Throwback Thursday

First, a little housekeeping. I sent the link to yesterday’s post to my next-door neighbor who owns the McLaren 570S. Among the things I learned in his prompt and thoughtful replies was that he bought the McLaren used and did not pay anywhere near MSRP.


Although this is not an apples-to-apples comparison, yesterday marked the day on which blog views for 2019 for Disaffected Musings surpassed those for all of 2018. The 2019 numbers for visitors/likes/comments passed those of 2018 2-4 weeks ago.

Besides the fact that this blog did not begin on January 1, 2018, the comparison is not apt because a new blog takes awhile to find an audience. I don’t know how many active blogs exist, but I suspect the number is in the millions. (Actually, some estimates place the number at 500 million!) For the nth time I think this blog should have 5-10 times the number of views/visitors it actually receives. However, it’s impossible for someone to read a blog whose existence is unknown to them.


Although I have cancelled my subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket after 21 seasons I thought I would note that NFL training camps begin very soon. In that vein, I am using some of Throwback Thursday to show an evolution of football helmets. From are three photos, courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Tennessean, showing the development of the NFL helmet.


See the source image

See the source image

See the source image


As noted in the first picture and incredibly enough, it wasn’t mandatory that an NFL player wear a helmet until 1943. I also think players who were already playing then could still play without one.

I am not an engineer, but I think a potential mitigation against concussions is to have padding inside AND outside the helmet. The plastic shell could be encased in a high-density foam that could show the team colors and logo. Maybe a company is already working on such a helmet.


How or why I made this connection I have no idea, but with the official unveiling of the next-generation (C8) Corvette just a week away here are the production figures for every year of the first-generation (C1) Corvette:


1953 300
1954 3,640
1955 700
1956 3,467
1957 6,339
1958 9,168
1959 9,670
1960 10,261
1961 10,939
1962 14,531


Many of those produced in 1954 were unsold for a long time which is why 1955 production was limited to such a small number. The total for the C1 is just 69,015 with 52% of those produced in the last three model years. Although I appreciate the significance of the C1 I am not a big fan of the car. Except for the 1961-62 models, the styling seems dated to me without being timeless. Of course, that is just my opinion. Many Corvette enthusiasts like this model not just the most among C1s, but the most of any Corvette:


See the source image


From a picture of a 1957 Corvette. Of course, that year is notable as the introduction of the fuel-injected engine, the legendary “fuelie” that would be available in that form through the 1965 model year. This car displays the Fuel Injection logo on the front fender in the cove.

1957 is also notable as the year Chevrolet/GM first offered an engine with 1 HP per cubic inch. The highest-rated fuelie was rated at 283 HP and the displacement was 283 cubic inches, an increase from the 265 CI offered in the first Chevrolet V-8 of 1955-56. I have read in many places, probably first in Modern Classics: The Great Cars of the Postwar Era by Rich Taylor, that those engines actually averaged 291 HP on the dynamometer, but that the marketing department liked the appeal of 283/283. Despite the notoriety of that engine, only 0.67 percent (43 of 6,339) of 1957 Corvettes were ordered with option 579D, the 283 HP fuel-injected engine.










If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.




Nils Bohlin

Who? On this day in 1962 Swedish-born engineer Nils Bohlin, working for Volvo, received a US patent for the three-point safety belt. From this site comes this description:


“N. l. BOHLIN SAFETY BELT July 10, 1962 Filed Aug. 17, 1959 -United 3,043,625 SAFETY BELT Nils Ivar Bohlin, Goteborg, Sweden, assignor to Aktiebolaget Volvo, Goteborg, Sweden, a corporation of Sweden Filed Aug. 17, 1959, Ser. No. 834,258 Claims priority, application Sweden Aug. 29, 1958 2 Claims. (Cl. 297-389) This invention relates to a safety belt for use in vehicles, especially road vehicles. Safety belts comprising a chest strap adapted to be strapped obliquely across the chest are frequently used in order to prevent a driver from being thrown against fore parts of the vehicle, such as a wind-shieldor steering column, in case the vehicle is colliding or upon hard application of the, brakes. In certain cases, the chest strap has been combined with at waist or hip strap adapted to be strapped across the waist.”

“The object of the present invention is to provide a safety belt which independently of the strength of the seat and its connection with the vehicle in an effective and physiologically favourable manner retains the upper as well as the lower part of the body of the strapped person against the action of substantially forwardly directed forces and which is easy to fasten and unfasten and even in other respects satisfies rigorous requirements.”


The description is actually much longer. It should be noted that Volvo then made the new seat belt design patent available to other car manufacturers for free. From is (supposedly) a picture of a 1959 Volvo 122, which was the first car to have the three-point safety belt as standard equipment:


See the source image


Bohlin was a former aviation engineer at Saab who had worked on airplane ejection seats. He knew an effective belt must absorb force across the pelvis and chest yet be so easy to use even a child could buckle up. He came up with an inspired solution that combined a lap belt with a diagonal belt across the chest. He anchored the straps low beside the seat so the geometry of the belts formed a “V” with the point directed at the floor. That design meant the belt would stay put and not shift under a load.

While no one can know exactly how many lives have been saved by Bohlin’s invention, Britain’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents estimates the three-point safety belt has saved more than 1 million lives worldwide. NHTSA estimates that the belt saves 11,000 lives in the US every year. According to a NHTSA survey (uh, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), about 90% of American drivers/passengers use seat belts, which is significantly higher than just 20 years ago when that rate was about 67%. Of course, stated preferences are not always the same as actual/revealed preferences.

I always wear my seat belt and will not drive until my passenger(s) has(have) done the same. What about you?



Why am I showing these photos? This morning I decided to take my wonderful wife’s car (the one in the top photo) to get breakfast. As noted here, she is out of town on business. As her car is still new and well below the 500 miles needed for the first oil change (mandatory with a dry-sump system) I took it easy and never let the engine rev above 2,500 RPM.

I have to admit that her car is superior as a daily driver to mine. While plenty of power rests under the hood, noticeable even below 2,500 RPM, the car is well-behaved. My Z06 is like a barely-tamed beast that will bite hard if you don’t pay attention. Intellectually I understand that my car is equipped with features that actually make it difficult to get into trouble. Still, that is my visceral reaction.

From a February, 2015 story in Road & Track by Sam Smith (part of which was a fictitious letter to his boss) via Steve Magnante’s 1001 Corvette Facts:


“If I bought one of these things [a C7 Z06], I would get dead. Not injured, not arrested, but dead. Not because the Z06 is hairy, but because it so effectively relocks your street-car comfort zone that you end up at decisions that you never thought you’d see. When you factor in price, this is possibly the most dangerous, frightful device ever thrust upon mankind. Please give me a raise so that I may buy one.”


My next-door neighbor has a beautiful McLaren 570S. The car probably cost him about $200,000. Its engine produces 562 HP/443 LB-FT of torque, which enables the car to accelerate from 0-60 MPH in about 3 seconds and do the quarter-mile in about 11 seconds. It can do 1.05g on a skidpad test. My 2016 Z06 stickered for $101,000 new (I paid $62,000 including shipping). The Z06 engine produces 650 HP/650 LB-FT, the car accelerates from 0-60 in 3 seconds and does the quarter-mile in 11 seconds. It can pull 1.2g in a skidpad test. Subjectively, I think my car looks better and sounds better. Different strokes for different folks.

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments.








If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.



Tuesday Trial And Error


Can you read this chart? This is from the sales brochure my wonderful wife was given when…well, I am actually not sure if she received this during a trip to our closest Chevrolet dealer when she tried to buy a Corvette there or if it was given to her at the dealer from whom she actually purchased her new Corvette. In any event it’s actually a 2019 brochure and she bought a 2018 model, albeit still brand new.

Note the 0-60 and quarter-mile times in the chart for the Z06: 2.95 seconds 0-60 and 10.95 seconds for the quarter-mile. OK, so it’s really three seconds and eleven seconds; still, those are insane times. Also note the skidpad g rating: 1.2g with the Z07 package. Top speed isn’t listed on the chart, but the speedometer in my 2016 Z06 tops out at 220. You know, I think it’s time for another picture of my Z06:



Since this car has the Z07 package it has the larger brake rotors that are also made of carbon-ceramic. How large? At over 15 inches in diameter both front and rear it would seem that they are bigger than the wheels for the C3 Corvette, which were 15 inches. Maybe someone can tell me if I am comparing apples to apples.

Of course it is now just nine days until the official reveal of the C8 Corvette. I think Chevrolet/GM are taking a gamble introducing a mid-engine design for a car with such iconic history, but I wish them well.


In the idiom of “the more things change, the more they stay the same” here is the intro to this post titled “Voices from 1900-1914.”


Below are a few dozen voices from the early twentieth century, culled from Philipp Blom’s The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914. In an almost uncanny way their concerns aren’t much different than ours: there’s worry over the spread of new technology and its invasion into and cheapening of everyday life; a deep paranoia over changes in previously stable gender roles, with a resulting exaggeration of masculinity and a lashing out at even the hint of homosexuality; a faith in progress and the harnessing and collation of data, whether in science or culture, which leads either down the rabbit hole of racial theories and eugenics, or just in rigid artistic theories and groups. And there is a feeling of utter powerlessness in the face of science, culture, and rapid change, and our perpetual fear of civilization’s collapse. They are all right here, a hundred years ago:”


I have commented in this blog that young people today seem to have total faith in “the new” unmindful of the past and of the fact that since human beings aren’t perfect neither are their inventions or institutions. Maybe all of us suffer from temporal arrogance to some degree.

What do you think?







If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.






Monday Augmentation

Despite the fact that our current home phone number has either been unlisted and unpublished or serviced by a company that does not publish a directory people can, apparently, find the number on the Internet. One such person recently called with what I suspect are innocent motives. Anyway, here is part of an email I sent to him (yes, I gave him my email address—I am reminded of Shakespeare’s line, “He who steals my purse steals trash.”)…


I am not really mad at you, but mad at the world that allows an allegedly unlisted, unpublished number to be found on the Internet. However, I realize that privacy is basically an invention of modern times as for most of history humans have lived in small bands/small villages where privacy didn’t and couldn’t exist.

As you have mentioned, the fact that the 1969-71 Orioles only won one World Series is the reason they are only remembered today, if at all, as the final victim in the 1969 “Miracle Mets” season. Too many people fail to realize that the events that happen are not the only ones that could have happened. I’m a little rusty on my binomial probability distribution math, but if we knew for certain that Team A would defeat Team B 55% of the time if they played a million games against each other, Team B still has a 40%+ chance of winning a best-of-7 series. Sports, just like life, are really just Monte Carlo simulations.

Athletes propagate the myth that their success, especially in important situations, is a matter of character and will as opposed to a matter of luck and skill.


Any thoughts?




Gray Monday

The weather here matches my mood. My wonderful wife is off on a week-long business trip and I am already quite sad. Be careful and be safe, V Squared! I LOVE YOU!!!


From and AbsolutHank a leaked picture of the rear end of the C8 Corvette:


[PIC] LEAKED: Here is the Rear End of the C8 Mid-Engine Corvette


I guess this could be a fake although the official reveal is just ten days away. I wonder if I will see one before our trip to Bowling Green in late August. I can’t imagine we won’t see the C8 there.


From this article:


“Roughly 80 percent of millionaires in America are the first generation of their family to be rich. They didn’t inherit their wealth; they earned it. How? According to a recent survey of the top 1 percent of American earners, slightly less than 14 percent were involved in banking or finance.

Roughly a third were entrepreneurs or managers of nonfinancial businesses. Nearly 16 percent were doctors or other medical professionals.

Lawyers made up slightly more than 8 percent, and engineers, scientists and computer professionals another 6.6 percent.”


Wealth doesn’t just exist; it is created by people in the private sector. Government exists to protect property rights, not to usurp them.

I am not a blind adherent of any political ideology, at least I don’t think I am. I disagree with many/most tenets of conservative policy, but on this matter I don’t. Government has no right to confiscate wealth for its own ends. Keep your hands out of our pockets or we will cut off your hands. (It should go without saying, but nevertheless: I am speaking metaphorically, not literally.)


See the source image


From a picture of a camouflaged Lexus LC convertible prototype that was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this past weekend. While I would be more excited to learn of a twin-turbo engine for the LC, which has been teased for a long time, a convertible is interesting news as well.

As EVERYONE who reads this blog knows I loathe the industry/market trend towards SUVs and pickup trucks. As everyone also knows I think obesity is a prime cause of the shift.







If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.




Sunday The Seventh Day Of The Seventh Month

“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

– Shakespeare

“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.”

– Bill Murray

Yes, I understand the “irony” of writing those words of Shakespeare given some of the things I have written in this blog about myself. I have also learned the wisdom of Murray’s words.


It is depressing to me to look at “automotive” websites and see almost nothing but stories about new SUVs and electric/hybrid cars. Even though a recent AAA poll suggests that 20 percent (still far less than a majority, by the way) of Americans would consider buying an electric car, the fact is that such vehicles comprise only about one percent of the US market. I have nothing against electric vehicles and suspect they will dominate the market in the future; I am, however, opposed to journalists acting as cheerleaders.

What really galls me is that the company basically founded by Shitler is running ads telling us we have to drive electric. I wish Volkswagen nothing but plague and pestilence. Vuck Folkswagen!

My theory on the rise of non-car vehicles has been stated often in this blog.


This article from contains this interesting thought:


“In many ways, automotive enthusiasts have the never-ending rivalry between Mustang and Camaro to thank for the ultra high performance muscle cars we see today. What once was a horsepower war has now become a battle for faster lap times. It’s a freaky world we live in where a Camaro (in Z/28 guise) can match a Porsche 911 GT3. The Mustang is on the front lines, too, thanks to the formidable Shelby GT350 model.”


The article named the new GT350 as the best muscle car. To me, a muscle car hails from 1964 to 1971 and has nothing to do with the computers on wheels we drive today. Let me quickly state that with as much objectivity as I can summon I believe today’s cars are in another league compared to those revered relics of years past. From a picture of a 2019 Mustang Shelby GT350:


See the source image


Anyone want to offer their thoughts?






If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.






Happy 30th, Seinfeld

Yesterday TBS aired a Seinfeld marathon in honor of the 30th anniversary (!) of the first airing of the series pilot. While Seinfeld is not my favorite TV show ever or even my favorite sitcom I do/did enjoy watching it and appreciate its significance.

I think that while the show itself had moments that were brilliant its legacy is not of brilliance. The show’s internal motto of “No hugging, No learning” has spawned a whole class of humorless alleged sitcoms about stupid people saying and doing stupid things. These shows know some of the words to Seinfeld, but none of the music. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David are intelligent people and Seinfeld was usually an intelligent show even if it was about unintelligent (and selfish) people.

A tangent: I was once considering writing a book on the most successful US TV shows based on analysis of Nielsen ratings. I would have used methodology similar to that which I used in the books I wrote/co-wrote about the greatest football/baseball teams of all time. In this analysis the last season of Seinfeld was the highest rated TV show for one season of any show for the entire period to be covered in the book, from 1960 through 2004. Talk about going out on top…of course, more people may have watched when it was revealed that it would be the last season.

From a picture of the cast of Seinfeld:


See the source image


The oppressively humid weather we’re experiencing here now (yesterday the dew point was 76° at one point, feh!) really makes me long for drier climes. Ah yes, I remember:



If we lived out there I wonder if I could get a part-time/consulting job with Barrett-Jackson. Oh, the picture was taken in Scottsdale, Arizona in January, 2019.

A picture of a car sold at that auction, a most fetching 2002 Maserati GT Sport Coupe:


2002 MASERATI M128 GT SPORT COUPE - Side Profile - 227390


The car hammered for $17,000 meaning the buyer paid $18,700 all in. Hey, Jerry Seinfeld maybe you should be collecting these instead of German cars.








If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.



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

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

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

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


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

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



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



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

From Hemmings again comes this beauty:



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

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

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










If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.




Happy July 4th!/Independence Day!

See the source image


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


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


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


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

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

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


See the source image


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

Have an enjoyable, safe and sane Fourth!







If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.




Welcome To The Garage; RIP, Lee Iacocca

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

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

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


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

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


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


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



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

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

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







If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL ( Thanks.