“Frugal” Friday

I am going to stretch the concept of Frugal Friday, maybe until it breaks. Until now I have focused on a dollar amount and year range for cars. Yesterday’s post that featured a Rolls-Royce Camargue got me thinking about luxury makes that could be acquired for less than luxury money.

Consider that at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee in January a 1988 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur hammered at $13,000 meaning the buyer paid $14,300 all in. A 1999 Silver Seraph hammered at $18,000 meaning the buyer paid $19,800. From bentleygoldcoast.com a picture of the latter:

See the source image

If you’re buying a car like this for status then your friends and neighbors almost certainly wouldn’t know what you paid for the car, just that you’re driving a Rolls-Royce.

So, for today’s Frugal Friday I have picked a couple of luxury makes and then searched for the least expensive example. Sticking with Rolls-Royce, on cars.com one model, a 1976 Silver Shadow with 75,000+ miles, was listed at $3,995, but looked to be in very poor condition. In my very superficial search for one that looked decent I found a 1983 Silver Spur with 59,000 miles listed at…$11,900. In a still from a YouTube video here is an example of this car:

See the source image

OK, so you’re probably still going to have to pay Rolls-Royce prices to have the car serviced. Just think, though, that you can buy a Rolls-Royce for $11,000-$12,000.

 

How about Ferrari? Going back to the Mecum Kissimmee auction a 1986 Mondial, still a Ferrari, hammered for $26,000 meaning the buyer paid $28,600 all in. From bestcarmag.com a picture of a 1986 Mondial:

See the source image

 

On cars.com a 2001 Ferrari 360 Modena was listed for…$4,501. That price and the lack of exposition in the ad copy made me suspicious that the car doesn’t run. Some cars are not worth buying no matter the price. The next “cheapest” 2001 360 Modena was listed at $43,988.

How do you like this car?

See the source image

From dyler.com a picture of a 1997 Ferrari 456 GTA. A car like this is advertised on cars.com for $39,999. That example has about 30,000 miles. Like with the Rolls, you would have to pay Ferrari prices to have the car serviced and $40,000-ish is not cheap, per se. Still, the average price of an average new vehicle in the US is approaching $40,000. As regular readers know I would MUCH prefer this to an SUV or pickup truck. These cars were powered by a 5.5 liter/333 cubic-inch V-12 rated at 436 HP/398 LB-FT of torque. C’mon! A V-12 Ferrari for the price of a mundane SUV! The 456 and 456 M were produced from 1992 to 2003 with a total output of almost 3,300 units.

I would very much like to read your thoughts on today’s Frugal Friday.

 

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Throwback Thursday

My friend and pharmacist Ben has taught me that one should never break pills in half that are not scored. That is especially true for pills that are an extended release formulation because breaking the pill breaks the structure that allows the medicine to be released over time.

Pneumonia has been ruled out for me (clear chest X-Ray), but even though I think I am improving I am still far below healthy. This has been a most nasty bug.

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This CNBC article is titled, “Some advertisers are quitting Facebook, chiding the company’s ‘despicable business model.’” David Hansson, a prominent programmer with over 300,000 Twitter followers and founder of software company Basecamp, said, “Facebook has a frankly despicable business model that’s predicated on violating people’s privacy and running an ad monopoly. I think more people and more businesses should vote with their presence, vote with their ad dollars and consider what they want more of in this world. Our conclusion was we would like less Facebook.”

I believe that intelligence agencies of 50 years ago would have literally killed for the information that people now willingly provide on Facebook and other similar platforms. Facebook is a criminal organization, period. #FacebookFree #DeleteFacebook #FackFucebook

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See the source image

From momentcar.com a picture of a Rolls-Royce Camargue, which was manufactured from 1975 to 1986. After going bankrupt in 1970 due to problems with an airplane engine contract, which led to nationalization of the Rolls-Royce airplane engine company, a new company (Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd) was formed to focus on building cars.

That company decided, in large part because they were forbidden by government regulations of raising the price of their existing models (the Corniche and Silver Shadow) by more than 10 percent, to introduce a new model. The Camargue was that new model and featured styling by the legendary Pininfarina. The price at introduction was over £29,000, almost £10,000 more than the Corniche and almost twice the price of the Silver Shadow. At 1975 exchange rates that would have been about $70,000. Of course for that money you were getting an automatic transmission built by General Motors!

The over 5,000 pound car (in weight, not currency) was powered by a 6.75 liter/412 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 247 HP/398 LB-FT of torque. The Camargue was a very limited production automobile with just 531 made in total.

Today, of course, Rolls-Royce is just a division of BMW. Whether it’s because of that or for other reasons, I don’t think the cars have the same status they had in the past, like when the Camargue was being built. What do you think?

 

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Tuesday Tidbits

See the source image

Anyone remember these? This picture from Pinterest reminds me of one of my absolute favorite snacks when I was young. I would eat Tastykake Chocolate Kandy Kakes and then have some Tid-Bits as I loved (still do) chocolate followed by salty.

 

Anyway…not really the tidbits I meant in the post title, but what the hell…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This car mentioned in yesterday’s post is out of the running. It turns out the car was manufactured too early in the model year (mid-October of 2015) to have had the 8L90E issues corrected at the factory.

Never fear, right? Another one is on the way, right? Sure enough, about a half hour after I eliminated this car I found another one with fewer miles, a lower price and a higher VIN. Too good to be true, right? Right…after I contacted the dealer I received a call saying that “Car #2” had already been sold. I told the young lady that the listing seemed too good to be true.

I am driving myself crazy (a short drive I grant you) looking at these listings online. However, I have come to the conclusion that it is a virtual certainty that whenever I decide to pull the trigger I will be able to find a good car.

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People born in 1954 have turned or will turn 65 this year, the “retirement age.” Of course, I have been (involuntarily) retired since my early 50s. Have I mentioned my loathing of the American obsession with credentials and age discrimination? <end sarcasm>

What was happening with American automobiles in 1954? For my amazing niece, I can tell her that Packard introduced tubeless tires about a year ahead of the other American makes. Packard also introduced this:

1954 Packard Panther-Daytona Roadster

From supercars.net a picture of the Packard Panther Daytona Roadster concept car. Initially this car was called the Grey Wolf II after a famous Packard race car of the early 20th century.

The Panther was made of fiberglass, which made its lightning transformation from approval to actual car easier. Dick Teague was the designer of record. Packard chief stylist Ed Macauley and engineering VP William Graves were heavily involved as well. The latter two were strong advocates of using modern design in order to improve Packard’s standing and visibility. Of course, 1954 was also the year of the Studebaker-Packard merger (really, a Packard buyout of Studebaker), which shortly would be the final nail in Packard’s coffin.

1954 was also the year that Nash and Hudson merged to form American Motors. Although the Studebaker-Packard tie-up was perceived to be more of a merger of equals, Nash basically bailed out a failing company in Hudson. From the beginning of 1954 until the April merger, Hudson lost more than $6 million on sales of less than $29 million, not exactly a good operating performance. Whether or not rumors of the merger hurt Hudson sales is impossible to know at this distance.

Ford replaced its ancient, but beloved flat-head V-8 in 1954 with a modern overhead-valve engine. The flat-head was introduced for the 1932 model year.

1954 also saw the introduction of this car:

See the source image

From ultimatecarpage.com a picture of the unique Kaiser-Darrin sports car. Obviously, the fiberglass-bodied car was manufactured by Kaiser Motors and was a desperate attempt to gain attention and to stay afloat. Famous designer Howard “Dutch” Darrin designed the car, which was really more about looks than performance as it was “powered” an inline 6-cylinder engine of 161 cubic inches that was rated at just 90 HP.

Darrin was unhappy with the performance and later purchased 50 or 100 unsold cars (the number varies depending on the account) and put Cadillac V-8 engines in the majority of those cars. Those cars could reach 140 MPH although I doubt the car was safe at that speed.

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Although I no longer live in Baltimore or follow the Orioles or baseball, 1954 was the first year of the modern Orioles. From 1902 to 1953 the franchise played in St. Louis and was called the Browns.

I’m sure some local scribe has noted this, but both of Baltimore’s major professional teams came from another city where they were called the Browns.

 

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Monday Musings

I am genuinely touched by the outpouring of well wishes from Disaffected Musings readers, many of whom I’ve never met or spoken to. I am so sick of being sick that I am fearful of reporting any progress in my condition.

 

This was in my Twitter feed:

“There is a pro-Trump cult that would defend him if he shot a random person on 5th Avenue. There is an anti-Trump cult that would attack him if he found the cure for cancer. Most Americans don’t belong to either of these groups, but the political coverage is dominated by them.”

To say that President Trump is a polarizing figure is an excess of understatement. I don’t know how anyone could disagree with the first part of the quoted remark. However, I think if one excludes the millions of Americans who follow neither policy nor politics, I’m not sure I agree with the second half of the statement. Whether it’s due to the media coverage or not, I believe that the majority of Americans who have any interest in current events are either very pro-Trump or very anti-Trump. What do you think?

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OK, what do you think of this?

From CarGurus this is a 2016 Z06 automatic about which I inquired last week. Yes, it’s neither red nor orange, but I really don’t like black wheels on a car and so I have had to expand my color palette. The price of this car is quite reasonable even though it’s a “take it or leave it” price.

In another example of it’s a small world, this dealership is the successor to the place from which I purchased my first Corvette—a 2002 model—in 2004. The person with whom I spoke last week is the same person who sold me that car! Remember that we don’t live in the same state that we lived in then and that was 15 years ago.

My desire to buy a late-model Z06 was only heightened when my wonderful wife and I watched an episode of Everyday Driver on Amazon Prime in which the two hosts, Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker, drove such a car on the Pacific Coast Highway and on the Laguna Seca racetrack. The sounds the car made AND the sounds the two hosts made only whetted my appetite even more.

The prudent “me” wants to wait until we are finished dealing with our 2018 taxes before buying this car. The impatient “me,” not taking anything for granted, wants to buy something immediately. Those economists reading this recognize this dilemma as a battle between maximizing behavior and satisficing behavior.

More seriously, my experiences of the last 8-9 years have left me questioning my own judgment. Despite my alleged intelligence I have little faith that I will make the right decision in almost any situation. Anyone want to offer an opinion?

 

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Frugal Friday: It’s March (!) Edition

First, before Frugal Friday (by the way, it’s snowing here on the first day of meteorological Spring)…

Something I like to say when I want to sound clever is to paraphrase/twist Shakespeare: There is nothing good or bad, but context makes it so. This relates to the fact that human beings seldom judge the world on the basis of objective reality, but based on expectations and the status quo.

Disaffected Musings views for February fell just a handful short of a nice round number, but exceeded those of January by 15% despite being, obviously, three days shorter. However, about ten percent of February views came in just one day (the 1st) AND January was a short month in terms of the number of posts.

Extending this pointless exercise even further, February views per day were about 4 percent below those for December and a whopping 45 percent below November. (Both of those months were “normal” in terms of the number of posts.) So, was February a good month for views? Like I keep saying, that depends on the context. I don’t know anything about seasonality in blog viewing on the WordPress platform, what the normal “uptake” or “stickiness” rates are for blogs, or any of a host of factors.

The current administration stated that if its fiscal policies were enacted that the annual growth rate for real GDP would be pushed to 3%+. Yesterday the Federal Government released its first estimate of 4th quarter GDP growth and, therefore, first estimate for overall growth for 2018. Did GDP growth reach 3%? Well, that depends on how you count.

For calendar year 2018, real GDP grew at 2.9% compared to calendar year 2017. So, it seems close, but not quite. However, some economists talk about year-over-year growth for the fourth quarter as a good measure. That figure was +3.1%. In any event, these numbers are usually revised.

As Bill James has written, statistics are not truth; they are an approximation of the truth. Even when we have computers implanted in our brains that can spit out the history of the universe at a billion words a second, there will be things about the world that matter but that cannot be measured precisely, if at all. Remember what Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.”

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Today’s listings for Frugal Friday come from Autotrader. As such, those listings are their property.

The criteria for today were convertibles and coupes for sale at US dealers for between $9,000 and $10,000, that are between five and ten years old and have fewer than 60,000 miles. The search unearthed 170 vehicles matching those criteria. Despite that number, not a single car had an 8-cylinder engine.

A lot of these cars were either a Fiat 500, a Smart Car or a Kia Forte. One that was not was this car:

Used 2009 Pontiac Solstice Convertible Columbus, IN 47201 - 505578202 - 16

This is a 2009 Pontiac Solstice. I have written about this car and its cousin, the Saturn Sky, before as I am a fan of them. This car is not the GXP turbo version, but is powered by the normally aspirated 2.4 liter, inline 4-cylinder engine that was rated at 173 HP/167 LB-FT of torque. This car has a 5-speed manual transmission and has about 47,000 miles. The list price is $9,998. (Don’t you love those cute retail prices? Not…)

My wonderful wife and I test drove the Solstice and the Sky years ago. Of course both have been out of production a long time (since 2010). Even the naturally aspirated cars are quick and they handle well, but not exceptionally well. However, the interiors feel REALLY small and cheap, to be honest. As I have written before, I believe GM made a big mistake in not upgrading the Solstice/Sky and letting Buick sell it as a halo car.

 

Used 2009 Volvo C70 T5 Convertible Raleigh, NC 27604 - 508046007 - 9

This is a 2009 Volvo C70 T5 convertible (duh!). It has an automatic transmission (5-speed), is front-wheel drive and has the turbo 5-cylinder, 2.5-liter/154 cubic-inch (you’re welcome, Bill Stephens) engine. The engine is rated at 227 HP/236 LB-FT. This car has 53,000 miles and the seller is asking, wait for it, $9,995.

While I’ve always thought the name Volvo (Latin for “I roll” or “I rotate”) was a little weird for a car, Volvo began its life as a manufacturer of ball bearings so the name is probably only weird to me. The make has a reputation for quality and reliability.

Have a good weekend…

 

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Here is part of the GDP report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

2018 GDP Real GDP increased 2.9 percent in 2018 (from the 2017 annual level to the 2018 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.2 percent in 2017 [emphasis mine]. The increase in real GDP in 2018 primarily reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, federal government spending, private inventory investment, and state and local government spending that were slightly offset by a small negative contribution from residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased. The acceleration in real GDP from 2017 to 2018 primarily reflected accelerations in nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, federal government spending, exports, and PCE, and an upturn in state and local government spending that were partly offset by a downturn in residential investment.

During 2018 (measured from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018), real GDP increased 3.1 percent, [emphasis mine] compared with an increase of 2.5 percent during 2017. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.1 percent during 2018, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent during 2017.”

Both GDP growth measures I cited were on the same page in the same report.

 

 

Throwback Thursday: DeSoto!

This piece from Hagerty is titled, “How DeSoto went from sitting pretty to utter doom in just three years.” It seemed to be gift-wrapped for me as it appeared in my Twitter (@RulesofLogic1) feed yesterday. However, I think the exposition is a little sparse.

One interesting point made in the Hagerty piece, though, was that the Edsel—as ill-fated as that venture was—cut significantly into DeSoto’s market niche. Combine that with the encroachment of DeSoto’s own mother company, Chrysler, and a sharp US recession and the make was doomed.

With the Chrysler Corporation moving Imperial to its own make, the Chrysler make began to move down the price spectrum into the space supposed to be occupied by DeSoto. Dodge began to creep up into DeSoto’s space as well. Of course, these decisions were made by Chrysler so maybe the DeSoto was “supposed” to be phased out. The severe recession of 1957-58 really hurt DeSoto; sales plummeted from 127,000 in 1957 to just 49,000 in 1958. Supposedly the cars also acquired a reputation for poor quality around this time as well. Who knows what came first, though?

Rumors that DeSoto would be eliminated began appearing around 1959 and those rumors, like the ones that would soon plague Studebaker, became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Despite a rebound in the US economy (US GDP grew by nearly 6% in 1959) DeSoto production declined to 46,000 for the 1959 model year. Sales for 1960 evaporated to 26,000 and the DeSoto was no more by the end of the calendar year.

 

 

This is not the first appearance of this photo in Disaffected Musings. The color of the DeSoto/Plymouth sign really “pops” against the other signs. To me, though, it is this car that really “pops.”

 

https://i2.wp.com/i.wheelsage.org/pictures/desoto/fireflite/autowp.ru_desoto_fireflite_sportsman_2-door_hardtop_2.jpg

Another photo that has appeared before, this is a 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman hardtop. (Picture from en.wheelsage.org.) To me, this is perhaps the ultimate embodiment of 1950s American cars. Note the dual radio antennae (no doubt one is fake), note the triple stack taillights.

This car appeals to me for many reasons, but one is that it was powered by the first-generation Chrysler Corporation Hemi V-8. The 330 cubic-inch engine was rated at 255 HP/350 LB-FT of torque.

Anyone else share an obsession with some/all defunct American makes?

 

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Wednesday Words Of Wisdom

I wasn’t going to post today as I still feel like crap and I just am blank mentally (yes, even more so than usual). In my Twitter feed, though, I saw this:

“The problem with today’s left-wing and right-wing ideas is that they are both based on the fantasy that the other half of America can be conquered, and when it disappears we can get everything we want.”

From @nytdavidbrooks…

If he really believes both halves of that statement, then he is on the ball in my opinion. NO ONE has a monopoly on truth and wisdom and neither does ANY ideology.

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While I’m here, anyway…

The NFL Scouting Combine starts later this week. Surprisingly, Mel Kiper, Jr. will be attending it for the first time. I have mentioned that he attended my wedding. Mel and I have been friends for more than 25 years. He wrote the forward to my book that the Wall Street Journal called without a doubt the best book of its kind ever written.

Mel has great demands on his time and sometimes it is months between conversations, but we then pick up as if we had just spoken last week. He is a great example of Hegel’s famous remark: “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” You can say that the NFL Draft is unimportant, but Mel’s passion for it has ignited the entire cottage industry in covering the draft, in my opinion.

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From this article in a British edition of GQ Magazine comes this picture:

This is an Aston Martin DB7. The article title is, “Why the DB7 is the only Aston Martin you should buy.” Several articles like this about the DB7 have appeared on the Internet recently. More from the GQ piece:

“First seen in showrooms some 25 years ago, the DB7 has never been a more appealing package as now. Beautiful body? Check. Supercharged yelp? Check. Impeccable handling, ride and balance? Check, check and check. And all with that fabled badge at the front.

That it was derived from an abandoned Jaguar concept, funded by Ford and refined by Tom Walkinshaw Racing? Irrelevant. Unlike the cynical Cygnet, the DB7 was engineered as an Aston Martin – and the British marque’s blood runs thick in its veins. It was, after all, the car that saved the company.”

Today’s not Frugal Friday, of course, and these cars aren’t cheap, but I looked on AutoTrader and found 7 DB7s listed at $30,000 or less. Remember that the average price of an average new vehicle in the US is approaching $40,000. NOTHING about an Aston Martin is average.

 

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Tuesday Tales

Feb 20th   3,897

Feb 21st    2,258

Feb 22nd   2,520

Feb 23rd  10,466

Feb 24th    3,113

Feb 25th      410

 

OK, what is he showing us now? According to my phone these are the number of steps I have taken each day since February 20th. My current illness manifests itself in the very low number for yesterday. I feel about as poorly as I ever have without having a fever. By the way, there actually is nothing magic about 10,000 steps as, like with calories, it’s not just the quantity that matters but also the quality. To walk 1,000,000 steps a year a person only has to average about 2,750 a day.

I have no idea how accurate my phone is at recording steps. I also do not carry the phone when I run so it underestimates my actual step count. When not under the weather or suffering the ill effects from some vaccination I run for 30-45 minutes, 3-4 days a week.

A week consists of 10,080 minutes. Excluding people who have a mitochondrial disorder or are prone to exercise-induced asthma, everyone else should be able to take 1%-1.5% of their week to exercise. Seventy percent of American adults do not exercise and seventy percent of American adults are overweight. I don’t think that’s just a coincidence.

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More from Scottsdale (can’t believe we have been back for more than a month!):

Bogi Scottsdale 2019

 

This is a picture of the affable and adorable Bogi of the All Girls Garage TV show that airs on Motor Trend. Bogi, whose given first name is Sarah, owns an auto maintenance/repair shop in the Phoenix area.

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This post is about this car:

63994189-770-0@2X

From gorgeouscars.wordpress.com a picture of a 1970 Intermeccanica Italia. The C3 Corvette influence is obvious, but I also see the Ferrari 275 GTB in this car.

Intermeccanica was founded by Hungarian-born Canadian Frank Reisner in 1959. He died in 2001, but his son Henry is, apparently, still running the company. This car has its roots in the US Griffith/Apollo performance cars of the 1960s. I think the “stylist of record” is actually an American, Bob Cumberford. This car is an original hybrid, which for the nth time means a car with a mixed-country origin.

 

Sorry, but I’m running out of gas…

 

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Monday Musings

Once again I am “under the weather.” This time I have some nasty upper respiratory bug that is also leaving me achy, but with no fever.

I was going to rant about what I consider to be the excessive “spicification” and “cilantro-ization” of restaurant cuisine in America. Instead I will just note that not everyone likes spicy food and for some cilantro is the vilest taste in the known universe. “Mouth on fire” is not a flavor to me and cilantro doesn’t remotely taste like anything edible.

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I have muted CNBC in my Twitter feed. Their excessive coverage of the views of a certain freshman member of the House of Representatives makes me ill. Last I checked the House has 435 members, not just one.

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This Automobile Magazine piece is titled, “2019 Lexus LC500: Seven Things that Make It Special.” An excerpt reads, “Don’t let the seductive look of this coupe deceive you into thinking it’s all show and no go, however, as strapped under the hood is a V-8 engine with 471 horsepower and the ability to slingshot the LC from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.”

See the source image

From uscarsnews.com a picture of the Lexus LC500. I have read that these cars are not selling well in the US, which I imagine is Lexus’ intended primary market. If this car is not selling I don’t think a more expensive, turbo-charged model (an “F” model, in Lexus parlance) will sell any better.

This car was part of the Ultimate Garage on my first blog and is better than 50-50 to be a part of Ultimate Garage 2.0. As I have written before, my wonderful wife and I have had the good fortune of test driving this car. It’s amazing!

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I’m not any closer to buying a 2016 Z06 today than I was last week. I think it’s prudent to see what we owe the IRS and our state first before plunking down serious money to buy the car. When it comes time for me to pull the trigger I think I will be able to buy something quickly.

https://i2.wp.com/carrrs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2016-Chevrolet-CorvetteZ06-039.jpg

From carrrs.com a picture of a 2016 Z06. My first Corvette, a 2002 model, was Electron Blue Metallic. I don’t like blue as much as I used to (bad rhyme intended) and want one in orange or red, instead (ditto).

Any thoughts?

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