No Unicorns Here

In my opinion panaceas are like unicorns. In this country, some people think that more government programs are always a panacea. Others think that more tax cuts and more defense spending are panaceas. As you might imagine, I disagree with both viewpoints. I cannot even stand the expression “win-win.” EVERY decision requires trade-offs and NOTHING is free.

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I have to admit that I am stumped for a longer topic today. I don’t want to write another post about Corvettes or the De Tomaso Longchamp. I’m not even sure I want to write about cars today. OK…I think that most NFL fans believe their favorite team is the victim of a conspiracy perpetrated by the league. These fans think that the league has “favored” teams and that their team is not on that list.

Although incredibly the NBA did not seem to suffer any permanent damage from the Tim Donaghy scandal (he was an NBA official with a gambling problem who bet on NBA games and who passed “sensitive” information about upcoming games to gamblers) I think if concrete evidence were shown that the NFL really favored certain teams and instructed its officials to “help” those teams, then the league would suffer a significant loss in popularity. If professional sporting events are not played “on the level” then why should anyone watch?

I know that most Disaffected Musings readers are not big pro sports fans, but for those who are what do you think about this topic? Do you think it’s possible that the NFL could engage in a years-long, league-wide conspiracy without any concrete evidence emerging?

I do think that NFL officiating is poor, in no small way due to the complexity of the rules. I also think that unless the foul is flagrant, any “penalty” that is far away from the actual play should never be called. I’ll add one more: the penalty for defensive pass interference should be 15 yards and not be at the spot of the foul. It’s absurd that what is often a judgment call can cost a team 40 or 50 yards.

 

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2019?!

Yes, it’s 2019. The increasingly swift passage of time is quite unnerving.

 

As I have stated before I am a numbers nerd. Here is a chart with the percentage of total views by month for Disaffected Musings not counting the partial month of January, 2018:

Feb, 2018 3.5%
Mar, 2018 3.8%
Apr, 2018 4.8%
May, 2018 6.9%
Jun, 2018 9.1%
Jul, 2018 7.2%
Aug, 2018 6.5%
Sep, 2018 7.0%
Oct, 2018 17.1%
Nov, 2018 21.4%
Dec, 2018 12.7%

You can see why I was disappointed with the number of views for December as that number was 40% lower than for November. The one bright spot for December was that it was the month with the most comments.

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I think I am really getting ornery with advancing age. This Hemmings article is about a 1951 Maserati that will be offered for sale next this month at the Bonhams auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Here is a picture of the car, I hope:

From Hemmings and Bonhams.

Anyway, the point I want to make is that I posted a comment I could hardly believe came from me:

 

Yes, this ’51 Maserati is beautiful, etc. While I believe that money one has legally earned, legally saved and legally invested belongs to them and it is not for me or anyone else to tell them how to spend that money (legally), I can’t get excited about a car I cannot remotely afford. Let me add that my wonderful wife and I are not poor.

Much in the same way that I think that huge amounts of money have ruined pro sports, I think that these cars make the collector car hobby far less enjoyable. One reason is that people start to think that their “collector” car is worth far more than is the “truth.”

 

Maybe I’m just extra depressed because it’s “the holidays.” Every year that passes is one lost forever, one less opportunity to accomplish something fulfilling.

What do you think about these multi-million dollar cars? Are they even relevant to most of us? Like the market for all goods, the demand/price for one can affect the same for others. For example, as original 1960s Cobras skyrocketed in price, the price of Sunbeam Tigers (a “substitute” good, remember your Econ 101/102) began to climb dramatically. Of course, the “market” for collector cars is actually many markets.

 

Happy New Year!

 

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Goodbye, 2018…

I used to say that if Islamic State had a football team and that team played the Pittsburgh Steelers (or the Dallas Cowboys) then I wouldn’t know who to root for. I am not that passionate about the NFL, anymore, but yesterday was a very good day to be a Baltimore Ravens fan. After a 4-5 start the Ravens won six of their last seven games to win the AFC North and the Steelers are out of the playoffs. By the way, I have used other evil actors instead of Islamic State, but somehow all of them wind up dead: Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-Il, Osama Bin Laden.

I don’t think the Ravens can win in the long-run with their NFL version of the spread/read-option offense, but we all know what John Maynard Keynes said about the long-run. I don’t think the Ravens will win the Super Bowl, but they have a chance that 20 other NFL teams don’t have. Professional sports championships are permanent, which is one reason they are so highly prized.

By the way, I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I was at the Baltimore Colts complex that surreal night in March of 1984 when the team sneaked out of town. As a native Baltimorean I have always felt that under the so-called leadership of Paul “Baltimore Hates You” Tagliabue, the NFL royally screwed the city many times and that he was in collusion with the despicable Redskins’ owner, Jack Kent Cooke, to keep a team out of Baltimore so the Redskins could “have” the market. One could subpoena Tagliabue about that, but no guarantee exists that he would tell the truth, even under oath.

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I will show some blog stats tomorrow, but this is the 355th day that Disaffected Musings has existed and this is the 325th post. By the time I finish the post, I will have written about 125,000 words in total. For the last 125 posts (including this one) the average post is 555 words in length.

I am very grateful for the loyal readers and commenters. This blog is much better because of their contributions. (I will once again state that readers should read the comments and not just the posts.) However, I lament the relative lack of viewers. Some blogs are read thousands of times every day. If this blog has 100 viewers in a day, then that’s a very good day. Is it bad protocol to mention the number of views or dissatisfaction with same? What do you think of ignorance and apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care.

I am very proud of this blog. I try to read a lot of blogs, but most of them are unreadable to me. If you like this blog and read it on a regular or semi-regular basis, then PLEASE tell as many people as you can and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

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So, what car should be featured as the last one of 2018? I promise it won’t be another photo of a C2 Corvette or De Tomaso Longchamp. If I had to rank the rest of the car universe, then this one might be next in line:

From Barrett-Jackson’s website a beautiful picture of an amazing 1965 Buick Riviera GS that will be offered for sale in Scottsdale next month. I LOVE this car!

 

Happy New Year!

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

 

Penultimate Musings

I don’t have too much to offer today. I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that we are mere hours from 2019.

A person that knows they are being observed usually changes his/her behavior. If I weren’t on a nearly 50-day “streak” of posting I almost certainly would not be posting today, but I want to keep the “streak” alive. People who think “reality TV” is truth should remember this.

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Congratulations to the football teams of Alabama and Clemson for earning the right to play in the national championship game. I thought Clemson would win it all before the “playoffs” started and I still think they will.

I, like most college football fans, think the playoff system was long overdue. I also think the field should be eight teams; the winners of the Power 5 conferences and three at-large teams should play for the national title. One day, that will probably be the format, but the NCAA is incredibly resistant to change even when it seems “obvious.” Some cynics say that NCAA stands for Never Concede Authority Anytime.

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Photo from this Bring a Trailer listing:

2004 Jaguar XKR

This is a 2004 Jaguar XKR; about 10,000 of these coupes were produced between 1997 and 2005. Supposedly the car only has 43,000 miles. Remember that XKR means this car has the supercharged engine rated at 390 HP/399 LB-FT of torque. My wonderful wife prefers the convertible—she had an XK8 convertible until we grew tired of the excessive repair issues and costs—but I like the coupe and convertible equally.

As I write this with one day remaining in the auction the high bid is $13,000, which would be $13,650 all in under the Bring a Trailer fee schedule. Anyone interested?

 

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Capitaine Évident

As is my wont I will state the obvious in that today is the last Saturday of 2018. As is also my wont I had to take a slight detour: Capitaine Évident is Captain Obvious in French.

One time while at the Winter Meetings with one of my clients I said that signing a certain player would be an upgrade at that position for this team. The General Manager said, “Thanks, Captain Obvious.” I said, “You’re welcome, but don’t assume what seems like the obvious.”

It is almost incomprehensible to me, though, that this is the last Saturday of the year. A famous saying states, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” I think time flies whether or not you’re having fun, certainly as one gets to my stage of life.

Although I may do this again (and again, I know I repeat myself on occasion but it’s almost always on purpose), I proffer hopes for a better 2019 for most of the planet. Why not all of the planet? I’m only human…

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This article in Automobile Magazine is primarily an interview with Carlos Tavares, the CEO of French auto company PSA. They manufacture Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall. They purchased the latter two makes from General Motors. First, this picture from motoringresearch.com:

 

https://www.motoringresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Peugeot_e-Legend_Concept_04.jpg

 

I have written about this car before; it is the Peugeot e-legend concept based on the Peugeot 504 coupe of the late 1960s. As I have stated many times before (for emphasis and so that readers will remember) the first thing that grabs me about a car is its looks. Electric car or not, I think the e-legend is stunning and if Groupe PSA actually produces the car I hope it looks very much like the concept.

I thought I would show some excerpts from the interview with Tavares including his thoughts on re-entering the US market from which the company has been absent for quite some time:

On why Groupe PSA wants to return to North America:

“Because it is one of the biggest markets in the world and being present in Europe, in China, we also need to be present in the United States, as we were a long time ago. So, we want to come back. We want to come back to stay. Perhaps that’s the most important fact.” In my opinion, that was a Capitaine Évident answer.

Supposedly Groupe PSA will decide by this spring what brand they are going to bring to the US.

On the future of sedans and coupes in an increasingly electrified vehicle world Tavares said:

“We estimate that sedans and coupes still have a future for the very simple reason that a boxy SUV has a frontal area which is much bigger and therefore is going to absorb much more energy. And if you are talking about the quantity of energy that you put in your batteries to ensure a certain range, the more energy you are going to use, the lower the range, which of course is one big expectation of our customers. We believe that sedans and coupes still have a future because their ability to use less energy through aerodynamics.”

I thought the following was an interesting remark by Tavares, which although seemingly obvious speaks to why this country is not simply going to have public transportation everywhere in the foreseeable future:

“We start from a very simple thought: We believe that human beings are eager to protect their spontaneous freedom of movement. You need to have an available mobility tool that is going to fulfill this need for your freedom to move anywhere and at any time. The U.S. market is unique because there are a lot of big distances, and there is a significant infrastructure for automobiles. We see that the need to be able to meet this expectation of spontaneous, convenient, and comfortable freedom of movement is still very strong.”

 

I believe that competition in a market or industry ultimately benefits the consumer. Again, that seems obvious but many seem unable to grasp that concept. I think it will be a good thing for US auto consumers if Groupe PSA re-enters the US in a meaningful way.

Mecum Auctions

Scott Hoke is the “lead” host on the Mecum Auctions broadcasts on NBCSN. He and his co-host, John “The Professor” Kraman, both follow Disaffected Musings on Twitter, for which I am very grateful. (Gentlemen, is it too much to ask for a mention of this blog during a broadcast? Hey, nothing ventured nothing gained. By the way, if you are on Twitter Scott’s handle is @ScottHoke1 and John’s is @CarKraman. Mecum’s handle is simply @mecum.)

In response to this post about the most significant years in US automobile history, Scott sent this via Twitter message:

“Morning! To your question of most significant years in US automotive history: tough question, with many possible answers. ’67 was big as you point out. 1955 as well. Maybe 1964? Unveiling of the Mustang, Barracuda and, oh yeah, the GTO! I think other than possibly Henry Ford putting America on wheels, 1955-70 may be the most important era. But that’s a large can of worms!”

Of course, 1964 was a big year especially given the introduction of the Mustang, which is still being produced despite Ford turning into a non-car company. As for the GTO, regular readers of this blog know my first car was a ’67 Goat as (fuzzily) pictured here:

If I had the money and the room for multiple car acquisitions then I might buy a GTO of this vintage. Despite being only two letters in length “if” is a very big word.

If you are a car person, and since you’re reading this blog you probably are, then you should watch the Mecum broadcasts on NBCSN. As I have written here before, I very much enjoy the telecasts. Every on-air person makes a meaningful contribution to the effort, but an element of levity exists that is missing from other similar broadcast efforts. The Mecum crew love cars and love the auctions, but they don’t always take themselves quite so seriously and that adds to the show in my opinion.

 

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Throwback Thursday

I can do almost anything except create the opportunity to do almost anything. Virtually all successful people have had help in becoming successful. Let me quickly add that 99.9% of “work situations” do not appeal to me. However, that still leaves a lot of potentially fulfilling opportunities.

Almost two years ago I sent a letter to every member of the board of trustees of the local museum that presents the marvelous annual auto show that my wonderful wife and I attend. I mentioned this state’s long history in automobile manufacturing and the tremendous turnout at local car events. I asked why this state doesn’t have an automobile museum and offered my help in getting such a project started. I included my resume. I never received a single response from any trustee, not even a form letter acknowledging receipt of my letter. People are incredulous when I tell them that story, but it’s the truth.

While I am very proud of this blog and post almost every day, it doesn’t pay the bills. Most people want to feel as though they have some value and that value is usually expressed monetarily. America is drowning in credential-ism and age discrimination.

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OK, today’s Throwback Thursday is also sort of a What Car Is This? post.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OF1O1yFSKXc/UOf3GMGDOYI/AAAAAAABiYI/BZsoL-uS3Qs/s800/1971_Momo_Mirage_01.jpg

From allcarindex.com a picture of the car in question. Do you know what this is?

Only six of these were built in 1971-72. The engine is a good old Chevy 350 cubic-inch V8. If I tell you the names of the two people responsible for building this car then the name of the car will be revealed.

From the ultimatecarpage.com article about this car: “The ambitious project was the result of the dream of two men; Alfredo —- and Peter S. Kalikow. The former was Briggs Cunningham’s old team manager and Jaguar’s representative in New York, while the latter was a young real-estate developer with a strong passion for sports cars.” An American named Gene Garfinkle who was working for Pietro Frua in Italy designed the body; Vittorio Stanguellini built the chassis designed by Giulio Alfieri, formerly with Maserati. You can see where I am going with this…it’s another “original hybrid.”

I think that like many of these hybrids, this car just looks amazing. I think the blend of an American V-8 in an Italian body with the technology of other countries (the front suspension of this car was from Jaguar) is just phenomenal. What is it? It is a Momo Mirage; the Alfredo who co-fathered the car was Alfredo Momo.

I will almost certainly never see one of these in person. For many of “today’s generation” virtual “experiences” are enough to satisfy. That belief is one reason that many museums are struggling to stay open. However, I like to experience the world in three dimensions that are real.

What do you think of this car? What exotic automobiles excite you? As always, I would very much like to read your opinions.

 

#tbt

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Limbo World

Have any of you experienced the feeling that you’re dreaming and yet you are aware of your actual surroundings? That happens to me more than I’d like including this morning. The “dream” was that, somehow, I was teaching History at my high school. I decided to begin the semester by telling the story of someone who had been one of my history teachers while in high school. However, I was aware that I was dreaming; the “dream” didn’t immerse me as most dreams do.

Anyway…limbo also refers to my current state of affairs where I am unemployed, unappreciated and disconnected.

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Today is the birthday of someone with whom I was good friends in junior high and high school. The fact that his birthday was just before January 1 meant that he was exempt from registering for the draft when it was re-instated under President Carter. I, however, had to register. When confirmation of my registration arrived at my house, my mother was convinced that I had actually been drafted. In one of the saddest experiences of my life, it took me at least an hour to convince her that I had not been drafted; all the while she was crying uncontrollably. Maybe that’s where my animus for President Carter began…

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From Alpine’s website a picture of the new Alpine A110. Alpine is really Renault; the Alpine is a name with much meaning in French car history.

 

Another picture from the company website. It’s nice to see that two-door “performance” cars are not dead all over the world.

The new Alpine A110 is a small car with a 95-inch wheelbase (I think that’s equivalent to 2,420 mm) and a length of 165 inches. Given its size and aluminum construction throughout the A110 weighs just a hair under 2,400 pounds, which is very light.

The car is powered by a 1.8 liter, double overhead cam 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 250 HP/236 LB-FT of torque. The engine is mounted behind the passenger compartment. The transmission is a 7-speed automatic. Supposedly the A110 can accelerate from 0-60 MPH in under 4.5 seconds.

Of course this car is not available for sale in the US. This Automobile Magazine article by Jamie Kitman was very positive about the car.

Why does a demand for cars like this exist elsewhere in the world, but seemingly not here? (Yes, I know this car might not conform to US regulations. That doesn’t invalidate the point I am about to make.) From worldatlas.com a “ranking” of the most obese countries in world:

1 Nauru 61.0
2 Cook Islands 55.9
3 Palau 55.3
4 Marshall Islands 52.9
5 Tuvalu 51.6
6 Niue 50.0
7 Tonga 48.2
8 Samoa 47.3
9 Kiribati 46.0
10 Micronesia 45.8
11 Kuwait 37.9
12 United States of America 36.2
13 Jordan 35.5
14 Saudi Arabia 35.4
15 Qatar 35.1
16 Libya 32.5
17 Turkey 32.1
18 Egypt 32.0
19 Lebanon 32.0
20 United Arab Emirates 31.7

The 36.2 next to the US means that, according to the sources used here, 36.2 percent of the US adult population is obese, which is worse than overweight. Notice that no European countries are on this list. If this were an SAT question, it would be: “Which one of these countries seemingly doesn’t belong?” This list is composed of nothing but Pacific island micro-states and Arab countries except for the US. Maybe that makes this list less than completely credible. Other sources have slightly different lists/order of countries, but the US always ranks very “high” in obesity. Obesity kills people, but it is also killing the CAR as we have known it in the US. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

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Peace, Please

As this is a day celebrated by many…

I fervently wish for a calmer, quieter and more peaceful future.

All of this is my opinion, my 2¢:

I think much of the dissonance in the world is due to arrogance and to narcissism. It is fine to believe strongly in something; it is not fine to automatically assign the label of “evil” to someone who disagrees with you. No one has a monopoly on truth, wisdom, good taste, or good judgment. As Shakespeare wrote, “There are more things in heaven and earth…than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

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https://www.carsaddiction.com/files/cars/72__Longchamp.jpg

From carsaddiction.com the picture of the De Tomaso Longchamp that appears on the “About” page on Disaffected Musings.

 

From me, I think, a picture of an Iso Grifo.

 

https://automotiveviews.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/1964-facel-vega-ii.jpg?w=1100

From automotiveviews.wordpress.com a picture of a Facel Vega.

 

These are three of my all-time favorite cars and they are all “original” hybrids. For not the first time I will explain that in this context a “hybrid” is a car with European looks and perhaps suspension/chassis, but with an American engine, at least, and maybe an entire American drivetrain.

If you have been reading Disaffected Musings for a long time then you know that the Longchamp is one of my absolute two favorite cars ever with the other being the C2 Corvette. On an unlimited budget I would probably acquire all three of these cars. One can always hope, I guess.

 

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December 24

(Photo credit: NASA)

Fifty years ago today the crew of Apollo 8 sent back this iconic picture of the Earthrise over the moon. The crew were the first humans to orbit the moon.

It is, of course, an amazing photo and one that forever changed the perspective of many who saw it then. However, most people alive today were not alive during the Apollo 8 mission, either in the US or in the world at large. That fact also should change the perspective of many who learn it.

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Today is the birthday of guitar virtuoso Jan Akkerman. His album “Jan Akkerman Live” has long been one of my favorites. Of course he first became “famous” as part of the group Focus, which released the hit single “Hocus Pocus.” That song features some amazing playing by Akkerman.

His music evolved to become softer and more acoustic. His ability remains undiminished.

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Eighteen days before we leave for Arizona and the big Barrett-Jackson auction and no Avantis or Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawks are listed on the docket. Of course, if the stock market keeps tanking I might not feel comfortable about spending a large chunk of capital on a car purchase. Then again, you only live once. The number of Mustangs on the docket? I grew tired of counting at about 40; I would bet the number of Mustangs/Shelbys is in triple digits.

Only one car is in my sights as a potential purchase, but I thought this car was interesting:

While I am not crazy about the white vinyl top, this 1966 Pontiac GTO is a restomod powered by a giant 505 cubic-inch V8 with a stated output of 550 HP/550 LB-FT of torque. It has a 200R4 automatic transmission. I have seen that same transmission (I think) listed as a 200-4R. Is it the same? Does anyone know?

 

Happy Holidays to all…

 

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