Hall of Very Good Cars

Welcome to the second half of 2022. Technically, though, that doesn’t really happen until noon tomorrow.


Not all value systems are equally valid. The Nazis had a “value system.” Do I really have to tolerate or respect that paradigm? Too many people think that freedom of speech means freedom from consequences.

In a marginally related vein, here is a passage from David Maraniss’ wonderful biography of Vince Lombardi, When Pride Still Mattered, that I am reading for the 10th or 12th time:


“WITH EVERY [sic] national scandal comes shock, surprise and lamentation on the fall of man. The event is seen by some as substantiation of decline, as though human imperfection were a modern-day phenomenon. Along with diatribes come complaints of public apathy; the righteous express bewilderment that no one seems to care.”


Maybe I’m projecting my own views onto Maraniss’ words, but when he writes “the righteous” I think he means self-righteous. Thomas Sowell–noted economist, historian, social theorist and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution–uses the word “anointed” as in self-anointed. From his book The Vision Of The Anointed:


“One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce and canonized those who complain.”


We have lost our way and I don’t think we will ever find the way back. That’s my lamentation. NO ONE has all the answers no matter how much they think they do. EVERY endeavor of human beings is flawed because EVERY human being is flawed. By the way, that is not an indication of any religious belief of mine.


This Hall of Very Good Cars post is the ultimate anti-climax, but I figured I better Shit Or Get Off The Pot.


See the source image


The pictured car is, of course, a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. That was the first year the Impala was produced. Despite the protestations of many, reliable sources indicate that for its first year of existence the Impala was a variant of the Bel Air and not a model unto itself. The Impala became a separate model in 1959.

I don’t know if it’s the wrap-around rear window, the noticeable but not excessive canted rear fins, the triple rear taillights, or all of the above, but I just love the looks of this car. Apparently, so do many collectors as good examples of this car are hard to find at (much) less than $60,000.

Why this car doesn’t rise to the level of an Ultimate Garage is difficult for me to articulate, but that it doesn’t is clear to me, nevertheless. I am loathe to stoop to “I know it when I see it.” However, that’s the difference in a nutshell. (Yes, I hear you; nutcase is more like it.)

It can be said that the Hall of Very Good Cars posts will be a long presentation of automobiles that “Just Missed The Cut” like those I posted in the first two versions of my Ultimate Garage. Maybe it’s just an excuse to write about cars I find appealing. I am far from perfect and would love to have more reasons to keep writing, even if I have to invent those reasons. By the way, through yesterday I had written about 738,000 words in this blog. An educated guess (am I capable of such a thing?!) would be that I have written about 940,000 words in total in my two blogs.

As always I welcome thoughtful comments. Of course, if any of you want to offer a list similar to the “Hall of Very Good Cars” we would like to see it.







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NFL Draft Thursday

I must really be stressed. I woke up this morning with the worst case of fullness in my right ear–a symptom of Meniere’s Disease, I was diagnosed with it in 2008–in many years. Doctors who treat Meniere’s think that 80%-90% of severe manifestations are stress-related. Of course, many doctors think that 80%-90% of all ailments in the developed world are at least partly due to stress.

As a “comfy blankee” I consumed two items for breakfast I hardly ever consume: bacon and sugar. Whether it was those two items, the 50mg of meclizine I took, just eating breakfast or some combination of the above, my fullness has improved markedly since earlier this morning.

I once had a Meniere’s related case of vertigo that was so bad, I had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. That happened at the end of a very stressful day during the last time I attended the baseball winter meetings (December, 2009).

I guess I need to find an ENT here in Arizona. I do not have any diazepam, better known as Valium, which short-circuits vertigo attacks.


Of course, I am stressed about my Z06. I didn’t hear from the dealer yesterday and am actually imagining a scenario where they can’t solve the issue. If they have to replace the ECU, then I strongly believe I shouldn’t be charged for the re-programming of the original ECU, which did not solve the problem. I am imagining a loud argument with the service personnel at the dealer.

Until two months ago, I had unconditional “love” for the Z06. After a $13,000 brake job and the fiasco currently unfolding, that feeling has disappeared.


Many of you don’t know or care, and that’s OK, but the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft will be held today. The TV ratings will surpass those of most MLB and NBA playoff games.

Perhaps “inspired” by the day, I finally broke down and ordered the computer football game of which I have written before, like here. Drafting my own league and playing the games will give something to do that I hope I will enjoy.

My friend Mel Kiper, the “godfather” of NFL Draft coverage on TV, has been the subject of some controversy. He was not allowed to attend the draft this year (in Las Vegas) because he has not been vaccinated against the damn virus. I was aware of his decision and tried to explain to him the reasons he should be vaccinated. I know he respects my intelligence and knowledge of topics outside of sports, but he chose not to be vaccinated.

I will not comment anymore on Mel’s situation, but I believe that the large percentage of people who have not been vaccinated in the developed world has played the largest role in the damn virus’ persistence, at least in the developed world. Unvaccinated people are potential hosts for the virus, where it can convert, replicate and mutate. Viruses are not that good at making exact replicas of themselves.

A tweet from Bill James:


“I generally like resistance to the government, because governments like to take over people’s lives and tell people what to do when it isn’t necessary. I just encourage you to get vaccinated first. Fight the government some other way.”


Very well said and I agree 100 percent.


Just like I have a very positive reaction anytime I see a Saturn Sky, I have a similar reaction every time I see one of these:


See the source image

See the source image


From Fast Lane Cars, two pictures of a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. That was the first year for the Impala and the only year for this body style. According to sources like Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®, for that year the Impala was a “sub-model” of the top of the line Bel Air, not becoming its own model until 1959.

The heart wants what it wants, I guess. I can’t explicitly explain why I am so enamored with the looks of the car. It just seems “right” to me, I suppose.

Wish me luck, but only good luck. I’ve had more than enough of the other kind.







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Throwback Thursday 40

While it is true that on this day in 1895 Charles Duryea was issued the first US patent for a gasoline-powered automobile, I wanted to write something more personal for this edition of Throwback Thursday.

At this time 50 years ago, I was in the last days as a fourth-grade student at Public School #241 in Baltimore. Our teacher was Mrs. S and both Dr. Zal and I had a crush on her. She lived in the same apartment complex as Dr. Zal and one day during the summer between fourth and fifth grade, after screwing up our courage, we decided to pay her a visit. She could not have been more gracious and friendly. I think we spent a half hour in her apartment talking about school.

Could something like that even happen today? (I’m not talking about the virus restrictions getting in the way.) One reason I remember that afternoon fondly is that it seems like a relic from a simpler time. As I have written before, I often pine for my childhood because it was a time when almost anything seemed possible. It also seems, from this distance, as if those were much simpler and more pleasant days.

Of course, my memory could be faulty. In his great book about Vince Lombardi, When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss writes about “the fallacy of the innocent past.” I simply could have been unaware of life’s travails at that age.


As I have previously revealed my birthday is in late March. While my annual physical was originally scheduled for early April, in deference to current circumstances I pushed it out until June 12, which is tomorrow, of course. Yesterday, I received a call from my doctor’s office basically begging me not to have the physical as scheduled, but to reschedule or to have a phone visit, instead. When I reminded the representative that I needed blood work, she said if I had signed up for the “Patient Portal” the doctor could have given me a slip to get the lab work done somewhere else. When I replied that still would require a visit to a lab outside my house and that I might as well see the doctor, after confirming I had a mask and gloves, she relented and confirmed my appointment.

I have to say that, while I realize her intentions were honorable, the call was most disturbing. Yes, the doctor’s office is in a building attached to this area’s primary hospital, but haven’t they established procedures to mitigate risk by now? Her call has also made me question whether or not I want to have the physical exam tomorrow.


All of the In Or Out? cars have been voted In except for the first one, the Maserati 3200 GT. I have tried to choose cars that are not obviously In or Out for you, the readers. I have also tried to choose cars that are not obviously In or Out for me, but think that almost all of the cars have been candidates, at least, to make my vaguely defined Automobile Top 100.

While this is not an In Or Out? post, I want to show a car that might be a subject for the series at some later date. From Classic Cars, a picture of a 1958 Chevrolet Impala:


See the source image


I am 95% certain that for this first year, the Impala was actually a sub-model of the Bel Air. In standard catalog of® American Cars, 1946-1975 by John Gunnell the Impala is listed under the Bel Air series for 1958, but then listed separately from 1959 on.

This was a one-year only body style. It’s hard to imagine something like that happening today, even though modern design systems actually make it easier to make changes.

Although now discontinued for the third and almost certainly final time, the Impala is one of the most significant models in US automotive history. At its introduction, one of its most distinctive features was the symmetrical triple taillights. From Fine Art America, a picture showing those lights:


See the source image


I have seen this taillight treatment on several modified Corvettes, especially C2 models (1963-1967). The 1958 model year was also significant as it marked the introduction of the first version of the Chevrolet big-block engine, the W-Series. Originally displacing “just” 348 cubic inches, this engine family would be produced until 2009. (Please see the comments for clarification. Technically, the W-Block was not the same as the famous 396/427 big block of the 1960s. Still, this began Chevrolet’s production of big-block V8s that continued until 2009.) My sources are not in agreement on the highest output for this engine in its intro year. Using the more conservative source, for 1958 the 348 cubic-inch engine maxed out at 280 HP/355 LB-FT of torque.

Any thoughts on the 1958 Impala?








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