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…

 

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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:

 

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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.

 

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Monday Musings

Yesterday was the first NFL regular season Sunday without my having NFL Sunday Ticket in over 20 years. I have to say that I didn’t miss it.

I did watch a little football, some of the Colts-Chargers game that aired on the “local” CBS affiliate. Local is in quotes because I live in a state without any major network affiliates or without commercial aviation. Many of you should now know in which state I live.

I was curious about seeing the Colts without Andrew Luck. The game was exciting with the Chargers winning 30-24 in overtime.

My interest in NFL football is the least it’s been in decades. In general, I am tired of billionaire owners and millionaire players who are out of touch with the middle-class fans that support them. Let me quickly add that I am not a supporter of wealth re-distribution policies or socialism. I am just exercising my right as a consumer in a “free-market” economy to stop spending money on a product I no longer want to consume.

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A post-script to yesterday’s scribbling about Kaiser automobiles. By way of Richard Langworth’s excellent book about Studebaker are comments by Hickman Price, Jr., former export vice president of Kaiser-Frazer (and later, Assistant Secretary of Commerce during John Kennedy’s administration):

 

“I was young and I was brash and I had a whole lot of ideas. One of them was that in the automobile business—although this had not been proven at that stage at all—the big ones got bigger and the little ones went out of business…We may have a period of three or four years—I remember putting 1950 as the terminal date—in which we can sell everything we can make, and hopefully we can price things at a level where we can make a good profit. But that isn’t going to be enough because it isn’t enough volume and it isn’t enough business really, in this industry. That was Hudson’s experience ultimately and Studebaker’s; I was sure it would happen to us. Actually, it happened to us earlier than it did to Hudson and Studebaker and for different reasons.”

 

Concentration of market share in the hands of a few firms is common and can often be primarily the result of stochastic variation or “luck.” Once market share is obtained, however so, it can be difficult for those firms with less share to ever make significant inroads in that market.

From momentcar.com a picture of a 1955 Kaiser Manhattan, one of the few four-door cars whose styling appeals to me:

 

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1955 was the last model year Kaiser sold cars in the US. Only 226 of these four-door sedans were produced for the US market in 1955. These cars were powered by a supercharged version of the same inline 226 cubic-inch 6-cylinder engine that Kaiser used for all of its tenure as an automobile manufacturer. In supercharged form the motor could produce 140 HP/215 LB-FT of torque.

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This past Saturday my wonderful wife and I attended the “car show” hosted by a local Corvette club the first Saturday of every month from April to October. Once again, we are taken by the camaraderie among these automobile enthusiasts. Even though the show is sponsored by a Corvette club, many non-Corvettes are brought. Thanks to Brian for being so friendly and for bringing his wonderful 1987 Buick Grand National:

 

 

One would never know this car has 118,000 miles on it. Many also would not know that this variant of the Buick Regal and other similar models like the Turbo-T and, of course, the GNX were the pinnacle of American performance cars in the mid-1980s.

Yes, that is a DeLorean parked next to the Grand National. That car belongs to Brian’s friend, John, who also owns two Grand Nationals having been inspired to acquire those cars by Brian’s example. I have always been a fan of these Buicks, but it’s nice to have that fandom rekindled from time to time by seeing a good one in person.

 

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Frugal Friday, 200,000 Words Edition

Somewhere in yesterday’s post was the 200,000th word I’ve written in Disaffected Musings. As someone who has had three books published you’d think I’d be more sure about this, but I think that’s the equivalent of two “regular” books.

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I don’t know why I haven’t shared this passage before. It’s from Thomas Bonsall’s More Than They Promised: The Studebaker Story. This is actually in the footnotes for Chapter Five, Back From The Abyss. In all honesty, I think copious footnotes can detract from a book. Anyway,

 

“In a curious twist, the name [Pierce-Arrow] was very nearly revived in 1962 for the car that became the Avanti. It was reportedly Raymond Loewy’s personal choice and most of the early Avanti designs bore Pierce-Arrow nameplates or insignia. In the end, Studebaker made the decision to go with a name that looked to a future it did not have, rather than to a past it could not recreate.” [Emphasis mine]

 

That last sentence is true poetry, word art.

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An unabashed plea for blog views today…please send the link to today’s post to as many people as you can to see if the number of views can set a daily record. Many thanks.

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Ever since this post I have been thinking about the eighth and last generation of the Buick Riviera (1995-1999). I even saw one the other day while out getting breakfast. About 91,000 of that generation were produced, but almost half (41,000+) were made in the first year.

For this Frugal Friday I am featuring one of these cars. A search on Hemmings only yielded three while a search on Autotrader only showed one with fewer than 100,000 miles.

 

 

From this Hemmings listing a picture of a 1995 Buick Riviera in Platinum Beige Metallic over Tan offered by a private seller. This car is described as being in excellent condition and has only 54,000 miles. The seller is asking $7,500 “obo.”

This year the Riviera was offered with the famous Buick 231 cubic-inch V-6 (3.8 liters for the anti-Bill Stephens) supercharged, not turbocharged like the famous Grand National/GNX of the 1980s, with output of 225 HP/275 LB-FT of torque and drove the front wheels through a 4-speed automatic transmission. The base engine was a non-supercharged version producing 205 HP/230 LB-FT.

Speaking of the Grand National…

 

 

From this Hemmings listing a picture of a 1987 Buick Grand National with 57,235 miles offered at $24,500. Of course, you can’t touch the rare GNX (only 547 made) for anywhere near that, but this is not a bad price, in my opinion, for one of these with that mileage.

The non-GNX version—but still turbocharged—of the engine made 245 HP, but in the Buick tradition an impressive 355 LB-FT of torque. All of these cars had a 4-speed automatic transmission.

Once again, here are two interesting cars that even purchased together at full asking price would cost less than the “average” new vehicle sold in the US today.

 

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#200000Words

#MoreThanTheyPromised

#MoreBlogViewsPlease

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#1987BuickGrandNational

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