Sunday Sundries

How much without the sundries? That is a line from an episode of the Odd Couple TV show starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. My best friend and friend of over 50 years, Dr. Zal, and I find that line to be hysterical. If I have to explain why it will “lose something in translation.”

On this day 45 years ago, which was also a Sunday, Dr. Zal (not his real last name but he really is a Ph.D. in a science discipline), his father—the legendary Boomee—and I attended the last game of the Baltimore Colts season. The Colts, who were in the middle of a dismal three-season stretch, were coming off a huge upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins (which we also attended); the Dolphins would repeat as champions that season. This last game was against divisional rival New England.

Between Boomee and Dr. Zal, a male member of the family attended 99% of all Baltimore Colts games between 1947, the first year Baltimore had a pro football team (in the All American Football Conference or AAFC), and 1983, the last season before the team sneaked out of town.

The main storyline of the day was snow. (The Colts won 18-13 finishing their season at 4-10.) Dr. Zal and I loved snow even more than most school-age kids. We would draw weather maps with features that would mean snow for our region, enough snow to close school. I don’t remember exactly when the snow began during the game, but by the end of the game around 5 PM (Baltimore Colts’ games started at 2 PM because of some antiquated blue law; the Colts were the only team whose home games started at that time) the snow was coming down heavily. Dr. Zal and I began to realize that Monday might be a day with no school.

At about 10 PM that evening we began a phone conversation, which consisted of talking about football and snow. Dr. Zal lived in an apartment, but I lived in a small row house that had a back porch. Every 30-45 minutes I would go on the porch with a ruler to take a snow measurement. I wish I could remember the snow rate or the accumulation, but I do remember that we did not end the conversation until 3 AM! Yes, five hours talking about football and snow. I spend so much of my time pining for my youth…

Schools were closed Monday and Tuesday, the first time I could remember a multi-day closure due to weather. My mother would not let me attend school on Wednesday as she was afraid of the conditions. If one were to look in the dictionary under the phrase “Jewish Mother” my mother’s picture would be next to the definition. I went to school Thursday and Friday and then we were off for eight school days due to the winter break.

A toast to Dr. Zal and Boomee and that incredibly fun day/night 45 years ago.


Boomee loved the Pontiac Bonneville. I cannot remember his owning any other car.

From a picture of a 1973 Pontiac Bonneville sedan. The Bonneville was a model with a long history, built by Pontiac primarily as a full-sized car between 1957 and 2005. This generation of Bonneville was a big car: 123-inch wheelbase, 226 inches in length and about 80 inches wide.







Saturday Mixed Bag

Regardless of where one stands on how health care should be delivered, the fact is that the price of a good or service can never be made lower by subsidizing demand. Only with supply expansion and competition can the real cost of a good or service be lowered, especially if it’s a good or service with a relatively fixed supply like health care. From noted economist John Cochrane and his blog, The Grumpy Economist:


“The discussion over health policy rages over who will pay — private insurance, companies, ‘single payer,’ Obamacare, VA, Medicare, Medicaid, and so on — as if once that’s decided everything is all right — as if once we figure out who is paying the check, the provision of health care is as straightforward a service as the provision of restaurant food, tax advice, contracting services, airline travel, car repair, or any other reasonably functional market for complex services.

As anyone who has ever visited a hospital knows, this is nowhere near the case. The health care market in the US is profoundly screwed up. The ridiculous bills you get after the fact are only one sign of evident dysfunction. The dysfunction comes down to a simple core: lack of competition. [emphasis mine] Airlines would love to charge you the way hospitals do. But if they try, competitors will come in and offer clearer, simpler and better service at a lower price.

Fixing the supply of health care strikes me as the policy win-win. [emphasis mine] Instead of the standard left-right screaming match, ‘we’re spending too much,’ ‘you heartless monster, people will die,’ a more competitive health care market giving us better service at lower cost, making a cash market possible, makes everyone’s goals come closer.”


Health care is a very divisive issue, but I think few people really understand it enough to have an informed opinion. Sorry if that sounds elitist; well, not really…


I have written about the significance of the 1963 model year before. It was the year which saw the introduction of the C2 Corvette, the Buick Riviera and the Studebaker Avanti. Those are three very important models. What do these cars have in common?

(Picture from


See the source image

(Also from




Some of you know that all of these cars were introduced for the 1967 model year. Some might also say counting the Camaro and Firebird as separate models is cheating since both shared much as GM products, but I think they have enough differences (engines for one thing) to count as two different models.

These are all very desirable cars in my opinion and the Eldorado is a contender for Ultimate Garage 2.0. What years do you think are significant in automobile history? 1949? 1955? I would very much like to read your opinions.





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C8, Wait!

This is just one source (from for the story that the debut of the C8 Corvette will be delayed at least six months to correct electrical issues that have revealed themselves during testing. “Sources” have indicated that the C8 development team found that the vehicle’s electrical system can’t carry enough load to support all of its components. Of course, the engineers are doing what they can to fix the problem, but that requires not only finding a solution but working with suppliers to find parts that can be provided at scale.

Better the problem is found now rather than after the car is released to the public—GM has a horrible history of using customers as beta testers, especially in the 1980s—but this is a blow to Chevrolet and to GM. If the C8 introduction had been “scheduled” for New York in April, then six months pushes it back to at least October. Oh well…


My wonderful wife and I have both been the victim of a bug recently, almost certainly a virus. She seems to be further along in recovery; I still don’t feel well. It is possible, although not probable, the answer for me lies in the results of blood work with the sample having been taken last week. Of course, I still don’t have any results. My previous doctor, of the concierge variety, kicked me out of the practice SIX years after I stopped paying the retainer and after assuring me he would continue to see me as a patient. My current doctor’s practice is based in a large hospital and his staff seems incapable of doing anything well.

In my opinion the US public sector/private sector hybrid model of delivering health care gives us the worst of both. It is also my opinion that the US “lag” in life expectancy has nothing to do with delivery of healthcare, but has to do with opioids and other drugs, guns, lack of exercise and awful diet. I have read that if one starts at age 65—which eliminates most of those who engage in careless, dangerous, and unhealthy behavior—people in the US have the same life expectancy as people living in other developed countries.


2006 PONTIAC GTO - Front 3/4 - 224252

From the Barrett-Jackson website (I hope this picture and those of the 1965 Corvette restomod don’t disappear in a month or two) a picture of a 2006 Pontiac GTO offered for sale.

The revival of the GTO, sold for the 2004-2006 model years, was a fine performer. For 2005-06 it was powered by a Corvette LS2 motor producing 400 HP/400 LB-FT of torque. (That’s the engine that was in my 2007 Corvette.) The 2005-06 GTO could accelerate from 0-60 MPH in less than 5 seconds.

This generation of GTO was actually an Australian car, the Holden Monaro, re-badged and tweaked for the US market. Holden was a subsidiary of General Motors. The car was a commercial failure and most have put the blame on the styling, which was considered as “blah” and uninspiring. It might seem shallow, but good looks can sell a car and bad looks can sink a car.




Throwback Thursday

Yes, a car picture will follow, but first some data.

Here is the leading car producer in the US beginning in 1968 and then working backwards ten years at a time:

1968   Chevrolet   2,139,290

1958   Chevrolet   1,142,460

1948   Chevrolet      696,449

1938   Chevrolet      465,158

1928   Chevrolet   1,193,212

1918   Ford               435,898

1908   Ford                 10,202

No, Chevrolet did not lead every year from 1928 to 1968, but Ford did lead every year from 1908 to 1918 (actually, from 1906 to 1926, inclusive). I think one can get a sense of the devastating impact of the Great Depression (as well as the impact of World War II) in that the production total for the leading car manufacturer in the US was basically the same in 1958 as it had been in 1928.

The US auto industry first reached production of 1,000,000 cars in a year in 1916 and reached 2,000,000 for the first time in 1922. In 1932, during the Great Depression, US auto production was basically half of the 1922 figure: about 1.2 million cars compared to 2.3 million in 1922.


See the source image

From a picture of a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, the last model year for the first iteration of the two-seater or Baby Bird. On this day in 1957 the last original two-seat Thunderbird was produced. (Ford introduced a two-seat Thunderbird for the 2002 model year, but disappointing sales led to the end of that model after 2005.)

What is somewhat forgotten today is that the move to the four-seat Thunderbird (aka the Squarebird) for model year 1958 did dramatically increase sales of the car. Production for the second generation T-Bird (1958-1960) totaled about 196,000; for the first generation (1955-57) that number was about 53,000. Car aficionados sometimes forget, and I am also guilty of this sometimes, that car companies are in business to make money. Even noted labor leader Samuel Gompers once remarked, “The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.” It is my strong belief that businesses really only have three imperatives: produce goods and/or services, obey the law and make a profit. Anything else they do is optional.

Anyway…the Squarebirds are not valued that highly today (except for convertibles) while the Baby Bird has almost reached legendary status. My favorite Baby Bird (not that anyone asked but this is my blog) is the 1955 model. I’m not a big fan of the Continental kit on the ’56 (sorry, Frank; Frank is a neighbor who owns a ’56 Thunderbird) and I think the ’57 is a little ungainly with the elongated rear fenders/quarter panels. I mean, I like all three models, but I like the ’55 the most.

What do you think?







Wednesday Cappuccino, Anyone?

No, not this:

See the source image

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)


Also from Wikimedia Commons a picture of a Suzuki Cappuccino. Here is a link to a video about the car.

OK, why am I writing about the Suzuki Cappuccino? Two reasons: first, I was browsing through the second volume (M-Z) of the Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile, saw a picture of this car and thought it looked interesting. Yes, I look through automotive reference books for fun. Does that surprise anyone reading this? Second, I am trying to demonstrate that I am not just about high-performance cars. The looks of a car grab me first and I think the Cappuccino has a great look despite its diminutive stature.

If beauty is only skin deep, but ugly is to the bone then the Bugatti cars (the Veyron and Chiron) are skeletons. Even ignoring that they are produced by Volkswagen, they are hideous to me. The performance of the car does not offset the looks, in my opinion. The Cappuccino is like a pushcart compared to the Bugatti autos, but I would rather have the Suzuki.

Do you know what a Kei Car is? In Japan it is the legal category for the smallest and most limited power, highway-legal motor vehicles, including passenger cars. These vehicles provide tax and insurance breaks for their owners and are very popular in Japan. The Cappuccino, which was produced from 1991 to 1997, is a Kei Car.

This car was powered by a turbocharged 12-valve, 3-cylinder engine of 657 cc/40 cubic-inch displacement that produced 63 HP/63 LB-FT of torque. The Kei regulations set a maximum allowable HP figure, which I believe is 63 HP.

The Cappuccino had just an 81-inch wheelbase, was 130 inches long, 55 inches wide and weighed just 1,600 pounds. Any car with a wheelbase length in double-digits (in inches) is small.  Despite a search of decent length I was unable to locate total production for the Cappuccino; for its first two years (1991-92) about 28,000 were made.

Anyone else have a thing for this car or ones like it?






Auto Show!

Would you believe that on this day (December 11) in 1894 the world’s first auto show was held? Four companies displayed a total of nine vehicles at the Internationale de Velocipidie et de Locomotion Automobile in Paris. This show evolved into the very famous Paris Auto Show that is still held today.

Today’s auto shows are, in my opinion, too much about cars that companies want to sell you and not enough about concept cars. I don’t know when the emphasis changed, but I remember attending auto shows with my father in the 1960s and 1970s where many of the cars were concept cars. I really wish I had some of the picture postcards from those events.


Corvette Interruptus! This piece in The Drive reports that the C8 Corvette will not be revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in January. (By the way, this is the last Detroit show that will be held in January as the event is moving to July beginning in 2020.)

From Automobile Magazine is a rendering of a “potential” C8 that I have shown before:

I think that looks the best of all of the guesses as to what the car will look like. Spy photos of what are supposedly camouflaged C8 prototypes has led to renderings that look like this:

From comes the photo above.

The first Corvette was revealed at what has become a legendary event in GM history, the Motorama of 1953. That event was held in New York in January. (The GM Motorama was actually held from 1949 to 1961, but the 1953 show introduced the Corvette as well as other famous GM cars like the Buick Wildcat concept car whose name was used for later production models.) The modern New York Auto Show is held in April. Could GM/Chevrolet be waiting until then to reveal the C8 Corvette? Do you think Chevrolet risks turning the car into a joke because of the delay in the introduction?


For some reason Hemmings refuses to publish my comments on how obesity is, in my opinion, the primary culprit in the extinction of the American car. I simply write that 70% of American adults are overweight and cannot get in and out of cars easily so that have moved to SUVs and pickup trucks. I don’t think that’s especially inflammatory, but apparently their editors do. Well, I can write that here and have on many occasions. What do you think?





Monday Musings, Pro Sports Edition

Moral victories do not exist in pro sports, which are not even a “what have you done for me lately” business but a “what can you do for me now and in the near future” business. Trust that I know of what I write.

Steelers’ fans love to say “six rings” in reference to the franchise’s six Super Bowl titles. The Detroit Lions won three NFL titles in the 1950s; are they still relevant? The Steelers’ rings from the 1970s are nothing but dusty relics on the shelf of history. What happened even five years ago has no bearing on today in pro sports.

Fantasy sports are well-named because they bear little or no resemblance to the real thing. When I was Director of Baseball Operations for a major league team I had to hobnob with wealthy season-ticket holders from time to time. I cannot tell you how many of them said things like, “I could run a major league team. I finished second in my rotisserie league last year.” (Rotisserie baseball was the original fantasy sport.) I would bite my tongue hard and then ask one or two questions about evaluating players or running a team. I am still waiting for my first correct answer.

Former major league catcher Wes Westrum is supposed to have said, “Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand.” I strongly believe that applies to all professional sports. Jim Mora’s (the elder) scolding of a sportswriter with these words is quite apt, I think: “And I’m promising you right now, you don’t know whether it’s good or bad. You really don’t know, because you don’t know what we’re trying to do, you guys don’t look at the films, you don’t know what happened, you really don’t know. You think you know, but you just don’t know, and you never will.

With the current widespread availability of coaches “film” more people outside of pro football do have an understanding of what actually happened than ever before, but most fans don’t watch the video and most wouldn’t understand it if they did watch. Being a fan, paying or otherwise, gives one the right to criticize but doesn’t mean that you are right to criticize.


Thanks to 56packardman for sending this link to a story about Carlos Ghosn, who was recently ousted as Chairman of both Nissan and Mitsubishi after his arrest stemming from allegations of financial misconduct. Supposedly Ghosn was planning to oust Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa as part of a larger management shakeup. Nissan’s earnings have fallen sharply although it still produces the largest share of earnings for the Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi alliance. Nissan has also been embroiled in a final inspection scandal that has led to the recall of more than one million vehicles in Japan.

I have written before that I think one of Nissan’s problems is simply that it makes too many boring vehicles. Its two “performance” cars, the GT-R and the 370 Z, are very old designs.


I can’t get this car out of my head:

1965 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CUSTOM COUPE - Side Profile - 224932

This car is being sold at no reserve at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona next month. My wonderful wife, her parents and I plan to attend. (Of course the picture is from

It is a restomod and except for being a coupe is very close to what I want. The temptation to purchase it and to avoid the long wait for a build is quite strong. C/2 has already offered his opinion that unless the car is a bargain I should wait to buy a convertible. What do you think? Is anybody out there?




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Sunday Sluggishness

Of course people not reading this will not get the message, but I am very disappointed at the significant decline in the number of views/visitors for Disaffected Musings since early/mid November. I don’t care if I sound like a whiner; I am very proud of this blog. I read other blogs on the Internet and like almost none of them. Most people today cannot write and I am not sorry if that sounds elitist.

To those of you still reading do you have any ideas why so many fewer people are reading? What do you think can be improved? Without using Fack Fucebook or Guck Foogle how can I get more people to read the blog?


I am somewhat surprised no one has offered an opinion on the car in which I might have bidding interest next month. Let me state up front that I would assess the probability that I buy the car at no more than 5%. The car might have a 6-speed manual despite the description, it might not look as good in person, upon inspection I might discover the car is leaking fluids or, most likely, the bidding will go beyond what I want to spend right now.


Although I have noted the results of my blood test in a reply to a comment by Steve Dallas, for the rest of you the HbA1c result was very good. I went from having the second highest/second worst reading in my life to the lowest/best in a matter of three months. It’s amazing what cutting out ice cream and cookies will do for your blood sugar. <sarcasm> The result was good enough that my physician thinks I might be able to stop taking Metformin. I told him I was doubtful that could actually happen. I will also use this opportunity to state my politically incorrect belief that for 80% of people who are overweight and/or have Type 2 diabetes (remember Pareto’s 80/20 rule) lifestyle choices are the primary reason. By the way, I am not overweight. Given my exercise regimen and short eating window every day due to GERD it is virtually impossible for me to gain weight. I weigh 20-25 pounds less than I did before I started running 8-9 years ago. Exercise really works!


From Car and Driver comes this picture:


Here is another photo:


This is the very limited production Nissan GT-R50 which was created in conjunction with Italdesign. Only 50 of these will be produced. The GT-R50, which might be a preview of the next iteration of the GT-R, is about 4 inches longer and 4 inches wider than the standard GT-R. The engine output has also been increased to a staggering 710 HP/585 LB-FT of torque. The engine for the Nismo “performance” version of the current GT-R is rated at 600 HP/481 LB-FT.

I have written about the GT-R before, but I think it’s an amazing car even if it’s a little long in the tooth.


Here are links to the posts, not counting the Home Page, that have produced at least two percent of all views for Disaffected Musings:

Sunday Studebaker

Tuesday Collection

Wednesday Wanderings

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that two of these three posts are about Studebaker. 56packardman very graciously puts links to my Studebaker posts on the Studebaker Drivers Club forums. I don’t know how many members are in the club, but they are FANATICAL about Studebaker and will read anything relating to the make. The non-Studebaker post is about the engine choice for my restomod C2 Corvette build.

Once again, I would really like to read any suggestions about how to improve the blog and/or get it read by more people.





THE Car?

In less than five weeks we’re off to Arizona for the Barrett-Jackson auction. In less than six weeks this car will be on the block:

1965 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CUSTOM COUPE - Side Profile - 224932

From Barrett-Jackson’s website is a photo of a car that REALLY grabs my attention. (I’m surprised I could capture the photo.) OK, I have been imagining a 1967 convertible (this is a 1965 coupe) with an auxiliary hardtop reinforced with carbon fiber, but as I have written before I live in the real world.

If the description is accurate, and unfortunately they are not always accurate, this car checks almost all of the other boxes and is being sold at no reserve. It has larger wheels than stock to accommodate larger tires, but they’re only 17-inch wheels, which is close to the size I want. (I want my restomod to have 17-inch front wheels and 18-inch rear.) The car has a modern LS3 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission (6L80E?).

The most important asset this car has is that it’s ready right now and not 18 months from now. If it could be acquired at 40%-60% of the cost of a restomod build then it will be quite tempting to bid. I could always spend a little extra money to tweak the car.


William C. Durant was born on this day in 1861. It was Durant who founded General Motors (or co-founded depending on the source) and who also founded Chevrolet, the company that would one day make the Corvette that occupies my brain (or what’s left of it depending on the source).

It is not my intent to write a mini-biography of Durant here or even a mini-mini biography. Suffice to say that Durant had great imagination, but lacked the ability to manage a large enterprise like GM. He formed the company (as the General Motors Holding Company) in 1908 after having acquired control of Buick in 1904. Durant was ousted from GM in 1910 after overextending the company through his many purchases, such as Cadillac and Oldsmobile. Durant founded Chevrolet in 1911, secretly began purchasing GM stock, regained control of the company in a proxy fight in 1916 and was ousted for the second and last time in 1920.

He formed his own company, Durant Motors, in 1921. As with GM, Durant eventually acquired various makes in an attempt to serve much of the automobile market. Durant Motors could never achieve the success of GM and the Great Depression sunk the company.

In my opinion today’s society suffers from a horrendous case of temporal arrogance; that is, many people seem to think that if something didn’t happen during their lifetime then it can’t be important. William Durant’s life was very important, period.




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Friday Confusion

I am a few hours away from a very important test. It’s not a Series 7 or CFP exam. Because my last HbA1c test result was a little elevated for me I am having another one today, ahead of the usual schedule. If the result is elevated again my diabetes regimen will have to change, which means my life will change.

HbA1c is actually an amazing test. It measures a person’s average blood sugar level over the last three months although I don’t think each day in the period counts the same. That is, I still think the most recent days have the most influence on the result.

Speaking of the Series 7 exam…when I went to work for a very large financial services company I had to acquire Series 7 and Series 63 FINRA licenses. I was already in my 50s and past my peak mental acuity. (What does that say for me now?) About 35 percent of people who take the Series 7 fail the test. The “7” was composed of 250 questions; when you complete the first 125 you must take a 30-minute break.

When I finished the first 125 questions I raised my hand. The proctor walked to my desk and asked what I wanted. I told her I was finished the first half of the exam and asked if I could skip the break. She said, “There’s no way you’re finished the first half.” A person taking the test is allowed 3 hours to complete each half; I had finished the first half in 45 minutes. I showed her my screen so she knew I was really through the first half. I did have to take the break. I was a little slower in the second half; it took 55 minutes of the allotted 3 hours. I made one of the highest scores in the country (a 90-ish).

Five weeks later the same thing happened on the Series 63 exam, which was composed of 60 questions. I scored another 90-ish and took 20 minutes of the allotted 1 hour and 45 minute time to complete the exam.

As I have written before, and much to the chagrin of my wonderful wife, it would not have been fair if I had been made ugly and brain-dead. Intelligence is not a disease and is not something of which to be ashamed.


How many of you watch/have watched the show How It’s Made on the Science channel? A few episodes of the show were dedicated to high-performance cars; the “spinoff” is called How It’s Made: Dream Cars. While the hard rock soundtrack can be annoyingly distracting the 30-minute program shows interesting details about the manufacturing of cars such as the Peugeot RCZ R, the C7 Corvette and the Lamborghini Aventador. For me, the shows I enjoy the most are about the cars I know the least, such as this one:

From a picture of a Wiesmann MF5. I don’t think Wiesmann is still in business. Production stopped in 2014 and even though reports surface from time to time that Wiesmann will resume building cars, to my knowledge it has not yet done so. For example, the last post on the company Facebook page is from late 2016.

The MF5 was powered by the BMW M5 5-liter/305 cubic-inch V-10 engine that produced 547 HP/502 LB-FT of torque. Earlier Wiesmann models had used BMW 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engines.

I really like two-seat high performance cars. Hey, we don’t have any kids and even if we did we still might own such a car. Mundane tasks are why we own a small SUV (a 2011 Kia Sportage). The utilitarian nature of such vehicles (and pickup trucks) is probably why they fail to evoke any passion in me and why the dramatic market shift away from cars is so depressing to me.