Outside Looking In

Auctioneer extraordinaire Jimmy Landis has begun the proceedings at the current Mecum auction in Glendale, Arizona with a word of the day. The words have been positive, words like tremendous.

My word, though, has been ennui. (Noun: a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.) Although I have enjoyed the proceedings, I have not enjoyed them as much as I thought I would. Even a wonderful conversation with the gracious and gorgeous Katie Osborne (sorry, guys, but I forgot to take pics) was not able to lift my weariness.

Although the docket is not as polluted (sorry, that’s how I feel) by pickup trucks and SUVs as the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale in January, far too many of these vehicles are being auctioned for my taste. However, I think the main reason I am not as energized is that the auction is yet another example of where I am on the outside looking in.

This state has existed in my life since my baseball career ended more than ten years ago. Even in this venue, multiple people have remarked to me, “Wow, you sure know a lot about cars.” Why am I not involved in the process instead of just watching? When I am passionate about something, like I am about automobiles and was about baseball, I want to be part of the endeavor and not just a spectator.

I am capable of doing almost anything well except–apparently–to create the opportunity to do that almost anything. You know, when I tried to get into baseball the book Moneyball was many years in the future and analytics was not a word used often. I didn’t apply for a job as a Statistical Analyst for the Baltimore Orioles because no such job existed. I created my baseball career basically out of thin air.

I know I could make meaningful contributions to a company like Mecum crunching numbers and writing for online content and other applications. I did, after all, write a book that The Wall Street Journal called without a doubt the best book of its kind ever written. Even though John Kraman graciously forwarded my resume to Mecum’s Director of Human Resources months ago, I have never heard a word from them.

It is a terrible state of affairs to feel unfulfilled, especially when you have had the experience of making your passion your career. We are all a product of our experiences, of judging the world against those experiences and not some objective “reality,” whatever that is, anyway.

I am not apologizing for my “rant” because this is my blog and because nothing will change, anyway. This post is an example of the utility of the blog to me.

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Scott Hoke has texted me a couple of times during the auction about whether or not I am going to buy a car. He even said he has a friend in the area who would store a car for me. In all honesty, only one car would have tempted me to bid, this one:

 

 

This 1993 Cadillac Allante in Pearl Flax (only 89 were made in that color that year) looked like a brand new car. After a long day, my wonderful wife and I left before the car crossed the block yesterday, but not before I could take these pictures.

The car did not sell at a high bid of $26,000. Another Allante offered here, a 1991 model, did not sell at a high bid of $9,250. Once again, among the small group of Allante aficionados the 1993 models are the most highly prized because that was the only year the 295 HP Northstar V-8 was used and because it was the last year for the ill-fated car.

I complimented the owner on the car. He asked me if I was going to buy it and I said, “One of these days.” His reply was, “One of these days is none of these days.” I understood the sentiment, but was put off by the remark, if I am to be frank. (I could be earnest, if you prefer. Thanks, Benny Hill.)

An XLR was on the docket, a 2004 model that sold for $20,900 all in. I would never buy a 2004 or 2005 XLR under any circumstances. If one researches owner satisfaction/complaints by each model year for the car, an incredible decline in dissatisfaction and complaints occurs after 2005.

I have decided that when the time comes for a real Z06 companion, it is going to be one of these two cars. I am just not going to buy a car without any semblance of modern safety systems.

The last day of the Mecum auction is today. I wish I could shake the feeling of being on the outside looking in and just enjoy the moment, but alas, I am not wired that way.

 

#OutsideLookingIn

#Ennui

#1993CadillacAllante

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Not Sad To Read This News

You may be aware of a giant cargo ship that caught on fire and ran aground near Portugal. You may also be aware that the ship has sunk.

The cargo consisted of about 4,000 vehicles built by Volkswagen AG, AKA The Shitlermobile Company, on their way to North America. I don’t really believe in karma, but the sinking of the cargo ship (the Felicity Ace, no crew were hurt) makes me happy. Call me an angry old man; I don’t care.

That company was founded by Shitler himself. No statute of limitations exists on genocide, mass murder and unspeakable evil. As regular readers know, my parents were Holocaust survivors. My father watched his family murdered by Nazi troops. My contempt for that company burns with the heat of a million suns. That will NEVER change as long as I am alive.

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I am still contemplating a long hiatus from blogging. Perhaps short breaks, which may be necessary this month due to numerous commitments, will do the trick. This picture will tip you off as to the nature of one of those commitments:

 

 

Two weeks from yesterday the Mecum auction from Glendale, Arizona will begin. We attended two years ago not as Arizona residents although we knew by then we would be living here in the not too distant future. As it turned out, we moved here about 7 1/2 months after that auction.

We didn’t attend last year’s event because we were not fully vaccinated. We are really looking forward to being at the Mecum auction. I will be tempted by a 1993 Cadillac Allante that has recently been consigned, but with what’s happening in the car market at present coupled with our lack of a place to store the car, I assess the odds of purchase at almost zero. This picture (not from Mecum) is a 1993 Allante in Pearl Flax, the color of the Mecum car:

 

See the source image

 

Here are the highlights from the Mecum listing:

 

  • 1 of only 89 finished in Pearl Flax
  • 18,000 miles
  • Highly original condition including tires
  • Pinifarina design
  • 4.6L 32V Northstar V-8 engine
  • Automatic transmission with overdrive
  • Road sensing suspension
  • Removable hardtop
  • Digital dash
  • Chrome wheels
  • Two Time – National 1st place winner
  • Books, records, manuals and accoutrements provided.
  • Car cover
  • Coordinated-color chairs
  • Extra keys
  • Delivered new to Jack Schmitt Oldsmobile Cadillac in O’Fallon, Illinois

 

If that car hammers for less than $20,000 I will be surprised, even though two ’93 Allantes sold at Kissimmee in January for $11,000 and $15,400 all in. However, a third ’93 Allante with just 13,000 miles sold at $27,500 all in.

I remember a 1990 Allante offered at the Mecum auction in Denver in 2018. That car sold, all in, for $1,650. No, I did not leave out a digit. I think the ’93s are the most desirable because that is the only year the 295 HP Northstar engine was offered.

Believe it or not, a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk (a 1962 model) is also consigned to the auction, but since it has a manual transmission I will not be bidding. Do you remember what my left foot looks like? Do you know that I have arthritis in my left knee? Case closed…

 

#NotSadToReadThisNews

#MecumGlendale2022

#1993CadillacAllante

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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All Hail Bluetooth

For most of my life music has been an important part of it. For me, music is almost never background noise, but something that deserves my full attention.

Even though my wonderful wife and I have lived in this house for almost six months (!), my ponderous, and frankly antiquated, surround sound stereo system remains unassembled. Almost all of my music has been heard through the “speaker” of my iPhone. Even worse, the iPhone would sit to my left on a small end table next to my chair in the bonus room, meaning I was not in the center of the sound.

I don’t know why it took so long to come to this realization, nor do I know what sparked it, but I finally realized I could order a Bluetooth speaker. Here it is:

 

 

Of course, nothing in my life proceeds without difficulty. When the speaker arrived yesterday, I eagerly began to pair it to my iPhone. Unfortunately, I could not place the speaker on the TV stand at the center of the wall opposite from my chair as it was too tall to sit on the shelf and too tall to sit in front of the TV without obscuring it. This end table was an improvisation; we ordered a wall shelf on which we can place the Bluetooth speaker.

I suspect audiophiles like David Banner (not his real name) would scoff at this, but the speaker sounds amazing. Of course, part of that is no doubt due to the contrast to my little iPhone speaker. I was overwhelmed at how good the music sounded.

I am toying with the idea of just leaving my old surround sound system unassembled and, perhaps, buying a second speaker (this is an Asimom Jewel Pro, obviously in red) to create real stereo.  Of course, I could just leave it as is. Oh, the speaker was all of $70.

Bluetooth was invented by the Swedish company Ericsson. From the time the effort was started to create short-link radio technology until the first consumer Bluetooth device was sold was ten years. All hail Bluetooth!

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From Bill James:

 

“The problem with ideology–left or right–is that in order to exist, it has to pretend that questionable propositions are solid rocks upon which extensive belief systems may be constructed.”

 

Very well expressed, Bill.

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When it comes to automobiles, my personal ownership preference is for cars I can drive and not vehicles that are de facto museum exhibits. This Hagerty article, titled “Have imperfect cars become the perfect investment?,” is about the market trend moving towards driver quality cars and away from trailer queens. From the piece:

 

“But there are multiple indications that enthusiasts and collectors alike are increasingly seeking out less-than-perfect examples of certain cars…Our Hagerty Price Guide data shows prices for certain vehicles in conditions #3 and #4 (“good” and “fair”) rising faster—in some cases much faster—than values for number #1 and #2 (“concours” and “excellent”) cars.”

 

Yes, Different Stokes For Different Folks (DSFDF), but I completely understand buying cars that can be driven without fear of turning a 99-point concours champion into a 90-point also ran in a half hour of driving. Unless I were orders of magnitude wealthier than I am now, I would never buy a car that I would be afraid to drive for fear of lowering its value, and I might not buy such a car no matter how wealthy I was. Ironically though, the Hagerty article seems to imply one might be able to have their cake and eat it, too.

I promise no more pictures of Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawks, at least not today. 🙂 Here is a car that appeals to me quite a bit and is certainly not a trailer queen:

 

 

This is a 1963 Buick Electra convertible offered at $45,000 at our local Gateway Classic Cars dealer. Although my wonderful wife would probably let me drive her Corvette convertible anytime I wanted, I wouldn’t mind having a convertible of my own to take advantage of the Arizona weather. Of course and once again, we have absolutely no place for another car. In addition, while I really like this Buick if I were somehow able to buy a convertible of my own, another one is probably at the top of the list:

 

See the source image

 

From classiccars.com a picture of a 1993 Cadillac Allante. That model year, the last for the Allante, is probably the best of the bunch as the engine–the newly introduced Northstar V-8–gave the car the power to go with its looks. Of course, the drawback to the ’93, in my opinion, is that the auxiliary hardtop was not available. I really like the color/wheel combination of this particular example.

I could buy one of these for far less than the $45,000 Gateway Classic Cars is asking for the ’63 Buick Electra. Hemmings currently has eight 1993 Allantes listed for sale for an average price of about $16,500 and three listed for under $12,000. Of course, this car is hardly one that cannot be driven for fear of ruining its value. Brand new, the MSRP of a 1993 Allante was $61,675, which is about $115,000 in today’s dollars. One can be purchased for 10%-15% of that figure today.

I would very much like to read your thoughts on trailer queens vs. driver cars, Cadillac Allantes or anything else. Thanks.

 

#AllHailBluetooth

#BillJames

#SayNoToIdeology

#CarsAreForDriving

#1963BuickElectraConvertible

#1993CadillacAllante

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday, Cheapest Car I Would Buy Edition

First…

 

 

I warned you that I was going to show a lot of pictures of the scenery around here.

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Even though I found both of our Corvettes using Car Gurus, for the type of search I wanted to do today I used AutoTrader. The latter is better at searches by multiple types of cars.

I did a nationwide search of vehicles with a max price of $10,000 and no more than 75,000 miles. The cars had to have an 8-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission, and be a convertible or coupe. Oh, the cars also could not have ever had a reported accident.

It will be absolutely no surprise to regular readers of Disaffected Musings which car I picked. This picture is from Barrett-Jackson as picture links to AutoTrader have a way of breaking quickly.

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1993 Cadillac Allanté. The one available on AutoTrader, also in Red, has 53,499 miles and the asking price is $7,990. AutoTrader classifies that as a “Great Price.”

This was the fifth least expensive of the 19 results in the search. The four that were less expensive were also Cadillacs, either Eldorados or Allantés, but were of model years I wouldn’t buy.

IF the car fit our needs (it doesn’t) or IF I had space for a fourth car (I don’t), I would have already contacted the dealer about this car. If my aunt had had balls, she would have been my uncle. I first heard that line, which I have been using for more than 40 years, from Tim Whittie. He was a star athlete at my high school, earning 10 varsity letters in football, wrestling and track. (It could have been football, wrestling and lacrosse, but 10 varsity letters is still 10 varsity letters.)

He did play major college football, but was never more than a complementary player at that level. I had a friend, Jim F (we have drifted apart over the years), who was the city defensive player of the year in our senior year. He was not successful at making the jump to college football at the 1-AA level. It’s great to have dreams, but almost everyone should have a fallback position. People like LeBron James are literally one in a million.

OK, back to the car…as every edition of Frugal Friday shows, an enjoyable car can be purchased for not a lot of money. I believe it was Keynes who said that the desired end result of all economic activity is consumption. In other words, one acquires wealth with the idea it will or could be spent, even if that spending is in the future.

 

#FrugalFriday

#DesertBeauty

#CheapCars

#1993CadillacAllanté

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday 8

Obviously, I have written far more than seven previous Frugal Friday posts. (The actual number is close to 40.) This is the eighth post with the title of Frugal Friday without any embellishment.

Although I am not strictly a devotee of just one make or one country of origin, my automotive net is still not that large. As I have written many times, I have no interest in SUVs or pickup trucks as objects of affection. I have next to no interest in four-door sedans, apart from the occasional Rover P5B.

I like two-door cars that look good to me and have at least decent performance, even if not a performer like my Corvette Z06. However, as cars like that are not being made in large numbers anymore, my universe of interest shrinks in comparison to the auto world at large.

It might seem as if this car appears way too often on Disaffected Musings, but it hasn’t been featured in a Frugal Friday post for almost a year. (This is also the first post with this specific year/model tag.) Here is a 1993 Cadillac Allante:

 

 

This car, with 89,000+ miles, is listed on Hemmings with an asking price of $8,500. I passed on some 1989-93 Allantes priced even lower because I am not a fan of cars with white exteriors.

1993 was the last year for the Allante and the only year it was equipped with a 295 HP/290 LB-FT of torque NorthStar V-8. Cadillac produced 4,670 Allantes for model year 1993, which was actually more than the combined number for 1991 and 1992. In fact, 1993 was the best-selling year for the car that was produced from 1987 to 1993. At this distance, it’s not clear why the car was discontinued at that particular time even though it had been a major disappointment from the beginning. By the way, the MSRP for a 1993 Allante was $61,675, $110,106 in 2020 dollars according to this site.

Scarcity doesn’t guarantee future value. The Allante has sunk to the bottom of the depreciation curve and stayed there. While one man’s meat is another man’s poison, for me this car is almost the definition of good value in a collector car. The body was designed and built by the legendary Pininfarina, designer of so many Ferrari bodies. It’s not such an old car that service would be especially difficult. It is certainly less expensive to service a Cadillac than a Ferrari. Of course, I think the Allante is stunning in appearance and always have.

If it weren’t a “fail” as a grocery car, an Allante might very well have been the car I would have chosen as my Z06 companion. No, I am not thinking about a companion for my companion.

 

#FrugalFriday

#1993CadillacAllante

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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