Tuesday Tune

This post is not about tuning your car’s engine. My favorite song of all-time—the last cut on my favorite “album” of all-time, Enigmatic Ocean by Jean-Luc Ponty—has quite a strange title. It is the third part of a three-part suite called “The Struggle Of The Turtle To The Sea.” What kind of lyrics does a song with that title have? None…

That song transcends music, in my opinion. To me, it is an otherworldly manifestation of the creative spirit. My best estimate is that I have listened to it between 12,000 and 14,000 times in my life. I listen to it almost every day, sometimes more than once. I decided to write about it today while listening to it last night and realizing what kind of effect it still has on me after all these years and all of these plays. I guess this “album” cover is subject to copyright, but I’m going to show it, anyway.

 

 

The excellence of this recording stands in sharp contrast to the state of “music” today. I think the phrase “modern American music” is an oxymoron and the crap (a carefully chosen word) that passes for music in the present day is an abomination. By the way, if you put me in front of a keyboard I can find F-Sharp above Middle C, I know what an agogic accent is and I know what an arpeggio is. Almost no one in this country today knows any of this.

Ah, I hear “my” song in my head. I think I’ll play it on my computer while I’m writing. I’m not sure I’ll be able to write, though. The post can wait.

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12,000-14,000 plus two…

I found this Hemmings article to be quite interesting. The title is, “Why the new Corvette had to be mid-engine.” According to the piece the main motivation for Chevrolet/GM for moving the Corvette to a mid-engine layout is simply demographics. Here is an excerpt:

 

“First on the list is demographics. The front engine Corvette, on the market since 1953, and one of the first postwar American sports cars, has an increasingly older audience. The average age of the buyers was said to be 59, and male. What’s wrong with that?”

“Chevrolet wants to have at least one model with a youthful image, a progressive we-like-innovation type audience. But no matter what changes and updates they made to the front-engine Corvette, the audience remained stubbornly middle-aged, even beyond what you could call the age for a mid-life crisis.”

“…Chevrolet also expects to pirate sales away from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. Why? Ferrari’s average buyer is said to be 47, Lamborghini’s 48, and Porsche 911 buyers 52. If the new Corvette actually scores buyers in their ‘30s, it will be achieving Chevrolet’s dream because those buyers will be role models for future Corvette owners.”

 

From the same article a picture of the C8 Corvette:

 

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

 

As I have mentioned before my wonderful wife and I saw the C8 in person at the National Corvette Museum in late August. In my opinion, while it is obviously a mid-engine car it is also obviously a Corvette. We both thought the car looks amazing. To the Corvette “purists” who are wringing their hands and protesting the mid-engine design all I can write is, the only constant in the world is change.

 

#EnigmaticOcean

#JeanLucPonty

#BringBackGoodMusic

#MidEngineC8Corvette

#TheConstancyOfChange

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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First Monday In October Musings

I have mentioned this before both in the blog and to WordPress directly. For 2019, the leading referrer to Disaffected Musings is search engines. Those referrals comprise about seven percent of blog views this year compared to less than one percent for 2018. Does anyone have an opinion—or better yet, some facts—as to whether or not that change means anything?

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Speaking of blog views, I have noticed that during the NFL season blog views slow down during the 1 PM games (that’s Eastern Time, of course), which is not surprising. Then, at the end of the 1 PM games a burst of views usually occurs. Yes, I am OCD enough to be constantly checking the views/visitors numbers for the blog.

Speaking of the NFL, even though I am following it less this year than I have for at least 20 years, yesterday was a good day for me as my two favorite teams—the Ravens and the Packers—defeated my two least favorite teams—the Steelers and the Cowboys. You know, those same results would have occurred whether or not I watched the games.

I don’t really know why my interest in the NFL (and in college football, as well) has dropped off so markedly. At the root of the disconnect could be a desire to stop living vicariously. If “my” teams win a championship I will not receive a ring or a bonus and I have nothing to do with their personnel decisions. Unlike other times and places…

 

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Following up something from yesterday’s post…the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, while not a small car, is not as long as the two 1956 Packards I mentioned. The GT Hawk is 204 inches/17 feet long; the two Packards were 215 and 218 inches long. I knew that yesterday, but neglected to mention it. Oh…our garage is almost 22 feet deep, not that I am going to evict my 2016 Corvette Z06 for any reason, not even for one of these:

 

See the source image

 

From luxify.com a picture of a 1963 (?) Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. Going off on a tangent, one of these was featured in an episode of Fantomworks. Near the beginning of the episode Dan Short (the owner of FantomWorks) asked the customer why he owned a GT Hawk. The customer replied that it was an homage to a Packard Clipper his father had once owned.

I welcome comments from long-time commenters AND from those who read, but don’t comment. Don’t worry: I won’t bite.

 

#SearchEngineSurge

#GarageDepth

#StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#FantomWorks

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Dissolution; Sunday Packards: October, 2019

Yesterday my wonderful wife and I attended our annual neighborhood picnic/gathering. As always, we had a marvelous time. Our neighbors are polite and friendly.

After that I attended the last “First Saturday” car show for 2019 sponsored by our local Corvette club. As always, I had a great time. The people at the show were polite and friendly.

Even though the two events were only about two miles apart, though, they might as well have been two million miles apart in terms of the attitudes towards what is happening in our country today. I remain convinced that the US is headed towards dissolution. I also don’t think that will be a bad thing although I seriously doubt I will live to see it.

I reject most policy tenets of both major parties in the US. I also reject the notion that I have to pick one. I cannot and will not vote for a candidate with whom I disagree on 75% of policy even if I disagree with the other candidate on 80% of policy. The “lesser” of two evils is still evil. I think the policy platforms of both parties are rife with inconsistencies.

The political spectrum is two-dimensional, at most. The real world is three-dimensional, at least. Do the math.

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Let’s do more math, but more fun this time…

The probability that at some time in the next 2-3 years I buy a car manufactured by a defunct American car company is probably 75%. The probability that car is a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk is also about 75%. That means, overall, a 3-in-16 chance (about 19%) exists that I will buy something other than a GT Hawk. Here are two possibilities:

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top photo, “courtesy” of Barrett-Jackson, is that of a 1956 Packard 400. The bottom photo, “courtesy” of Mecum, shows a 1956 Packard Executive.

I have shown photos of these cars before. I have also declared my extreme affinity for the 1956 Packard Caribbean Convertible. However, unlike my Ultimate Garage 2.0, barring some unforeseen monetary windfall a Caribbean is out of my price range. When I began publishing Ultimate Garage 2.0 in late May Hagerty gave an average value to a ’56 Caribbean Convertible of $67,000. I’m not going to spend even a third of that amount on my homage to a defunct American car company.

1956 was, of course, the last year for “real” Packards that were not badge-engineered Studebakers. That year also saw Packard adopt a “modern” 12-volt electrical system with a negative ground. Packard 400 production for 1956 (Model 5687) was 3,224 cars; production of Executive hardtop coupes was just 1,031 vehicles.

On classiccars.com one ’56 400 is listed with an asking price of $14,980. 56packardman has written that price is too steep for that particular car. On Hemmings one Executive is shown with a list price of $18,900.

One obstacle to buying either ’56 Packard is their sheer size. The Executive is about 215 inches long; that’s almost 18 feet. A 400 is 18 feet-plus at 218 inches. Modern garages are usually only about 20 feet deep. As a comparison, my 2016 Corvette Z06 is about 178 inches long or a shade under 15 feet.

Anyway, as I have written many times before a line from the movie Diner seems appropriate, “If you don’t have dreams you have nightmares.” I have nightmares, anyway, so I might as well try to have some nice dreams, too.

 

#DissolutionOfTheUS

#1956Packard400

#1956PackardExecutive

#NiceDreams

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Happy Birthday, Bill James/Z06 Corvette Dr

Obviously, today is Bill James’ birthday. I wish him a most happy day! Bill is really the father of modern sports analytics so, in a way, he is at the forefront of the analytics/big data movement in all of business. He has also been my friend for more than 30 years and his work was the inspiration for my sports career. Alles Gute zum Gerburtstag, Bill! From baseballwhispererblog.wordpress.com a picture of Bill:

 

See the source image

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How old am I?! Yes, I ordered a “street” sign showing an “address” of Z06 Corvette Dr. Hey, you only live once…I wonder if Bill ever thought a picture of him would be shown next to a faux street sign that reads Z06 Corvette Dr?! Once more, the car that is inspiring this behavior:

 

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Speaking of Corvettes, the C8 convertible has been officially revealed and it is a retractable hardtop! In my opinion that’s the only way to do it if at all possible. It’s like owning two cars for the price of one and I think much safer, for many reasons not all of which having to do with structural rigidity, than a soft-top. If you click this link and scroll down to the section titled “The Convertible Has Arrived” you can watch a video of the hardtop being lowered.

I’m reasonably sure that at some point in the not too distant future a C8 convertible will grace our garage.

 

#HappyBirthdayBillJames

#Z06Corvette

#C8CorvetteConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday Friday Funny

56packardman posts a weekly feature called Friday Funnies, like this. It is usually very funny.

People often tell me I’m very funny, to which I usually reply, “Looks aren’t everything.” My wonderful wife sent me this picture that I think is quite funny:

 

 

I am not making light of diabetes; I am a Type 2 diabetic although my sugars are very much under control. I just thought this was hysterical.

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What is not hysterical is the disgusting smell of the compost used to grow mushrooms. We live in a mushroom growing region; in fact, we are not far from the self-proclaimed “Mushroom Capital Of The World” although we live in a different state. My wonderful wife and I went out for breakfast this morning and were greeted by the revolting smell of the aforementioned compost. Another reason Arizona sounds (and smells) better to me all the time.

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My wonderful wife gave me the idea for this week’s Frugal Friday.

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 1969 AMC Javelin. According to the ad copy the car only has 10,000 miles and has always been garage-kept.

I’m not crazy about the wheels and also not crazy that the seller claims the price is “firm” at $20,000. One item that is suspicious is that the ad states the car comes with a 401 cubic-inch engine, but in 1969 the largest displacement offered by AMC was 390 cubic inches. The 401 engine wasn’t offered until 1971. Advice to would-be car collectors: fill your library before you fill your garage.

Still, it’s a great-looking car, IMO. I wouldn’t pay $20,000 for it, but I would pay $15,000-ish. According to Hagerty, the “average” value for a 1969 Javelin (given the appraisal is for a car with the 343 V-8) is less than $14,000. Once again, do your research before buying a car.

Even at somewhere between $14,000 and the asking price of $20,000 I think this Javelin qualifies as a Frugal Friday car. What do you think?

 

#FrugalFriday

#StinkyMushroomCompost

#1969AMCJavelin

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday, All Over The Place Edition

See the source image

 

If you follow the NFL at all it is likely you have read that the Miami Dolphins are being accused of “tanking” in order to acquire the highest possible draft pick in 2020. They are so bad (their record is 0-4 and they have been outscored 163-26) that commentators and fans are already talking about a winless season.

Winless seasons are not as rare as they used to be in the NFL. Just two seasons ago the Cleveland Browns finished 0-16 and in 2008 the Detroit Lions did the same. However, one winless season seems to garner the most attention: the 0-14 record compiled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their first season of existence, 1976. The picture above is of that team and is from espn.com.

You may not know that in their first year of existence the Bucs were in the AFC. Their fellow expansion team, the Seattle Seahawks, were in the NFC. The following season they would switch conferences. The Seahawks returned to the NFC in 2002 with the addition of the Houston Texans and the major realignment that followed.

In each of their first two seasons the Bucs and Seahawks played every other team in their conference once and played each other once. The schedule was still 14 games in 1976 and 1977. That schedule and the fact Tampa Bay was in the AFC in 1976 meant they played the Baltimore Colts, who were defending AFC East champions, and that meeting was in Baltimore.

My best friend, Dr. Zal, and I attended the game between the Bucs and the Colts, which was the fourth of the season. We were not amused when Tampa Bay scored first on a field goal although they had led 6-0 the previous week against Buffalo. That field goal seemed to wake up the Colts who proceeded to score the next 42 points. However, Dr. Zal and I were also not amused when Tampa Bay scored their first touchdowns of the season (and in their existence) in the fourth quarter. The Colts outgained the Buccaneers 458 to 89 and made 31 first downs to Tampa Bay’s six.

Tampa Bay was outscored 412-125 in 1976, an almost unfathomable differential. The worst point differential last season was amassed by the Arizona Cardinals who were outscored 425-225 in a 16-game season. Tampa Bay started the next season 0-12, setting the all-time record for an NFL losing streak, before winning their last two games in 1977. However, by 1979 the Buccaneers were a playoff team winning the NFC Central Division. Does that mean hope exists for Miami? Who knows…

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Some car enthusiasts lament the development of what they call “nanny” aids like ABS and traction control. They say those systems have taken away “road feel” and real control of a car. Well, all that may be true, but it is also true that automobiles and other “light” vehicles are safer than ever, for the same level of driving skill and attention. Here’s a relevant passage from the excellent book, Steve Magnante’s 1001 Corvette Facts. If you are a Corvette fan or hope to learn more about them I highly recommend Steve’s book. Anyway, from fact #714:

 

“Without computer-controlled handling systems…there was no way Corvette or Detroit’s other automakers could put such powerful cars in the hands of the general public. Today, every high-performance muscle car has some form of an active-handling system to preserve order and help keep less capable drivers out of harm’s way.”

 

Of course, modern safety systems make all cars safer and not just performance cars. Trying to tie a car to the first year of the Buccaneers existence is not easy as 1976 was not a good year for American cars given the denuding of performance caused by government regulations and insurance companies. From supercars.net a photo of a car that could still scream:

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1976 Lamborghini Countach. The Countach is a legendary car, posters of which were on the bedroom wall of countless teenage boys. No doubt, far more posters were sold than cars. Only about 2,000 of the Countach were produced despite a long production run from 1974 to 1990.

In 1976, the Countach was powered by a 3.9 liter/240 cubic-inch V-12 that produced 370 HP/266 LB-FT of torque. As a comparison, the more powerful of two Corvette engines that year produced just 210 HP although the torque output was close to the Countach’s at 255 LB-FT.

As I and others have written, the golden age of automobiles is now. Enjoy it before the electric automatons take over.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#1976TampaBayBuccaneers

#1976LamborghiniCountach

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Tuesday Array

On this day in 1962, Johnny Carson became the host of Tonight on NBC; the name of the show was later changed to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He hosted the show until May of 1992, which included a move of the venue from New York to California in 1972.

After his death in 2005 word of less than flattering behavior by Carson has emerged. His feud with Las Vegas legend Wayne Newton was known before Carson died. Almost all of us are shadow and shade even if we don’t want to admit it or even understand that “truth.”

I watched the Tonight Show hundreds of times from the late 1960s until I started college in the late 1970s. Often I would only watch Carson’s monologue at the beginning of the show, even if I wasn’t tired. I have never been enamored of listening to “celebrities” so Carson’s interviews with people from TV and movies held little interest for me.

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On this day in 1938, Hitler formally annexed the Sudetenland portion of Czechoslovakia following the so-called Munich Agreement. Winston Churchill is supposed to have said to Neville Chamberlain, “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.” Of course, Churchill was right and in May, 1940 he succeeded Chamberlain as Prime Minister.

Maybe it’s fitting, then, that on this day in 1946 the Nuremberg trials ended with the announcement of the sentencing of the defendants. Twelve of them were sentenced to death. Of the 12 defendants sentenced to death by hanging, two were not hanged: Martin Bormann was convicted in absentia (he had, unknown to the Allies, died while trying to escape from Berlin in May, 1945), and Hermann Göring committed suicide the night before the execution.

Never Forget! Never Again! To all of the anti-Semitic assh*les in the world: Zolst Leegen En Drerd!

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Speaking of anti-Semites, on this day in 1908 the Ford Model T was formally introduced. Will Rogers supposedly said this about Henry Ford, “It will take a hundred years to know whether he helped us or hurt us, but he sure didn’t leave us where he found us.”

 

See the source image

 

From inspirationseek.com (I swear that’s the name of the website) comes this picture of a 1908 Model T. About 15,000,000 of these were made through the end of the production run in May of 1927. In 1922 about 1.2 million Model Ts were produced, which represented more than half of all cars sold in the US. In truth, it can be said that the Model T was the car that put America on wheels. Too bad its “creator” was such a despicable person.

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Taking a deep breath to compose myself…from gmauthority.com a picture of a stunning concept car by Cadillac that, unfortunately, will never see production:

 

See the source image

 

This is the Cadillac Cien, not to be confused with the Ciel, a four-door convertible concept that does have some small chance of being produced. I believe the Cien was a formal declaration by Cadillac that its much edgier styling (figuratively and literally) is here to stay. I am so tired of the homogenization of vehicles in the US. I would LOVE to see a car that looks like the Cien produced and sold in America.

 

#JohnnyCarson

#TheTonightShow

#WinstonChurchill

#FordModelT

#CadillacCien

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Blank Monday

OK, I suppose the post title could be interpreted as [Expletive] Monday for those working in a typical 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday job. The figure I’ve seen many times is that only 30% of Americans like their jobs. Of course, I am not working and not really by choice although I am resigned to the virtual certainty that I will never find an interesting work situation. I am not wired to work just for the sake of working. Without genuine intrinsic interest, my brain just says “No.” Actually, screams “NO!” is more accurate.

Honestly, the post title is an admission that I don’t really have a topic for today’s post. I was going to write about this piece from Automobile Magazine about all of the vehicles, almost all of which are cars as opposed to SUVs, that will be discontinued in 2020. One vehicle in the piece was the front-engine Corvette. I thought that was strange as the Vette isn’t going anywhere. Most of the other vehicles are really going to disappear, like the Chevrolet Impala as I discussed here. We may not like change, but burying one’s head in the sand (metaphorically, of course) will not stop change.

I will note that today being the last day of the third quarter of 2019 is more than a little unsettling to me. Time flies whether you’re having fun or not, especially with advancing age.

I was considering writing about Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. I’m not an Alabama fan, though, and I really have lost almost all interest in sports at any level.

I guess I can mention that the obsession with defunct American car companies continues unabated. Over the weekend I ordered three more books about Studebaker. From vaultcars.com a picture of a 1953 Studebaker Starliner coupe:

 

See the source image

 

As most automobile enthusiasts know, these cars—the Loewy coupes—were revolutionary in styling, but ultimately did nothing for Studebaker’s fortunes. By the end of the following decade Studebaker was no longer in the automobile business.

I will revive an idea I have had previously. If any of my readers wants to “guest-write” a post, I would be more than happy to publish it. Of course, I will have to like the post and reserve all rights to edit it as I see fit.

Happy Monday?

 

#Nothing

#1953StudebakerCoupes

#GuestPost

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Sunday Suburbia

I have never lived in the core of a city, but always in a suburb or area on the fringes of a city. The first US census where suburban population exceeded that of central cities or rural areas was 1970.

I seriously doubt I would enjoy living in the heart of a city. I don’t like crowds or noise; I don’t like paying inflated housing costs. Some people, though, seem compelled to live in a city. A few months after my second book was published I had a conversation with the editor. This was around the time of the bursting of the dot-com bubble. Our editor had left the company that published the book and went to work for an Internet startup. That company went belly-up quickly and she was without a job at the time of this conversation. She mentioned she was struggling to pay her bills living in Manhattan. I suggested she move somewhere less expensive. Her reply, “I can’t move. Everything happens here.” I don’t know if she moved or what she is doing now.

Our inevitable move to the desert (my wonderful wife really wants to live there) will be to a suburb. We currently live in a small town that is, technically, part of the metropolitan area of a large city, but we are far enough away so that we have little congestion. Our likely desert destination is closer to a large city than we live now. As is the case with everything else, that proximity will have its advantages and disadvantages.

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One usual advantage (for me, anyway) to suburban life is that it is more conducive to owning an automobile. Ironically, when we lived in Texas we had a three-car garage, but only two cars. Now we own three vehicles, but we only have a two-car garage. A three-car garage (or more) will be a must in our new dwelling.

The first year the US census showed that the suburbs were the most populous area of the country is the same year many auto enthusiasts think is the peak of the muscle car era, 1970. Muscle cars became extinct soon after that as a result of new and stringent federal safety/emissions regulations, rising insurance rates and the trend towards less expensive cars. One of my favorite cars from 1970 is this new offering from Chevrolet, the Monte Carlo:

 

See the source image

 

From carswithmuscles.com a picture of a 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. For almost its entire history I think the Monte Carlo was a good-looking car and its first edition was a prime example of those looks.

Almost 146,000 Monte Carlos were produced in 1970 including about 3,800 with the SS 454 package. According to Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® the Monte Carlo SS 454 engine produced 360 HP/500 LB-FT of torque. Other sources indicate the Monte Carlo could be ordered with the “ultimate” Chevy engine of that era, the 450 HP/510 LB-FT motor. If anyone “knows” the right answer please feel free to offer it.

While this is neither Frugal Friday nor Stingy Saturday a quick search on Hemmings yielded 12 1970 Monte Carlos for sale—not by auction—with list prices ranging from $12,000 to $47,950. I didn’t bother to investigate the differences among the available cars.

Soon, 1970 will be 50 years in the rear-view mirror. I’m just shaking my head reading that sentence.

 

#Suburbs

#ALargeGarage

#1970ChevroletMonteCarlo

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Stingy Saturday

Courtesy of 56packardman two candidates for “Frugal Friday” even though they don’t seem to be, technically, for sale.

 

 

The top car is a 1958 Packard Hawk, of which only 588 were made. Obviously, it was based on the Studebaker Hawk; by this time Packards were badge-engineered Studebakers. Actually, 1958 was the last model year that any car wore a Packard badge. The bottom car is a 1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, of which only 1,767 were made and that includes almost 300 that were produced for export. 1964 was the last model year for GT Hawk production, which ceased when Studebaker closed its main plant in South Bend, Indiana in December, 1963. Yes, that means no 1964 Gran Turismo Hawk was actually produced in calendar year 1964.

I constantly search for GT Hawks for sale and can find examples that seem decent listed for around $15,000. On the other hand, Packard Hawks in decent condition are almost never listed for under $50,000. While it’s not set in stone I like to find cars for no more than $20,000-$25,000 given that level is comfortably below the current average “transaction price” for a new vehicle in the US, about $40,000.

My thanks to 56packardman for bringing these cars to my attention.

 

#StingySaturday

#1958PackardHawk

#1964StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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