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?






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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


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.


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

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?






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