Threes And Sevens: 1993

First, since most of you do not read the comments I am going to post this one from long-time regular reader and commenter, Dirty Dingus McGee. I am not showing it because it happened to be the 7,000th published comment on Disaffected Musings.

 

”this blog will have less automotive content”

I, DDM, also have less automotive content today, not by choice however. I’ll explain:

Friday I headed out to a race track with High Times, my gasser, for a bracket race. Not a huge one, probably 100 cars entered, $3,000 to win. Friday evening around 6.00pm I was lined up for time trials, in the left lane. Burnout was fine, launch was fine, shifted to second and at about 400 feet into the run all hell broke loose. Car made a HARD left turn and I hit the wall at a more than 45 degree angle (I’m told) at around 110 mph. From what I’m told, the car climbed the wall partially and went over on to the passenger side and rolled over twice, finally coming to a stop on the passenger side. I remember none of that as I apparently blacked out on the initial contact with the wall. Luckily there was a good safety team there and they were able to get me out of the car fairly quickly. As I did have some injuries they went straight to the hospital with me, one of my semi volunteer crew with me.I was released from the hospital Sunday morning. The injury count, while high, could have been far worse. I ended up with a mild concussion, a torn ACL in my left knee, broken left ankle, broken pinkie and ring finger on my left hand and a light bruise on my heart. From what I understand, and what little I saw, my car likely suffered fatal injuries. It’s currently at the home of a fellow racer from that area, who graciously brought it, and my trailer, to his home for storage until I can get it home.

The good: I’m alive, thanks to the safety equipment in the car and on me; over built cage, harness, HANS device and Snell approved helmet.

The bad: After visiting an orthopedic surgeon today, I will be having surgery in 2 weeks to repair the ACL, rest to let my heart and head heal and probably 2 months for everything else to heal.

The ugly: I hurt in places I wasn’t aware COULD hurt, including my “boy parts”. In addition to the 5 point harness, I had added “anti submarine” belts which come up between your legs. At the moment, I’m a giant bruise and even my toenails hurt.

The aftermath: Too soon to tell. As I said, I suspect the car suffered fatal injuries. Why did it make a hard left? I will guess either fluid under the left side of the car resulting in loss of traction (unlikely), or (more likely) a broken axle on the left side. When I get the car home and can look it over I will know what the future holds for it, but my impression is that it likely made its last pass under its own power.

The future: Unknown at this point. In the event the car is irreparable, I doubt I’ll build another like it. It would take too long and the cost would be high. I probably have over 6 figures invested in High Times over the years and will be able to sell off some parts and get back pennies on the dollar if I’m lucky. Will I continue to drag race once I’m healed? Yes, but in lower powered cars I suspect. (my magic 8 ball said “check back later”)

All in all, NOT how I planned on spending my weekend.

 

I wish DDM a quick and complete recovery.

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This is the penultimate post in the Threes And Sevens series. According to The American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® in 1993, “…unemployment and the lingering recession hurt car sales.” However, according to Car Sales Base, total US sales of new vehicles increased 8.6% compared to 1992. Yes, that includes light trucks and imports.

Still, when comparing sales from the top 12 US makes in 1992 and 1993, the latter year saw an increase of 5.9%. Anyway, as in 1987, Ford and Chevrolet (technically, Chevrolet/Geo) were the only US makes to reach seven figures in production/sales. The Blue Oval’s number was 1.29 million and the Bow Tie’s was 1.05 million. Ford’s best-seller was also in the middle of a four-year run as America’s best-selling car. Do you remember the Taurus?

 

See the source image

 

Ford produced roughly 459,000 units of the Taurus in 1993. In those four model years (1992-95), Ford manufactured more than one and a half million Taurus. The least expensive one for 1993 was the GL sedan with an MSRP of $15,491. The limited production SHO was the most expensive at $24,859; about 22,000 of those were produced or only about 5 percent of total Taurus output.

For me, FoMoCo’s most interesting product in 1993 was the all-new Lincoln Mark VIII. Here is a photo:

 

See the source image

 

Not even thirty years later, Lincoln no longer manufactures cars of any kind, let alone a two-door model. Lincoln produced 32,370 Mark VIII models at an MSRP of $36,640. That represented about 18 percent of total Lincoln volume.

The engine for the Mark VIII was a 4.6 liter/281 cubic-inch, double-overhead cam (not a typo) V-8 that produced 280 HP/285 LB-FT of torque. The base Corvette engine, which displaced 350 cubic inches, had 300 HP/340 LB-FT.

Speaking of the Corvette, engine output for the limited production and very expensive ZR-1 model increased to 405 HP/385 LB-FT of torque. Only 448 were sold that year and with an MSRP of $66,278, almost twice the base price for a coupe, maybe that’s not a surprise. Of course, Chevrolet had sort of predetermined the number of ZR-1s to be sold.

For $50,000 one could buy one of these:

 

See the source image

 

That is, of course, a 1993 Dodge Viper with its awful fitting top. It looks to me like a very bad toupee. Dodge sold 1,043 Vipers in 1993 powered by an 8-liter/488 cubic-inch V-10 producing 400 HP/465 LB-FT of torque.

Yes, I will mention that 1993 was the last year for the Cadillac Allante. The ’93 Allante was part of my Ultimate Garage 3.0 published last July. (It’s still hard for me to believe that was a year ago.) I picked the ’93 model because it was the only one with the 295 HP/290 LB-FT Northstar V-8. The previous six models were beautiful, but underpowered.

 

See the source image

 

The Chevrolet Cavalier was General Motors’ best-seller for 1993. Anyone want to guess what was number two?

 

See the source image

 

Obviously from GTCarLot.com is a picture of a 1993 Pontiac Grand AM GT Coupe. Of course, the four-door sedan sold many more units, but with total production of more than 247,000 the Grand Am was GM’s second-best seller in 1993.

I almost bought one of these after I moved to California in 1995, but when I saw the Grand Prix I liked the looks much more so I bought that instead. This generation Grand Am was manufactured from 1991 to 1998 with a total output of 1.76 million units. Of course, I much prefer the 1973-75 Grand Am, a totally different kind of car.

 

Once again, I hope you have enjoyed the soon to be finished Threes And Sevens series.

 

#ThreesAndSevens

#DirtyDingusMcGee

#1993

#LincolnMarkVIII

#PontiacGrandAm

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Musings

In what can only be described as an irrelevant idiosyncrasy, I am now calling my current favorite cereal, Corn Flakes, Corn Flah-kess instead of Corn Flayks. This is similar to my calling Staples Stop-less instead of Stay-pulls. Why do I do this? Do you really think I have any idea?

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I can’t resist the siren song of posting links to Why Evolution Is True. Once again, the blog author (Jerry Coyne) identifies himself as a liberal, but resists much (most?) of current liberal thinking, especially those views espoused by what I call the Lunatic Left.

 

Once again: are “races” social constructs without scientific or biological meaning?

From the post:

 

“…even the crudely designated races of “white, black, Hispanic, and East Asian” in the U.S. are, as today’s paper shows, biologically distinguishable to the point where if you look at the genes of an unknown person, you have a 99.86% chance of diagnosing their self-identified “race” as one of the four groups above. That is, if you ask a person how they self-identify as one of the four SIRE groups (SIRE: “self identified race/ethnicity”), and then do a fairly extensive genetic analysis of each person, you find that the groups fall into multivariate clusters.

More important, there’s little deviation between one’s SIRE and which genetic cluster they fall into. Over 99% of people in the sample from this paper can be accurately diagnosed as to self-identified race or ethnicity by looking at just 326 regions of the genome.

This in turn means that there are biological differences between different SIREs, so race cannot be simply a ‘social construct.'”

“In the U.S.—and in the world if you look at the Rosenberg study—one’s self-identified race, or race (again, I prefer “ethnicity”) identified by investigators—are not purely social constructs. Ethnicity or race generally say something about one’s ancestry, so that those members of the same self-identified race tend to group together in a multigenic analysis.”

 

Of course, the Lunatic Left wants us to believe that no biological differences exist between genders, either. Talk about denying science…

 

Freddie deBoer attacks “Blank Statism” posing questions for those who deny the importance of genetic variation in human behavioral variation

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I signed up for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) this morning. Why? Believe it or not, the primary reason was so I can watch new episodes of Transplant on the CTV website if NBC doesn’t continue to air new episodes. I believe I am currently using a web server in Toronto so the CTV website will let me view content.

I tried to sign up for a MotorTrend+ subscription as well, but was unable to actually get the website to let me do so. I sent an email to MotorTrend “support.” I have a feeling that will be as useful as having a dog explain Special Relativity. (Update: MotorTrend support sent a prompt reply and one of their solutions, using another browser, worked. No, I didn’t use the browser from Guck Foogle.) It just dawned on me that if the MotorTrend website thinks I am in Canada, I might be unable to subscribe.

Speaking of automobiles, it is a virtual certainty that this blog will have less automotive content in its final 6-12 months. As I have written before, I have little to no interest in EVs as I believe they are not the answer and should certainly not be the only propulsion choice for personal transportation. I also have virtually no interest in non-cars, SUVs and pickup trucks, which are now about 80% of the US market for new vehicles. I do NOT have to meekly join the crowd. The crowd thought I was crazy to pursue a career in major league baseball. Who was right? Well, I might be crazy.

 

 

I will continue with Threes And Sevens and the Hall of Very Good Cars, but will expend less effort trying to add automotive content to most posts. I know I will lose some readers, but as the blog has lost 30%-35% of its readers since February 1 what does that matter? This above all: to thine own self be true.

 

#MondayMusings

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Sunday Serenade

No, it is not I playing the piano. I wish I could play like that. Sadly, I suspect the brilliant musician who did perform it, Keith Jarrett, wishes he could play it as well as he has been unable to play since a series of strokes in 2018.

 

How much of your life is under your control? 1%? 99%? I don’t think the actual percentage can be known and, having written that, I also think it varies from person to person. In my opinion, I think it exceeds 50%–although probably not by much, but I know many intelligent people who disagree.

I should have asked that question of the brilliant former high school classmate mentioned here in this post from October, 2021 with whom I had a wonderful 45-minute conversation yesterday. It was the first time we had spoken since high school.

Since he figured prominently in it, when I published the linked post I decided to try to send him the link somehow. I succeeded and we have established an email dialogue that led to yesterday’s phone call. He called while on a family vacation in his ancestral country of Finland. My successful attempt at re-establishing contact with TI led to a new dialogue. (In keeping with this blog’s policy of anonymity for people not in the public eye, TI is all you’re going to get regarding his identity.)

I could conclude that the outcome was under my control. However, I learned yesterday that TI has been trying to at least discover the fates of his high school classmates for the last 6-8 years. If he weren’t inclined, a priori, to reconnect to them, then my attempts would probably have failed. So, how much of the outcome was under my control?

TI has been teaching advanced mathematics at a prestigious university in Europe for more than 20 years. When I asked how he ended up there he said, “They invited me to join the faculty, I visited and accepted.” Again, his achievements, which were not solely a function of his enormous intellect, paved the way for the opportunity, but an exogenous event was the final link in the chain of events that led him there. In addition, his life situation at that time was more conducive to the move than it would have been at other times.

You won’t be surprised by this next train of thought. I think people who blindly follow any ideology and think their way is the only way are oblivious to the multi-dimensional matrix that affects life outcomes. Those who engage in what I have often called impossible distillations of reality are usually wrong because they fail to acknowledge and to incorporate other dimensions or factors.

Once again, the photo of my class in my senior year in high school published in that October, 2021 post:

 

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I was fascinated, but not surprised by the content of this CNBC article titled, “Bye bye, San Francisco: The top 7 U.S. cities homebuyers are seeking to leave.” Without further ado, lists of the five cities with the largest outflow and inflow of residents according to Redfin (I didn’t show either list in its entirety so you will be more inclined to read the piece yourself):

 

Largest Outflows

  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Washington D.C.
  • Seattle

Largest Inflows

  • Miami
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Phoenix
  • Sacramento, California
  • Las Vegas

 

Notice that it’s not every large California city seeing people move away, just the most expensive ones. Taylor Marr, Redfin’s chief economist, said, “The typical home in San Francisco or San Jose now costs more than $1.5 million. Add in today’s 5%-plus mortgage rates and you have a sky-high monthly payment.”

When they can, people vote with their feet. That’s a combination of exogenous and endogenous factors leading to a life outcome, which I suspect is true the vast majority of the time.

Sorry, no automotive content today. Frankly, it is much more difficult to write about cars since all the reporting about new models is about EVs, in which I have little to no interest. Once again: EVs are not the answer, eFuels/Synthetic Fuels are.

 

#SundaySerenade

#WhenAnythingWasPossible

#ByeByeSanFrancisco

#EVsAreNotTheAnswer

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Common Sense or A Small Victory

This article from Classic Cars is about a new law that went into effect yesterday in Arizona. Both houses of the Arizona Legislature unanimously passed a bill, which was signed by the governor, that means removing and reattaching the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) during repairs or restoration is no longer against the law. Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of Barrett-Jackson, was a key driver of this legislation.

In this post from last year I linked to this article, sent to me by my friend Josh, that recounted the horrible experience of a Kansas man who unknowingly bought a car whose VIN tag had been removed and reattached. The state seized the car and threatened to destroy it. Years later, Kansas finally passed a law similar to the Arizona statute.

In a related vein, I remember a movement a few years ago by many serving on the New York City Council that tried to totally ban the use of salt in all foods served to the public. Uh, how do you catalyze yeast in bread without salt? Just because someone is in a position to make an important decision doesn’t mean that person is qualified to do so. To be harsher, idolizing a politician is like believing the stripper really likes you.

In general, too many people–whether they are in public service or not–seem oblivious to the axiom that it is often better to be silent and be thought the fool than to open one’s mouth and to remove all doubt. Too many people speak without command of the facts. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean anyone has to listen. Common sense is not common enough.

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This CNBC article reports on another negative manifestation of so-called social media. The title of the piece is “Cash-strapped but still trying to keep up with the Kardashians: How social media drives bad spending habits.

According to this article, nearly 40% of young adults said they spend more money on experiences than on necessities like paying bills, in part because they want to share those experiences on social media. Once again, parents have to share some of the blame for behaviors like this, but social media is clearly a net negative, in my very strongly held opinion.

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Remember this car?

 

 

No, I still don’t have the car. The most recent shop charged with fixing my Z06 has now had it for about a month. Last word was the shop was still waiting for the delivery of a right exhaust manifold. In all honesty, every additional day I have to wait for the car to be fixed increases the probability that I will sell it when it is returned. I don’t want to keep throwing good money after bad, or bad money after good or whatever. I am very tempted to buy something still under warranty although not necessarily brand new.

 

#CommonSense

#ASmallVictory

#SocialMediaIsDangerous

#NoPatience

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Freestyle Friday

Some of you may know that, after a very successful stint as the head football coach at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey, Vince Lombardi was an assistant coach at Army under the legendary Earl “Red” Blaik. It was from there that Lombardi jumped to the NFL as an assistant coach with the New York Giants in 1954.

Whose departure created the vacancy that Lombardi filled at Army? It was Sid Gillman, who only coached there for one season (1948) in between successful tenures as head coach at Miami of Ohio and the University of Cincinnati. Of course, Gillman was a revolutionary coach in his own right, pioneering the use of the vertical passing game in pro football and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well as the College Football Hall of Fame. Going back to Gillman’s one season at Army, I am puzzled by why he left Miami of Ohio, where his teams had a 31-6-1 record in his four seasons as head coach. At Cincinnati, Gillman’s teams were 50-13-1; he then became head coach of the Los Angeles Rams in 1955. The Rams played in the NFL Championship game that season.

I don’t know why Lombardi succeeding Gillman at Army is just now coming to the forefront of my consciousness, if I have any. It is ironic, of course, that the two coaches had diametrically opposite views about pro football offenses. Lombardi’s pet play was, of course, the power sweep, which was really just a play from the single-wing days of football. He believed in running the ball as the primary focus and using the run to set up the pass.

As stated earlier, Gillman believed in throwing the ball as the primary focus of an offense. Love him or hate him, Al Davis took that philosophy to the Raiders. Davis coached under Gillman with the Chargers from 1960 to 1962. Davis once said, “Sid Gillman brought class to the AFL. Bring part of Sid’s organization was like going to a laboratory for the highly developed science of professional football.” Davis also remarked, “Sid Gillman was the father of modern-day passing.”

Bill Walsh, who coached under Davis with the Raiders, said this about Gillman, “He was so far ahead of his time, people couldn’t totally understand what he was doing. He was one of the great offensive minds in football history. He was a mentor to me and had a lot to do with any success I had. There’s a lineage between Sid Gillman and what you see on the field today.”

Thanks, in part, to rules changes implemented in the NFL beginning in the late 1970s, modern pro football offenses much more closely resemble Gillman’s idiom than Lombardi’s. I don’t watch too much of the football talking head shows, but it seems as though Gillman is more or less forgotten today. Maybe if more people knew that one succeeded the other as offensive line coach at Army under Red Blaik, Gillman would be remembered more. Of course, maybe he wouldn’t.

I did not intend to write 500+ words on Sid Gillman this morning. I also did not mention that Gillman was Jewish and felt anti-Semitism played a role in his not getting the Ohio State head coaching job in the 1950s. At times, Lombardi believed anti-Italian prejudice hindered his advancement in the coaching profession. Again, I am struck by the parallels and differences between the two legendary coaches. I haven’t mentioned, until now, that Gillman was really the pioneer of the use of film study in football (his father owned a movie theater and the younger Gillman would take the football segments out of newsreels so he could study them) while Lombardi was also ahead of the curve in the use of film.

 

See the source image

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This recent piece in Mac’s Motor City Garage begins, “While the Studebaker Avanti is celebrated as a masterpiece in American design today, it was the product of a rush job by an automaker that was almost out of business.” Also from the article:

 

 

The post is worth reading even if you’re not a big fan of the Avanti. I am, of course, and the car was listed among just seven in my first Ultimate Garage for my previous blog that was hosted by the Evil Empire, AKA Google. If the legislation permitting low-volume replicas of classic cars were really meaningful, maybe we would see the production of a modern Avanti.

 

#FreestyleFriday

#SidGillman

#VinceLombardi

#StudebakerAvanti

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Hall of Very Good Cars: Alfa Siblings

First, I have unblocked the email address of the person mentioned here who asked why I crossed out the word Nazi. If that person is reading this, feel free to send thoughtful comments and questions.

Second, we once again received light rain this morning not forecast by the National Weather Service. The amount could hardly be called a drought-buster, but any rain here is better than no rain.

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My blog, my post series, my rules. I don’t have to show just one car in a Hall of Very Good Cars post. I also think giving these posts subtitles is a good way to differentiate them. Without further ado:

 

See the source image

 

Obviously from AutoGeSpot a picture of an Alfa Romeo 4C. The concept version of this car was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011. The Alfa Romeo 4C Concept was voted the ‘Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year’ award by the readers of German magazine Auto Bild, and won the Auto Bild Design Award 2011. Production of the 4C began in 2013.

The US version of the 4C was unveiled at the 2014 New York Auto Show. In order to meet US regulations the 4C had to have extra bracing and strengthening that added 220 pounds. Ironically, the coupe was discontinued in North America in 2018 because it failed to meet some new DOT/NHTSA regulation. Production of a spider (convertible) version began in 2015.

All production of the 4C ended in 2020. I had an impossible time trying to unearth total production of the Coupe and Spider. The Wikipedia article about the car claims 9,117 but underneath the total is the note “citation needed.”

The 4C coupe weighed just 2,300 pounds, but its turbocharged 1.75 liter/106 cubic inch inline 4-cylinder engine produced 237 HP/258 LB-FT of torque. Did I mention it’s mid-engined? The 0-100 KM (62 MPH) time was officially 4.5 seconds, but like the secret menu at In-N-Out burger it was possible to get that time down to about 4.2 seconds with an unpublicized shifting trick.

I really like the car because it looks like nothing else on the road and it is quite the performer. Is it an everyday driver? Probably not, but on the show Everyday Driver Paul Schmucker raved about the car during an episode comparing the 4C, the Lotus Elise and the Porsche Cayman.

Barring a huge lottery win, I doubt I will ever own a 4C. I am even more sure I will never own one of these.

 

See the source image

 

This is an Alfa Romeo Montreal. I am 99.9% sure I have at least one picture of a Montreal on my phone and 99.9% sure I couldn’t find it in less than a week of searching. I have almost 10,000 pictures on my phone, probably 7,000 of which are of automobiles and I don’t really have my photos organized except for the 30-35 I have in my Favorites folder.

In this recent Hagerty article, the Montreal was one of five cars said to be losing ground in a strong collector car market. I found this passage particularly apt: “The Montreal is a drop-dead gorgeous car, and the sound of its 2.6-liter V-8 engine is an Italian opera of engineering.”

According to standard catalog of Imported Cars: 1946-1990, just 3,925 Montreals were built from 1971 to 1976 with most of those (2,377) built in 1972. The car was never officially certified to be sold in the US although I have seen two or three in person. How else could I have taken the picture(s) I can’t find? Given their age, it is legal to import one into the US.

The Montreal was, indeed, powered by a very small displacement V-8, 2.6 liters/158 cubic inches, that produced 227 HP/199 LB-FT of torque. The car weighed (still does, I guess) about 2,800 pounds. The transmission was a ZF 5-speed manual.

 

The list of Hall of Very Good Cars is still growing faster than I am publishing them. Maybe it will be the series that never ends, at least not until the blog does.

 

#HallofVeryGoodCars

#AlfaSiblings

#AlfaRomeo4C

#AlfaRomeoMontreal

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Moon Day Not Monday

Of course it was on this day in 1969 that Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. It seems to me that the percentage of people who believe it was all staged in a Hollywood studio is increasing dramatically.

While I believe it is healthy to be somewhat of a skeptic about things people believe, automatically rejecting accepted knowledge, the consensus, the popular or the mainstream does not–by itself–make a person smarter than others or better than others or special. It just makes that person a knee-jerk contrarian, which is no more profound or insightful than being a knee-jerk conformist.

I salute the crew of Apollo 11 and the thousands of others who made the mission possible.

 

See the source image

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This morning I had a dream that was disturbing in two respects. I dreamt that the Apple devices owned by my wonderful wife and me seemed to be staging a coup. They would only open one app, that app could not be closed and the devices could not be powered down. During the dream, we were both upset that our iPhones and iPad were no longer working. After I woke up, I was disturbed that these devices have become so important that I would have such a dream and feel so disappointed by their failure.

The computing power of an iPhone dwarfs the power of the computers used by NASA to execute the Apollo missions. It is sad to me that people waste this power by taking selfies to post on social media accounts, by blindly following un-vetted ideas that conform to some poorly defined and poorly thought out a priori philosophy. I weep for the future although I will not see it.

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What do you think when you see these car photos?

 

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

No, they are not four pictures of the same car. Yes, they are pictures of four different cars. From top to bottom, all 2020 model year: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 6.

As regular readers know I am a big fan of Everyday Driver. In an episode Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker drove these four cars in a comparison with downtown Denver being the setting. I don’t remember, and honestly don’t care, how they ranked them. All I could think was that the cars were basically the same to me.

I acknowledge that the two hosts have automotive experience that I do not have, which allows them to note differences among cars that I would not notice. Still, the styling of these automobiles is scarily similar to my eyes. The fact that one might have 40 more HP than another or an 8-speed transmission as opposed to a 6-speed does not really distinguish the cars to me.

Of course, to me all pickup trucks and virtually all SUVs look like boxes on wheels. Although Everyday Driver has done episodes featuring reviews of non-cars, the hosts clearly make their preference for cars known. For that I salute them although I think it’s too late to reverse the tide. That doesn’t mean I can’t stay out of the ocean, though.

 

#MoonDayNotMonday

#AutomobileSameness

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Threes And Sevens: 1987

First, 1987 was one of the most important years in my life. On December 23rd of that year, my hometown Baltimore Orioles offered me a full-time job in Baseball Operations. I recounted the story in greater detail here, so you can read that post if you want to know more.

 

As it pertains to the US automobile industry, 1987 could be said to have been the year of three letters, as in AMC and GNX. American Motors Corporation (AMC), the last of the US independent automakers, ceased to be independent as on March 9, 1987 Chrysler Corporation agreed to buy out Renault’s stake in AMC (either 46% or 49%) in addition to all other outstanding shares for $1.5 billion. The takeover was finalized in August. Chrysler and AMC had entered into an agreement in 1985 where the latter would build rear wheel drive “large” cars for Chrysler through at least 1990.

Chrysler’s primary interest in acquiring AMC was Jeep, but the new manufacturing plant in Brampton, Ontario as well as AMC’s dealership network were also enticing. AMC was renamed the Jeep-Eagle division of Chrysler in 1988. Long-time auto executive Bob Lutz, one-time President of Chrysler, remarked:

 

“Chrysler’s acquisition of AMC was one of the all-time great moments in corporate serendipity that most definitely played a key role in demonstrating how to accomplish change.”

 

Lee Iacocca, Chrysler chairman, retained some AMC units, such as engineering, completely intact. AMC’s lead engineer, Francois Castaing, was made the head of Chrysler’s engineering. Under Castaing, Chrysler developed an all-new line of cars and trucks that led the company to real success in the 1990s. One of his projects that came to fruition was the Dodge Viper. An aside: my wonderful wife and I met Mr. Castaing while we were having breakfast in Scottsdale, Arizona in May of this year. He was with Marty Nelson, whose agricultural products company has made him wealthy enough to be a large buyer and consignor of cars at many Mecum auctions.

The last vehicles produced by AMC before the takeover were the Renault-derived Alliance and the Eagle. Chrysler continued to use the name Eagle as a separate make through the 1998 model year. Below is a picture of a 1987 AMC Eagle sedan, of which only 751 were produced.

 

See the source image

 

Of course, the Buick GNX has reached legendary status among US automobiles. 1987 was the last model year for the GM G-Body rear-wheel drive cars. Production of the Grand National–the GNX was a variant of that model, of course–was not halted until December, 1987. Buick manufactured 20,193 Grand Nationals, but just 547 GNXs. Without further ado:

 

1987 Buick GNX

 

This one is supposedly number 186 of the 547 GNXs produced. This was the fastest car produced in the US in 1987, even faster than the Corvette. It can be hard to get one’s head around that fact, especially since Buick doesn’t even manufacture cars, anymore, only SUVs. The GNX could accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 5.4 seconds (that was Buick’s “official” time, I have also seen that time reported as 4.7 seconds) and do mid-13s in the standing quarter-mile. A 1987 Corvette could do 0-60 in 5.9 seconds with mid-14s in the standing quarter. The GNX was faster, 0-60, than a Ferrari 328.

ASC/McLaren actually built much of the GNX for Buick. The car’s turbocharged 231 cubic-inch V-6 was rated at 276 HP/360 LB-FT of torque. The standard turbo for the Regal line was rated 245 HP/355 LB-FT. Many car enthusiasts think Buick understated the engine output as well as the 0-60 time and that real output was closer to 300 HP/420 LB-FT. You will be seeing the GNX/Grand National featured in a Hall of Very Good Cars post.

 

Another one of my favorites, a different model year of which appeared in my Ultimate Garage 3.0 last July (!), debuted in 1987: the Cadillac Allante. Below is (hopefully) a picture of an ’87 Allante as I think they look best, with the auxiliary hardtop in place:

 

See the source image

 

Of course, the Allante was a failure for Cadillac and General Motors as only about 21,400 were built during seven model years of production through 1993.

 

1987 model-year US production declined 6.5 percent from 1986 to 7.4 million cars. Chevrolet and Ford were the only two makes to reach the one-million level: Chevy at 1.38 million and Ford at 1.18 million. What was the best-selling Chevrolet model in 1987? Do you remember the Celebrity?

 

 

Chevrolet produced 362,524 Celebrity vehicles in 1987, of which 273,864 were sedans like the one shown above. Yawn…

 

Imports grabbed a 31 percent share of new car sales in the US in 1987. No one could have predicted that in 1957.

Ford earned $4.6 billion in profits in 1987, at the time the highest nominal (not adjusted for inflation) profit for any US automaker. No one could have foreseen that about two decades later Ford would record a $12.7 billion loss. Of course, it was the only Big Three automaker not to file for bankruptcy during the Great Recession of 2008-09.

Would you believe that 54 percent of US cars were built with four-cylinder engines in 1987? Only 18 percent were built with V-8s.

 

Well, just two Threes And Sevens posts remaining, 1993 and 1997. I hope you have enjoyed this series.

 

#ThreesAndSevens

#1987

#AmericanMotorsCorporation

#BuickGNX

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Moonday Mosings

For some reason, I like seeing the red squiggly underline beneath both words of today’s post title telling me the words are misspelled or non-existent.

 

We had heavy rain Saturday night and last night into early this morning. Neither event was forecast by the National Weather Service. Since we are in monsoon season, they will estimate the probability of precipitation at a cover their ass number of like 15%. If rain events are independent, then the probability of rain on consecutive days each with a 15% likelihood is just 2%, 15% times 15%.

On Saturday the rain began before “sunset.” (Once again, the sun does not rise and set.) The temperature of record at the time was 104° (40° C). An hour later, it was 77° (25° C).

In addition to the rain and strong winds we had vivid lightning, the like of which I have seldom, if ever, seen before. I don’t know if it’s due to our location, but sometimes we would see brilliant lightning that seemed right on top of us and not hear thunder, meaning the flash was far away. Other times, we would see bright lightning and hear thunder within a few seconds, meaning the flash was close by. Sadly, the exterior light was not enough for me to shoot any pictures or video.

The storm on Saturday night distracted me from something important, the Season 2 finale for Transplant on NBC. I love this show and it is certainly one of my favorite five or six TV shows ever. No, I am not damning it with faint praise.

I was sad at show’s end because no new episodes will air for awhile. The next morning I became even more sad after learning that, despite previous reporting, NBC has not decided if it will air Season 3. Transplant is actually a Canadian show broadcast on CTV. NBC decided to air it in 2020 while the damn virus was wreaking havoc on TV production.

Transplant is the most-watched and most-awarded scripted show in Canada and, obviously, will continue in production. Its Season 2 ratings in the US, however, were far worse than those for Season 1. The only bright spot, if you will, is that its ratings improved after it was moved mid-season from Sunday to Saturday. The bad news, of course, is that Saturday has long been considered the graveyard for prime-time programming.

I do not watch a lot of TV and almost nothing from the major networks, except football. I will be very disappointed if I can’t continue to watch Transplant. I continue to be appalled at what passes for entertainment.

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Chevrolet/General Motors have officially announced pricing for the soon-to-be released Z06 version of the C8 Corvette. The base MSRP for the coupe will be $106,395 and $113,895 for the convertible. Apparently, anyone interested can order theirs beginning on July 28.

It is extremely unlikely that anyone will be able to buy a C8 Z06 at MSRP. Dealer markups of $20,000-$35,000 would not surprise me. Thousands of people ordering the car will not surprise me, either.

 

Pricing for the 2023 Corvette Z06 Announced! Starting MSRP is

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From Why Evolution Is True is the Hubble Space Telescope photo of the week.

 

 

More from the post:

 

“This intriguing observation from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a gravitationally lensed galaxy with the long-winded identification SGAS J143845+145407. Gravitational lensing has resulted in a mirror image of the galaxy at the centre of this image, creating a captivating centrepiece.

Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive celestial body — such as a galaxy cluster — causes a sufficient curvature of spacetime for the path of light around it to be visibly bent, as if by a lens. Appropriately, the body causing the light to curve is called a gravitational lens, and the distorted background object is referred to as being “lensed”. Gravitational lensing can result in multiple images of the original galaxy, as seen in this image, or in the background object appearing as a distorted arc or even a ring. Another important consequence of this lensing distortion is magnification, allowing astronomers to observe objects that would otherwise be too far away or too faint to be seen. . .”

Gravitational lensing was predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity and that prediction is visually confirmed by pictures like this. Remember that Einstein had no computers, no calculators. Many of his theories resulted from “thought experiments,” mental exercises without the use of data, but that used deductive reasoning to reach a conclusion. In this post I asked where are the Einsteins of today. I think they would be hounded by the idiocy of woke, of faux equality. People may have equal rights under the law, but all people are NOT created equally.

Here are links to two other Why Evolution Is True pieces. If you are very religious, you will be very offended.

The Freethinker interviews Richard Dawkins

The faithful write in about my post on Intelligent Design

From the latter post, a reply to one of those comments and involving Albert Einstein: “As for Einstein, he believed in God as a metaphor for the laws of the universe. As I [Jerry Coyne] show in my book Faith Versus Fact, he didn’t believe in a personal god at all, and certainly not the Yahweh you are touting above. Einstein said as much. Do a bit of research!”

The word counter at lower left exceeds 870 so I will stop. As always, I welcome thoughtful comments and your recommending this blog to friends and acquaintances.

#MoondayMosings

#Transplant

#AlbertEinstein

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Challenging Saturday

As I am writing this, I have much in mind for today’s post. Of course, I wanted to use an alliterative title, like Strenuous Saturday, but think I am overdoing the alliteration.

Where do I start? Yesterday, in response to my post about the 100th anniversary of my mother’s birth, I received a comment asking why I crossed out the word Nazi. Something about that comment incensed me so much that I deleted it without publication and blocked the email address of the person who submitted it. Maybe that was an overreaction and maybe I shouldn’t assume that everyone knows why I write the word Nazi that way. Of course, it is a gesture of contempt, which is not a strong enough word to describe my feelings. Once again, not all value systems are equally valid and I DO NOT have to respect or to tolerate all paradigms.

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From the Twitter feed of Dennie Edwards, a former auto tech with Saturn/GM, comes this article about Tesla asking people who live in Texas to avoid charging their cars during peak use periods because of the current heat wave. Edwards points out that maybe 5% of cars in Texas are electric vehicles with the implied question of what will happen to the electrical grid if/when substantially more people drive EVs.

The US electrical grid will not be able to handle 50,000,000 or 100,000,000 electric cars for decades. To me, the people worshiping at the altar of EVs are like lemmings being led off the cliff. I’ll write this again: EVs are not the answer; eFuels/synthetic fuels are. We will be pushed too far down the EV path before we’re ready (if we’re ever truly ready) and when that realization hits we will be in deep trouble. By the way, how will people who live in dwellings without a garage, like apartments, have access to charging stations for their EVs? Oh, public charging stations are often vandalized for their copper content.

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I have written about my personal version of Murphy’s Law that I call The Johnny Astro Syndrome. Here is a picture of the Johnny Astro toy:

 

 

I don’t know why I am compelled to show this. I also have no idea how popular the toy was.

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As further proof that I have really become obsessed with rain here in the desert, I offer this video.

 

 

Yep, it is ten seconds of rain from Thursday. OCD can have many manifestations.

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Although it is not, and never will be, an Ultimate Garage car (I’m not saying if it will appear in the Hall of Very Good Cars series because, honestly, I don’t know), I have always liked the looks of the Volvo P1800. This MotorTrend article is about, basically, a restomod P1800. Here is a photo:

 

 

Here is the first paragraph of the piece:

 

“I can’t buy a Volvo P1800 anymore. The dream is dead. It sucks, because I’ve wanted a P1800 for years. Maybe it’s because I watched reruns of The Saint with my mom as a kid, or because I’m just innately drawn to underappreciated cars. It doesn’t matter. No P1800 I buy and restore or modify will ever drive like the Volvo P1800 Cyan I’m reviewing here, and I can’t afford one of those.”

 

Only about ten of these cars will be produced annually at a cost starting at $700,000. I have often thought about restomodding cars like this and the Saab 96. I can’t pay three-quarters of a million dollars for any restomod, no matter how appealing, without doing serious damage to my net worth.

Not surprisingly, many cars offered for sale on sites like restomod.com are Corvettes, Chevelles, Camaros, Mustangs, etc. Except for a C2 Corvette, I would much prefer to restomod something out of the ordinary, like a Volvo P1800. We didn’t win the Mega Millions drawing yesterday (no one did), so my restomod dreams will remain unfulfilled.

Do any of you have any “oddball” restomod projects in mind? We would like to read about them.

#ChallengingSaturday

#EVsAreNotTheAnswer

#VolvoP1800Cyan

#Restomods

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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