Frugal Friday 12

Last night my wonderful wife and I watched the first two episodes of Ant Anstead’s new show, Ant Anstead Master Mechanic. Before yesterday the show was only available on the Motor Trend app–or MotorTrend’s website, I presume–but to watch the content there one must pay. We already pay triple digits a month for satellite TV so we’re not paying extra to watch a channel we can already watch. Anyway…the shows were excellent, fast-paced without being frenetic, informative without being boring. Besides, for me learning is entertainment. Short attention span that I have (I’m one of the lucky 15% of those with OCD who also have ADD), the fact that each episode is a half-hour is ideal.

What’s the premise of the show? You’ll have to watch it yourself…


This CNBC article is titled, “The coronavirus pandemic has upended auto sales and buying a car will never be the same.” The key points are presented upfront in these bullets:


Key Points
  • The coronavirus crisis has upended auto retail, and many don’t think it will ever be the same again.
  • Dealers and automakers are investing millions in new digital sales tools as consumers demand more online and personalized services.
  • It’s a more flexible purchasing process that doesn’t have to be conducted during traditional business hours.


As almost everyone reading this knows, I purchased my car–a 2016 Corvette Z06–the “21st century” way, online without a test drive and having it delivered to my house. Just as the coronavirus will probably lead to a permanent shift in the workplace paradigm, it will probably lead to a permanent change in how we buy cars. Get ready to groan, everyone: “The only constant in the world is change.”


Speaking of a C7 Z06, I decided that for this week’s Frugal Friday I would look for the least expensive example available. However, I did not include any cars with more than 50,000 miles or cars sold on a salvage title. From AutoTrader comes this car:


Used 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe Memphis, TN 38016 - 550972041 - 1


This is a 2016 Z06, same year as mine. The ad trumpets the “fact” that the car, offered at $53,895, is priced at $5,400 below NADA retail. The car has almost 40,000 miles on the clock and has the same trim level, 2LZ, as mine. Granted that I bought my car about 14 months ago (!), but my car only had 4,400 miles at purchase. It is a tad disconcerting that only 2 of the 18 photos show the car, the same photo is shown twice, and the other 16 tout the dealership.

I don’t know if this car has the Z07 performance package like mine, a $7,995 option when new, but I assume it doesn’t or it would have been mentioned. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of 2016 Z06s were ordered with the Z07 option.

So, what do you think? I think these cars are the performance car bargain of all time, cheap at twice the price when new and an absolute steal used. Yes, they’re not for everyone or even for everyone who can afford them. Remember, though, that the number of American households consisting of a married couple with no children is higher than the number of married households with children.








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Throwback Thursday 39

Reader Michael T is not a fan of Cristy Lee. He sent me a note through the Contact page in which he wrote the following regarding her contributions to the Barrett-Jackson telecasts, “Basically she only recited the obvious with no depth or great knowledge of the classic car hobby. Really just a self-promoter using the pretty face to weave her way through job after job and make appearances based on a really shallow resume. It will run out soon.”

Everyone is entitled to his/her view. I think Cristy Lee is/was a great addition to the telecasts. She has much experience working on vehicles and covering motorsports. Besides, no one should ever forget that TV is a visual medium. Is she an expert on automotive history? That’s why Steve Magnante and Mike Joy are (were) there.

As I have written here before, although I like (liked?) watching the Barrett-Jackson telecasts I enjoy watching the Mecum broadcasts more and that’s not just because I’m friends with Scott Hoke and John Kraman. The Mecum crew respect the cars and the auctions, but they don’t take any of it so seriously that they forget to have some fun. Frankly, the Barrett-Jackson telecasts are, at times, stiff. The Mecum telecasts feature conversations among the crew whereas the B-J broadcasts often consist of Person A saying X and then Person B saying Y with no real interaction.

Anyway, just wanted to make sure I’m not accused of being a shill for Cristy Lee. By the way, since the comments for any post close after 36 days, if you want to add to the conversation after that you can write to me here, like Michael T did.


How many of you remember this cartoon?


See the source image


From a Wiki site devoted to the Cartoon Network a fuzzy photo of an image from “The Herculoids.” When I was a kid I LOVED this cartoon. Although I haven’t seen an episode in decades, I have to admit that I still get chills of joy and awe just looking at the picture and thinking about the show.

The show was broadcast on CBS from September, 1967 to September, 1969. In the life of someone whose age is in single digits, two years is a long time. From Wikipedia, “In the show, the space barbarian family Zandor, Tara and son Dorno fight alongside their giant pet Herculoids — dragon Zok, rhinoceros Tundro, rock ape Igoo and the shape-shifting Gloop and Gleep — to keep their planet safe from invading robots, mad scientists and mutants.”

Do I remember specific episodes and plots? No, I just remember the effect the show had on me. Once again, sometimes I long for my childhood, which was a time when almost anything seemed possible.


I also long for something else that will never happen, the ability to buy and to store cars at will. I look at car listings on Hemmings, Classic Cars, AutoTrader and Bring a Trailer virtually every day. I have never needed a rationale like finding a Corvette companion/grocery car for our life in the desert. Sometimes I think that such a reason is just an excuse to keep ogling at cars, cars like this:


2013 Ferrari 458 Spider


From Bring a Trailer a picture of a 2013 Ferrari 458 spider currently available. With one day left in the auction the high bid is $70,000. I believe the MSRP on these cars when new was around a quarter-million dollars, or $250,000 for those of you who are word-problem challenged.

I mean, c’mon…a Ferrari convertible that’s less than ten years old, I don’t even care that it’s Black on Black. (Black is very hard to keep clean and is absolutely unforgiving for even the slightest body imperfections.) No, we will not buy a car like this unless we win the lottery. For the nth plus nth time from the movie Diner, if you don’t have dreams you have nightmares.








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Wednesday Waggle

In football, a waggle–or bootleg–is a play where the quarterback (QB) will roll outside the pocket away from the original direction of the play. It is designed to be misdirection that slows down the defense’s flow to the football. The play can be run with a lineman pulling in front of the QB or the QB can boot “naked” with no protection. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “naked bootleg.”

I’ve always wanted to use the post title “Wednesday Waggle” so now I have.


Follow-up to yesterday’s post…I am surprised that the video of the tree rat (the term Dirty Dingus McGee used to describe squirrels in one of his comments) being flung into a tree did not have more plays. The number of plays was only about a third of the total number of views for the main page and yesterday’s post combined.

I have been told I need more audio-visual content in order to help increase the number of viewers. Of course, if no one knows such content is here then how can they view it?


I guess I am not the only one who despises those Limu Emu and Doug commercials. From this article here are some comments:



In the interest of full disclosure I “cleaned” up some of the spelling and grammar. Note the dates on these comments are from a year ago or more. Unfortunately, the company that had these “ads” made must be seeing good results or the ad campaign would have been discontinued. Just as unfortunately we use this company’s services as our insurance company does not directly write homeowners insurance, but partners with other companies. Hey, we save a lot of money on our automobile insurance. I am often just as guilty as the majority of American consumers who care only about the price and not so much about the quality of the product.


The Classic Cars Journal Pick Of The Day for May 15th was a 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, although they call the car a Hawk GT. Here is a picture from Classic Cars:


Hawk GT


The article title is, “Pick of the Day: ’62 Hawk GT could be ideal entry to collector car hobby.” As almost everyone reading this knows, I was obsessed with this car for a long time. I have to admit that my obsession has waned, though.

Thinking through the search for a Corvette companion/grocery car that we will likely purchase after the move to the desert has led me to the conclusion that while owning a car like this is romantic, for lack of a better word, such ownership is not practical when you’re my age and someone without a lot of wrenching experience. (How about that for a run-on sentence?! Actually, I think it is punctuated correctly. It’s just a long sentence. I make a concerted effort to write the “right” words and to use proper grammar and punctuation. I make many changes while writing a post. I often edit a piece from yesterday or last week just to make the post sound a little better. Yes, that’s OCD, but it’s also dedication to doing this right.)

What do you think? If you were in a position to buy a car that can only partly be justified by need, what would matter most to you?






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In Or Out? Et Al.

Everyone who knows me knows that squirrels would be a giant OUT! This video shows one of those “rats with better PR” being treated better than it deserves. Squirrels are part of the order Rodentia (from the Latin Rodere, meaning “to gnaw”), the same group to which mice and rats belong.




Also a giant OUT! are those AWFUL Limu Emu and Doug commercials. I won’t even mention the insurance company. The ads are brain-dead, mind-numbingly stupid. On those occasions when we are watching “live” TV, as opposed to something recorded on the DVR, if any of those commercials begins to air I hit Pause, back up the telecast a few frames to before the beginning of the “ad,” count to 15 or 20 and then fast-forward without looking at the screen. Given the large population of this country I’m sure millions of people think the ads are great. For me, an ad campaign that has one commercial where an animatronic emu vomits office supplies is beyond awful. If you’re wondering (or even if you’re not), I couldn’t get to the remote fast enough to avoid seeing that commercial.


OK…Philip Maynard suggested this car for In Or Out? so here it is:


See the source image


From the Mecum Monterey Auction in 2014, a picture of a 1967 Sunbeam Tiger MkII. Whether Philip knew it or not, I am a big fan of these cars.

These are often called the Poor Man’s Cobra. The Tiger was also designed, at least in part, by Carroll Shelby and featured an American V-8 stuffed into a small British roadster, in this case the Sunbeam Alpine from the Rootes Group. The MkII spec had the famous Ford 289 cubic-inch V-8 while the MkI had the less famous 260 cubic-inch V-8. Only 633 of the MkII were made and only in the final year of Tiger production, 1967. About 7,000 Sunbeam Tigers were produced in total.

I’m guessing that the MkII engine had the same output as the base V-8 Mustang engine for 1967: 200 HP/282 LB-FT of torque. As the MkII only weighed about 2,600 pounds that’s a good power-to-weight ratio.

Alright, people…Sunbeam Tiger MkII, In Or Out?






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Monday Musings 47

I am aware that I write some things more than once. I have written almost 800 posts in 28 months and cannot remember everything I’ve ever written. However, most of the time that I repeat myself is for effect.

I have written many times that if you’re reading the blog then you should read the comments. I have no way of knowing how many of you are doing so. Below is an exchange of comments between me and photobyjohnbo. By the way, if you like great photography you should check out his blog.



Looks like you hit a chord with people and your comments on technical vs college education. As a lifetime member of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and a former technical trades editor, you are certainly preaching to this member of the choir.

My favorite question to young people mentioning college is, “Do you know what the NDSU (North Dakota State University) grad says to the NDSCS (North Dakota State College of Science) Grad?”
“Will that be fries with your order, sir?”
NDSCS is one of the state’s major technical colleges. Most people are familiar with the NDSU Bison.


My reply:


Obviously I have nothing against a college education. I have two degrees and the second one, my graduate degree in Economics, opened a lot of doors for me until it didn’t. However, I fervently maintain that too many people attend college and not enough people learn a skilled trade. I also steadfastly maintain that the misguided government policies that excessively subsidize consumption of “higher education” are the single biggest reason college costs have exploded. As the economist in me knows, an exogenous upward shift in the demand curve of a good or service–in this case due to subsidization–combined with a relatively fixed supply (in large part due to universities seeing themselves as a luxury good) means the only variable that can adjust is price and it can only go straight up.

What’s the solution? I have my own ideas, but in this country of excessive political polarization it is doubtful anything will get done. In fact, it is likely that the only change will result in the situation getting worse as people almost always choose what they think is the path of least resistance and voting themselves a “free” college education fits that definition. Of course, NOTHING is free even if it seems to be free to you.


In this country, politicians are far less concerned about quality governance than about getting elected/re-elected. Promising “free” stuff is a great way to make the latter happen, not such a good way for the former. Does anyone else have anything to offer?



My OCD is really locking in on this car, a Maserati GranTurismo (this one is a 2008 model). I think the Buick-like portholes are playing a large role in that new obsession, perhaps more in my subconscious than conscious mind. The first family car I remember and the first car I ever drove was a 1956 Buick Century.

As our latest setback has pushed the relocation timetable into limbo, the search for a Corvette companion/grocery car has abated. I also realize that we can achieve our goal of a grocery car with style and performance less expensively than buying one of these. All I can say is, Carpe Diem!








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Sunday Bare

The title of today’s post refers to the fact that I don’t really have anything to write today. I am writing because I feel compelled to do so, in no small way due to the fact that blog views for May are even higher, per day, than they were in the “record-setting” month of April. Obviously, because people “follow” Disaffected Musings more people read the blog on days with posts than on days without.

I guess I could mention that on this day in 1934 Gordon Buehrig filed for a patent on his design of a smaller Duesenberg; the patent was issued Oct. 2, 1934. The design was assigned to the Cord Corporation, Buehrig’s employer, and later became the starting point for the Cord 810 models. Buehrig was named named chief designer for Duesenberg in 1929. From RM Sotheby’s a picture of a 1936 Cord 810 convertible:


See the source image


As many car enthusiasts know, Buehrig’s design for this car was a protest against Harley Earl’s maxim that the face made the car. Buehrig had worked for Earl at General Motors before joining Duesenberg and designing the Cord 810 and the Duesenberg Model J. Ironically, the car with no face became a car with one of the most famous faces in history.

One of the dirty little secrets of these cars that are so revered today is that they were not well-made. Like virtually all US companies, the Cord Corporation, which owned the Auburn Automobile Company and Duesenberg among other holdings, struggled mightily during the Great Depression until E.L. Cord sold the remnants in 1937. This Cord was known for transmissions that performed poorly and for overheating/vapor lock. It should be no surprise that myth and legend almost always conflict with facts, that’s why they’re called myth and legend.

About 1,600 Cord 810s were built in 1936 and almost 1,300 812s were built in 1937. The 812 offered a supercharger and about 54% were supercharged.

Anyone have anything to offer about these Cords? Have a great Sunday.







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A Year. A Year? A Year!

On this day in 2019 the 279th and last original episode of The Big Bang Theory aired. To me, nothing is a more stark reminder of the scarily swift passage of time than that fact. I can’t even process that reality in any context except, perhaps, intellectually. I’m actually getting more depressed just writing about it. Think about how much has changed in the last year, but try not to get depressed like I am.

From The Mary Sue a picture of the original cast of The Big Bang Theory.


See the source image


Quick note on C8 production: apparently, it will re-start on May 26th, but not at full speed. The re-start at GM plants will begin with a single shift and then ramp up to two or three shifts as demand warrants. The obligatory C8 photo, this time from Top Speed:


See the source image


Does anyone have any idea when the IRS will “re-start production?” For some reason, my accountant of more than 25 years was unable to e-file our federal and state tax returns. Therefore, we had to mail paper copies, which we did in late March. Our state processed our return swiftly and we received our refund in less than two weeks. The IRS? Supposedly they are not “processing” returns at the moment. Obviously, we have not received our refund (an unusually large one for us) nor does the IRS Refund page even have any record of our return. The IRS refund “hotline” is not being staffed at the moment. Yes, I know these are most unusual times and circumstances. Yes, I know the filing deadline was pushed back to July. The situation is still frustrating. Sorry, I’m only human.

I was going to use this situation to note that everything in our “low-tax” state, like road maintenance and processing tax returns, seems to work fine, in many instances better than in the “high-tax” states that surround us, but I would never do that.


Thanks to Philip Maynard for submitting a car for In Or Out? If you read the comments, and you should, you know what car it is. If you don’t and won’t then you’ll just have to wait to find out.

In the What If? category, on this day in 1952 Studebaker and Porsche signed an agreement for the German company to design a small car for the wagon-makers from Indiana. Only three prototypes were produced.

I don’t know how I feel about that “What If?” or the fact that Studebaker passed on multiple opportunities to be the US distributor for Volkswagen. Studebaker might still be in the automobile business. On the other hand, since they wouldn’t be a defunct American make and might be selling Nazimobiles my feelings about the company might be 180 degrees from what they are. The beginning of a novel that I started writing, but never finished is this, “Nothing is inevitable about life except its end. The prosaic and the extraordinary, the random and the deliberate all contribute to how one’s life unfolds.” Anyway, from Bring A Trailer a picture of what is probably Studebaker’s most iconic car, the 1953 Commander Starliner:


See the source image


By the way, this car sold for $28,880 in September of 2018. If that figure doesn’t include the buyers commission, then the price was $30,324 all in.









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Friday Free For All

From comedian/actor Bill Murray:


“It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person.”


I would posit that many/most of those in the latter category are guilty of excessive distillation of reality that I mentioned yesterday. I wish I could find the remark, but I seem to remember someone famous saying that the grossest delusions of grandeur (not meant in the clinical sense) come from the most ignorant because they are unaware of how much they don’t know.


Gerald Johnson, GM Executive VP of Global Manufacturing, believes the company’s manufacturing plants will be back to full capacity by mid-June. Whether or not enough people are in the market for a new car by then is another matter, of course. “We have had no transmission of the virus in our facilities. Not in China. Not in South Korea and not in North America,” said Johnson. As inconvenient as it might be, keeping the practices in place that have led to such an accomplishment might be the only way forward, even after a vaccine and effective treatments are developed. The next pathogen is lurking around the corner.

The GM plant in Tonawanda, New York that manufactures Corvette engines is supposed to re-open on Monday, May 18th. Speaking of Corvettes–yes, I speak of them often–Chevrolet spokesman Kevin Kelly stated that 2,700 2020 Corvettes were manufactured before the shutdown and that when the plant resumes operations it will build 2020 model year cars. Supposedly, about 40,000 2020 Corvettes were ordered. Kelly didn’t comment when asked if some customers who ordered 2020 models will get 2021s. Depending on when the plant can be reopened, Chevrolet may not know. From the Corvette Blogger piece, a picture of a 2020 Corvette convertible:



I am still waiting to see my first 2020 Corvette in the wild. Maybe I will see one before the end of the year, after all.


From this piece comes this fact: “…[V]irtually the entire decline (92%) in the US labor force [from the coronavirus] came from workers without a 4-year college degree.” I would never argue that pursuing a college degree is a waste of effort, money and time for everyone. I would still argue, though, that too many people attend college. Remember that only about 53% of students who attend college earn their degree within six years of first enrolling.

<Soapbox> Contrary to the views of many parents in this country, it is not beneath your children to work with their hands. <End Soapbox> Plumbers, welders, auto techs, etc. make good livings and can work a long time.

This country is experiencing an extreme shortage of automobile technicians. Parents seem to fail to understand that working on cars today is not the same as it was when they were growing up. Modern cars are, in many ways, computers on wheels. However, most parents discourage their children from pursuing a career as an automotive tech.

In this podcast Tech Force CEO Jennifer Maher states that the automobile industry needs about 125,000 new technicians a year in large part due to the “tsunami of retirements” by those in the field who are in the Baby Boomer generation. However, only about 57,000 people a year are graduating from trade schools with automotive tech certifications. Maher said that instead of calling automotive techs “blue-collar” workers she calls them “new-collar.”

Sometimes I wish I were young enough to attend an automotive tech program and earn a certification. I would say that most car owners are not equipped to work on their own vehicles, especially if those vehicles were manufactured in this century.


As a Baltimore Ravens fan I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that today is Ray Lewis’ 45th birthday. He was certainly one of the greatest players of all time. Lewis was twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was named to ten All-Pro teams and was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Of course, Lewis’ career was marred by being indicted on charges of murder and aggravated assault stemming from a melee that broke out after a Super Bowl party in Atlanta in January of 2000 in which two people were stabbed to death. After he agreed to testify against the other two defendants, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice.

I believe that very few people actually know what happened that night. The Ravens do not have a large national following because they are “blamed” for depriving Cleveland of their NFL franchise, even if for just three seasons. Most football fans assume that Lewis knows what happened and that he shoulders blame. I am not defending him nor am I blaming him. I don’t know what happened.

Not to offend the religious readers of this blog, but I found Lewis’ over-the-top display of his faith to be off-putting. I also find it at least a bit hypocritical as Lewis has six children with four different women, none of whom is his wife.

Almost all of us are shadow and shade, even great athletes. I believe that they are not worthy of hero worship until they act like heroes. In my 20+ years in major league baseball I learned that, except for their ability to play baseball, most baseball players are entirely unremarkable people.








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Plea To The Universe

My feelings about metaphysics, defined as an abstract theory with no empirical basis in reality, are well known. Nevertheless, in an effort to turn off the bad luck that has befallen me starting with the loss of my lucrative baseball business in 2010 (and, in no way, in an attempt to diminish the significance of current world events) and that continued yesterday with my wonderful wife and me receiving bad news that represents a major obstacle in our efforts to move to the desert ASAP, I offer a plea to the universe. I extend sincere apologies for whatever transgressions I may have committed, to people who believe I have treated them in a mean-spirited and/or insensitive way. Please remove this curse that has hung over me for almost a decade.


The good news is that five votes have been cast in the first-generation MR2 edition of In Or Out? Surprisingly to me, the vote is 5-0 in favor of In. The “bad” news is I will have to continue the feature. Writing this blog almost every day is not easy. I do enjoy it, otherwise I wouldn’t do it–remember I have yet to be paid so much as a penny even though ads have been shown for almost two years–but I take pride in the quality of the writing and quality takes time and effort, even 500-ish words at a time.

I am asking for submissions for the In Or Out? feature. Remember, cars that are candidates to be near-unanimous selections either way, think the Jaguar E-Type and the Yugo, are not really appropriate in this context. In some ways, the less popular and less well-known the better, although I don’t want to exclude the possibility of a car like the fourth-generation Chevrolet Impala (1965-1970) being considered.


On this day in 1969 the last Chevrolet Corvair rolled off the assembly line in Willow Run, Michigan. As most car enthusiasts know, the Corvair was a major departure from the architecture of the day being powered by an air-cooled engine mounted in the rear as opposed to a liquid-cooled engine mounted in the front.

Ralph Nader’s book, Unsafe At Any Speed, along with General Motors’ efforts to smear Nader’s reputation played a role in the demise of the Corvair, but were hardly the only reasons the car ultimately failed. The Corvair’s unique setup, at least unique among cars from an American car company, left it in no position to compete with the Mustang, which was introduced in April, 1964 as a 1965 model year car. For example, from the very beginning Mustangs were available with V-8 engines. That was an impossibility with the Corvair.

From a chart of Corvair production figures:


1960 253,268
1961 337,371
1962 336,005
1963 288,419
1964 214,483
1965 247,092
1966 109,880
1967 27,253
1968 15,399
1969 6,000
Total 1,835,170


It is written in places like Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® that General Motors had determined the ultimate fate of the Corvair as early as April of 1965 with an internal memo that read, “Regarding the Corvair: no more development work. Do only enough to meet federal requirements.” Other sources claim that GM wanted to make a third-generation Corvair beginning in model year 1970, but the sales figures dictated otherwise. Note that even before publication of Nader’s book and the introduction of the Mustang, Corvair sales declined by 36 percent from 1962 to 1964. The blip in 1965 was due to the introduction of the second-generation car of which Car and Driver’s David E. Davis wrote, “…[T]he Corvair is in our opinion the most important new car of the entire crop of ’65 models, and the most beautiful car to appear in this country since before World War II.”

I also am quite fond of the looks of the second-generation Corvair and agree with Davis when he wrote, “The ’65 Corvair is an outstanding car. It doesn’t go fast enough [emphasis mine], but we love it.” From the car blog of The New York Times (of all places) a picture of a 1965 Corvair:


See the source image


I think that’s a great-looking car. A report released in 1972 (too late to save the Corvair) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated:


“The 1960-1963 Corvair [my note: the car cited in Nader’s book] understeers in the same manner as conventional passenger cars up to about 0.4g lateral acceleration, makes a transition from understeer, through neutral steer, to oversteer in a range from about 0.4g to 0.5g lateral acceleration. This transition does not result in abnormal potential for loss of control. The limited accident data available indicates that the rollover rate of the 1960-1963 Corvair is comparable to other light domestic cars. The 1960-1963 Corvair compared favorably with the other contemporary vehicles used in the NHTSA Input Response Tests. The handling and stability performance of the 1960-1963 Corvair does not result in an abnormal potential for loss of control or rollover and it is at least as good as the performance of some contemporary vehicles both foreign and domestic.”


One might question the competence of a government agency, but the report is what it is. It is true that in an effort to cut costs GM omitted antiroll bars in the first three model years, which would have improved handling in the Corvair. Like most “problems” there’s plenty of blame to go around. Keep that in mind; excessive distillation of reality from those blinded by ideology or those unable to understand the complexity of the world is almost never useful for understanding a problem.






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In Or Out?

This is the third installment of In Or Out? Not to be crabby, but if this post doesn’t receive at least five votes, then this feature will be discontinued.



This is a photo of a 1986 Toyota MR2 (the year means it’s a first-generation MR2 or W10) that I took at the Mecum auction in Glendale, Arizona in March of 2020. It’s hard to believe it’s already been two months since we attended. As one can see from the sticker in the middle of the windshield this car was sold at no reserve and hammered for–are you ready for this?–$3,575 all in. The fans of these cars much prefer manual transmissions and this car had an automatic.

If my (i)ncomparable niece casts a vote the vote will be “IN!” She had one of these, absolutely loved it, and credits her experience with her MR2 as igniting her interest in cars. She will often ask me, jokingly (OK, maybe only half-joking), if one of these would fit in the living room of her New York City apartment.

The Mecum car was equipped with a 1.6 liter (98 cubic inches for Bill Stephens although he would probably reject a car with an engine of that displacement) inline, transversely mounted mid-ship 4-cylinder engine that produced 112 HP in naturally aspirated form. Starting in 1986, although not until 1988 in the US, the MR2 was available with a supercharged version of the motor that produced 145 HP/137 LB-FT of torque.

The MR2 was sold for more than 20 years in three very distinct generations. It was the first Japanese mid-engine production car. According to this website, more MR2s were sold in the US and Canada than in Japan. About 163,000 MR2s were sold in total from 1984 to 1989, which is the span of W10 production.

OK, folks…1st generation Toyota MR2, In Or Out?






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