Pictures For A Saturday

Without further ado:



Partially obscured by the C5 on the left is my wonderful wife’s 2018 Corvette in Z51 spec and 3LT trim. The beautiful exterior color is Watkins Glen Gray Metallic.



IF I were to acquire a C6 Corvette, which is highly unlikely, I would get one in this color, Atomic Orange.



Hope you enjoyed the pictures.





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Power Corrupts

This CNBC article reports on the second UAW (United Auto Workers) president to be sentenced as part of a multiyear corruption probe into the well-known American labor union. Power corrupts, whether it’s a high-ranking labor union official, CEO of a large company or a high-ranking government official. Of course, I have opined that many/most people seeking these posts are already corrupt and achieving their goal is “positive” reinforcement for their behavior, which worsens their corruption.

In general, I believe it is best for a country, for a society for power to be diffuse and not concentrated. When exceptions should be made is, of course, a very tricky matter, indeed.


From this article titled “How Software Is Eating The Car” comes this estimate from Deloitte Touche: as of 2017, some 40% of the cost of a new car could be attributed to semiconductor-based electronic systems, a cost doubling since 2007. Obviously, a shortage of those semiconductors, like the world has been experiencing, makes it difficult to manufacture cars, whether they are ICE-powered, EVs or hybrids. From the piece is this tidbit:


“Today, high-end cars like the BMW 7-series with advanced technology like advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) may contain 150 ECUs [Electronic Control Units] or more, while pick-up trucks like Ford’s F-150 top 150 million lines of code. Even low-end vehicles are quickly approaching 100 ECUs and 100 million of lines of code as more features that were once considered luxury options, such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, are becoming standard.”


One can certainly understand the preference for non-computerized cars by many of those in the hobby. One should also understand that many of these systems are the result of ever increasing government standards. Some of those, of course, result in safer cars, but worse drivers. Much of the explosion in ECUs and lines of code, though, comes from customer expectations regarding comfort and performance. It is the automobile business, after all.


It seems as though inventory is thin right now at the local luxury make complex. Nevertheless, here are some pictures I took yesterday:



I am still hoping for a real-world look at a Maserati MC20, but haven’t seen any, yet. The Maserati dealer in the complex was allocated eight MC20s, all of which were sold within days of availability. From Wallpaper Cave a picture of said vehicle:


See the source image


Can I put this car in Ultimate Garage 3.0? Can I include three different generations of Corvettes? Yes, it’s my blog and I guess I can do what I want. Sometimes, though, what we want to do is not what we should do.

Enjoy the weekend!








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Solstice Drive 2021

I woke up yesterday about 3 AM as I was too hungry to go back to sleep. So, I thought I would use the opportunity to get in my “Solstice Drive” for the year and get some great pictures from what I call “Dynamite Ridge.”

Well, instead of leaving the house (after breakfast) at first light around 4:35, I decided to write my post first. When I reached my destination, the sun was already high enough in the sky to be an impediment in taking photographs. In addition, I hadn’t thought this project through and when I arrived I realized I didn’t really have a great vantage point from which to get pictures.

The best views are actually from the road itself. Obviously, I wasn’t going to leave my car in the one-lane road, even at that time of day, and I wasn’t going to park on a side street and walk to the road, where I could be hit by cars traveling at 50+ MPH. (The speed limit is 50 MPH.) Anyway, this is the only picture even marginally worth sharing.



That mountain on the right is Four Peaks, one of the more notable features of this area. I wish I had a drone. Anyway, here are two recent photos from a different location.



The top photo is from around sunrise and the bottom from around sunset. The best laid plans of mice and men…


Friend and former neighbor MB sent me this link to a quiz in which American cars from the 1950s had to be identified. Click the link with caution as it is not a secure site.

I scored 81% correct, better than the average of 73%, but not as good as MB who scored 88%. Of course, the average is skewed by selection bias. People with little or no interest, and therefore little or no knowledge of the subject, will not take the quiz.

Here are pictures of some of my favorite cars from the 1950s:


See the source image

See the source image

See the source image


From top to bottom: 1956 Packard Caribbean Convertible, 1956 Continental (not Lincoln, technically) Mark II, 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, 1956 Chrysler 300B.


This is a link to an article by the American Survey Center. This particular survey is about friendship in America and is quite interesting. This result will be reported without comment, well, at least not too much comment:


“Ending friendships over political disagreements occurs more among liberal and Democratic-leaning Americans. Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans are to report having ended a friendship over a political disagreement (20 percent vs. 10 percent). Political liberals are also far more likely than conservatives are to say they are no longer friends with someone due to political differences (28 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively). No group is more likely to end a friendship over politics than liberal women are; 33 percent say they stopped being friends with someone because of their politics.”


I hear the words “smug, self-righteous and arrogant” in my head…







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Just Couldn’t Pull The Trigger

Yesterday, I went to the website of the computer football game I have mentioned in this blog. I clicked on the game package I wanted to purchase and put in a discount code. When it came time to actually fill in some information and click “Buy” I couldn’t do it.

I think last year’s experience with bugs in the game and the dismissive attitude of the game’s creator and publisher has just left me cold. I guess I could try to find another pro football computer game, but I am just not at a point where I want another learning curve for something that is, truthfully, not that important. Of course, ask me next week and I might have purchased a game, a new one or the “old” one.

Why I am so indecisive is not as easy to explain as not being able to find a satisfying career post-baseball. That is part of it, of course, but something else is at work. I wish I knew what it was.


On this day in 1869 Charles Hires sold his first root beer, in Philadelphia. He was the first person to brew root beer commercially.

OK, why did I bring this up? On Monday, my wonderful wife and I went to Denny’s for lunch. The results of my blood work before my recent physical were good enough, quite good in fact, so that I am giving myself a month of indulgence. You Seinfeld aficionados remember the episode “The Summer Of George.” Well, this will be The June Of Me.

For Monday lunch I had pancakes and root beer. I think it’s been more than a year since I consumed root beer. When I was younger I disliked it, but it is one of the few comestibles that I have grown to like. OK, you fussbudgets, comestibles is supposed to refer to food and not drink. So sue me…by the way, the pancakes were excellent, but I have hardly eaten them in the last year, either.

I have a fair amount of willpower and discipline, even with food. However, I think you have to reward yourself from time to time.


I cannot indulge myself with the purchase of another vehicle, however. No room at the inn, if you will. No, this is not an excuse to show another picture of a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. No, this is not more exposition about my Ultimate Garage 3.0.

What do you think of this car listed in Hemmings?



This is a 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix. The odometer reads 42,239 miles, but I’m guessing that’s more like 142,239 miles. The seller, Country Classic Cars, is asking $12,950, which seems a tad steep to me for a car with “uncertain” mileage, but I really like the way this car looks. The car would also connect me to my first car, a 1967 Pontiac GTO, and to the car I owned the longest, a 1995 Grand Prix. The hashtag that has been part of this blog from almost the beginning really does resonate with me, #somanycarsjustonelife.







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Tuesday Tidbits

No, I don’t mean these although I wish they were still available:


See the source image


This CNBC article reports on the recovery of much of the Bitcoin paid to the Colonial Pipeline hackers. With a court order, US government officials were able to identify a virtual currency wallet used by the hackers and retrieve the “funds.” This morning, the price of Bitcoin is declining sharply. Let’s see: the bad guys suffered and now Bitcoin is “suffering.” I think there’s a message in that…

The main reason that Bitcoin has become the favored payoff for modern digital criminals is that it is supposed to be untraceable after the transaction. Well, I guess it isn’t.


This piece reports on how “wokeness” and “cancel culture” threaten real freedom of speech in the publishing industry. It’s not written by a person of conservative ideology, by the way. While the author maintains that freedom of speech doesn’t really apply to publishing companies, here is the last sentence of the post: “It would be sad if senior editors started capitulating to their offended or woke staff, for that would lead to the homogenization of literature (most publishing staff are liberals).” By literature, he means all books and not just fiction.


Ultimate Garage 3.0 is getting out of control. My list is up to 17-18 cars. While that represents an infinitesimal fraction of all cars ever made, of course, it sure is a case of “garage inflation” when one considers the first Ultimate Garage I published had 7 cars.

Does that increase stem from learning more about cars, about being more immersed in the automotive world than ever before? Am I just getting more indecisive as I age? I guess I’m supposed to show a car photo here. Let’s see…



This is a picture of a 1967 Corvette restomod I took at the 2019 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. (I wonder where that is? Yes, that is sarcasm…) I had hoped to bid on the car, but the bidding took off and the car hammered for $192,500 all in.

The prices of C2 Corvette restomods at that auction, in addition to the cost and time of having one built, were major factors in my decision to buy a C7 Z06. Of course, I actually bid on two C7 Corvettes at that auction, but had the next-to-last bid both times and each of those bids was $71,500 all in, a long way from $192,500.

While I don’t think I will ever be in a position to acquire a C2 Corvette convertible restomod, at least not without parting with my Z06, I still very much would like to have one. If Ultimate Garage 3.0 is published, it will come as no shock that one of these will be included.









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Monday Musings 71

In Monday Musings 70 I wrote about how 1970 was a great year to be a young Baltimore sports fan. Well, 1971 was a most disappointing year to be a Baltimore baseball and football fan.

The Orioles earned their third consecutive World Series berth and through the first two games of that series had won 16 games in a row. Unfortunately, they lost four of their next five games. You know what four losses mean in the World Series.

The Baltimore Colts had a fine 1971 season earning a playoff spot led by one of the great defenses in NFL history. They easily won their first-round playoff game, but alas, that was the end of the good news.

In the 1971 AFC Championship Game, played on January 2, 1972, the Colts were shut out by the Miami Dolphins 21-0. The irony was thick for Colts fans as the Dolphins’ head coach, Don Shula, had been the head coach of the Colts from 1963 to 1969. The Dolphins were found guilty of tampering with Shula and the Colts were given the Dolphins’ first-round draft pick in 1971 as compensation.

I have often written, and firmly believe, that human beings almost never judge events by “objective” reality, but instead against expectations and the status quo. For sports fans in many cities, having their MLB franchise reach the World Series in the same season their NFL team plays in the conference championship game would be a great year. For Baltimore sports fans, with both teams having won it all in 1970, the following year was quite a letdown, especially when you’re not even a teenager.


The most interesting American car for 1971, to me, might be this one:


See the source image


From Hot Rod a picture of a 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger. The engine output ratings didn’t change in the six years the second-generation Hemi was offered in street cars: 425 HP/490 LB-FT of torque. Of course, many of those “in the know” think both of those numbers were understated on purpose by Chrysler Corporation.

This article makes the claim that the 426 Hemi really had about 470 HP. Other “experts” think that number was closer to 500. 1971 was the last year the second-generation Hemi was offered in cars from Chrysler Corporation. That was also the year almost all automobile aficionados mark as the last year of the original muscle car era.

I think we’re living in the real golden age of automobiles, but that will come to an end with the widespread adoption of alternatively powered vehicles, whenever that happens. I’m going to drive my Z06 as long as I can.







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22 Years!

On this day 22 years ago (or 8,036 days ago, but who’s counting…), which was also a Sunday, I married the kindest, cutest, sweetest, most wonderful person in the world. I LOVE YOU, V Squared!


Speaking of 1999, for that model year Chevrolet introduced this Corvette variant:


See the source image


Although the higher performance Z06 based on this body style would not be introduced until 2001, and this car had the same engine as all Corvettes, it was only available with a six-speed manual transmission. As a reference, two-thirds of all non-hardtop ’99 Vettes were sold with an automatic. At one point before I bought my Z06 I had the borderline insane idea of buying one of these and having an automatic transmission installed in place of the manual.

To me, these were the best looking C5 Corvettes. An auxiliary hardtop was no longer a factory option for the convertible. Don’t get me wrong, I liked all C5 Corvettes. I bought one, remember. I just think these are quite sharp in appearance.


Nothing else to add today. Be well.






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PS, it is not my intent to diminish the significance of this day in 1944. Others who are far more qualified than I to write about it are the people whose thoughts should be read today.


A List For Saturday

For most of my life almost all of the music I have listened to is instrumental. That wasn’t always the case, though, and every now and then I play songs with lyrics.

From my OCD need to make order out of chaos, but my ADD tendency to get scatter-brained comes an idiosyncratic, probably incomplete list of my all-time favorite songs with lyrics. Let the arguments begin! Oh, they’re not in any particular order. Take that, OCD!


“Everybody Is A Star”  Sly & The Family Stone

“Reelin’ In The Years”  Steely Dan

“Look What You’ve Done For Me”  Al Green

“Stormy”  Dennis Yost & The Classics IV

“I Don’t Want To Do Wrong”  Gladys Knight & The Pips

“It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”  Boyz II Men

“Trouble’s A Comin'”  The Chi-Lites

“Berimbau”  Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

“A Horse With No Name”  America

“Walk Away Renee”  The Left Banke

“Raindrops”  Dee Clark

“Green-Eyed Lady” (Album Version)  Sugarloaf

“You’re All I Need To Make It”  Johnson, Hawkins, Tatum & Durr


The songs by Al Green and America were partly responsible for bringing me back to music. The reasons are long forgotten, but for about a year I had almost completely stopped listening to music on the radio. I also did not have a stereo system on which I could play music. One day while just happening to listen to the radio in my father’s Jeep those songs were played in a space of about 15 minutes. I was transfixed and returned to the fold.

When I was 11, I think, I actually made a list of my all-time 200 favorite songs, in order. The compilation was inspired by a similar endeavor from a local radio station. “Love Or Let Me Be Lonely” by the Friends of Distinction was at the top of my list. I still like the song, but not as much as I did way back then.

You’ll note the lack of “current music” on my list. I will write this again: the phrase “current American music” is an oxymoron.

“A List For Saturday” may become a regular feature on this blog, but may be constrained by my highly eccentric view of the world.


A picture taken by my wonderful wife:



Mountains and fire…


During a recent episode of Shift Talkers on Motor Trend, one of the panelists/contestants asked where this car had gone:



From Cadillac’s website, this is a picture of the Escala concept car. For awhile, it looked as if this car would actually be produced. Now, it seems to have been lost in the mad dash to EVs.

I don’t remember which person asked the question (Faye Hadley?), but she said she thought it was a great car and asked why wasn’t it being produced. Later in the show, in response to a question about Cadillac dealerships being forced to “upgrade” to selling only EVs or not being Cadillac dealers, at least two of the participants made a comment about how passé the make has become. Obviously, I think all of that is related.

The perception is that Cadillac makes boring cars (perception is reality even if it isn’t) and is out of touch with younger buyers, almost regardless of how that segment is defined. Well, people over 50 have more money than people in their 20s. I think it’s OK to market to “older” drivers, too.

I know it was Hadley who said she would rather leave Cadillac than be forced to “upgrade” to only sell EVs, if she were a dealer. She criticized the “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” approach to EVs, although she didn’t phrase it that way.

For the nth time: yes, electric (or some other “alternatively” powered) vehicles will eventually become the dominant paradigm in personal transportation. For the next 10-20 years, though, that will not be the case.








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Friday Filament

To the “clueless” people (I am being kind in that characterization) who think the Chinese government is wise and fair and just, remember what happened on this day in 1989. From Wikipedia:


“The Tiananmen Square protests, known as the June Fourth Incident in China, were student-led demonstrations held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing during 1989. In what is known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, troops armed with assault rifles and accompanied by tanks fired at the demonstrators and those trying to block the military’s advance into Tiananmen Square. The protests started on April 15 and were forcibly suppressed on June 4 when the government declared martial law and sent the People’s Liberation Army to occupy parts of central Beijing. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded.”


Fast forward to today and the Chinese government is engaged in what I feel will ultimately be a losing battle: to get China to be first-world wealthy before its demographics implode. The government’s recent decision to allow Chinese couples to have a third child is a tacit admission of that reality, although I think it’s too little, too late. The blatant theft of intellectual property is also part of that battle.

I think both nations at the top of the world in total GDP will be radically different 50 to 100 years from now than they are today, but–obviously–I will not live to see the transformation. Maybe the EU and a unified, democratic Korea (hopefully) will be the economic kings of the hill.


For some reason, this post from last November–The Paradox Of Choice–had a fair number of views yesterday. As the title implies, I wrote about how we can have too many choices, that even choice has diminishing marginal utility. Of course, trying to limit choice to reach the “optimal” level is impossible.


As a slightly early anniversary present for my wonderful wife, I am going to write about one of her favorite makes of automobiles, Jaguar. I believe that, like Aston Martin, Jaguar has basically never made an ugly car. What about Ferrari, you ask? Well, they made the FF, which I think is hideous, sort of a neither fish nor fowl creation.

My wonderful wife got to fulfill her dream of owning a Jaguar with one of these:


See the source image


From motoimg and Vantage Sports Cars a picture of a 2002 Jaguar XK-8 convertible. Unfortunately for my wife, the reality of owning this car did not come close to living up to the fantasy.

She purchased the car used, but with some of the original warranty remaining. As if the car knew, within a month of warranty expiration systems began to fail. The last ten months she owned the car she/we spent in excess of $10,000 in repairs. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the $4,000 bill to replace the ABS module.

Here is a picture of another Jaguar, probably the most famous one in the company’s history:



It is part of automotive lore that Enzo Ferrari called the Jaguar E-Type the most beautiful car he had ever seen. Whether or not he actually said that, the E-Type is certainly orders of magnitude closer to being the most beautiful than to being the ugliest.

As every regular reader knows, I am very fond of the current Jaguar sports car, the F-Type. Here is a relevant photo:



Even dirty, the lines of this car are just breathtaking to me, and I don’t mean that in a Seinfeld kind of way. If I publish my Ultimate Garage 3.0, the exercise will have to begin with the acknowledgment that such an endeavor is, for me, basically a beauty contest. More on that later, maybe…

Have a great weekend!


See the source image









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I Couldn’t Stay Away Throwback Thursday

Those of you who picked two days off in the pool can collect your money. Yes, I had originally written that I would take three (maybe four) days off, but I simply had to write today.


From Jake Novak, formerly of CNBC:


“If you call Israel an “occupier,” you are either a liar or an ignoramus…although these days, most people saying this are both.”


Novak is not one who often uses pejoratives. It is frightening to me that so many people side with a terrorist/criminal organization like Hamas and spurn the only democracy in the Middle East. I think that simply reveals anti-Semitism has always been prevalent, but sometimes less visible. Like the people who voted for Tonald Drump in 2016 or were pro-Brexit, but didn’t admit that to pollsters before those elections, people who are really anti-Semites sometimes hide their views. They’re still wrong, whether their views are overt or covert.


I have been receiving an increasing number of links in my email to articles about the C4 Corvette. It seems as though interest in the newest generation Corvette, the C8, has increased interest in all Corvettes. First, some C4 photos and then proof that I have spent too much time with The Genuine Corvette Black Book and have way too much time on my hands.


See the source image


Courtesy of Corvette Blogger a picture of a 1984 Corvette, the first year of the C4. The ’84 Vette used the same “Cross-Fire” fuel injection used in the last year of the C3, 1982. No, there was no 1983 model year Corvette. Get over it…


See the source image


Sorry for the different picture size…from an unsecured site a picture of a 1990 Corvette convertible with the auxiliary hardtop. Thirty-one percent of ’90 Vette convertibles were sold with the auxiliary hardtop. In the same way, I guess, that I love the look of the C2 convertible with the hardtop in place, I feel the same way about the C4.


See the source image


From a picture of a 1996 Corvette, the last year of the C4. Here is that proof I mentioned earlier:


1984 51,547 0 $21,800 N/A 205 205 87.5%
1985 39,729 0 $24,403 N/A 230 230 75.9%
1986 35,109 7,315 $27,027 $32,032 230 235 80.5%
1987 30,632 10,625 $27,999 $33,172 240 240 86.0%
1988 22,789 7,407 $29,489 $34,820 240 245 81.2%
1989 26,412 9,749 $31,545 $36,785 245 245 84.4%
1990 23,646 7,630 $31,979 $37,264 250 375 65.7%
1991 20,639 5,672 $32,455 $38,770 245 375 71.5%
1992 20,479 5,875 $33,635 $40,145 300 375 73.2%
1993 21,590 5,692 $34,595 $41,195 300 405 75.3%
1994 23,330 5,346 $36,185 $42,960 300 405 74.2%
1995 21,590 5,692 $36,785 $43,665 300 405 75.3%
1996 21,536 4,369 $37,225 $45,060 300 330 70.5%
TOTAL 359,028 75,372          


For the Top HP I did not show the Callaway Twin-Turbo cars that were available from 1987 to 1991, inclusive, because that was not a factory-installed option. It was a potent engine, though; for example, the 1988 Callaway Twin-Turbo was rated at 382 HP and 562 LB-FT of torque. The top factory engine was 245 HP/340 LB-FT.

For the nth plus nth time I will write that I was not a fan of C4 Corvettes for a long time, until I was. I think if you can buy one, especially one from 1992 or later, or even better, from 1995 or 1996, then you probably should.

All of this data comes from a spreadsheet I made years ago using information from The Genuine Corvette Black Book. Like I wrote, too much time…

I used to frequent the message boards of a certain car “publication,” in large part as a way to drive traffic to my blog. When it was announced that the C8 would not be offered with a traditional manual transmission, many readers commented that was the death knell of the Corvette, that Vette drivers preferred a manual. When I commented that more Corvettes have been sold with automatics every model year since 1972, the silence was deafening. Yes, never let the facts get in the way of your opinions…sounds like anti-Semites. You can see that automatics accounted for more than 70 percent of C4 production every year except 1990.

Hemmings currently has 84 1992-96 Corvettes listed for non-auction sale. Twenty-three of these cars have an asking price of less than $15,000. I suspect prices for C4 Corvettes have increased along with the price of virtually all used cars, in the wake of the damn virus and chip shortage that have choked production of new cars, and the renewed interest in all Corvettes.

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments.










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