Friday Flow Or Not

I shared the link to yesterday’s post about The Dean of Baltimore sports, Vince Bagli, with some of my friends and former compatriots in the Baltimore sports community. All of them graciously thanked me for “remembering” them and were very grateful for having known Vince.

Mel Kiper and I had a long conversation yesterday, our chats are almost never short, and for much of the time we talked about Vince Bagli. If you are not of a certain age and/or were not a Baltimore sports fan while Vince was on the air, you just can’t appreciate the impact he had on us.

Of all of the seemingly inordinately large number of deaths of sports figures this year, Vince Bagli’s is the most difficult one to process for me.

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Maybe 101 Octane gas doesn’t add much horsepower by itself, after all. I asked Josh at HPA, the person/company that performed the intake/exhaust mods on my Z06, about using such gas since it’s available in Arizona. He wrote, “Putting it in may pick up a few hp but not much without being more aggressive with tuning.”

Since I don’t want to have the tuning altered (meaning changing the ECM programming, I assume) and void the powertrain warranty that’s valid until next July AND don’t want to HAVE to use the 101 Gas, which is not cheap, I will not use it on a regular basis. As I wrote to Josh, though, I may try one tank just to see if I notice any change.

 

 

A recent picture of the Z06 in front of what will (hopefully) be our former house in the not too distant future. If it were possible, we would simply move the house to a vacant lot in our new location. We are not moving because of dissatisfaction with our dwelling, the extensive repairs needed to close on the sale notwithstanding. My wonderful wife and I love this house in which we have lived for ten years. However, and for the nth plus nth time, the only constant in the world is change.

I really believe that saying, by the way. It’s not just a cliché to me. I know people who think they can avoid bad change by trying to avoid all change. Life doesn’t work that way.

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For some reason, and don’t take my mentioning of this as a complaint, a number of today’s Disaffected Musings readers are from the Netherlands. I hope one of those readers sees this and posts a comment as to how they found the blog.

I have never been there although while in Luxembourg we weren’t too far away. From Vianden in the north-central part of the country to Maastricht in the extreme south of The Netherlands is only about a 90-mile drive. Why Vianden? How about this?

 

See the source image

 

From timetravelturtle a picture of Vianden Castle in Vianden, Luxembourg. We visited the castle and the lovely town in which it sits during our trip to Europe in 2014 (!). I know I took many photos at this venue, but that was two iPhones ago and I wasn’t using iCloud storage in those days. I still have these two wonderful photos from Luxembourg, though:

 

 

Sorry, readers from The Netherlands. I mean no offense by steering the dialogue to Luxembourg. The top photo is from Place du Marche in Echternach, Luxembourg, which is the country’s oldest town. It grew around the abbey that was founded in 698. No, I didn’t forget the leading “1” in that year.

The bottom picture is from the Grund area of Luxembourg City, the country’s capitol. I loved that trip and if travel becomes feasible again before I grow too old to partake, I would like to return. Maybe this time we’ll travel to The Netherlands as well.

 

#FridayFlow

#VinceBagli

#2016ChevroletCorvetteZ06

#TheConstancyOfChange

#TheNetherlands

#ViandenCastleLuxembourg

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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900

 

 

 

Not THAT 700 Club

I hope the “real” 700 Club initiates legal action because I used the term. It would be consistent with narrow-minded self-righteousness to go after me and my little blog that, as of now, has not put a single penny in my pocket. Have I ever mentioned that I loathe blind adherence to any ideology? <end sarcasm> In any event, my blog and I could use the publicity.

What I am talking about is my 2016 Corvette Z06 now has 700+ HP and 700+ LB/FT of torque after having had intake and exhaust modifications. I want to thank Josh at HPA for taking care of me and my car. I wish I could say I had the same pleasant experience dealing with the creator and publisher of Action! PC Football.

So, how much did I pay for the work? Well, let me say that at the midpoint of the range in expected horsepower gain I paid about $28 for each added HP. For torque that number is about $24 for each added LB-FT. I think the effort is well worth that expense. The car does sound a little meaner and louder as well, not that it was a shrinking violet before.

Of course, it’s been less than 24 hours since the work has been completed and I don’t want to declare victory lest I damage my karma, not that I really believe in such a thing. I do believe that I am not blessed with good luck on a day-to-day basis as I described here. I guess being the child of Holocaust survivors makes it impossible to expect the best.

 

 

Obviously, that’s a picture of my car which now belongs to the 700 Club. I hope my car doesn’t actually belong to THAT 700 Club at any point in the future.

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Does anyone reading have any thoughts to offer on the new Toyota Supra? From Classic Cars a picture:

 

 

I saw one in person at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona in January of 2019. To me, the car has a multiple-personality look in that it looks good from some angles and not so good from others. From the same article a picture that is less than flattering, in my opinion.

 

 

Of course, this generation Supra is basically a BMW. This car and the new BMW Z4 share the same architecture and are built on the same assembly line in Graz, Austria. The engine, designed and built by BMW, is a turbocharged inline-six of 3 liters in displacement (182 cubic inches) that produces 335 HP/365 LB-FT of torque, allegedly. The only available transmission is an 8-speed, dual-clutch ZF automatic. I wrote “allegedly” about the engine output because many stories have appeared on the Internet claiming that Toyota is really understating the power of this car.

At between $50,000 and $55,000–depending on options, of course–the Supra is a relatively inexpensive way to get in a performance car. From the Classic Cars article referenced above, here is a brief passage about driving the car in Sport mode:

 

“…Once under way again in Sport, I immediately noticed a change in the exhaust tone. The throttle and steering responses were sharper, and the suspension stiffened. It was as if the car had gotten a shot of adrenaline, a gulp of Red Bull or a double espresso. It became a hunting dog on scent. Buckle up, Buttercup, now we’re going for a drive!”

“Suddenly, the Supra felt lighter, more eager, and except for the engine out front instead of mid-ship, the dynamics reminded me of the Cayman S.”

“Particularly impressive was the way that, in Sport mode, the 8-speed gearbox handled the descent off Mount Charleston, knowing how to hold gears, shifting as you would with a manual, so you could actually drive rather than ride brakes down the hill and around the curves.”

 

One of these is not in my future, but Toyota deserves praise for selling a non-boring performance car. Once again, I welcome thoughtful comments about the Supra or about almost any topic. Thanks.

 

#NotTHAT700Club

#2016ChevroletCorvetteZ06

#2020ToyotaSupra

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Another Saturday Sampler

On this day in 1925 Tennessee Governor Austin Peay signed the Butler Act into law. The bill was introduced by Tennessee House of Representatives member John Washington Butler prohibiting public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of mankind’s origin. The law also prevented the teaching of the evolution of man from what it referred to as lower orders of animals in place of the Biblical account.

The law was challenged later that year in a famous trial in Dayton, Tennessee called the Scopes Trial that included a raucous, and now famous, confrontation between prosecution attorney and fundamentalist religious leader, William Jennings Bryan, and noted defense attorney and religious agnostic, Clarence Darrow.

Incredibly, the Butler Act wasn’t repealed until 1967. Maybe that’s not so incredible…a sizable minority of Americans (usually polling at about 40%) do not believe in evolution. As Louis Armstrong is supposed to have remarked, “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”

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On this day in 1996 General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a settlement in a 17-day brake factory strike that idled more than 177,000 employees and brought what was then the world’s top automaker to a virtual standstill. Only about 3,000 workers actually struck, but the de facto closure of the GM Delphi Chassis Systems brake plants in Dayton, Ohio forced GM to close 26 of its 29 assembly plants and cut back work at 90 parts factories. Independent suppliers also laid off tens of thousands of workers.

While the Dayton strike was over local issues, including safety, excess overtime and other contract disputes, its focal point became GM’s desire to award in-house work to outside suppliers, a.k.a. outsourcing.

The most recent UAW strike in combination with the coronavirus led to a reduction in 2020 C8 production from the original goal of 40,000 to probably just 5,000. In fact, as of March 18 it was no longer possible to order a 2020 Corvette. When orders resume in May, customers will be ordering model year 2021 Corvettes. I suspect most of the customers who ordered 2020 models will be receiving 2021 models instead and will have to wait even longer to receive their car, maybe a car like this:

 

See the source image

 

From Motor1 a picture of a 2020 Corvette.

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On this day a year ago I—with the help of my wonderful wife—wired the money to pay for my 2016 Corvette Z06. It’s almost incomprehensible that acquiring that car is already a year in the past. I didn’t receive the car until the 27th; I have only driven it about 2,670 miles. Since I am “retired” I do not drive that much, but that’s still a shame in my eyes. Let’s say I’m at an even 2,700 miles on the 27th, that would still be just 225 miles a month. I drove my Z4 almost 300 miles a month in the 29 months I owned it. Maybe the Z06 will get to stretch its legs more after the move to the desert.

 

 

 

#ButlerAct

#Evolution

#C8CorvetteProductionHalt

#2016CorvetteZ06

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Wednesday Cleanup

Bill James wrote me—and I could swear I published his comment and my reply on the blog, but they seem to have disappeared; the WordPress app has not been “behaving” well as of late—that Saul Bellow did write, “We have a word for everything except what we really think and feel” and that I almost certainly read that in one of Bill’s books. Many thanks for reading and for commenting, Bill.

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Some “inconvenient” facts:

The US population increased by 7.7% from 2004-2013…

Total energy consumption decreased by 5.9% meaning per capita consumption decreased by even more…

Total carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 11.7%. (The energy/carbon dioxide data comes from the International Energy Agency.) By the way, the move from carbureted engines to fuel-injected engines has played a role in the decline of carbon dioxide/carbon monoxide emissions.

 

Too many people are barking up the wrong tree.

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Speaking of automotive induction systems, on this day in 1860 Philander and Francis Roots received a patent for a supercharger as an air pump for use in blast furnaces and other industrial applications. Of course, the automobile as we have known it did not exist in 1860.

In a car, a supercharger is a compressor that increases the pressure in the intake manifold so a more energy-laden mixture can be ignited. A supercharger is actually driven by the engine crankshaft usually via a belt/pulley system. A turbocharger is a compressor that is driven by the exhaust gases of the engine.

I have written elsewhere that I believe most, if not all, new automobile internal-combustion engines should be turbocharged. That would allow for smaller displacement engines that are more energy-efficient but without losing power and engines that release less emissions.

I have owned both a turbocharged car (a BMW Z4) and a supercharged car (the Corvette Z06 that I own now). Intellectually it was amazing to me that the Z4, after some tuning, was generating about 370 HP from 182 cubic inches. Emotionally and viscerally, though, there is no comparison between the Z4 and my Corvette Z06.

 

 

A gratuitous photo of my Z06. There is no replacement for displacement is a common saying among gearheads; I understand the sentiment.

 

#ThanksToBillJames

#BarkingUpTheWrongTree

#Supercharger

#2016ChevroletCorvetteZ06

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Tuesday Trial And Error

 

Can you read this chart? This is from the sales brochure my wonderful wife was given when…well, I am actually not sure if she received this during a trip to our closest Chevrolet dealer when she tried to buy a Corvette there or if it was given to her at the dealer from whom she actually purchased her new Corvette. In any event it’s actually a 2019 brochure and she bought a 2018 model, albeit still brand new.

Note the 0-60 and quarter-mile times in the chart for the Z06: 2.95 seconds 0-60 and 10.95 seconds for the quarter-mile. OK, so it’s really three seconds and eleven seconds; still, those are insane times. Also note the skidpad g rating: 1.2g with the Z07 package. Top speed isn’t listed on the chart, but the speedometer in my 2016 Z06 tops out at 220. You know, I think it’s time for another picture of my Z06:

 

 

Since this car has the Z07 package it has the larger brake rotors that are also made of carbon-ceramic. How large? At over 15 inches in diameter both front and rear it would seem that they are bigger than the wheels for the C3 Corvette, which were 15 inches. Maybe someone can tell me if I am comparing apples to apples.

Of course it is now just nine days until the official reveal of the C8 Corvette. I think Chevrolet/GM are taking a gamble introducing a mid-engine design for a car with such iconic history, but I wish them well.

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In the idiom of “the more things change, the more they stay the same” here is the intro to this post titled “Voices from 1900-1914.”

 

Below are a few dozen voices from the early twentieth century, culled from Philipp Blom’s The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914. In an almost uncanny way their concerns aren’t much different than ours: there’s worry over the spread of new technology and its invasion into and cheapening of everyday life; a deep paranoia over changes in previously stable gender roles, with a resulting exaggeration of masculinity and a lashing out at even the hint of homosexuality; a faith in progress and the harnessing and collation of data, whether in science or culture, which leads either down the rabbit hole of racial theories and eugenics, or just in rigid artistic theories and groups. And there is a feeling of utter powerlessness in the face of science, culture, and rapid change, and our perpetual fear of civilization’s collapse. They are all right here, a hundred years ago:”

 

I have commented in this blog that young people today seem to have total faith in “the new” unmindful of the past and of the fact that since human beings aren’t perfect neither are their inventions or institutions. Maybe all of us suffer from temporal arrogance to some degree.

What do you think?

 

#C7Corvette

#2016ChevroletCorvetteZ06

#EverythingOldIsNewAgain?

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Saturday Salary Arbitration

I don’t know if salary arbitration still works this way in baseball, but in my 20+ years in the game a player with three or more years of service (and certain players with more than two years but fewer than three) had the right to have his salary determined by an arbitrator. As you can imagine this right boosted the average salary of players in this service class relative to those who were not eligible for arbitration.

Contrary to what fans think, the agent doesn’t compare his client to Babe Ruth and the team doesn’t compare the player to a Triple-A reject. However, comparable players are at the heart of the process. The player’s agent will say that his client is comparable to players A, B and C. The team may acknowledge comparability to player C, but say the player is actually closer to players C, D and E where D and E have a lower salary than players A and B.

The team and player each submit a number and the arbitrator has to pick one or the other. The midpoint between the two has some importance, but I believe that historically teams have won 54%-56% of cases, which means the player seems to have a de facto burden of proof.

One of the most enjoyable moments I ever had in baseball was after an arbitration hearing in which the team I worked for ultimately lost the decision. Bill James was working for the player’s agent and spent much of the hearing trying to get me to laugh. He failed and later he expressed amazement at my stoicism. I told him I was simply following orders not to show any emotion.

After the hearing I went back to my hotel room where I received a call from Bill at about 8 PM. He asked if I was busy and if not if I wanted to head down to the hotel restaurant for a snack and a chat. Steve Mann, whom I also knew, was also working for the agent and he joined us as well.

The conversation was quite stimulating; well, to me anyway. Among other things we talked about the maturation of complex systems and its implications. The next thing we knew it was 3 AM. Bill and Steve had to prepare for another hearing later that day. As we got up from the table I said that we should write a book about the topics of our discussion. Bill then said, “Yeah, it would sell 12 copies.” To which Steve replied, “And three of those copies are right here.” We all howled with laughter.

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No, I have not completely recovered from my bug. In fact, yesterday I coughed so hard at times that I thought I was going to cough up a lung. The fact that I am in the third week of being ill is another sad example of my aging. As one ages the immune system simply doesn’t work as well.

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The number of 2016 Z06 Corvettes that meet my search criteria on CarGurus is dwindling rapidly, down to six when I checked this morning. (CarMax doesn’t have any this morning.) Here is one new listing:

It actually has 3LZ trim and is certified pre-owned. The wheels are dark, but do have a light metallic ring. The dealer is asking about $63,000 and the car has a little less than 13,000 miles. I hear you out there, “Sh*t or get off the pot already.” As I have written before I have grown indecisive as I get older in no small way due to the less than satisfactory state of my career for the last 8-9 years.

At this point I estimate the probability that I buy a 2016 Z06 Corvette at 90%. The probability that I buy something else out of left field is about 5% and the probability I buy nothing is about 5%. Ask me again tomorrow and I might give you a different answer.

 

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Tuesday Tidbits

See the source image

Anyone remember these? This picture from Pinterest reminds me of one of my absolute favorite snacks when I was young. I would eat Tastykake Chocolate Kandy Kakes and then have some Tid-Bits as I loved (still do) chocolate followed by salty.

 

Anyway…not really the tidbits I meant in the post title, but what the hell…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This car mentioned in yesterday’s post is out of the running. It turns out the car was manufactured too early in the model year (mid-October of 2015) to have had the 8L90E issues corrected at the factory.

Never fear, right? Another one is on the way, right? Sure enough, about a half hour after I eliminated this car I found another one with fewer miles, a lower price and a higher VIN. Too good to be true, right? Right…after I contacted the dealer I received a call saying that “Car #2” had already been sold. I told the young lady that the listing seemed too good to be true.

I am driving myself crazy (a short drive I grant you) looking at these listings online. However, I have come to the conclusion that it is a virtual certainty that whenever I decide to pull the trigger I will be able to find a good car.

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People born in 1954 have turned or will turn 65 this year, the “retirement age.” Of course, I have been (involuntarily) retired since my early 50s. Have I mentioned my loathing of the American obsession with credentials and age discrimination? <end sarcasm>

What was happening with American automobiles in 1954? For my amazing niece, I can tell her that Packard introduced tubeless tires about a year ahead of the other American makes. Packard also introduced this:

1954 Packard Panther-Daytona Roadster

From supercars.net a picture of the Packard Panther Daytona Roadster concept car. Initially this car was called the Grey Wolf II after a famous Packard race car of the early 20th century.

The Panther was made of fiberglass, which made its lightning transformation from approval to actual car easier. Dick Teague was the designer of record. Packard chief stylist Ed Macauley and engineering VP William Graves were heavily involved as well. The latter two were strong advocates of using modern design in order to improve Packard’s standing and visibility. Of course, 1954 was also the year of the Studebaker-Packard merger (really, a Packard buyout of Studebaker), which shortly would be the final nail in Packard’s coffin.

1954 was also the year that Nash and Hudson merged to form American Motors. Although the Studebaker-Packard tie-up was perceived to be more of a merger of equals, Nash basically bailed out a failing company in Hudson. From the beginning of 1954 until the April merger, Hudson lost more than $6 million on sales of less than $29 million, not exactly a good operating performance. Whether or not rumors of the merger hurt Hudson sales is impossible to know at this distance.

Ford replaced its ancient, but beloved flat-head V-8 in 1954 with a modern overhead-valve engine. The flat-head was introduced for the 1932 model year.

1954 also saw the introduction of this car:

See the source image

From ultimatecarpage.com a picture of the unique Kaiser-Darrin sports car. Obviously, the fiberglass-bodied car was manufactured by Kaiser Motors and was a desperate attempt to gain attention and to stay afloat. Famous designer Howard “Dutch” Darrin designed the car, which was really more about looks than performance as it was “powered” an inline 6-cylinder engine of 161 cubic inches that was rated at just 90 HP.

Darrin was unhappy with the performance and later purchased 50 or 100 unsold cars (the number varies depending on the account) and put Cadillac V-8 engines in the majority of those cars. Those cars could reach 140 MPH although I doubt the car was safe at that speed.

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Although I no longer live in Baltimore or follow the Orioles or baseball, 1954 was the first year of the modern Orioles. From 1902 to 1953 the franchise played in St. Louis and was called the Browns.

I’m sure some local scribe has noted this, but both of Baltimore’s major professional teams came from another city where they were called the Browns.

 

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Monday Musings

I am genuinely touched by the outpouring of well wishes from Disaffected Musings readers, many of whom I’ve never met or spoken to. I am so sick of being sick that I am fearful of reporting any progress in my condition.

 

This was in my Twitter feed:

“There is a pro-Trump cult that would defend him if he shot a random person on 5th Avenue. There is an anti-Trump cult that would attack him if he found the cure for cancer. Most Americans don’t belong to either of these groups, but the political coverage is dominated by them.”

To say that President Trump is a polarizing figure is an excess of understatement. I don’t know how anyone could disagree with the first part of the quoted remark. However, I think if one excludes the millions of Americans who follow neither policy nor politics, I’m not sure I agree with the second half of the statement. Whether it’s due to the media coverage or not, I believe that the majority of Americans who have any interest in current events are either very pro-Trump or very anti-Trump. What do you think?

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OK, what do you think of this?

From CarGurus this is a 2016 Z06 automatic about which I inquired last week. Yes, it’s neither red nor orange, but I really don’t like black wheels on a car and so I have had to expand my color palette. The price of this car is quite reasonable even though it’s a “take it or leave it” price.

In another example of it’s a small world, this dealership is the successor to the place from which I purchased my first Corvette—a 2002 model—in 2004. The person with whom I spoke last week is the same person who sold me that car! Remember that we don’t live in the same state that we lived in then and that was 15 years ago.

My desire to buy a late-model Z06 was only heightened when my wonderful wife and I watched an episode of Everyday Driver on Amazon Prime in which the two hosts, Todd Deeken and Paul Schmucker, drove such a car on the Pacific Coast Highway and on the Laguna Seca racetrack. The sounds the car made AND the sounds the two hosts made only whetted my appetite even more.

The prudent “me” wants to wait until we are finished dealing with our 2018 taxes before buying this car. The impatient “me,” not taking anything for granted, wants to buy something immediately. Those economists reading this recognize this dilemma as a battle between maximizing behavior and satisficing behavior.

More seriously, my experiences of the last 8-9 years have left me questioning my own judgment. Despite my alleged intelligence I have little faith that I will make the right decision in almost any situation. Anyone want to offer an opinion?

 

#MondayMusings

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Monday Musings

Once again I am “under the weather.” This time I have some nasty upper respiratory bug that is also leaving me achy, but with no fever.

I was going to rant about what I consider to be the excessive “spicification” and “cilantro-ization” of restaurant cuisine in America. Instead I will just note that not everyone likes spicy food and for some cilantro is the vilest taste in the known universe. “Mouth on fire” is not a flavor to me and cilantro doesn’t remotely taste like anything edible.

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I have muted CNBC in my Twitter feed. Their excessive coverage of the views of a certain freshman member of the House of Representatives makes me ill. Last I checked the House has 435 members, not just one.

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This Automobile Magazine piece is titled, “2019 Lexus LC500: Seven Things that Make It Special.” An excerpt reads, “Don’t let the seductive look of this coupe deceive you into thinking it’s all show and no go, however, as strapped under the hood is a V-8 engine with 471 horsepower and the ability to slingshot the LC from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.”

See the source image

From uscarsnews.com a picture of the Lexus LC500. I have read that these cars are not selling well in the US, which I imagine is Lexus’ intended primary market. If this car is not selling I don’t think a more expensive, turbo-charged model (an “F” model, in Lexus parlance) will sell any better.

This car was part of the Ultimate Garage on my first blog and is better than 50-50 to be a part of Ultimate Garage 2.0. As I have written before, my wonderful wife and I have had the good fortune of test driving this car. It’s amazing!

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I’m not any closer to buying a 2016 Z06 today than I was last week. I think it’s prudent to see what we owe the IRS and our state first before plunking down serious money to buy the car. When it comes time for me to pull the trigger I think I will be able to buy something quickly.

https://i0.wp.com/carrrs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2016-Chevrolet-CorvetteZ06-039.jpg

From carrrs.com a picture of a 2016 Z06. My first Corvette, a 2002 model, was Electron Blue Metallic. I don’t like blue as much as I used to (bad rhyme intended) and want one in orange or red, instead (ditto).

Any thoughts?

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Saturday Song

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A 1963 concept from legendary car designer Tom Tjaarda called the Rondine. Supposedly this was derived from the Chevrolet Corvette, but I don’t know for sure if it was derived from the C1 or C2. I suspect the former. That is literally one of the five or six most beautiful car designs I’ve ever seen. Does anyone know anything about this car? (Sorry, but I don’t know the source of this photo.) How much do you think it would cost to have something built from scratch that resembles the Rondine? Maybe the equivalent of the GDP of a small country…

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He who hesitates is lost…my search for a 2016 Z06 automatic led me to find one at a dealer very close to where I live. I wasn’t crazy about the interior color (Kalahari), but the exterior was Long Beach Red, it had chrome wheels—not black, it was 2LZ trim, it had only 11,000+ miles and the dealer wasn’t asking an outrageous sum. Of course when I checked my CarGurus search this morning I discovered that the car has been sold.

 

See the source image

 

From Edmunds.com a picture of a 2016 Corvette Z06.

 

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