Wednesday Wackadoodle, Part Two

I must acknowledge that I am an idiosyncratic person. I am also sure that status is far more by nature than by nurture.

I have little respect for people who are not true to themselves. From Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “This above all: to thine own self be true.” I have little respect for people who try to be something they’re not. Of course, I think people should strive to improve while acknowledging that perfection is impossible. However, a person’s basic nature should be heeded.

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These are two pictures I took in the Exhibit Hall at the National Corvette Museum of the One Millionth Corvette produced. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?!) This was one of eight cars that fell into the sinkhole that opened up under the floor of the Skydome part of the museum on February 12, 2014.

Five of the cars were not restored and are on display in the Skydome above where the sinkhole opened up. Two of the three restored cars are also part of that exhibit. I think the 1,000,000th Corvette is usually on display there as well, but for the 25th Anniversary bash it was moved to the Exhibit Hall. I have to admit that I choked up a bit upon seeing the damaged cars.

Despite the claim of the Guinness Book of World Records the Corvette is the best-selling two-seat sports car in history with about 1.7 million sold. Despite the claim of Mercedes-Benz the Corvette is the longest-running car model in history having been produced in every calendar year since 1953.

I will editorialize now: dollar for dollar, the modern Corvette is easily the best performance car in the world. Let’s look at a Ferrari 488, a step above the “entry-level” Portofino, and compare it to a C7 Z06, a step above a base Stingray. The 488 is supposed to be able to accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 2.85-2.9 seconds, a hair faster than the Z06 time of 2.95 seconds. In the quarter-mile “test” the 488 is supposed to run low 11s, say 11.2 seconds. A Z06 can break 11 seconds. In a skidpad test the 488 can pull 1.02-1.05g, a great performance. The Z06 can pull 1.2g, an otherworldly number.

A Ferrari 488 will cost about $275,000; a new C7 Z06 will cost about $100,000 equipped with the Z07 performance package. Both cars are comfortable, but which one do you think will cost less to service and to maintain? That’s a rhetorical question because the answer is obvious.

A lot of car snobs refuse to accept that the Corvette is a world-class performance car. That refusal is one of the reasons, I believe, that Chevrolet/GM made the decision to move to a mid-engine platform with the C8. Remember this Abraham Lincoln story by way of Thomas Sowell:

 

“Abraham Lincoln once asked an audience how many legs a dog has if you count the tail as a leg. When they answered ‘five,’ Lincoln told them that the answer was four. The fact that you called the tail a leg did not make it a leg.”

 

As Aldous Huxley once wrote, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Unless one wants to spend many multiples of the price of a Corvette, one cannot buy a car with better performance.

 

#AcknowledgeYourself

#WilliamShakespeare

#OneMillionthCorvette

#AbrahamLincoln

#ThomasSowell

#AldousHuxley

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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What Would Abe Think?

The National Corvette Museum and the plant where the Corvette is built are in Bowling Green right off Interstate 65 in south-central Kentucky. Much or all of that section of the interstate is known as the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Expressway. I couldn’t help wondering what Lincoln would think of modern America, of car culture and Corvette Caravans, and of modern inventions. By the way, Lincoln was born in Kentucky and lived there until his family moved to Indiana when the future President was seven.

I also couldn’t help wondering what Lincoln would think of today’s political landscape. In my opinion, and I am not an expert historian, the US is more divided politically (and socially) than at any other time since before the Civil War. I do not think that massive armies will engage in battle to determine the future of the nation. I do think, however, that it is likely that at some point the people of say, North Dakota, will decide they no longer want to be in the same country as say, California, or vice versa.

Countries, like everything else, are subject to entropy. Does Czechoslovakia still exist? What about the Roman Empire? Nothing guarantees that the United States will remain in its current configuration forever. While I won’t live to see it, I think the US will not exist in its current form 50 or 100 years from now.

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A picture I took while my wonderful wife was driving through West Virginia on the way back from Bowling Green. Both of us were taken by the physical beauty of the state. It is sad to me that West Virginia has had so many economic struggles. In both chained and current dollars the state ranks 48th in the nation in per capita GDP.

I can’t help think that tourism could be a way to boost the West Virginia economy. We stayed at a beautiful resort in Roanoke, West Virginia on the way to Bowling Green for three days, a property complete with restaurants, magnificent views and a top-notch golf course, apparently. (I am not a golfer.)

Oh, I want the anti-performance car crowd to choke on this: on the 300+ mile drive from Bowling Green to Charleston, West Virginia, my wonderful wife’s 2018 Corvette made 29 MPG at an average speed of 66 MPH. (Most of the interstates in this area have a 70 MPH speed limit.) So, a car that will accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in less than four seconds, that can reach a top speed of 190 MPH and that can pull more than 1G on a skidpad made almost 30 MPG on the highway.

Someone with a “lighter” foot may have made 30+ MPG. In fact, one of the many items that the Corvette’s driver display can show is a summary of gas mileage for the last 50 miles. During one of those stretches the best mileage recorded was almost 34 MPG although I admit I do not know over how long a stretch because the display also showed an average mileage in the 20s in the same 50 miles.

 

 

A picture of the aforementioned 2018 Corvette convertible.

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OK, so how were the Corvette Museum and the Corvette Caravan? First, I want to thank the members of the local Caravan who were so welcoming to us. We are not members of the local Corvette Club, but we were treated very warmly.

The biggest thing that stuck with me is that if the throngs surrounding the new C8 Corvettes are any indication, the car will sell like crazy. Here is one picture I managed to take without crowds:

 

 

In person I think the C8 is stunning. Chevrolet is going to have two shifts producing the car, a sign the company expects it to sell well, but C8 production will not start before December.

One of the top Chevrolet salesmen in the US spoke to our caravan at a dinner. He said he believes the car will sell very well based on the number of deposits he has already received. He also said that Chevrolet is gearing up for a minimum 2020 run of 40,000 cars. The last Corvette year with sales that high was 2016; that was also based on a normal length model year production run beginning in August/September of 2015. The 2020 model year may be short for the Corvette even if it starts in December and not in January.

After the dinner I approached this salesman (thank you, Mike) and asked if the new Global B electrical architecture was a 48-volt system. He confirmed that it was. The Corvette will be the first General Motors car to have the new system, but all GM cars will have it by model year 2023.

OK, I’ve run on quite long. If anyone has any specific questions about Bowling Green or anything else, please feel free to ask. I am probably not finished with the Caravan and Museum as a topic for blog posts.

 

#AbrahamLincoln

#WestVirginia

#2018ChevroletCorvetteConvertible

#C8Corvette

#2019CorvetteCaravan

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Friday Disarray

And I thought the “Birds” post was a dud…the number of views/visitors for yesterday was the de facto lowest for a day with a post since September of last year. Obviously, I can’t ask people who aren’t reading Disaffected Musings why they’re not reading. I have an idea why readership has dropped off so markedly this week, but I’ll just classify it as yet another sign of complete intolerance for views that differ from one’s own. The right to never be offended is not actually in the Constitution.

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An Abraham Lincoln story by way of a tweet from Thomas Sowell. He is a noted American economist—and former Marine—who is currently a Senior Fellow at Stanford University.

“Abraham Lincoln once asked an audience how many legs a dog has if you count the tail as a leg. When they answered ‘five,’ Lincoln told them that the answer was four. The fact that you called the tail a leg did not make it a leg.”

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This article from classiccars.com, one of a series, is quite interesting to me. The series is about the future of the collector car hobby. With the caveat that history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future, it is only human to have curiosity about the future.

The article was written by John Kruse, co-founder of Worldwide Auctions. He is in his late 30s, which is relevant to his article, and grew up in an Indiana family well known through several generations for its various auction businesses. Here are some excerpts:

 

“We have gone through a period of time where the auction companies, which for lack of a better term have largely been car dealers who have gotten into auctions, have been telling everyone else what cars are worth. I think there’s going to be a significant shift, a shift toward people and authenticity.”

“I think we’re already seeing that shift, a shift to where people — collectors and buyers — will be put back into the driver’s seat and the auctioneers are going to take what I believe is an appropriate role, that of more of a guide rather than telling people what to do, which happens through such things as pre-auction estimated values.”

“At Worldwide Auctioneers, we have eliminated printed auction estimates. It’s my opinion that the origin of estimates is not what people think it is. Such estimates cause problems, unrealistic expectations. Bidders and buyers should get to decide what something is worth in an auction format.”

“That’s going to be one of the biggest shifts, power going to the collector and the buyer, and that’s what I think auctions should be. We should be helping and guiding the collector buyers.”

“We also need to remember this is a hobby business. Regardless of how many millions or billions of dollars are transacted in our industry, it’s not like a normal business. This is a hobby. The people stroking the checks — the bidders and the buyers — are going to be increasingly in the driver’s seat.”

“Authenticity and people is what Millennials look for. Millennials are not just going to influence their decision-making elders and parents. They’re going to be the decision makers, and there are a lot of Millennials. We give them a bad rap, frankly, and while they’re still finding their way as a group, they’re figuring it out pretty quickly. And once they take hold, that’s the new culture, and it’s not going to take 10 years to get there.”

“The second part of the demographic shift is that with the digital age and online consumption there’s a craving for instant gratification. That’s true to a degree, but online sales will never ever be a replacement for live auctions. You can’t replicate that. Online auctions are for business transactions, for things you have to have, not things that you want to have.”

“Millennials want to have experiences and there’s not much more exciting than a collector car auction.”

 

Kruse also wrote that most of us don’t have “expendable money” until we’re in our 50s after the house is paid off and the kids have finished college. Of course, by definition millennials are not at that stage of life. He also wrote that he strongly favors no-reserve auctions. I would like to read your views on this topic.

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Technically this is not a Frugal Friday post. The reason I have suspended that feature until after Labor Day is that it seems, for some reason, that late summer Fridays are poor days for viewership. Anyway…from classiccars.com a picture of a car that seems like a bargain to me:

 

Large Picture of '56 400 - 97ON

This is a 1956 Packard 400 hardtop coupe, of which 3,224 were produced. The seller is asking $14,980. While not a certainty—only one thing in life is certain—it is more likely than not that at some indeterminate time in the future I will buy a companion for my 2016 Z06 and that car will have been built by a defunct American auto manufacturer.

 

#AbrahamLincoln

#ThomasSowell

#IntolerantPeople

#FutureofCollectorCarHobby

#1956Packard400

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Musings

On this day in 1809, Charles Darwin AND Abraham Lincoln were born. Americans would disagree, but Darwin had a larger impact on the world. It is surprisingly difficult to ascertain what percentage of Americans believe in evolution. The Huffington Post, which I will admit is not one of my favorite organizations, published a poll in 2013 that about a third of Americans don’t believe in evolution. Other published polls have shown an even larger percentage. Not surprisingly, older and more religious Americans have a greater level of disbelief. I believe in evolution and think the evidence is overwhelming. Of course, as Satchel Paige is supposed to have said, “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”

February 12 has seen some very bad days in the automotive industry. In 1957, a fire destroyed much of the Jaguar Browns Lane factory in Coventry including some vehicles that were being transitioned from D-type race cars to street-legal XKSS autos.

On February 12, 2008, in a prelude of what was to come, General Motors offered a buyout to its entire US hourly workforce: 74,000 workers. Today, GM is actually doing quite well although its future is uncertain as the automotive industry transitions to electric and/or autonomous vehicles. In the Basque language: “Ez niretzat.”

As a Corvette fan, this day also has a bad connotation as it was on February 12, 2014 that a large sinkhole swallowed eight historic Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Three of the eight—the ZR1 Blue Devil prototype, the 1,000,000th Corvette, and a 1962 model—have been restored, but the others are on display as they were recovered.

See the source image

From cargurus.com a picture of an example of the last year for the C4 Corvette, a 1996 model. Five years ago the C4 did not appeal to me, but its clean lines and the introduction of the modern LT1 engine in 1992 have made it a favorite of mine, now.

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