Don’t F— With Karma?

The battle as to whether or not to write about this topic was waged long and fierce in (what’s left of) my brain. I have written that I don’t really believe in buying cars as a financial investment, but as an investment in the enjoyment of life. I (we) do have financial investments, such as stocks and bonds. My wonderful wife and I are debt-free and those financial investments have played the largest role in reaching that state.

Here’s where the debate raged. I don’t think I believe in karma. HOWEVER, my memory, as good as it may be it is still the selective memory of the human, remembers multiple times when my bragging seems to have led to my misfortune. I will, therefore, tread somewhat lightly here.

First, here is the asset allocation for our investment portfolio, retirement and non-retirement accounts together. All of the figures shown here come from the analytics of our brokerage company and were not calculated by me. Given that I am retired and that my wonderful wife is, hopefully, close to retirement the portfolio is fairly conservative.

 

Large Cap Stocks  45.6%
Small Cap Stocks   2.6%
International Stocks   7.6%
Fixed Income  34.0%
Cash  10.1%

 

All portfolio returns are not created equally. An asset allocation like ours cannot match the overall return of the S&P 500, nor is it meant to. The key to measuring the success of investments is to compare the return to the expected, risk-adjusted return. We have been with the same brokerage company for 12 years and we are VERY happy with them. For the sake of security, I will not reveal their name. This company gives investors access to all sorts of analytics about their investment portfolios.

Overall, our portfolio has outperformed its expected, risk-adjusted return by…I am very reluctant to reveal this..almost 200 basis points per year for the last 12 years. Most of that “out-performance” has come from one asset class.

The large cap stocks in our portfolio have performed as expected. Oh…most of our investments are not in individual stocks. We have some of those, but mainly we have no-load mutual funds, ETFs and index funds although not much of the latter. When it comes to fixed income, though, we have very little exposure to bond funds. We hold actual bonds instead.

The small cap stocks have underperformed their benchmark, but since they only comprise 2.6% of our portfolio that has little effect on our overall return. Our international stocks have outperformed their benchmark somewhat.

Cash is, pretty much, cash so by process of elimination one can ascertain that the one asset class where we have had the most success is in fixed income. I am going to write the following, but you may very well not believe it. It is true, however.

Our brokerage company uses the Bloomberg Barclays Large Aggregate Bond Index as its fixed income benchmark. Taking the average annual rate of return for that index and compounding that growth for 12 years yields an overall return of 61.2%. Taking the average annual rate of return of our fixed income investments and compounding that growth for 12 years yields an overall return of 169.1%. Those are the real numbers, as hard as that may be for you to believe.

I can’t really describe the process by which I buy and sell bonds because it’s as much about feel as about analysis. However, I can tell you that the old axiom “Bulls make money, bears make money, but hogs get slaughtered” also applies to fixed income investing. Let me give you one example: a little over a year ago I purchased a bond in one of my wife’s accounts. Let’s say it was $25,000 in face value. I recently noticed that the value of that bond had increased by almost 30 percent since purchase. That type of movement is, of course, rare in bonds but not unheard of. I decided to trim the position to $20,000 and lock in that gain for the other $5,000. I can assure you the coupon rate of the bond didn’t remotely approach 30% a year. However, for one-fifth of the original investment we have a gain of about 30%.

OK, I have probably lost a lot of you along the way. It is a fact that without money life is more difficult for most. I don’t believe that money is everything, but it is important. Being debt-free is a great place to be and we could not have gotten there without investing our money. I also think that money should be enjoyed, that people should use their money to improve the quality of their lives, within reason. People should not live above or even at their means. In the past, my wonderful wife and I have eschewed purchasing nice things we couldn’t really afford so that later we would be able to afford nice things. Too many people in the US think they are somehow entitled to nice things they can’t really afford.

I would like to read about your investing history.

 

#DontF—WithKarma?

#Investing

#disaffectedmusings

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The Only Constant

In The World Is Change…

From 1996 through 1999 at this time of year I was at spring training with the Padres in Peoria, Arizona. Because I found spring training to be boring for the most part, especially before the games started, I would not stay in Arizona for the entire six weeks. I would go out there just before pitchers and catchers reported, making the drive with my long-time friend Fred who was the Assistant General Manager, stay for about ten days and then fly back to San Diego. Sometime in March I would fly back to Arizona and stay for another ten days.

When I was young I would have done anything to be with a major league team in spring training. However, during my last spring training visit in 1999 I was so miserable I knew I had to leave the Padres, which I did later that year.

One amusing phenomenon happened when I would return to the complex in Peoria in February. I would gaze in amazement at all of the new development: residential, retail, and road. I would inevitably say to someone, “Where the hell did all of this come from in a year?!”

When my wonderful wife, her parents and I went to Scottsdale, Arizona last year to attend the Barrett-Jackson auction, my wife’s parents were bewildered by the size and scope of the Phoenix metro area, their former place of residence. Given that they left Phoenix in the 1960s and given the population growth, it’s no wonder they didn’t really recognize much of the area with which they used to be familiar. Here is a table comparing the 1970 and 2010 populations of a few western suburbs of Phoenix, where many of the spring training baseball complexes have been built, and the city of Phoenix itself:

 

CITY 1970 2010
Peoria 4,792 154,065
Glendale 36,228 226,721
Goodyear 2,140 65,275
Surprise 2,427 117,517
     
Phoenix 581,572 1,445,632

 

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

– Aldous Huxley

Those population figures might be hard to believe, but they are true. The population of the entire Phoenix metropolitan area grew from just under one million in 1970 to more than four million in 2010. Hopefully sometime in 2021, the population will add a couple from the mid-Atlantic. The only constant in the world is change.

 

 

See the source image

 

From Visit Phoenix a map of “The Valley Of The Sun.”

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How sick are you of reading about the Cadillac Allante? Today’s post was almost about the three GM cars of the 1980s that were “mold-busters” but which were failures: the Buick Reatta, the Cadillac Allante and the Pontiac Fiero. Only the latter had any success, with sales of almost 137,000 in its debut year of 1984, before succumbing to a reputation “fail.”

General Motors developed its own reputation “fail” during this time. In today’s parlance, the company would be accused of using its customers as beta testers. In other words, GM would release a new model before it had been thoroughly tested and then use the real-world experience of owners to improve the car. GM spent about $100 million developing a new suspension that would be used in the Fiero (and other cars) in 1988, but that was the last year the car was offered. The Allante finally received a powerful engine in 1993 and would sell more units that year than any other in the model’s history, but the car was discontinued after that year. The dislike of General Motors by many car enthusiasts does not come out of thin air.

My opinion: I am not a big fan of Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. She seems hell-bent on taking the company to a place that the American car-buying public isn’t. It seems inevitable that electric cars will be the dominant paradigm in the future, but highly unlikely that will occur by 2030, the year by which Barra wants GM to have an all-electric fleet. Currently, electric cars have a market share in the US of under two percent.

Anyway, from Wikipedia a picture of the model of car I tried to buy when I moved to California in the mid-1990s, a Buick Reatta:

 

See the source image

 

Boo me, sue me, but I think these cars look magnificent. They would not make the cut for my Ultimate Garage because they are short of horsepower and torque minimums, but they are among the best-looking cars ever, in my opinion.

I await the onslaught of dissent…

 

#TheConstancyOfChange

#BuickReatta

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday 9

Happy Frigal Fruday!

You say you’re having a mid-life crisis? You say you want an exotic car, but you can’t spend more than $40,000? Tell you what I’m going to do…

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 1982 Ferrari 308 GTSi with about 21,000 miles. The seller is asking $39,900. For the nth plus nth time, the average “transaction price” for a new vehicle in the US is about $40,000. Also remember that it’s easy, if you have the money, to spend $300,000 and up for a new Ferrari.

Ferrari introduced fuel injection (the “i” in GTSi) into this line in 1980. Here is the rationale from Ferrari’s website:

 

“The fuel injection system gave both models much smoother power delivery. Unfortunately, meeting anti-pollution regulations meant that a few horses had to go, and the cleaner engines were less powerful than the previous carburettor ones. Aware of this situation and the need to re-establish its cars at the top their class, Ferrari immediately began further development of the V8 engine with the aim of increasing power whilst still keeping exhaust emissions within acceptable levels.”

 

In US spec, the 2.9 liter V-8 (179 cubic inches for Bill Stephens) produced 205 HP/181 LB-FT of torque. This is not a monster performer and it wouldn’t be cheap to maintain, but it’s a beautiful Ferrari for less than the price of a well-equipped Toyota Avalon. That’s a frugal buy in my book.

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From the Classics “division” of AutoTrader comes this car:

 

 

This is a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle two-door post model. Although the ad doesn’t specify the vintage, the car is powered by a 350 cubic-inch V-8, which I will assume is a Chevy small-block. This is not the original engine as that displacement was not available on Chevrolet cars until 1967. The transmission is a Turbo Hydra-Matic 350. The seller is asking $17,995.

Heretic that I am I have always preferred the looks of these GM A-Body cars compared to the style introduced in 1968. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder or different strokes for different folks. Anyway, back to this car…even with shipping and a fair amount of work you would probably be in this car for no more than $23,000-$25,000. Yes, one could buy a new turbo-4 or maybe even 6-cylinder Camaro for that price, depending on how it’s optioned. You won’t have any rear quarter vision, though, and to me the new Camaro looks are a little soulless. I think the look of these cars is quite appealing.

Please feel free to offer thoughtful comments.

 

#FrugalFriday

#1982Ferrari308GTSi

#BillStephens

#1966ChevroletChevelle

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday 36

One hundred years ago was, of course, a US Presidential election year just like this year. Well, maybe not like this year.

Warren Harding, long considered by most historians to be among the worst Presidents in US history, easily defeated James Cox capturing about 60% of the popular vote and 404 electoral votes to Cox’s 127. Who was James Cox’s running mate? Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Harding’s was, of course, Calvin Coolidge who succeeded Harding as Chief Executive after the latter’s death in 1923.

Harding actually “campaigned” against two-term incumbent Woodrow Wilson who, supposedly, wanted to run again but Democratic Party leaders did not want him to run given his poor health and lack of popularity. Harding’s most well-known campaign “slogan” was “Return To Normalcy,” but the slogan “America First” was also used. Everything old is new again…

On the first ballot at the 1920 Republican convention, Harding was just sixth among candidates in delegate votes. No candidate received a majority, obviously. He was not nominated until the tenth ballot. From Wikipedia:

 

“Harding’s nomination, said to have been secured in negotiations among party bosses in a ‘smoke-filled room,’ was engineered by Harry M. Daugherty, Harding’s political manager, who became United States Attorney General after his election. Prior to the convention, Daugherty was quoted as saying, ‘I don’t expect Senator Harding to be nominated on the first, second, or third ballots, but I think we can afford to take chances that about 11 minutes after two, Friday morning of the convention, when 15 or 12 weary men are sitting around a table, someone will say: ‘Who will we nominate?’ At that decisive time, the friends of Harding will suggest him and we can well afford to abide by the result.’ Daugherty’s prediction described essentially what occurred…”

 

From rarenewspapers.com (not a secure site, which is why I didn’t include the hyperlink):

 

See the source image

 

The 1920 election was the first in which women were allowed to vote. It was also the first election after the ratification of the 18th Amendment, the “Prohibition Amendment.” Socialist Eugene Debs, running for President for the fifth and last time, received almost 1,000,000 popular votes or 3.4 percent of the total. He ran while in jail for advocating non-compliance with the draft during World War I.

While mass media and “social media” have changed the way messages are propagated, human nature hasn’t changed much, if at all, since 1920. Most people are still motivated by self-interest most of the time. The new means of communication have simply exacerbated the differences in society.

As I have written before, I do not vote because I disagree with most of the policy prescriptions of both parties. I cannot and will not support a candidate with whom I disagree on 65% or 75% of policy even if I disagree with the other candidate on 70% or 80% of policy. However, many of my previous posts reveal that I am not a believer in government as panacea. I am not a believer in monolithic business as panacea, either, which is why I believe that Guck Foogle and Fack Fucebook should be broken up. I DO NOT agree that Apple and Amazon are in the same situation, though, but that’s another discussion for another day.

 

#disaffectedmusings

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The Dreams Of Youth

 

I’m fairly certain this photo is from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This picture is also part of the series that makes up the wallpaper on my desktop computer, the place where I research and compose the posts for Disaffected Musings.

When I was young I was VERY interested in science, in general, and in space in particular. I was glued to the TV during Gemini and Apollo missions. For a time I thought I wanted to be an astronomer. I am not brave enough to actually want to go into space and never thought about being an astronaut.

Ironically, one of the reasons my interest in science diminished somewhat as a teenager was the science classes I took in high school. Except for Physics, which I enjoyed immensely, the Chemistry and Biology classes were very boring. Of course, that could have been a function of the teachers. We didn’t have an Astronomy class, much to my chagrin.

I still very much enjoy watching shows about the universe although I don’t watch them nearly as often as I could. I just don’t watch TV a lot, anymore. My interest in science is either cause or effect for my lack of interest in virtually all fiction. To me, the real world is just much more interesting than a piece of fiction. That picture of Saturn is real; I can’t imagine anything more stunning coming from someone’s imagination.

******************

Another dream of youth, this time from the remnants of the copy of The Golden Guide To Sports Cars that I purchased more than 50 years ago:

 

 

Although I don’t write about or show Mustangs very much in this blog I was a HUGE fan of them when I was young. Yes, I see the mistake in the bore size of the engine; it should be 4 inches and not 4.4.

You can understand why a numbers nerd like me would be fascinated by the table of numbers and why the rest of me would love the rendering of the beautiful car. While I lost the composition notebook with my notes on cars decades ago I do remember that one car featured prominently in that book was this one.

I did not want to be an auto mechanic like my father and I didn’t even have any awareness of car salesmen, not that I would have wanted to do that even I had been aware, but somehow, even then, I longed for a connection greater than just driving. While I neither need nor want to work full-time, I would still love to work part-time or as a consultant for an auction house like Barrett-Jackson or Mecum, crunching numbers and writing. I have no illusions, though, about being able to make that happen. Even so, I think it’s good that some dreams outlive youth.

 

#TheDreamsOfYouth

#Astronomy

#ShelbyGT350

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Time For A Stroll

Does anyone still use the word “stroll?”

From this Corvette Blogger post comes the news that, according to QuoteWizard Insurance, the Corvette is one of the least accident-prone vehicles on the road. The author of the post makes the common sense argument about the Corvette’s superior handling playing a role (I would have also mentioned the brakes) as well as the fact that, face it, Corvette drivers tend to be of an age that drives more carefully even though careful driving and Corvettes may seem to be mutually exclusive.

In the Corvette Blogger post I didn’t see any reference to accidents per mile driven, but Corvettes do not tend to be driven a lot. Here is a chart from ISeeCars via another Corvette Blogger post:

 

STUDY: Top 10 List of Most Driven Cars

 

I wish I were on pace for about 4,700 miles for the first year with my Z06 coupe. I have owned the car almost 11 months (!) and have still not reached 2,600 miles. I don’t think anyone should be surprised by the cars on the least-driven list. I also suspect that cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini were not included in the study. It’s too bad the median number of miles driven by make/model is not displayed. Once again: smug, self-righteous and arrogant anti-gearheads do not want to understand that most high-performance and collector cars are not driven a lot of miles. A gratuitous picture of my car:

 

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“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

– Albert Einstein

I believe that even when we have computer chips planted in our brain that can spit out the history of the universe at a billion words a second, some things that are important in life and life outcomes will not be able to be accurately modeled and predicted.

******************

I am not a professional evaluator of football players. I don’t even play one on TV… 🙂 Oh, that’s not a crack at someone like Mel Kiper. Mel and I have been friends a LONG time.

I will still offer my unsolicited and probably uninformed opinion that if it weren’t for injury, Tua Tagovailoa is a better prospect than Heisman winner and National Champion Joe Burrow. Why do I think so? Tagovailoa had two very successful seasons in college whereas Burrow really had just one. Subjectively, I think that Tagovailoa’s vision, decision-making and accuracy are simply better than Burrow’s, which is not a knock on Burrow. I think those aspects of Tagovailoa’s game are almost unparalleled.

Any draftniks out there who want to comment on this?

******************

Hey, Mick Lennon of the former Mick Lennon Car Photography website! Where did you go? I hope everything is OK.

 

#RateOfCorvetteAccidents

#AlbertEinstein

#TuaTagovailoa

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Message

This message will sound selfish, but is a view in which I firmly believe. Other than to respect their life and to respect their property I have no obligation to strangers. Charity and philanthropy are great, coercion is not. Creating new incentives for people not to be productive will create millions of people who will not be productive.

******************

Whenever my wonderful wife and I get ready to move to the desert, I hope a house like this is available:

 

11408 E Running Deer Trl, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

11408 E Running Deer Trl, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

 

Just like I am already considering alternatives for a car purchase that might not even happen and if it does will be 2-3 years in the future, I am already casting an eye on available homes in our desired location. As my wonderful wife and I are not rookies in terms of buying a house, we have a very good idea as to what we want, which we hope will make the search fairly smooth and quick. Since the move and house with a 3+ car garage have to happen before the car purchase, you do the math on the timing of the move.

🎶 Arizona, take off your rainbow shades. 🎶

“If you don’t have dreams, you have nightmares.”

******************

 

Yes, I took the plunge and joined the Studebaker Drivers Club (SDC). Since I have a STRONG aversion to newsprint, my membership is digital only without receiving the SDC newsletter.

Since today is the day my readers poll about which car should be my Z06 companion ends, I am going to announce the results, such as they are.

1) Buick Riviera

2) Studebaker Avanti

3) Buick Grand National

My own personal vote probably would have had the same order. Of course, the readers poll is not binding on me and neither is my current preference. I could buy an Avanti not made by Studebaker, like this:

 

 

From this Hemmings ad comes this listing for a 1970 Avanti II from, obviously, Country Classic Cars. I don’t really like white cars, and good automobile paint jobs are far more expensive than most people realize, but with an asking price of $12,450 and a Chevrolet drivetrain I could do much worse. A picture of the odometer does show 98,000+ miles, so that would be a worry.

The car has four seats and a trunk so it could function as a grocery car. Even in the car-crazy desert I doubt one would see too many cars like this. I could consider this car an homage to my longtime love of these cars that began when I saw this rendering in The Golden Guide To Sports Cars when I was probably 8 years old:

 

 

Being analytical to the point of being able to see all sides of an issue, no matter how obscure, but not being able to choose among them is most assuredly a curse.

 

#CharityBeginsAtHome

#DesertOasis

#StudebakerDriversClub

#1970AvantiII

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Sunday Soup

How many of you watch award shows like the Oscars or the Grammys? I think the last time I watched any part of an award show was 2005 or 2006 to see if Hugh Laurie would win for Best Actor in a TV Drama, so it must have been the Golden Globe Awards.

This article from CNBC says that last weekend’s broadcast of the Oscars was the lowest rated in history with an audience 20 percent lower than just the year before. The Emmys and Grammys have also seen significant declines in the number of viewers.

I am so far removed from “popular culture” (a phrase that is fast becoming an oxymoron, in my opinion) that I have no reason to watch these award shows. I also think the shows have become nothing more than an exercise in self-aggrandizement. Of course, people have the right to hold opinions and to express them, but just because someone is in show business doesn’t mean their opinion counts more, or even as much (as), than the rest of the population.

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On this day in 2001 the 4000th Aston Martin DB7 was produced. The DB7 is the highest-production model in Aston Martin history. Apparently, more DB7 cars were produced than DB4, DB5 (made famous in James Bond movies) and DB6 combined. Ultimately, the car was produced for ten years (1994-2004) with a total output of 7,000 cars.

The DB7 actually was first conceived as the successor to the Jaguar XJS. Remember that Ford had a controlling interest in Aston and Jaguar during this time, having acquired Jaguar in 1990 and having gained full control of Aston Martin in 1991. Ford later created a Premier Automotive Group that included these two makes in addition to Land Rover and Volvo.

This article from MotorSport details how the project evolved from XJS replacement to being the DB7. You should read the article as I doubt I could do the story justice with a summary. Suffice to say, it was a combination of factors including some “unauthorized” actions by people like Tom Walkinshaw that led to the most successful model in Aston history.

From the MotorSport article a picture of a DB7:

 

 

The DB7 never had a V-8 engine. It was initially produced with an inline-6 for five years and then was produced with a V-12. DB7s are the most affordable Astons on the market as one can find even V-12 models with asking prices below $40,000. For example, as of this writing Hemmings has two DB7 V-12 convertibles listed for sale, a 2001 and a 2002. One is listed for $29,999 and the other for $34,900. (By the way, please feel free to click on the hyperlinks in any Disaffected Musings post. I only include links to secure sites whose web address begins with https.) Here is a picture of the more expensive of the two Hemmings cars—from 2002, obviously offered by Rosner Motorsports:

 

 

The car has about 27,000 miles and the seller is asking $34,900. I mean, c’mon…a V-12 Aston Martin convertible with just 27,000 miles for less than $35,000?! Yes, maintenance is not cheap; yes, I should have included this in a Frugal Friday post.

My wonderful wife LOVES Aston Martin and I have to say that as far as I know they have never produced an ugly car, unlike the Ferrari FF. What sayeth thee?

 

#SayNoToAwardShows

#AstonMartinDB7

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday 8

Obviously, I have written far more than seven previous Frugal Friday posts. (The actual number is close to 40.) This is the eighth post with the title of Frugal Friday without any embellishment.

Although I am not strictly a devotee of just one make or one country of origin, my automotive net is still not that large. As I have written many times, I have no interest in SUVs or pickup trucks as objects of affection. I have next to no interest in four-door sedans, apart from the occasional Rover P5B.

I like two-door cars that look good to me and have at least decent performance, even if not a performer like my Corvette Z06. However, as cars like that are not being made in large numbers anymore, my universe of interest shrinks in comparison to the auto world at large.

It might seem as if this car appears way too often on Disaffected Musings, but it hasn’t been featured in a Frugal Friday post for almost a year. (This is also the first post with this specific year/model tag.) Here is a 1993 Cadillac Allante:

 

 

This car, with 89,000+ miles, is listed on Hemmings with an asking price of $8,500. I passed on some 1989-93 Allantes priced even lower because I am not a fan of cars with white exteriors.

1993 was the last year for the Allante and the only year it was equipped with a 295 HP/290 LB-FT of torque NorthStar V-8. Cadillac produced 4,670 Allantes for model year 1993, which was actually more than the combined number for 1991 and 1992. In fact, 1993 was the best-selling year for the car that was produced from 1987 to 1993. At this distance, it’s not clear why the car was discontinued at that particular time even though it had been a major disappointment from the beginning. By the way, the MSRP for a 1993 Allante was $61,675, $110,106 in 2020 dollars according to this site.

Scarcity doesn’t guarantee future value. The Allante has sunk to the bottom of the depreciation curve and stayed there. While one man’s meat is another man’s poison, for me this car is almost the definition of good value in a collector car. The body was designed and built by the legendary Pininfarina, designer of so many Ferrari bodies. It’s not such an old car that service would be especially difficult. It is certainly less expensive to service a Cadillac than a Ferrari. Of course, I think the Allante is stunning in appearance and always have.

If it weren’t a “fail” as a grocery car, an Allante might very well have been the car I would have chosen as my Z06 companion. No, I am not thinking about a companion for my companion.

 

#FrugalFriday

#1993CadillacAllante

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday 35

On this day 50 years ago this song was in its last day as the #1 single on the Billboard Top 40/Hot 100:

 

See the source image

 

(The picture is from a blog hosted by the Evil Empire.)

By the way, despite the identical title this song is completely different from Frankie Avalon’s #1 song from 1959 with the same name. The Shocking Blue was a Dutch group and had no other songs reach the Top 40 in the US. They were more successful in their native Holland/Netherlands.

Although I don’t remember the product I know I’ve heard this song used in at least one commercial. Do you remember any of the lyrics?

 

A goddess on a mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
A summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name.

She’s got it,
Yeah baby, she’s got it.
I’m your Venus,
I’m your fire at your desire.

 

Like a lot of pre-teens during that time I grew up listening to Top 40 radio. I loved listening to Casey Kasem and the American Top 40. As I have written before, Dr. Zal and I used to make our own Top 40 charts. I have an innate need to make order out of chaos. When I worked in major league baseball, my favorite task was my season-end analysis of minor league performance. I took huge amounts of raw data and turned it into tables and charts of players ranked by various metrics, many of my own invention. I miss that kind of project very much. That’s why I include charts and tables in this blog.

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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yeah, I hear you…little minds, alright. No reason the Throwback Thursday car has to be related to any other topics in the post.

MarkCars2014 has become a regular reader and commenter here. (Please check out his blog, which is linked in his name.) In a comment he mentioned his affinity for Buicks. Regular readers of Disaffected Musings know I also have an affinity for Buicks. My interest in these cars has moved beyond my attachment to the ’56 Century, the first car I ever drove, and the “First Generation” Riviera, one of my absolute favorite cars ever. How about this car?

 

See the source image

 

From a Pinterest page, this is supposed to be a picture of a 1950 Buick Roadmaster Riviera hardtop coupe. In the context of this era, a hardtop was not just a car with a fixed metal roof, but one without a visible B pillar. Those who think the “Riviera” began in 1963 should note that this car, and others, were given the name Riviera, although not as a separate model, but as a sub-model designation.

The swooping body line is a portend of the sweep spear that would appear on Buicks soon enough. The waterfall grill had its origin in the famous Y-Job concept car of 1938.

In model year 1950 Buick built 10,732 Roadmaster Riviera hardtop coupes, 2,300 in “base” trim and 8,432 in “DeLuxe” trim. The DeLuxe model cost $2,854, $30,431 in 2020 dollars. I don’t think a 2020 model-year car like this would actually cost that little. Remember that the average “transaction price” for a new vehicle in the US is about $40,000. Buicks were only behind Cadillac in prestige in the GM lineup.

The 1950 Model 70 Roadmaster was powered by a 320 cubic-inch version of the long-running Fireball inline 8-cylinder engine. Buick used the Fireball inline-8 from 1931 to 1953. The 320 cubic-inch variant produced 152 HP, but 280 LB-FT of torque. As these cars weighed about 4,200 pounds, they needed some torque to get moving.

In my OCD-addled/ADD-addled brain my thoughts move from car to car and then fixate on a few. One car that has been in my consciousness, if you can call it that, is a Buick from this period. However, my thoughts move immediately to resto-modding the car, especially if the original drivetrain no longer exists.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

 

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