Monday Musings

Some of you may note today’s Monday Musings post is not numbered. While I have not researched to generate empirical evidence, I believe that numbering these posts costs me blog views. If I had numbered the post title, it would have been number 86.

 

There is no D-Day Museum in Gettysburg.

Abigail Shrier speaks truth to Princeton.

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Once again wading into the debate about whether or not to modify a “classic” car is this Hemmings article discussing the pros and cons of various possible upgrades. Here is part of the opening:

 

“…But while many appreciate a stock machine and what it has to offer, there are just as many owners who minimize outings in their classics. Why? The creature comforts aren’t there. You need to stick to back roads because it’s not pleasant on the freeway. You don’t want to wear it out. You don’t trust it more than a few miles from home.
Factory-stock vehicles have that authentic feel, but cars of the past were built to a different set of standards. The world that these cars live in has changed. Technology that once felt space-age has become commonplace, even in cars that are more than a decade old. Such advancements only highlight what’s lacking on a vintage vehicle, particularly to those who experienced some of today’s classics back when they were new.”

 

My views on this topic are well-known to regular readers. With the possible exception of an extremely rare and historically significant car, I think an automobile owner can do whatever they want to their car, including the installation of a modern and reliable drivetrain, modern suspension and brakes and modern creature comforts. I also do not believe in owning a de facto museum exhibit. A car should be driven, even if it’s just 1,000-2,000 miles a year.

Of course, the idea of modern upgrades led to the whole restomod movement. If I were to purchase the body of this car, why on earth would I want to leave it stock?

 

See the source image

 

Via Pinterest this is a picture of a favorite of mine, albeit an idiosyncratic favorite: a 1942 DeSoto. With the hidden headlights and fence-like grille, I think this car has one of the greatest “faces” of any automobile. Still, why would I want to drive a car with an 80-year old engine (that produced all of 115 HP/190 LB-FT of torque when new), brakes, suspension, etc.?

Obviously, a good restomod will not be cheap. I am somewhat reluctant to write this, but I think that some/many who buy an older car and then defend their decision not to modernize the car really can’t afford to have the work done and can’t do it themselves. Steve Strope criticizes modern “rat-rods” with an appearance to match the name. He says the original generation of these cars looked ragged because owners couldn’t afford to make them look nice, not because they were making a design statement. Hey, political correctness is just fascism in disguise. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I am still not close to being in a position to acquire another car, but even if I were to buy a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, I would do what I could to modernize the car and to make it more reliable.

 

 

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments, both from “The Big Five” commenters and from those of you who have never commented.

 

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Latest Automotive Obsession

 

“Out of sight except at night.” That was a slogan for the 1942 DeSoto and its Airfoil Lights. I believe this year/make was only the second car ever offered with hidden headlights with the 1936-37 Cord 810/812 being the first. Buying one of these would cost a lot less than buying a real Cord.

 

See the source image

 

Fluid Drive was a semi-automatic transmission in which the clutch was used from a stop to engage the car into gear and then, once the clutch was released, the transmission would shift around through the gears as needed and as directed by accelerator position, speed, etc. Of course, General Motors had already introduced a fully automatic transmission by this time, the Hydra-Matic.

I just love the face of this car. The hidden headlights were only used for 1942 model year cars, a year in which production ended early because of the US entry into World War II. DeSoto built 24,771 automobiles in model year 1942. After the war, the hidden headlights were no longer used on DeSoto cars, or anyone else’s for that matter.

A really big lottery win would probably mean I would buy one of these and have it resto-modded. One of the great things about living here is that there are a lot of shops that could do the work.

Have a great weekend…

 

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January Exitum

That was fast…the first month of the year so many were waiting for has just about come and gone. Although millions of people have been vaccinated and the number of new cases of COVID-19 seems to be declining, the number had reached such high levels that the damn virus is still wreaking havoc. The most recent US 7-day average of new cases declined by 31 percent from 14 days earlier. Still, so many people have become infected–all over the world–that the virus is mutating.

Plenty of blame to go around…the Drump Administration, blind adherents to “libertarianism,” etc., but let’s not forget the Chinese government. They did not publicly report the Wuhan outbreak for at least a month–it is highly likely they knew much earlier, it is a communist country that keeps close tabs on its citizenry after all–and they ignored an offer by the US CDC to send a team to China to help contain the outbreak.

Speaking of the damn virus…this article from Israel reports that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is showing 92 percent effectiveness there, according to the world’s first big controlled investigation on how it works outside of clinical tests. To quote Israeli statistical analyst Anat Ekka Zohar, “This is very, very good news.”

Hang on because help is on the way? I am not a doctor or an epidemiologist and hope I have not written anything to imply otherwise. All I can write is that this is yet another example of how ignorant, blind adherence to any ideology can be very dangerous.

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On this day in 1942, Chrysler, Lincoln and Studebaker stopped production of passenger cars. Earlier in January the federal government had set February 10 as the date for final production although only Pontiac actually manufactured cars until then. Manufacturers began “dropping out” on January 24th when Willys-Overland became the first company to stop production.

I was not alive during World War II and even those who were and are still alive today might have difficulty comparing the situation then to the one today. The impression I have is that the country was united in its efforts during the war, orders of magnitude more than it is today about the damn virus.

For eons, people rebelled against the yoke of tyranny as applied by kings and lords. Of course, people should have freedom to make decisions about their lives. However, the pendulum has swung too far from its “original” position in much of the so-called developed world or, more accurately I think, in the minds of millions in the “first world,” in my opinion.

As I have written before, in a country or society absolute freedom cannot exist because in such a context that state of affairs is anarchy. Finding the balance, though, between individual rights and the “good” of society is a most tricky endeavor. I believe that balance is and should be different in different countries, that no “world” standard can be applied to all.

 

From Pinterest, a picture of one of my favorite “pre-war” cars, the 1942 DeSoto with hidden headlights. Print ads for the car included the line, “Out of sight, except at night.”

 

See the source image

 

By the way, DeSoto produced cars all the way until February 9, 1942. Total model year output was 24,771 although, not surprisingly, only 4,186 cars were actually built during calendar year 1942.

I will almost certainly never have the resources to indulge every automotive fantasy of mine, but I would love to acquire one of these as the basis for a restomod. That “face” of the car with that grill and the hidden headlights is just awesome to me. What is life without dreams?

 

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