Throwback Thursday 36?

No, I haven’t lost track of what day it is. This post from February, Throwback Thursday 36, about the 1920 US Presidential Election has been receiving a fair number of views the past 2-3 days. The reason I’m mentioning that is I have no idea why.

The number of views for the post exceeds the number of all blog views referred from all search engines during this period. I guess I should just be grateful for the post “revival,” but I am a curious person.

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More blog minutia…

I started writing Disaffected Musings in January, 2018. The number of views/visitors made a quantum leap forward in October, 2018 and continued at about the same level through March, 2020. With a big “boost” from people being at home, the number of views/visitors took another leap in April, 2020.

The last five months, April through August of 2020, have been the five months with the highest number of views and visitors. Numbers nerd/OCD “sufferer” that I am, I had to quantify the leap.

With the number 100 representing the average number of monthly views from October, 2018 through March, 2020, here are the “adjusted” number of views for the last five months:

 

April 177
May 231
June 199
July 168
August 176

 

The 177 figure for April means the number of blog views for that month was 77 percent higher than the average from October, 2018 through March, 2020. Yes, I could have used +77% instead of 177.

Almost one-third of all blog views have happened in just the last five months. Once again, I am grateful for the increase in readership, not oblivious as to the main reason why, and I will continue to ask for “the sale.” Please feel free to tell your friends about the blog and to pass along the URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com), please feel free to click on any (or all) of the related posts at the bottom of each post, please feel free to “Like” any post and to submit thoughtful comments.

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Although the National Corvette Museum opened on this day in 1994, I think I have been writing too much about Corvettes in general and the C8 in particular as of late. According to 365 Days of Motoring, it was on this day in 1955 that the first meeting of the Studebaker-Packard Dealer-Factory Planning Committee occurred. (On a tangent…it is incredible to me that with all of the times I have written about these two companies, this post marks the first that the tag “Studebaker-Packard” is used.)

Although characterized as a merger, technically Packard acquired Studebaker with the transaction becoming official in October, 1954. If 365 Days of Motoring is correct, then this “important” committee’s first meeting was awfully late.

Many people are far more qualified than I to discuss the reasons for the eventual demise of both makes. Remember that even before World War II, the “Big Three” of American car companies had taken control of the market, due in no small way to the Great Depression. For example, the eight best-selling makes for model year 1941 were all made by the Big Three and accounted for 74% of all vehicle production for that year.

My “obsession” with defunct American makes has waned somewhat in recent months, but I still read parts of James Ward’s The Fall Of The Packard Motor Car Company and Richard Langworth’s Studebaker 1946-1966: The Classic Postwar Years almost every week. I still dream of owning a car made by one or both of those companies. Maybe something like these:

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

From the Consumer Guide Auto blog the top picture is a 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk and from Hemmings the bottom is a 1956 Packard 400. Shops that work on older cars, defunct makes or not, must exist where we’re headed, given the huge car culture there. Yet again, what is life without dreams?

 

#ThrowbackThursday36?

#ReaderBoost

#Studebaker-Packard

#1963StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#1956Packard400

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Musings 50

As I had originally envisioned this post, I was going to start by offering my opinions on tribalism, on an individual’s limited–but real–obligations to strangers, on the notion that far more than two ways exist to define the relationship between citizens and their government, etc. However, I realized that I would either be preaching to the choir or engaging in an exercise in futility. As I wrote here, I believe that real political debate has ended in the US. What I didn’t write, but also believe, is that what used to be America’s gift for compromise, for sides giving a little in order to make progress, has vanished. Compromise is now considered a dirty word at best and treasonous at worst. Sorry to write for the nth time, but blind adherence to any ideology is not an optimal behavior, in my opinion.

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The following fact is only of significance to me, but this is my blog, after all. Even without having a plan that would avail me of analytics provided by the Evil Empire (aka Google), WordPress displays all manner of data. One such piece of data is a list of the top six people by number of published comments out of the last 1,000.

For many months, 56PackardMan was, by far, the leading commenter on Disaffected Musings not counting yours truly. When I looked this morning at the ranking I was saddened that 56PackardMan is no longer on the list. Don’t get me wrong; I am happy that the average number of comments per post has increased in 2020 by 54 percent compared to 2019. I very much enjoy comments from photobyjohnbo, Dirty Dingus McGee, Philip Maynard (among others), who are “The Big Three” of commenting. (An inside joke for Dr. Zal with no disrespect intended to anyone.)

Still, 56PackardMan was this blog’s biggest supporter. Without my asking, he would put links to my posts about Packard and Studebaker on the appropriate forums, which would boost readership. He supported my efforts even though we don’t agree on many issues facing the country and the world. This is an exception to the current state of affairs that led former Speaker Of The House John Boehner to remark, “We can no longer disagree without being disagreeable.”

I, along with many of his regular readers, hope that 56PackardMan will return to the blog world someday. From a Hemmings ad (for a car no longer available) a picture of one of his absolute favorite cars, a 1956 Packard 400:

 

See the source image

 

#MondayMusings

#EndOfCompromise

#56PackardMan

#JohnBoehner

#1956Packard400

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Odd Longshots

No, I am not talking about myself although I am an odd longshot. I am an odd person and my existence is a very low probability event, even more so than most of the rest of the human race. As I have written before, my father watched his family murdered by Nazi troops; my mother and her parents escaped from their little village in Poland a day or two before the Nazis burned it to the ground.

Luck, good and bad, plays a major role in life outcomes. In my opinion, people who deny that are living in a fantasy.

Anyway…what I really meant by “odd longshots” is the last of three choices for the automotive companion to my 2016 Corvette Z06. The likelihood that either of these cars will be chosen is small and unlike the other two pairs of cars, these cars have nothing in common with each other.

Without further ado…

 

See the source image

 

From Hemmings a picture of a 1956 Packard 400. While I would rather have a ’56 Caribbean convertible, they are out of my price range. The 400 is not a common sight in ads, but one is currently listed on classiccars.com with an asking price of $14,980.

This is the last year of the true Packards and it was the first year Packards had a modern 12-volt, negative ground electrical system. However, this car has one major drawback: its size. At almost 219 inches in length (18′, 3″) fitting it in a garage would not be easy. It sure would be a nice grocery car, though.

Get ready to have your head spin:

 

See the source image

 

From rkmotors.com a picture of a 1987 Buick Grand National, not a GNX. I hinted that a car like this is under consideration and here it is.

At about 200 inches in length one of these would have no difficulty fitting in a garage. With four seats and a trunk this car would be more than adequate as a grocery car. With 245 HP/355 LB-FT of torque in a 3,300 pound car, these cars are probably a lot of fun to drive. Of the 29 non-GNX 1987 Buick Regal Grand Nationals/Regals listed currently on Hemmings, six have an asking price under $20,000.

Which one of these would you prefer? Yes, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but I think that makes it more fun.

 

#OddLongshots

#1956Packard400

#1987BuickGrandNational

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Dissolution; Sunday Packards: October, 2019

Yesterday my wonderful wife and I attended our annual neighborhood picnic/gathering. As always, we had a marvelous time. Our neighbors are polite and friendly.

After that I attended the last “First Saturday” car show for 2019 sponsored by our local Corvette club. As always, I had a great time. The people at the show were polite and friendly.

Even though the two events were only about two miles apart, though, they might as well have been two million miles apart in terms of the attitudes towards what is happening in our country today. I remain convinced that the US is headed towards dissolution. I also don’t think that will be a bad thing although I seriously doubt I will live to see it.

I reject most policy tenets of both major parties in the US. I also reject the notion that I have to pick one. I cannot and will not vote for a candidate with whom I disagree on 75% of policy even if I disagree with the other candidate on 80% of policy. The “lesser” of two evils is still evil. I think the policy platforms of both parties are rife with inconsistencies.

The political spectrum is two-dimensional, at most. The real world is three-dimensional, at least. Do the math.

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Let’s do more math, but more fun this time…

The probability that at some time in the next 2-3 years I buy a car manufactured by a defunct American car company is probably 75%. The probability that car is a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk is also about 75%. That means, overall, a 3-in-16 chance (about 19%) exists that I will buy something other than a GT Hawk. Here are two possibilities:

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top photo, “courtesy” of Barrett-Jackson, is that of a 1956 Packard 400. The bottom photo, “courtesy” of Mecum, shows a 1956 Packard Executive.

I have shown photos of these cars before. I have also declared my extreme affinity for the 1956 Packard Caribbean Convertible. However, unlike my Ultimate Garage 2.0, barring some unforeseen monetary windfall a Caribbean is out of my price range. When I began publishing Ultimate Garage 2.0 in late May Hagerty gave an average value to a ’56 Caribbean Convertible of $67,000. I’m not going to spend even a third of that amount on my homage to a defunct American car company.

1956 was, of course, the last year for “real” Packards that were not badge-engineered Studebakers. That year also saw Packard adopt a “modern” 12-volt electrical system with a negative ground. Packard 400 production for 1956 (Model 5687) was 3,224 cars; production of Executive hardtop coupes was just 1,031 vehicles.

On classiccars.com one ’56 400 is listed with an asking price of $14,980. 56packardman has written that price is too steep for that particular car. On Hemmings one Executive is shown with a list price of $18,900.

One obstacle to buying either ’56 Packard is their sheer size. The Executive is about 215 inches long; that’s almost 18 feet. A 400 is 18 feet-plus at 218 inches. Modern garages are usually only about 20 feet deep. As a comparison, my 2016 Corvette Z06 is about 178 inches long or a shade under 15 feet.

Anyway, as I have written many times before a line from the movie Diner seems appropriate, “If you don’t have dreams you have nightmares.” I have nightmares, anyway, so I might as well try to have some nice dreams, too.

 

#DissolutionOfTheUS

#1956Packard400

#1956PackardExecutive

#NiceDreams

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Friday Disarray

And I thought the “Birds” post was a dud…the number of views/visitors for yesterday was the de facto lowest for a day with a post since September of last year. Obviously, I can’t ask people who aren’t reading Disaffected Musings why they’re not reading. I have an idea why readership has dropped off so markedly this week, but I’ll just classify it as yet another sign of complete intolerance for views that differ from one’s own. The right to never be offended is not actually in the Constitution.

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An Abraham Lincoln story by way of a tweet from Thomas Sowell. He is a noted American economist—and former Marine—who is currently a Senior Fellow at Stanford University.

“Abraham Lincoln once asked an audience how many legs a dog has if you count the tail as a leg. When they answered ‘five,’ Lincoln told them that the answer was four. The fact that you called the tail a leg did not make it a leg.”

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This article from classiccars.com, one of a series, is quite interesting to me. The series is about the future of the collector car hobby. With the caveat that history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future, it is only human to have curiosity about the future.

The article was written by John Kruse, co-founder of Worldwide Auctions. He is in his late 30s, which is relevant to his article, and grew up in an Indiana family well known through several generations for its various auction businesses. Here are some excerpts:

 

“We have gone through a period of time where the auction companies, which for lack of a better term have largely been car dealers who have gotten into auctions, have been telling everyone else what cars are worth. I think there’s going to be a significant shift, a shift toward people and authenticity.”

“I think we’re already seeing that shift, a shift to where people — collectors and buyers — will be put back into the driver’s seat and the auctioneers are going to take what I believe is an appropriate role, that of more of a guide rather than telling people what to do, which happens through such things as pre-auction estimated values.”

“At Worldwide Auctioneers, we have eliminated printed auction estimates. It’s my opinion that the origin of estimates is not what people think it is. Such estimates cause problems, unrealistic expectations. Bidders and buyers should get to decide what something is worth in an auction format.”

“That’s going to be one of the biggest shifts, power going to the collector and the buyer, and that’s what I think auctions should be. We should be helping and guiding the collector buyers.”

“We also need to remember this is a hobby business. Regardless of how many millions or billions of dollars are transacted in our industry, it’s not like a normal business. This is a hobby. The people stroking the checks — the bidders and the buyers — are going to be increasingly in the driver’s seat.”

“Authenticity and people is what Millennials look for. Millennials are not just going to influence their decision-making elders and parents. They’re going to be the decision makers, and there are a lot of Millennials. We give them a bad rap, frankly, and while they’re still finding their way as a group, they’re figuring it out pretty quickly. And once they take hold, that’s the new culture, and it’s not going to take 10 years to get there.”

“The second part of the demographic shift is that with the digital age and online consumption there’s a craving for instant gratification. That’s true to a degree, but online sales will never ever be a replacement for live auctions. You can’t replicate that. Online auctions are for business transactions, for things you have to have, not things that you want to have.”

“Millennials want to have experiences and there’s not much more exciting than a collector car auction.”

 

Kruse also wrote that most of us don’t have “expendable money” until we’re in our 50s after the house is paid off and the kids have finished college. Of course, by definition millennials are not at that stage of life. He also wrote that he strongly favors no-reserve auctions. I would like to read your views on this topic.

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Technically this is not a Frugal Friday post. The reason I have suspended that feature until after Labor Day is that it seems, for some reason, that late summer Fridays are poor days for viewership. Anyway…from classiccars.com a picture of a car that seems like a bargain to me:

 

Large Picture of '56 400 - 97ON

This is a 1956 Packard 400 hardtop coupe, of which 3,224 were produced. The seller is asking $14,980. While not a certainty—only one thing in life is certain—it is more likely than not that at some indeterminate time in the future I will buy a companion for my 2016 Z06 and that car will have been built by a defunct American auto manufacturer.

 

#AbrahamLincoln

#ThomasSowell

#IntolerantPeople

#FutureofCollectorCarHobby

#1956Packard400

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.