5,000 Z06 Miles

I took delivery of my Z06 23 months ago today. On Thursday I passed 5,000 miles of my own doing. Of course, that’s not a lot of driving, about 2,600 miles a year on average.

Some would say no one should drive a car like mine. Others would say I haven’t driven it enough. I think in this polarized world it’s very easy, too easy, to appeal to one side and make the other side angry. I think the truth often lies in making both sides angry.



It’s too bad that 56PackardMan has seemingly vanished. I wonder if he knows about this development as chronicled in this Classic Cars piece, “Packard plans a comeback, starting with a watch.”

Apparently, James Ward Packard liked watches, collected them and even designed them. Also, plans are afoot to bring back a Packard car, but the watch is first.

For you Packard fans out there, which year/model would you like to see brought back? New federal regulations, finally created and implemented to make the Limited Vehicle Production Act (or whatever it is called) a reality, make such a comeback possible albeit at no more than 325 cars a year.

Of course, I am partial to the 1956 Packard line: the Caribbean, the Four Hundred, the Executive. I suspect, however, that the magnificent cars of the 1930s may be the ones to be “resurrected.” From RM Sotheby’s a picture of a 1956 Packard Caribbean convertible:


See the source image


Such a car was included in my Ultimate Garage 2.0. You will be surprised to read it is not a lock for 3.0.

You might want to read this review of The Packard Story by Robert Turnquist. The number of books about Packard is amazing to me, but then again, I seek them out.


This opinion piece by George Will is titled, “Progressives want a new New Deal. The old one failed at its main task.” In it, Will quotes FDR’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, from his testimony for the House Ways & Means Committee in May of 1939,


“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong . . . somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. . . . I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!”


Here is more from Will:


“Morgenthau was mistaken about one thing: When Roosevelt took office in March 1933, the unemployment rate was 25.4 percent. But about the spending Morgenthau was correct: By 1936, for the first time in peacetime history, the federal government’s spending was larger than the combined spending of all states and localities. And credit Morgenthau’s candor: The New Deal failed at its principal task of putting the nation back to work. The 1939 unemployment rate was worse than the 16.3 percent of 1931 [my note: 1939 unemployment was 17.2%], and worse than the 11.7 percent peak unemployment during the severe but short recession of 1920-1921. In 1939, the Depression had lasted longer than any prior U.S. contraction. In 1940, with the pre-war surge of military spending underway, the unemployment rate was 14.6 percent, more than eight points higher than today’s.” [my correction: this piece was written when US unemployment was about 10 percent during the tighter grip of the damn virus, Will wrote “four points higher”]

“Historical data seems powerless to dent progressive nostalgia for the New Deal’s fictitious triumph of economic revival through job creation.”


Blind adherence to ideology and excessive allergy to the facts are never a good thing, but they are more alive and well than at any other time, in my opinion. Quoting Huxley once again, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Oh, George Will wrote a cover blurb for the book I co-authored about the greatest baseball teams of all time. In my presence, he would tell his companions–friends and family–that I knew more about baseball than anyone else he knew. I guess the baseball industry decided that my age and “lack” of coding skills were far more important than my aptitude and knowledge.








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Ultimate Garage 2.0: Honorable Mention & Car Number One

“Some rise by sin and some by virtue fall.”

– Shakespeare

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

– Who Knows


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the two “most important” cars in my life. First, this one:


See the source image


This picture of a 1956 Buick Century is obviously from Car-from-UK.com. A ’56 Century was the first car I ever drove, but just as important it was the first car I really remember. My father bought the car from the original owner in 1961, I believe. He owned the car for about 20 years so I grew up with it in a way, almost like a sibling. John Kraman (@CarKraman), this car did indeed start by turning the key to “On” and then fully depressing the gas pedal.

The steering box had a lot of play and in my first attempt to drive it I could not keep the car straight. My father ended that session quite quickly. However, I eventually got the hang of it and enjoyed driving it even after I acquired this car:


Two faded pictures I have shown before of my 1967 Pontiac GTO. This was MY first car and at first I didn’t really appreciate what my father had done for me. My friend and neighbor, Larry, made me aware of how special this car was. I have already told the sad story of this car’s end; anyway, I am here to celebrate this car and my entry into car ownership.


I will reveal the cars for Ultimate Garage 2.0 one at a time in chronological order. Sometimes the year will not really be important.

No doubt existed that the 1956 Packard Caribbean would be on this list. The only question was whether it would be the convertible or the hardtop. I decided on the convertible. I mean, how could I leave a car off the list that literally made me cry at a car show?! (Actually that Caribbean was a ’55, but it was a convertible.)


See the source image

See the source image


The top photo is from Mecum (the lot was offered at Chicago in 2014); the bottom photo is from supercars.net.

The ’56 model was the last of the Caribbeans and, of course, one of the last “real” Packards as for 1957-58 the cars were badge-engineered Studebakers built in South Bend. Total Caribbean output for model year 1956 was 539 with 276 of those being convertibles. The Caribbean was powered by Packard’s own 374 cubic-inch V8; the Caribbean spec had two four-barrel carburetors, a 10-to-1 compression ratio and was rated at 310 HP/405 LB-FT of torque. That HP rating probably was not an accident as it was five more than Cadillac’s most powerful engine for 1956. Here is something unusual offered in the Caribbean:



Yes, reversible seat cushions! These pictures appear in Packard: A History Of The Motor Car And The Company edited by the late Beverly Rae Kimes.

I think the 1956 Packard Caribbean is the epitome of 1950s American car style. Of course, the fact that it was manufactured by a defunct American make tugs on my heart strings a little more. Subjectively, they make an impression on me like no other car. I think they are magnificent.

One feature I’m going to try for Ultimate Garage 2.0 is to show the value of each car. Hagerty gives an “average” value for a 1956 Packard Caribbean convertible of about $67,000. I have seldom seen one listed that low on Hemmings. However, I expect that these cars will no longer appreciate as their market is disappearing. Price is usually determined by supply and demand.

Any thoughts on this selection? I’m sure 56packardman will like it. 🙂






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