The Ones That Got Away

In my previous blog I posted about the cars that had gotten away. That post was inspired by a similar one in Automobile Magazine.

See the source image

From cardomain.com a picture of a 1967 Pontiac GTO in an admittedly non-standard color. My first car was a 1967 GTO, purchased for me by my father for the very large sum of $300. Granted, this was more than 40 years ago, but that wasn’t a lot of money even then.

My GTO had the standard engine, a 400 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 335 HP and 441 LB-FT of torque. It had a Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic transmission with the Hurst “His and Hers” shift on the floor. We fitted the car with large radials (so large, in fact, that the front tires scraped the wheel wells on sharp turns) and stiffer springs in order to improve the handling, but it was never going to be a great-handling car.

My car was originally light blue with a black top, but after an accident two weeks before I was supposed to leave for college, the car was re-painted (in a repair bay in my father’s gas station) dark blue all over. As part of the restoration we purchased “mag” wheels that looked like Cragars, but didn’t cost as much.

The right exhaust manifold had been broken in the accident so we decided to add exhaust headers. I loved that car; in an incident emblematic of the many “unfortunate” things that have happened to me, the car was rear-ended one night while I was returning home from my summer job. The woman who hit me claimed that her brakes failed, but I am 100% positive she just wasn’t paying attention. (Another time the GTO was hit while parked near my house, just sayin’.)

After fighting with the insurance company over the settlement, they gave us a decent amount of money and they let us keep the car, which we then sold as is. Many people miss their first car, but I really miss my first car.

2007 Vette

This is a picture of my 2007 Corvette. I bought it new to “replace” the 2002 Corvette I had purchased used in 2004. When I decided to take the Corvette plunge, I thought I would buy a used one in the event I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have spent the money for a new one. The fact that I purchased a new one should tell you what I thought of the 2002.

In cold black and white, no comparison exists between the 2007 Corvette and the 1967 GTO. The Corvette was powered by a 364 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 400 HP and 400 LB-FT of torque. It weighed about 3,200 pounds compared to the GTO weight of about 3,600 pounds.

The Corvette had power disc brakes with ABS; the GTO had undersized drum brakes without ABS, of course. The Vette had navigation, modern suspension, modern steering and a modern automatic transmission. I managed about 20 MPG with the Corvette and about 12 MPG with the GTO, although I almost never paid for gas with the Goat as, once again, my father ran a gas station.

Not to brag, but the 2007 Corvette was not a financial stretch at all. I traded in my 2002 Vette and simply paid cash for the difference. My baseball business was doing very well at the time. A little more than three years later I lost my business and sold the car in a panic as I thought I needed to raise cash.

Although I have a nice car now and my wonderful wife has a 2015 Corvette that I can drive when I want, I miss my 2007 Corvette. I think I miss what it represents, a time when I was very satisfied with my career, as much as I miss the actual car.

Don’t take anything (or anyone) for granted as fate can often be a cruel mistress.

Monday Musings

Little doubt exists that the Chinese government is enabling its steel and aluminum companies to sell at prices low enough to suppress the market. The debate is the remedy.

The trade deficit amount has NOTHING to do with the amount of the national debt. The national debt is, basically, the accumulation of federal government deficits and surpluses as measured by outstanding government debt. A trade deficit is when the value of a country’s imports exceeds that of its exports. Having a trade deficit is a drag on a country’s GDP, but does not directly have anything to do with government deficits. It is disappointing to read and to hear how many people think the two issues are directly related. An uninformed public is a dangerous thing. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

Enough on policy…I am still hoping to read about what cars you drive. Here is a car I used to own:

This is the 2007 Corvette I used to have. I bought it new to “replace” the 2002 model that I had purchased used in 2004. I had a thriving business then as a player personnel/baseball operations consultant to multiple major league teams and the Vette was not a financial stretch, by any means. Although I have a nice car now and my wonderful wife has a great Corvette that I can drive if I want, I still miss this car. I sold it in a panic when I lost my business in 2010 and thought I needed to raise cash.