(Sort Of) Frugal Friday or A Lunatic’s Guide To Cars, Part One

Maybe I should change the name of the blog to “A Lunatic’s Guide To Cars.”

My brain possesses a disparate, even dissonant, set of assets and liabilities. As someone who was a high achiever for many years I can’t seem to come to grips with a new reality where that is not the case. This blog is an effort to achieve something of high quality.

An example…oh, a self back patting alert is necessary: while I was Director of Baseball Operations for a major league team the President/CEO walked into my office one day and told me that the Commissioner’s office was having difficulty with an issue regarding interleague play. He said that they had two or three people who had been working on this issue for weeks and that he informed the Commissioner’s office he would bring this topic to my attention. I figured out a solution in about an hour. My neurons may not function quite as well now as they did then, but I can still out-think the vast majority of the population. The fact that I don’t have the “credentials” to prove that to people I don’t know doesn’t change the truth. (The fact that I am way over 40 doesn’t help, either.) False modesty is also supposed to be a sin or if I have to choose between modesty and honesty I’m picking honesty every day.

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Creating/writing a post, even about an idea with a known theme, can be very difficult for someone like me who can struggle focusing on one idea. Such is the case with today’s Frugal Friday. So, with no pre-determined path or destination here goes:

This car has been featured in multiple posts and was named to Ultimate Garage 2.0. It is also a very affordable car: the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado.

 

 

From this Hemmings listing a picture of a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado offered by a private seller for $20,000. Remember from the Ultimate Garage 2.0 post about this car that Hagerty says the average value of one of these is $15,000. Also remember that the average “transaction” price for a new vehicle in the US is almost $40,000. What can I say? I just love these cars. If we had more garage space I might have one and not to replace my 2016 Corvette Z06. In the last two/three years I have REALLY come to understand how so many people own multiple cars.

 

 

From this Hemmings listing a picture of a 1963 Studebaker Lark offered at $9,650. Yes, it’s far from stock (besides the wheels it has modifications like a Holley carburetor), but that’s what keeps the asking price down. How could you go wrong paying less than ten grand?

From Hemmings again comes this beauty:

 

 

From the ad: “…original 389 engine and Tri-color Red interior. Stored in a Missouri garage for 45 years. In 2016, the fuel tank was removed and cleaned, new fuel pump and carburetor installed and transmission serviced. New BFG Red-Line Tires. It’s a solid car with only minor rust spots.” The seller, not a dealer, is asking $12,900 firm. If he really won’t negotiate then this is probably not a car for me, but even at that price I think the fun/price ratio is very high.

One could buy all three of these for their asking price and only pay approximately what one new vehicle costs today in the US.

I welcome your thoughts on these cars or on your own ideas for Frugal Friday. Hopefully those ideas won’t be as much in disarray as mine.

 

#FrugalFriday

#ALunaticsGuideToCars

#Icantdownshiftfromhighachiever

#1967CadillacEldorado

#1963StudebakerLark

#1962PontiacBonneville

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Happy July 4th!/Independence Day!

See the source image

 

From vahistorical.wordpress.com a picture of the 48-star US flag of 100 years ago. Of course, this was actually the flag from 1912 through 1959. Please don’t tell me that I have to write that the number of stars on the flag corresponds to the number of states. I guess I just wrote it, anyway. New Mexico and Arizona were admitted to the Union in 1912 to make 48 states. Alaska and Hawaii were admitted in 1959 to make 50 states.

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Most auto enthusiasts know that the Ford Model T dominated car sales from its introduction in 1908 until the end of its production in 1927, although Ford sales declined every year from 1923 through the last full year of Model T production in 1926. Below are the top eight selling US makes 100 years ago. My apologies if I’ve shown this chart before:

 

    1919 Model Year Production
1 Ford 820,445
2 Chevrolet 129,118
3 Buick 119,310
4 Dodge 106,000
5 Willys-Overland 80,853
6 Oakland 52,124
7 Maxwell 50,000
8 Oldsmobile 39,042

 

Obviously the figures for Dodge and Maxwell are estimates. 1919 was also the year the Ford family became sole owners of Ford Motor Company with Edsel named as President.

Automobile production nearly doubled in 1919 compared to 1918 even though cars were in relatively short supply due to strikes and to material shortages, like for coal. Remember that the Great War (later known as World War I) only ended in November, 1918.

From prewarbuick.com a (grainy) picture of a 1919 Buick H-45 Touring:

 

See the source image

 

The H-45 was not the top of the line Buick, that was the H-50 priced at $2,585. Priced at $1,595 approximately 45,000 H-45s were built in 1919 comprising about 40% of Buick production and making it Buick’s most popular car.

Have an enjoyable, safe and sane Fourth!

 

#HappyJuly4th!

#USautomobiles1919

#1919BuickH45Touring

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Welcome To The Garage; RIP, Lee Iacocca

My condolences to the Iacocca family and to the American automotive industry. Lee Iacocca died yesterday at the age of 94. Many people are far more qualified than I to discuss his accomplishments, but he was a true titan of the American automobile industry.

I am an advocate of capitalism, to the surprise of no one reading this. I believe that the private sector usually allocates resources more efficiently than the public sector and since resources are finite, efficiency matters. However, I do not believe that government should never get involved with the economy. Some extreme advocates of capitalism believe that the government should never “bail out” any company or get involved in any production of anything except those goods that the private sector cannot produce because of externalities; national defense is an example.

Chrysler, of course, has been “bailed out” twice by the federal government. Once again, I believe that externalities played a role in those decisions. The collapse of a Big Three automaker could have results that go far beyond that company. From britannica.com an excellent synopsis of the first bailout, which happened while Iacocca was Chrysler chairman:

 

“In 1979, in the midst of the second oil crisis in a decade, Iacocca made the bold move of appealing to the U.S. Congress for a loan guarantee of $1.5 billion. He overcame strong resistance on Capitol Hill by producing a list including each congressional district with an estimate of the number of jobs that would be lost if Chrysler failed. The strategy worked. Congress approved the deal, and in January 1980 Pres. Jimmy Carter signed the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act.

Having secured the loan, Iacocca went to work transforming the company, beginning with serious cost-cutting measures. He announced that he would slash his own salary to $1 a year, and he demanded that everyone else, up and down the line, “take a haircut.” With unprecedented cooperation from both union and management, Iacocca trimmed the company’s balance sheet. In 1983 a more stable Chrysler repaid the loan, well in advance of its deadline, along with an additional $350 million in interest. In a ceremony in Washington, D.C., Iacocca proclaimed, ‘We at Chrysler borrow money the old-fashioned way. We pay it back.'”

 

Of course, Iacocca is also known as the “Father” of the Ford Mustang, which was developed while he was general manager of the Ford Division of FoMoCo. Again, many are far more qualified to discuss the Mustang and Iacocca’s role in its development. More than ten million Mustangs later it is now, basically and sadly, Ford’s only car among a sea of SUVs and pickup trucks.

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As I teased on Monday we have a new member of the garage. I guess four years was as long as my wonderful wife could go without a convertible.

 

 

Two pictures of her new, and very beautiful IMO, 2018 Chevrolet Corvette convertible. Despite being a 2018 model it is, indeed, a brand new car. In no small way due to that fact she was able to buy the car at a substantial discount from MSRP. The car is in Watkins Glen Gray Metallic over Black. It is a Z51 model with 3LT trim.

We have purchased seven or eight vehicles (it’s awful that I don’t really know) in the 11+ years we have lived in the mid-Atlantic, but only two or three of those were purchased in the state where we live. This Corvette was also purchased out-of-state. The Internet has really revolutionized commerce. Unlike the purchase of my Z06, however, my wonderful wife was able to lay eyes on the car and to test drive it before deciding to buy it.

Drive it in good health and please be careful, my dear!

 

#RIPLeeIacocca

#2018ChevroletCorvetteconvertible

#MyWonderfulWife

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Mini Musings

A change in our garage may happen today. Stay tuned…

 

Life is what happens after you leave your comfort zone.

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Thanks once more to 56packardman and to the readers of the Studebaker and Packard forums. The WordPress week ending yesterday recorded the second highest number of weekly views/visitors for Disaffected Musings. The month of June was the third highest (of 18) in terms of views/visitors. I am still readying my stick for eye-poking, though, as I would like to write about new records and not near-records within the same range. Sorry, I remain convinced that this blog should have 5-10 times the number of views/visitors it actually receives.

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A couple of car pictures…

 

 

From the Elegance at Hershey a picture of an Osca/Fiat 1185 Touring Coupe Prototype.

 

 

The picture I will see in my office for July, a 1964 Oldsmobile Starfire.

 

#Dontbegluedtoyourcomfortzone

#1959OscaFiatPrototype

#1964OldsmobileStarfire

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Today Is What?!

I consider today to be the de facto end of the first half of the year even though the “hump day” for the year is July 2nd in a 365-day year. Where is the time going?!

In a lesson I would do well to assimilate, make your time count!

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I had a weird and less than pleasant dream last night. I dreamt I was late to a social function of some type involving my neighborhood. I hate to be late; I would rather be 10 minutes early than 1 minute late. In the dream I had to walk down a long flight of stairs to reach the room where the function was being held. I walked into a full room and could sense animosity, perhaps for my being late. Almost no seats were empty so I squeezed myself into a chair at the end of a table, around which many of my neighbors were seated with whom I am usually quite friendly. In the dream, though, no one would speak to me. Almost immediately I began to think that it would be best if I were to leave. In “dream time” it was probably seconds, but it seemed to me to be minute upon minute, but eventually I did decide to leave so I said “Excuse me” and left. The feeling of discomfort while in the room was quite strong. Any amateur psychologists want to interpret that dream?

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As what is likely to be the last front-engine Corvette to be built will soon roll off the assembly line, I thought I would note that on this day in 1953 the first Corvette was assembled in Flint, Michigan. For that year only, Corvettes were produced in what was the back of a customer delivery garage.

 

Sign reads: Chevrolet Corvette No. -1  Chev. Flint Assem. Div. June, 30 - 1953

 

Sorry about the small picture; it’s from corvettestory.com. Here’s another picture of a ’53 Vette from classiccars.com:

 

See the source image

 

Most Corvette aficionados know the facts: only 300 were made in the first model year, production was moved to St. Louis for the 1954 model year, many of the 3,600+ produced in 1954 languished unsold on dealer lots, only 700 were made in 1955 and the Corvette was almost discontinued. Thankfully, the 1956 re-style and the 1955 introduction of the legendary Chevy small-block V8 helped to save the car.

I am loathe to write this, but I think if the C8 fails to live up to expectations then the Corvette could be history. Nothing lasts forever…

 

#Timeisflyingmakeitcount

#Anotherbaddream

#FirstCorvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Saturday Salute

Many thanks, again, to 56packardman and to the readers of the Packard and Studebaker forums who clicked on links to Disaffected Musings. Although yesterday’s view total did not set a “record” as I had hoped in my request, yesterday did have the third highest number of views and visitors only behind the two days of views/visitors generated by Bill James’ tweet of the main blog link back in April. I salute you.

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OK, which feature do you prefer?

Throwback Thursday

or

Frugal Friday

Let me know, please. This request is more out of curiosity than of any desire on my part to cease either feature.

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At the Barrett-Jackson auction currently taking place at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, the last C7 Corvette to be manufactured was auctioned for charity. What was the hammer price? $2.7 million, a new record for a charity car at Barrett-Jackson…Actually, the car shown on the block was an exact replica as the actual last car has not yet been built. The charity was the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Smart Home program, which builds smart homes for our most catastrophically injured service members returning home. I salute those who have made such a sacrifice for their country.

Hey, it’s for charity; I hope Barrett-Jackson doesn’t mind my showing this photo:

 

last-built C7 Corvette

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Speaking of the Barrett-Jackson auction:

 

These photos got yours truly a brief mention during the broadcast on Thursday. Every day of the telecast is “given” a hashtag for viewers to submit photos. Thursday was #Throwback Thursday. I submitted these photos along with this tweet:

My first car, a 1967 Pontiac GTO, photographed outside of one of my college dorms a LONG time ago…

Well, wouldn’t you know the photos were shown on air and it was quite a thrill to hear Cristy Lee read the tweet. She even mentioned the 1967 Grand Prix she has that belonged to her grandparents. I salute the gracious and gorgeous Cristy Lee. From showbizpost.com a picture of her:

See the source image

#Thanks

#StephenSillerTunneltoTowersFoundation

#LastC7Corvette

#Barrett-Jackson

#CristyLee

#1967PontiacGTO

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Apparently the picture of Cristy Lee will not display on some mobile devices. Hopefully, this one will:

https://disaffectedmusings.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/cristy-lee-scottsdale-2019.jpg

 

 

 

 

Frugal Friday, 200,000 Words Edition

Somewhere in yesterday’s post was the 200,000th word I’ve written in Disaffected Musings. As someone who has had three books published you’d think I’d be more sure about this, but I think that’s the equivalent of two “regular” books.

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I don’t know why I haven’t shared this passage before. It’s from Thomas Bonsall’s More Than They Promised: The Studebaker Story. This is actually in the footnotes for Chapter Five, Back From The Abyss. In all honesty, I think copious footnotes can detract from a book. Anyway,

 

“In a curious twist, the name [Pierce-Arrow] was very nearly revived in 1962 for the car that became the Avanti. It was reportedly Raymond Loewy’s personal choice and most of the early Avanti designs bore Pierce-Arrow nameplates or insignia. In the end, Studebaker made the decision to go with a name that looked to a future it did not have, rather than to a past it could not recreate.” [Emphasis mine]

 

That last sentence is true poetry, word art.

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An unabashed plea for blog views today…please send the link to today’s post to as many people as you can to see if the number of views can set a daily record. Many thanks.

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Ever since this post I have been thinking about the eighth and last generation of the Buick Riviera (1995-1999). I even saw one the other day while out getting breakfast. About 91,000 of that generation were produced, but almost half (41,000+) were made in the first year.

For this Frugal Friday I am featuring one of these cars. A search on Hemmings only yielded three while a search on Autotrader only showed one with fewer than 100,000 miles.

 

 

From this Hemmings listing a picture of a 1995 Buick Riviera in Platinum Beige Metallic over Tan offered by a private seller. This car is described as being in excellent condition and has only 54,000 miles. The seller is asking $7,500 “obo.”

This year the Riviera was offered with the famous Buick 231 cubic-inch V-6 (3.8 liters for the anti-Bill Stephens) supercharged, not turbocharged like the famous Grand National/GNX of the 1980s, with output of 225 HP/275 LB-FT of torque and drove the front wheels through a 4-speed automatic transmission. The base engine was a non-supercharged version producing 205 HP/230 LB-FT.

Speaking of the Grand National…

 

 

From this Hemmings listing a picture of a 1987 Buick Grand National with 57,235 miles offered at $24,500. Of course, you can’t touch the rare GNX (only 547 made) for anywhere near that, but this is not a bad price, in my opinion, for one of these with that mileage.

The non-GNX version—but still turbocharged—of the engine made 245 HP, but in the Buick tradition an impressive 355 LB-FT of torque. All of these cars had a 4-speed automatic transmission.

Once again, here are two interesting cars that even purchased together at full asking price would cost less than the “average” new vehicle sold in the US today.

 

#FrugalFriday

#200000Words

#MoreThanTheyPromised

#MoreBlogViewsPlease

#1995BuickRiviera

#1987BuickGrandNational

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday

No, I did not watch the debate last night. As I have written many times, the only political axiom to which I subscribe is that no matter where one thinks they stand on the political spectrum much/most of the truth is usually somewhere else. I think both parties have lost the plot and are only concerned with elections and not with governance. I will quote Kissinger again, “Ninety percent of politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.” The only leaning I have is that I do not think government is a panacea and that the world is in better shape than politicians will admit because admitting progress means less need for more government programs.

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Ever since David Burge (@iowahawkblog on Twitter) tweeted this:

 

The most dissatisfying TV series finales, ranked:

3. The Sopranos

2. Game of Thrones

1. Lancelot Link Secret Chimp

 

I have been thinking about…Lancelot Link, of course. I have never seen, nor do I wish to see, either of the other two programs. Lancelot Link originally aired on ABC from 1970 to 1972. The show featured real chimpanzees “speaking” their lines, which obviously were dubbed in using human actors.

The main idea of the show was that Lancelot Link and his colleagues worked for A.P.E., the Agency to Prevent Evil, and they were always trying to thwart operatives from C.H.U.M.P., which apparently stood for Criminal Headquarters for the Underworld’s Master Plan. From imcdb.org a picture of “Lancelot,” I believe:

 

See the source image

 

From Wikipedia comes these little gems about the show:

 

“Two of the three producers/creators were Stan Burns and Mike Marmer, former writers for Get Smart! Both resigned from their jobs as head writers on The Carol Burnett Show to work on Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.”

“According to The Believer, ‘to make the dialogue fit the chimps’ lip action, Burns and Marmer went to ridiculous lengths. Voiceovers were ad-libbed on the set, giving birth to beautifully absurd moments of the chimps breaking into songs at the end of sentences or spontaneously reciting Mother Goose rhymes just so it would look right.'”

Music-GClef.svg

From the fittingly named madmusic.com (this tangent is proof I am mad and not mad as in angry [well, maybe a little], but mad as in off my rocker), the lyrics to the theme song:

“Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp!
He stands for justice. He has no fear.
He’s the agent to call when trouble is near.
Lance Link, ya gotta come through.
Everybody at APE is countin’ on you!

Here’s pretty Mata Hairi, an agent and friendly.
She’ll stick by his side right to the end.
Darwin is the leader on the side of good.
He fights CHUMP agents like a good ape should.
Oh, Lance Link, whatcha gonna do?
You gotta stop CHUMP! The job is up to you!

Here’s Baron Von Butcher; you better beware!
He’s ruthless and he’s cunning and he don’t play fair!
He’s got an evil chauffeur, and Creto’s his name.
And Dragon Woman’s lovely, but she’s wicked all the same!
Oh, Lance Link, whatcha gonna do,
When mad Dr. Strangemind comes up to you?

There’s Ali Assa Seen, and wicked Wang Fu,
And The Duchess, whose looks can really fool you!
Whoa, Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp!
He stands for justice, he has no fear,
He’s the agent to call when trouble is near.
Lance Link, whatcha gonna do?!”

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Oh, maybe you want to see a car…I was going to show a car from 1970, the calendar year when Lancelot Link began airing, but changed my mind. “Are you sure you won’t change your mind?” “Is there something wrong with the one I have?” No need to answer the second question for me. Once again, it’s OK to change your mind contrary to the views of many.

 

 

Sorry that I couldn’t get a fuller view of the car, but it was parked against a wall and squeezed between cars as you can see, I hope.

 

#saynotopolitics

#LancelotLinkSecretChimp

#1936PackardConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wednesday Addendum

Maybe for me the word should be spelled “Addendumb.”

I was remiss in not thanking 56packardman once again for his posting a link on the Studebaker and Packard forums to yesterday’s Disaffected Musings statement” and to the readers on those forums for clicking on the links to drive the number of yesterday’s views to even more than those of the day before. Every now and then I receive glimpses of the potential of the Internet and of this blog.

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In my opinion life is way too short not to speak your mind, at least most of the time. The only constraint is that one need not be crass and vulgar. One shouldn’t go out of their way to offend someone, but one shouldn’t live in constant fear of doing so. Sometimes, offending someone is the only way to get their attention.

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Tired of the pre-war cars? OK…

 

See the source image

 

From Wikipedia a picture of the ferocious and beautiful Lexus LFA. Yesterday, a friend of mine and I took a trip to another state (thanks, C/2) to see and to test drive a car that another friend of mine in a state far, far away has interest in purchasing. This friend is just not comfortable in the modern idiom of buying a car totally sight unseen.

So, what does that have to with the LFA? The car, not a Lexus, was/is being offered at a Lexus dealer. When I saw the Lexus LCs on the lot that got me thinking about the LFA.

Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame called the LFA the best car he’s ever driven, even with the small gas tank and no cup holders. Lexus made just 500 of these cars from December, 2010 through December, 2012. From the public comments of some high-ranking Lexus executives, it doesn’t appear likely that Lexus will be making cars like these anytime soon, which is a shame.

The LFA was powered by a 4.8 liter V-10 engine producing 552 HP/354 LB-FT (?) of torque. Oh, it had an automatic transmission that could be paddle-shifted manually. The engine could rev to 9,000 RPM in less than one second so it had to be fitted with a digital tachometer as no analog tach could keep up. From Wikipedia,

“The Lexus LFA’s frame is made from an in-house designed and manufactured carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) centre monocoque with aluminium front and rear subframes. The subframes, which can be removed and replaced minimising potential repair costs, are joined to the monocoque using a newly developed aluminium flanged collar designed to create a stronger joint. According to the manufacturer, the quality of the CFRP material matches that of aeronautical grades and is woven by a laser monitored circular loom, one of only two in the world. Overall 65% of the vehicle’s total body mass is CFRP material while the remaining 35% is aluminium.”

People who look down on hypercars and supercars with disdain (I call them self-righteous and ignorant snobs, just speaking my mind) don’t understand that, very often, the technology used to manufacture these cars and that is used in these cars finds its way into “regular” cars. It’s amazing and annoying how often people speak without command of facts.

 

#Speakyourmindbutpolitely

#LexusLFA

#JeremyClarkson

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Photo Dump

A rather inelegant post title, but so be it. I find that many of the photos that I think are so great in the moment I take them are actually not so great when I look at them later. I took a lot of pictures at the AACA Museum during our recent trip, but many of them are just meh. Anyway, here are most of the good ones that I have not yet posted.

 

 

We all thought this ’31 Stude President was breathtaking and not in a Seinfeld kind of way. Once again (and again), I think photos like this are not designed to be viewed on a smartphone screen.

 

 

Obviously, this is a 1937 Studebaker State President Coupe.

 

 

This is a 1930 Cord L-29. Currently, the car is not on display in the main museum building, but is in the “overflow” building. The AACA Museum hasn’t always made this building available for public viewing, but now offers access for an extra fee. The fee is well worth it, in my opinion.

 

 

Also in the overflow building a 1938 Lincoln Model K convertible that my wonderful wife just loves. It is quite a car to behold.

 

 

This is Tucker #1001. The AACA Museum has a permanent exhibit on the Tucker automobile. Three cars are displayed and one of the replicas made for the movie about Preston Tucker is also there. In addition, the exhibit has blueprints, advertising, etc.

Museums—and not just automobile museums—are closing all over the country. Sorry, kiddos but the virtual world does not equal the real one.

 

#AACAMuseum

#1931StudebakerPresident

#1937StudebakerPresidentCQ2

#1930CordL29

#1938LincolnModelKConvertible

#Tucker1001

#SaveOurMuseums!

#Obsession

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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