Following Up A Dream

After we completed assembling a chest of drawers, my wonderful wife and I decided to see the house of which I wrote yesterday. Fortunately for us, the house is in a development that has an open house most Saturday afternoons. It is a gated community and, previously unbeknownst to me, perhaps the most prestigious in the city in which we live. None of the houses can be purchased for less than seven figures and many of them, like the one I wrote about yesterday, would cost eight figures.

It turns out that the house does not yet exist. Although the lot is marked with many stakes, no other construction has begun. The pictures in the online listing are of another house from the same builder. It was still well worth the drive to see this community up close and personal. Here are two photos:

 

 

The house I wrote about yesterday was on a lot about 3,200 feet above sea level. It was far from the highest lot in the development. I would not be surprised if the homes built into the sides of mountains were 4,000 feet in elevation. Our house is about 2,100 feet above sea level; Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is about 1,100 feet in elevation.

One of the amazing aspects of this place to me is that even though some of the houses are on lots as large as three acres, every house in the development has public water and public sewer services. Normally, once lots exceed an acre they will have well water and/or a septic tank. I guess that is a perk of having money in that most people prefer public water/sewer and in this development those services have been provided.

My wonderful wife and I began talking about winning the lottery and buying a house in this development. We imagined what the reaction would be if we called our realtor (Hi, K Squared!) and told her we wanted to buy a house up here. Of course, we didn’t win the Powerball drawing yesterday. Still and once again, what is life without dreams?

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So, if we won tens (or hundreds) of millions in the lottery what car would I buy first? I have talked about a 1967 Corvette restomod convertible, a DeTomaso Longchamp and having a replica made of the amazing Rondine concept car. However, all three of those would take some time to acquire, maybe years in the cases of the Corvette and the Rondine. For instant gratification, what car would I buy? It might be this one:

 

See the source image

 

Of course, this is a picture of a 1965 Buick Riviera GS. Of course, this car was part of Ultimate Garage 2.0 and if I had to trim that list from the 11 cars that were in it to, say, five cars, this car would easily make the grade.

Not that many years ago when I still had daydreams of starting my own car company, the company portfolio included a 21st-century version of this car. Since I have no artistic talent whatsoever, I cannot put the ideas in my head on paper or computer screen. The design would need just a bit of freshening, and certainly the drivetrain would be modern, but this car is just a classic.

I think daydreams are a harmless diversion from everyday life as long as one doesn’t spend all of their waking hours daydreaming.

 

#FollowingUpADream

#WhatIsLifeWithoutDreams?

#FirstLotteryCar

#1965BuickRivieraGS

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Getting Old Tuesday

I had quite the fall yesterday, caused simply by trying to get out of my jeans so I could put on my “night clothes.” It is a VERY good thing that the floor of the master bedroom is now covered in carpet instead of hard wood, but I am still quite sore this morning.

The combination of Meniere’s Disease and advancing age is wreaking havoc on my balance. While living in a one-story house usually accelerates the decline in bone density and cardiovascular health, I know that if I had had a similar fall at the top of the stairs, I wouldn’t be writing this post now. EVERYTHING is a trade-off.

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Some more pictures from the desert:

 

 

With a little research I have figured out why the smudged picture of Venus turned out that way. In low light an iPhone camera slows the shudder speed (to allow more light) so almost any movement will make the picture blurry. I cannot hold the phone still enough to get good photos in low light with my phone. Is that another manifestation of advancing age and/or Meniere’s? I don’t know.

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From this CNBC article comes a list of the states to which people are moving and from which they are leaving, according to U-Haul. OK, people using U-Haul to move may not be representative of the entire population, but it’s still interesting to see. Here are the top five growth states in 2020:

 

1. Tennessee
2. Texas
3. Florida
4. Ohio
5. Arizona

 

California ranked last in 2020, behind Illinois and New Jersey. California has been in the bottom three states since 2016 and Illinois has been in the bottom two since 2015, when U-Haul began ranking states. Everyone repeat after me: People Vote With Their Feet.

From this US News article comes this list of the top and bottom states in population growth since 2010:

 

1.Utah (17.1%)
2 (tied). Idaho (16.3%)
2 (tied). Texas (16.3%)
4. Nevada (16.1%)
5. Arizona (15.8%)
6. Florida (15.3%)
7. Colorado (15.1%)
8. Washington (14.1%)
9. North Dakota (13.4%)
10. South Carolina (12.6%)

41 (tied). Michigan (0.9%)
41 (tied). New Jersey (0.9%)
43. Pennsylvania (0.6%)
44. Rhode Island (0.3%)
45. Mississippi (-0.1%)
46. New York (-0.3%)
47. Vermont (-0.4%)
48. Connecticut (-0.6%)
49. Illinois (-2.0%)
50. West Virginia (-3.7%)

 

The first list is just a 2020 measure while the second list uses a ten-year period so I am not calling this an apples-to-apples comparison. By the way, I had to deliberately leave out the space between 1. and Utah or otherwise the WordPress editor would have indented the list. WHY does WordPress assume that every numbered or bulleted list has to be indented?! I had to copy the list to Microsoft Word and paste it from there, but WordPress still wanted to indent the list unless I left out the space.

Eight of the ten fastest growing states are west of the Mississippi River and all ten of the slowest growing states are east of the Mississippi. Most of the latter group are also in the Rust Belt and/or Northeast. More from the article:

 

“Of the 10 most populous states, eight have seen population growth decline since 2010, while California, once touted for its population growth that boomed between 2000 and 2010, has seen stark declines in growth, losing population between 2019 and 2020 for the first time since 1990. Illinois and New York also saw population losses in the last few years, with both states’ 2019-2020 population loss marking their highest such decrease in the last 30 years.”

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With the purchase of the 2015 Cadillac ATS, all of the ruminating over what to buy has ceased. With it, a large source of blogging material has disappeared as well.

As the vehicle world seems to be moving ever faster towards electric and SUVs/pickup trucks, I wonder just how much material I will have for writing about cars. I open the floor to suggestions about what to use as a source for automotive content. In the interim, a picture of the only car in my “inner sanctum” among Ultimate cars that could be acquired for a five-figure sum:

 

See the source image

 

Remember that the quest for a car to accompany our Corvettes began with a car like this 1965 Buick Riviera GS. At this moment in time, such an acquisition will simply not happen. Oh well…

 

#GettingOldTuesday

#DesertViews

#PeopleVoteWithTheirFeet

#EditingForFascists

#1965BuickRivieraGS

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Saturday Soup

On this day in 2010 Toyota Motor Corporation agreed to pay the US government $32.4 million in additional fines to settle an investigation into its handling of two recalls at the heart of its safety crisis. The latest settlement, on top of a $16.4 million fine Toyota paid earlier in a related investigation, brought the total penalties levied on the company to $48.8 million.

I believe that many Americans are what I call “self-hating Americans.” They think the grass is greener elsewhere. Inherent in that view for many of these people is the incorrect belief that American cars are inferior to those made elsewhere. These are people for whom the facts don’t intrude into their views.

For the last five years, for example, Buick and Chevrolet have ranked in the top 5 or so in the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). This is a more meaningful survey than the JD Power Initial Quality Report. The VDS surveys thousands of car owners about their three-year old vehicles (the 2019 study is about model year 2016 cars/trucks) and tabulates the number of reported problems. Here are the results from 2015-2019 for Buick and Chevrolet:

 

Buick Chevrolet
2015 2nd 9th
2016 3rd 5th
2017 4th 7th
2018 3rd 6th
2019 5th 4th

 

By the way, the historical fact presented in this post is not a knock at Toyota. That make has finished 3rd or 4th in the JD Power VDS every year except one since 2015 (a 9th-place finish in 2018).

For the vast majority of people, facts that run contrary to their a priori beliefs are ignored. However, as Huxley wrote, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” I could write the somewhat vulgar, yet often-repeated, remark about opinions being like a certain part of the human anatomy in that (almost) everyone has one and almost all of them stink, but I would never do that.

Not that my life experiences are representative of everyone’s or constitute a significant sample, but I have owned vehicles manufactured in the US, in Japan, in Germany and in South Korea. The least reliable car I ever owned was a product of the supposedly superior Germans.

To honor Buick here is a picture from Hemmings of a beautiful 1965 Buick Riviera GS, a car that appeared in my Ultimate Garage 2.0:

 

See the source image

 

I would really like to own one of these as a companion to my 2016 Corvette Z06, but they are too expensive for my budget and, of course, do not represent the product of a defunct American make. Of course, if/when I actually pull the trigger who knows what I might buy?

 

#ThePersistenceOfMyths

#1965BuickRivieraGS

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: Car Number Three

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

– Shakespeare

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Since I may not post tomorrow as is my wont I wanted to bring these facts to the readers’ attention:

Today is the 499th day that Disaffected Musings has existed.

This post you’re reading is post #449.

I have written about 185,000 words in this blog.

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Car number three in Ultimate Garage 2.0:

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top photo is from eBay, the bottom from classiccars.com.

The 1965 Buick Riviera GS is a no-brainer for Ultimate Garage 2.0. Actually, I wouldn’t have to have the Gran Sport. Actually, I wouldn’t have to have a ’65, any first-generation Riviera would probably suffice. However, since this is supposed to be an “Ultimate” endeavor I might as well aim for the top.

In one of the few instances where form defeats function for me I prefer the 1965 Riviera over the ’63 and ’64 primarily because of the hidden headlights. From standard catalog of® American Cars, 1946-1975 by John Gunnell: “The Riviera was a new sports/luxury model for 1963, only issued in a stunning sport coupe body style. From the front fenders, whose leading edges were vertical grilles, to the razor-edged rear contours, the Riviera looked both elegant and fast.”

Bill Mitchell, head of GM styling at this time, was inspired by a custom-bodied Rolls-Royce he saw in England. Ned Nickles drew the car under the auspices of Mitchell. For the three model years of the first-generation Buick produced 112,544 Rivieras.

The 1965 Gran Sport was powered by a 425 cubic-inch/7-liter V8 with two four-barrel carburetors that produced 360 HP/465 LB-FT of torque. (Buick engines were known for their torque during this period. The engines were often named for their torque, and not HP, output.) It also had a larger diameter exhaust than the standard Riviera and a limited-slip differential. Only 9.7% of 1965 Rivieras were Gran Sports, 3,354 of 34,586.

According to Hagerty the average value for a 1965 Riviera Gran Sport is about $52,000. At the Mecum auction in Louisville in 2018 one example hammered for $65,000 meaning the buyer paid $71,500 all in.

If I were limited to just five or six cars in my Ultimate Garage, the ’65 Riviera GS would easily make the list.

Any thoughts?

 

#UltimateGarage2.0

#1965BuickRivieraGranSport

#somanycarsjustonelife

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