Monday Mishmash

In this post I asked, not for the first time, why a wealthy country like the US with a lot of empty-nester and single-person households seemingly buys nothing but SUVs and pickup trucks. For someone who has been told his entire life that he is intelligent I am embarrassed not to have ascertained the likely reason: AMERICANS ARE FAT!

This revelation came from someone with whom I have been friends since high school, Robert. We had a long (two hours) conversation on Friday and when this topic arose he simply pointed out that most Americans cannot fit comfortably in a Miata or even a Camaro. I had a DUH! moment almost like no other.

So, obesity kills directly (a CDC study estimated that 71 PERCENT of American adults are overweight) and it kills indirectly as the move to SUVs leads to more pedestrian deaths as noted in this post. Less important in the grand scheme of things, but very important to people like me, obesity is killing the car. Of course, another more prosaic reason is that SUVs and pickup trucks have a higher profit margin for vehicle manufacturers, so if the US and the rest of the world want to buy more of them, the companies will gladly oblige.

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BMW 8 Series

From geeky-gadgets.com a picture of the new BMW 8-series coupe, which has begun to roll off the assembly line in Germany. The car is powered by a 4.4 liter twin-turbo V-8 that generates 523 HP and 553 LB-FT of torque. BMW claims a 0-60 time of 3.6 seconds. Oh, it has all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. Repeat after me: manual transmissions are going extinct.

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Blogging on WordPress is not free and no one is clicking on any ads. While I can, of course, afford to pay to blog I think I should be compensated for my time and effort. Therefore:

Time and Effort

My time and my effort

$1.00

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The Ones That Got Away

In my previous blog I posted about the cars that had gotten away. That post was inspired by a similar one in Automobile Magazine.

See the source image

From cardomain.com a picture of a 1967 Pontiac GTO in an admittedly non-standard color. My first car was a 1967 GTO, purchased for me by my father for the very large sum of $300. Granted, this was more than 40 years ago, but that wasn’t a lot of money even then.

The GTO had the standard engine, a 400 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 335 HP and 441 LB-FT of torque. It had a Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic transmission with the Hurst “His and Hers” shift on the floor. We fitted the car with large radials (so large, in fact, that the front tires scraped the wheel wells on sharp turns) and stiffer springs in order to improve the handling, but it was never going to be a great-handling car.

My car was originally light blue with a black top, but after an accident two weeks before I was supposed to leave for college, the car was re-painted (in a repair bay in my father’s gas station) dark blue all over. As part of the restoration we purchased “mag” wheels that looked like Cragars, but didn’t cost as much.

The right exhaust manifold had been broken in the accident so we decided to add exhaust headers. I loved that car; in an incident emblematic of the many “unfortunate” things that have happened to me, the car was rear-ended one night while I was returning home from my summer job. The woman who hit me claimed that her brakes failed, but I am 100% positive she just wasn’t paying attention. (Another time the GTO was hit while parked near my house, just sayin’.)

After fighting with the insurance company over the settlement, they gave us a decent amount of money and they let us keep the car, which we then sold as is. Many people miss their first car, but I really miss my first car.

2007 Vette

This is a picture of my 2007 Corvette. I bought it new to “replace” the 2002 Corvette I had purchased used in 2004. When I decided to take the Corvette plunge, I thought I would buy a used one in the event I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have spent the money for a new one. The fact that I purchased a new one should tell you what I thought of the 2002.

In cold black and white, no comparison exists between the 2007 Corvette and the 1967 GTO. The Corvette was powered by a 364 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 400 HP and 400 LB-FT of torque. It weighed about 3,200 pounds compared to the GTO weight of about 3,600 pounds.

The Corvette had power disc brakes with ABS; the GTO had undersized drum brakes without ABS, of course. The Vette had navigation, modern suspension, modern steering and a modern automatic transmission. I managed about 20 MPG with the Corvette and about 12 MPG with the GTO, although I almost never paid for gas with the Goat as, once again, my father ran a gas station.

Not to brag, but the 2007 Corvette was not a financial stretch at all. I traded in my 2002 Vette and simply paid cash for the difference. My baseball business was doing very well at the time. A little more than three years later I lost my business and sold the car in a panic as I thought I needed to raise cash.

Although I have a nice car now and my wonderful wife has a 2015 Corvette that I can drive when I want, I miss my 2007 Corvette. I think I miss what it represents, a time when I was very satisfied with my career, as much as I miss the actual car.

Don’t take anything (or anyone) for granted as fate can often be a cruel mistress.

End Of An Era

This probably sounds unnecessarily melodramatic to you, but I am lamenting the fact that this is the last post I will make with this computer. My new one is supposed to arrive today.

I am also lamenting the fact that my new computer will almost certainly be the first one that will not pay for itself many times over. The longest I’ve managed to stay in a non-baseball office job is one year. For much of my work life I have been an independent contractor and, fortunately, had long stretches when I was able to find “gigs.” Unfortunately, those days are almost certainly over.

Bye Bye, Asus.

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The SUV boom is dangerous for pedestrians as noted here. According to the CarBuzz post, an investigation by the Detroit Free Press and USA Today found that pedestrian deaths have increased 46% since 2009 and the boom in SUVs may be the leading cause. I will also chime in that distracted drivers AND distracted pedestrians HAVE to be playing a role in this increase. The article states that, “Federal regulators have known for years that SUVs are at least twice as likely as cars to kill pedestrians due to their higher profile, but have done little to combat the issue.” GET YOUR FACE OUT OF YOUR PHONE AND BUY A CAR!

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What do you think of this car? I took this photo at the 2017 Barrett-Jackson auction at Mohegan Sun. This is a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda (yes, a defunct American make) hardtop coupe as opposed to a fastback coupe or convertible. About 28,000 of the hardtop coupes were produced for the 1967 model year compared to about 30,000 fastbacks and 4,000 convertibles.

I am not really a big fan of Mopar, but I like the styling of the second generation Barracuda. This car is not a contender for my Ultimate Garage, but I wouldn’t turn one down. Once again, I would like to read what cars would make your Ultimate Garage.

Guck Foogle

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44699263

From this article: “Google has confirmed that private emails sent and received by Gmail users can sometimes be read by third-party app developers.

People who have connected third-party apps to their accounts may have unwittingly given external developers permission to read their messages.

One company told the Wall Street Journal that the practice was ‘common’ and a ‘dirty secret.'”

 

Why Can’t We Buy These Here?

This CarBuzz post about European cars not available in the US got me asking, once again, why a wealthy country with a lot of empty-nester families and one-person households buys so many SUVs and pickup trucks. No one has really answered me except for a generic “trade-offs between room and MPG are no longer necessary because drive trains are so efficient and gas is so cheap.”

In this Hemmings post one of the regular commenters, Joe Essid, wrote that he thought America’s fever for large vehicles would break. I wrote that I wish that were true, but without an exogenous shock like a Middle East war that sends gas to $5 or $6 a gallon I don’t see the fever breaking.

The CarBuzz post included this, “Another common hatred in the US is small hot hatchbacks. American buyers are obsessed with SUVs…” I have to confess that I also do not share the fascination with “small hot hatchbacks” that exists in Europe, but I also wonder why the American car-buying public eschews them completely.

Of the cars listed by CarBuzz, this one was the most interesting to me:

This is an Alpine A110. Alpine (pronounced Al-Peen) is a French manufacturer that stopped production in 1995—by then the cars were just badge-engineered Renaults, anyway—but is back with this car. It is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 250 HP and 236 LB-FT of torque, high output for a car weighing less than 2,500 pounds. Yeah, yeah, I know—it’s not an SUV.

What do you think? If you’re part of a one-person or two-person household and drive an SUV or pickup truck, why do you not drive something smaller? I really want to know because I don’t understand.

Update

I realize I may have permanently lost most of the few regular readers I had by taking a break, but a break was necessary. I am still posting on my old computer, but I have ordered a new one and it is supposed to be delivered on Thursday. If you know anyone who has stopped reading Disaffected Musings please let them know I am posting again although I may need a day or two to transition to my new computer when it arrives.

Supposedly, the computer I purchased is new even though it runs on Windows 7 and not Windows 10. I refuse to use Windows 10. I am disgusted by how Microsoft tried to shove Windows 10 down everyone’s throats and even downloaded it to thousands of computers, if not more, without any input from the user. I also use software that is too old to be assured of working on Windows 10.

 

I think this post and the comments are worth reading:

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2018/04/23/open-diff-a-few-notes-on-commenting/