first primetime TV “schedule,” from the 1946-47 “season.” For some reason, the beginning of an endeavor is often far more interesting to me than after that endeavor becomes established. OK, what network is represented by the “D” in the listing? That is the DuMont network that folded in the mid-1950s.

Do you see the show listed at the bottom called Voice of Firestone Televues? I am fascinated by that show because it might very well be the first network series. NBC began feeding its Monday night schedule to TV stations in Philadelphia and Schenectady, New York–in addition to being shown on its New York City station–in April of 1944.

Ironically, my interest in automobiles does not exactly follow the same pattern. While I appreciate the significance of the first cars–Benz, Duryea, etc.–they don’t appeal to me and I have not studied them much. I am, however, far more interested in the automobile business before the consolidation into the few large companies that exist today.

What idiosyncratic interests do you have?








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Some time ago my (i)ncomparable niece sent me a remark made by the late Carl Sagan. She claimed I had used it in my blog. Sorry, but I searched my blog using the search widget and that remark did not appear here before today. However, prompted by a great conversation I had yesterday with my wonderful friend and neighbor, Jack, I thought I would repeat Sagan’s remark:


“You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe.”


Human beings have the amazing capacity to think outside the context of their lives, but many/most do not use that capacity. The universe, the real world, the human world are all very complex and, I admit, it is tempting to subscribe to some ideology that seems to simplify the complex. The path of least resistance is not always the best course of action, though.

My first blog was called An Unreasonable Man. That title had nothing to do with Ralph Nader, about whom a documentary was made with that title. Instead, it was inspired by a remark by George Bernard Shaw, which, in turn, inspired the title of the film about Nader:


“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”


I am not an attorney, but to me if an assertion has no empirical evidence upon which to make that assertion, then I do not believe it. People can say anything, but without proof those words are mere hearsay. To me, mere belief is not proof.


From the famous Coys auctioneers in the UK, a picture of a car that is still available on Bring A Trailer. BaT has become aggressive at breaking links to pictures on its website, which is why I am using a picture from somewhere else. This is a Ferrari 456M GTA.



Via email I sent the link to the BaT listing to my wonderful wife with the subject of “How About This As A Grocery Car?” In the body of the email I wrote, “Just kidding, well maybe half-kidding…”

She and I are both quite smitten with the looks of this car. Unfortunately, even at the current bid of “just” $41,000 with one day to go, the 456 GTA is simply way too expensive to be a grocery car.

The 456 and 456M were produced by Ferrari from 1992 to 2003 as a replacement for the 412. I think the 456 is one of the forgotten Ferraris. The M spec was introduced in 1998 (M stands for Modificata, Italian for changed). Both the “unchanged” 456 and 456M were powered by a 5.5 liter/333 cubic-inch (have to keep Bill Stephens happy) V-12 that produced 436 HP/406 LB-FT of torque.

About 3,300 456/456M units were sold. About half of the 456M were sold with an automatic transmission (456M GTA), but only about 20% of the 456 were so equipped.

The car has four seats and the trunk has about 11 cubic feet of volume…I have dreams, but I live in the real world. Sometimes that is unfortunate, but I cannot believe it to be different without proof.








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In Or Out? 8

First…our kitchen has not looked this in a long time. Why does it look this way now?



I struggled to pick a car for this In Or Out? post. My own preferences seem to be interfering with the selections. For better or for worse, here is the newest member of the In Or Out? club.


See the source image


From My Classic Garage a picture of a 1974 AMC Matador X coupe. The Matador coupe was dramatically restyled for the 1974 model year.

The restyling must have been well received as sales of Matador 2-door coupes increased significantly from about 7,000 in 1973 to about 62,000 in 1974, including approximately 10,000 of the Matador X. (That figure for the X spec comes from standard catalog of® of Independents edited by Ron Kowalke. Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® gives that number as 1,500. If anyone knows which figure is correct or if the two books are not measuring the same thing, please let me know. Thanks.) As far as I can tell, the “X” package was more about looks than about performance. Speaking of performance, the most powerful AMC engine available in 1974 was a 401 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 235 HP, but 335 LB-FT of torque. For a 1974 American car, that was good power.

AMC ran a long ad campaign where the tagline was “What’s A Matador?” Reluctantly using the minion of the Evil Empire (aka Google) known as YouTube, here is a link to a TV commercial for the 1975 Matador using that tag.

OK, kind people…1974 AMC Matador, In Or Out?







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Monday Musings 50

As I had originally envisioned this post, I was going to start by offering my opinions on tribalism, on an individual’s limited–but real–obligations to strangers, on the notion that far more than two ways exist to define the relationship between citizens and their government, etc. However, I realized that I would either be preaching to the choir or engaging in an exercise in futility. As I wrote here, I believe that real political debate has ended in the US. What I didn’t write, but also believe, is that what used to be America’s gift for compromise, for sides giving a little in order to make progress, has vanished. Compromise is now considered a dirty word at best and treasonous at worst. Sorry to write for the nth time, but blind adherence to any ideology is not an optimal behavior, in my opinion.


The following fact is only of significance to me, but this is my blog, after all. Even without having a plan that would avail me of analytics provided by the Evil Empire (aka Google), WordPress displays all manner of data. One such piece of data is a list of the top six people by number of published comments out of the last 1,000.

For many months, 56PackardMan was, by far, the leading commenter on Disaffected Musings not counting yours truly. When I looked this morning at the ranking I was saddened that 56PackardMan is no longer on the list. Don’t get me wrong; I am happy that the average number of comments per post has increased in 2020 by 54 percent compared to 2019. I very much enjoy comments from photobyjohnbo, Dirty Dingus McGee, Philip Maynard (among others), who are “The Big Three” of commenting. (An inside joke for Dr. Zal with no disrespect intended to anyone.)

Still, 56PackardMan was this blog’s biggest supporter. Without my asking, he would put links to my posts about Packard and Studebaker on the appropriate forums, which would boost readership. He supported my efforts even though we don’t agree on many issues facing the country and the world. This is an exception to the current state of affairs that led former Speaker Of The House John Boehner to remark, “We can no longer disagree without being disagreeable.”

I, along with many of his regular readers, hope that 56PackardMan will return to the blog world someday. From a Hemmings ad (for a car no longer available) a picture of one of his absolute favorite cars, a 1956 Packard 400:


See the source image









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Sunday In The Neighborhood

First, a picture of the star of the neighborhood:



This is BB’s and MB’s wonderful dog. Besides being adorable, he is smart and possesses a great temperament. If you couldn’t tell, he is a Basset Hound. (I have not given his name since this blog is still technically anonymous, seriously.) We will miss him and his “parents” after we move, but never forget that the only constant in the world is change. Yes, that’s probably the 40th time I’ve written that “truism” in this blog.

What BB and MB didn’t know until now is that when I was very young our neighborhood also featured a wonderful Basset Hound named Ginger. Therefore, I have long had an affinity for the breed.



This picture looked better to me in my car than it looks here, I guess. We live in a valley of sorts and this is a view of it from just west of our house, facing west, into the valley right around sunrise. This is not a scene that will be available to us after we move to the desert.



This is a picture of a small lake that is actually in a neighboring state, but not that far from where we live. If it weren’t for the very large difference in taxes, my wonderful wife and I might have purchased a house on this lake. Arizona has some lakes, but none surrounded by these types of trees, as far as I know.

As the prospect of the move becomes more real, I am waxing nostalgic for the area in which we have lived for more than a decade and for the house in which we have lived for almost exactly a decade. My wonderful wife and I have lived in this house longer, far longer, than we have lived anywhere else.


Speaking just for myself, and this will sound like a shallow perspective (and probably is), but one reason the move appeals to me is the difference in car culture. Although car clubs and car enthusiasts exist here, it’s nothing like in the desert.

Part of owning a Corvette is the pleasure one gets when seeing another one while driving and engaging in the “Corvette Wave.” Since the late 1950s, Corvette drivers have acknowledged each other when passing on the road. Where we live now, we don’t see that many Corvettes except as part of a gathering of the local Corvette club. Where we are going, many more Corvettes can be seen on the road in addition to other performance cars we almost never see here. What can I say? I love cars. (Really? The next thing you’ll tell me is that Shaquille O’Neal is very tall…)



By the way, July 1st marked the first anniversary of my wonderful wife’s purchase of her 2018 Corvette convertible. Where has that year gone?!







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Fractal Friday

Fractal: Noun, a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. Fractals are useful in modeling structures (such as eroded coastlines or snowflakes) in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales, and in describing partly random or chaotic phenomena such as crystal growth, fluid turbulence, and galaxy formation OR Adjective, relating to or of the nature of a fractal or fractals. Synonyms for the adjective: unmethodical · uncoordinated · undirected · disorganized · unarranged · unplanned · unpremeditated · indiscriminate · random · inconsistent · desultory · patchy · fragmentary · sketchy · sporadic · spasmodic · fitful · inconstant · intermittent · irregular · erratic · stray · spot · casual · occasional · haphazard · chaotic · nonlinear · entropic


On this day in 1863, which was also a Friday, the Battle of Gettysburg ended with a Union (Northern) victory. The battle was the largest ever fought on the American continent, as well as the costliest one in terms of casualties in US history with about 50,000 in the three days.

Gettysburg is almost certainly the most studied battle by American military historians and many people are far more qualified than I to discuss the details and ramifications. Many of those who have studied it, but not all, consider Gettysburg to be the turning point in the Civil War in that Robert E. Lee’s army did not attempt any more strategic offensives.

You may think I have completely lost my mind, but I am more convinced than ever that the US as we know it will not exist in 50 or 100 years. Some catalysing event, most likely the election of a President with extreme views, will cause those states opposed to that election to leave the country. Of course, that is what happened before the Civil War as the election of Abraham Lincoln was the “last straw” for Southern states and, beginning with South Carolina, a total of 13 states seceded from the country.

This time, however, I think the states that were responsible for creating the event will bid good riddance to those states that want to leave the US. What happens to national defense, maintenance of interstate highways, collection of taxes and disbursement of government revenues, etc. are impossible to know in advance. However, in the American political world, real debate has ended. Each side simply yells louder and louder often engaging in nothing but propaganda and lies. An uninformed population buys the agenda that suits its a priori view of the world, almost never engaging in a rational analysis of the situation. I think “social media” is not what its advocates claim, a way to unite the world, but is instead a great divider as it makes climbing into bubbles way too easy.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Do I even want to mention that Lincoln will not resuscitate the Continental and will, instead, build nothing but crossovers and SUVs? Not really…too depressing.


I readily acknowledge that I am an idiosyncratic person. My views and tastes often defy categorization and usually, but not always, stray from the mainstream. “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

I am asking all of you to cast a vote on which of these three idiosyncratic automobiles, that have been discussed in this forum over and over (and over and over…), you prefer.



All of these photos were taken by me. The top is a Cadillac XLR, the middle is a Buick Reatta convertible (I prefer the coupe but couldn’t find a picture of one on my phone) and the bottom is a Cadillac Allante.

You can choose your favorite using any criteria you want. I would just like to read your thoughts after babbling about these cars for so long.


I will not be posting tomorrow and probably not on Sunday. I might, in fact, return to a five-day posting schedule only posting on weekends when the mood strikes. Have an enjoyable, safe and sane Fourth.







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The Second Half

Welcome to the second half of 2020…


Today is Jose Canseco’s birthday. (That means it’s also the birthday of his less famous twin, Ozzie.) Canseco was a successful, but somewhat infamous major league baseball player. He was the first player in major league history to hit 40+ homeruns and steal 40+ bases in the same season. Canseco was the American League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1988.

He is also known for admitting he used steroids while playing, which taints his achievements. Canseco once begged his manager to let him pitch in a one-sided game; his manager relented and Canseco suffered an elbow injury that required surgery which sidelined him for the rest of the season. A few days before that, Canseco apparently lost track of a fly ball in the outfield; the ball bounced off his head and over the wall for a homerun by the opposition.

I saw Canseco’s first major league at-bat in person in 1985 and am 99% sure that he struck out on three pitches against the Orioles’ Ken Dixon. Canseco was named Minor League Player Of The Year by Baseball America that season, so his major league debut was highly anticipated.

I also remember sitting in the General Manager’s box before a game in 1988–I had made the “infinite leap” from being a fan to working in baseball, and for my hometown team, no less–while he was doing a radio interview by phone. During one of Canseco’s batting practice rounds, he hit a ball completely out of the stadium, which caused the GM to stop suddenly during the interview and then loudly exclaim into the phone, “That Canseco just hit a ball out of the ballpark!”

I remember having a conversation with a young female Orioles’ co-worker who didn’t like Canseco’s muscular look and apparent arrogance. I commented that I thought most MLB players would look like that in the future. So, I was right–for awhile–although I was right for the wrong reasons.

As every regular reader of Disaffected Musings knows, I had a long career working in major league baseball as a pioneer of sports analytics and a “father” of Moneyball. As everyone also knows, I no longer follow the sport at all. Personally, I see no inconsistency in that juxtaposition, but some of my friends still don’t understand. Anyway…from Wikipedia a picture of a young Jose Canseco:



An update on 2020 Corvette orders from Corvette Blogger…without getting into the technicalities of event status codes, Chevrolet/GM have basically admitted that not all 2020 Corvettes that were ordered will be built before the changeover to 2021 production in late October/early November. All ordering for 2021 Corvettes begins on July 30. If you ordered a 2020 model that is not likely to be built, your dealer is supposed to let you know so you can order a 2021.

Chevrolet/General Motors is keeping the base price of the 2021 Corvette Stingray Coupes and Convertibles the same as 2020, but it is a virtual certainty that at least some of the option prices will be higher. From the article a picture of a 2020 Corvette:


GM Issues an Order and Production Update For 2020 and 2021 Corvettes







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Wave Goodbye To Half The Year

At the end of the day today 2020 will be half over. Sometimes it’s OK to be Captain Obvious, or Capitaine Évident, because sometimes the obvious is a point worth making. Even with all of the bad things that have occurred and are occurring, this has easily and scarily been the fastest year ever, by far. Is that simply inevitable given I am older? I don’t know, but I hope, somehow, things slow down even just a little, especially after the virus situation calms down. I will offer my opinion that the coronavirus will never go away completely, that just like we (should) receive an annual flu shot, we will receive an annual (or biennial, every other year) coronavirus shot.


While I know that much of the substantial increase in views/visitors since early April is due to current circumstances keeping people at home, I want to thank the readers of Disaffected Musings for visiting. The monthly average for views for April-June of 2020 was about 40% higher than the previous high for one month. That’s quite a quantum leap in readership and I appreciate it. All that being said, I will continue to ask for the sale. Please feel free to tell your friends about the blog and to pass along the URL (, please feel free to click on any (or all) of the related posts at the bottom of each post, please feel free to “Like” any post and to submit thoughtful comments, and please feel free to click on any ad in which you have genuine interest.


This post is the most recent one in which I wrote about the potential market for an American-made super-luxury car. Also remembering that it is the automobile business I floated the idea of such a car sharing some components with other models, but not too many, so that initial development and tooling are not prohibitively expensive. From The Pontiac Solstice Book by Gary Witzenburg here is a partial list of components the Solstice shared with other cars to which GM had access:


Ecotec engine: Pontiac G6, Chevrolet HHR/Cobalt, Saturn Ion; yes, I realize that these models and even makes no longer exist, but that’s not relevant to the point

Manual transmission: Hummer H3, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado

Automatic transmission: Cadillac SRX/STS/CTS

Driveshaft, differential, rear axles: Cadillac CTS

Steering wheel: Pontiac Torrent

Steering column: Chevrolet Cobalt

Interior storage bin: Cadillac XLR

Seat frames: Opel Corsa


Obviously, I realize that a super-luxury car could not share too many components because that would diminish its status. Maybe the engine would have to be exclusive to this car, but could still be based on existing architecture. Here is a picture of a car, from, of one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen, and a car that could be the basis for a super-luxury car, the Cadillac Elmiraj concept:


See the source image


I stubbornly cling to the belief that such a car, even priced at $300,000-$500,000, could sell 5,000-7,000 units a year, especially if it had any success abroad. Let’s say my range is 1,000 units too high. At the midpoint of the suggested price range, annual gross revenue would be between $1.6 billion and $2.4 billion. At the bottom of both ranges, that figure is $1.2 billion. Even at half of the latter figure ($600 million), couldn’t GM recoup its development costs quickly and make a profit? Remember that Ferrari’s average profit per car is $80,000. At half that margin and at the bottom of my lower production range, GM would earn $160 million in profit annually from a super-luxury car.

OK, maybe I don’t really know what I am talking about. Maybe tooling and production costs would be higher, maybe sales would be lower and maybe the price would have to be lower. I still think the car would be profitable AND it would be a halo car that would give GM some positive publicity, if executed properly. Of course, no one at GM will ever read this and this car will almost certainly never be built. That doesn’t mean I can’t think outside the box. What box?!







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