What Do You Remember?

Of course, it was on this day in 1963 that President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Although I was quite young, not even old enough to attend kindergarten, I remember the day.

I was with my mother while she was watching television, one of her soap operas, when she started screaming. I looked at the TV and heard the news that the President had been shot. She calmed down after a few seconds, but when the news broke later that he died (I can’t remember the exact interval, but think it was a half-hour) she screamed again. Obviously, I can’t blame her.

I also remember watching Lee Harvey Oswald being shot on TV two days later. Although I think interest in the Kennedy assassination has waned a bit in the past few years, it spawned quite a cottage industry in books and movies about various assassination theories and conspiracies. So, what do I think? Well, read Mortal Error by Bonar Menninger, which is based on the work of Howard Donahue who was a Baltimore ballistics expert. I can’t really summarize the book in a couple of sentences, but in my opinion, while Oswald did fire shots at President Kennedy, the President died as a result of an accident when a Secret Service agent (whom I shall not name, but whose identity is “known”) grabbed a weapon upon hearing the first shot. The weapon accidentally fired and that bullet killed Kennedy. The subsequent cover-up of events was executed so the Secret Service, in a position to cover up the facts, would not be the subject of intense scrutiny and, possibly, be dismantled.

By the way, I first became aware of this theory in Bill James’ excellent book, Popular Crime, which was published in 2011. In my copy the Kennedy assassination is discussed on pages 253-265. As Bill writes, Menninger’s book is “stupefyingly dense…and for that reason has little power to persuade.”

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So, is it disrespectful to note that on this day in 1893 legendary automobile designer Harley Earl was born? Although Zora Arkus-Duntov is called “The Father Of The Corvette” it was Earl who really “invented” the Vette. His inspiration came from seeing a large number of foreign sports cars parked along the parade route at Watkins Glen, New York in 1951 before a race. When he returned to Detroit after the race, Earl began to talk to his designers about a sports car for General Motors. The project, code-named “Opel” or the EX-122, became the Corvette.

 

See the source image

 

From classiccars.com a picture of a 1953 Chevrolet Corvette in Polo White over Red, as were all 300 ’53 Vettes.

Harley Earl began working for GM in 1927 and eventually became the first Vice-President at a major automobile company whose background was in styling. GM was the first car company to have a department devoted to styling. At the beginning of the auto industry, the looks of a car were secondary to the engineering. Earl, with the blessing of GM President/CEO/Chairman of the Board Alfred Sloan, changed that dynamic.

Wandering a bit…I think that for the 70th anniversary of the Corvette in 2023 Chevrolet/GM will introduce a hypercar version of the Corvette. The car will have a twin-turbo V-8 engine, possibly with a flat-plane crankshaft, augmented by electric motors in the manner of the Ferrari LaFerrari or McLaren P1. This car will have 1,000+ HP and will probably be called the Zora in honor of Arkus-Duntov. It’s too bad that Chevrolet/GM can’t recognize Harley Earl in some way in conjunction with the Corvette, besides having his picture in the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum. Yes, Earl is in the Corvette “Hall of Fame,” but I think more should be done.

 

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300 Cars

Any idea what the post title means? Here’s a clue:

 

 

This is a picture of a 1953 Corvette parked in front of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. First, think about the impact of this car that it has an entire museum dedicated to it. It is certainly the only museum in the US devoted to one and only one car model.

OK, most Corvette aficionados know that the first year of production was 1953 and only 300 were made, hence the post title. All of the cars were Polo White over Red with a 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission and an inline 6-cylinder engine of 235 cubic-inch displacement with three carburetors that produced 150 HP/223 LB-FT of torque.

From this modest beginning—300 cars—came an automobile that has its own museum and is now not that far from having its two-millionth produced. The Corvette has come close to extinction more than once during its existence including 1955 when only 700 were built. In two of its first three model years Corvette production was fewer than 1,000. Think about that.

While in all honesty I am not a huge fan of the C1 Corvette I do very much appreciate its significance.

 

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Throwback Thursday, Birthday Edition

Happy Birthday to my Wonderful Wife! Happy Birthday to my Sweet Sister! Yes, my wife and sister share a birthday and it’s two days after mine.

Thanks to my wonderful wife who made the greatest birthday present ever possible. That’s only fitting because she is the kindest, cutest, sweetest, most wonderful person ever!

Happy Birthday To Me!

 

 

Yes, I finally sh*t and didn’t stay on the pot. This is my new car: a 2016 Corvette Z06 in Long Beach Red Metallic over Dark Gray WITH the Z07 performance package. My thanks to Kim of Mercedes-Benz of Oklahoma City who tolerated my being a pain in the ass during the purchase process. My thanks to Mike who delivered the car and was very conscientious about taking care of it.

That is not a picture taken yesterday when the car was delivered. The delivery was late in the day, it was dark and the car is less than clean after being on an open car carrier for 2-3 days. This picture was sent by Kim at the dealer.

What a world! I bought a car sight unseen and without a test drive. However, the car still has four months left on its bumper-to-bumper warranty and 28 months left on the drivetrain warranty.

I am VERY excited about driving this car! Wish me luck; I promise I won’t gush about the car…too much. 🙂

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https://ccpublic.blob.core.windows.net/cc-temp/listing/64/6134/1417819-1953-chevrolet-corvette-std-c.jpg

 

From classiccars.com a picture of a 1953 Corvette. In case you don’t know, or even if you do, 1953 was the first model year for the Corvette. Despite what Mercedes-Benz claims, the Corvette is the longest running automobile model in the world. (Mercedes-Benz claims its own SL model, that it is discontinuing, is the king of longevity because no model year 1983 Corvettes were sold. Corvettes with 1983 VINs were manufactured, but more importantly new Corvettes were sold in the 1983 calendar year. They just happened to have a 1984 model year designation.)

Only 300 Corvettes were made for the 1953 model year and, not surprisingly, the cars are quite valuable. They were all Polo White over Red and powered by a “juiced” Blue Flame inline 6-cylinder engine mated to a 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission.

It’s not really hard to comprehend the metamorphosis of the Corvette with the benefit of hindsight, but I doubt that many people in 1953 could have imagined a car like the C7 Z06. Never mind Bluetooth, satellite navigation, rear AND front cameras, airbags and the like. In 1953 the Corvette engine produced 150 HP/223 LB-FT of torque; a 2016 Z06 Corvette engine produces 650 HP/650 LB-FT.

 

#Corvette!

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