The Day After Friday The 13th

In a postscript yesterday I noted that the numbers of blog views and visitors on Thursday were the highest in the previous 30 days. Well, yesterday (Friday) saw 44 percent more views and 49 percent more visitors than the day before, an unusually large one-day change. All I can write is, Thanks! Oh, I can also ask you to please keep reading and to please tell your friends about this blog.


Yesterday brought some news that, at least temporarily, has partially mitigated the disappointment I mentioned in yesterday’s post, but the news happened long after I published. If there’s a one in a million chance that offering good wishes actually works, then please send those good wishes our way.

The good news was not that we were one of 14 tickets that matched the five non-Megaball numbers, which has a seven-figure prize, in last night’s Mega Millions drawing. One winning ticket was sold in Maine; the pre-tax cash value was over $700 million.

I believe last night’s jackpot was the second largest lottery prize in US history. The largest, a Powerball drawing with an annuity value of $1.5 billion and almost $1 billion in cash, was split three ways as three winning tickets were sold. For only one ticket to match in last night’s Mega Millions drawing means that person/family in Maine was really lucky. As the jackpot grows to extremely high levels, the number of tickets sold grows even more meaning the likelihood of multiple winners also increases substantially.


Former University of Arkansas and NFL running back Peyton Hillis has been removed from a ventilator after nearly drowning while saving his children from drowning. Hillis, who was not a starting running back/halfback at Arkansas but the fullback who blocked for stars like Darren McFadden, is probably best known for appearing on the cover of the Madden computer football game in 2011 after his breakout 2010 season with the Cleveland Browns.

Hillis had only 203 rushing attempts in four seasons (although he did catch 118 passes) as a Razorback and only 81 carries in his first two NFL seasons with the Broncos before being traded to Cleveland. Multiple injuries to Browns’ running backs that season (2010) led to Hillis becoming the starter and rushing for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns in addition to catching 61 passes and two more touchdowns. It’s not mentioned anymore, but Hillis was the first white running back since Craig James in 1985 to rush for 1,000+ yards in an NFL season.

For a former seventh-round draft pick (in 2008), the NFL Draft has had only seven rounds since 1994, Hillis had a very good career, but one that was short-circuited by concussions and chronic hamstring issues. His last NFL season was 2014–he was 28–with the New York Giants.

Not that he or his family will read this, but I wish Peyton Hillis all the best and a speedy recovery.


Family: Former Hog Peyton Hillis still sedated, making progress


On this day in 1954, what was the largest corporate merger in US history at the time was announced. That event was the merger of Nash-Kelvinator with Hudson to form the American Motors Corporation (AMC).

Of course, AMC lasted until it was purchased by Chrysler Corporation in 1987. Although some automotive historians dispute the following, the historical consensus is that Nash-Kelvinator, and later AMC, Chairman/CEO George Mason ultimately wanted the four largest US independent automakers–Packard and Studebaker in addition to Nash and Hudson–to merge into one company that could compete with the Big Three. Mason died unexpectedly in October, 1954 and his wishes were never executed.

My favorite AMC car wasn’t introduced until the 1968 model year, the Javelin.


AMC Javelin values are steady as a rock | Hagerty Media


I’ve always thought the Javelin looked at least as good as the Camaro/Firebird and better than the Mustang, the other automobiles in the Pony Car segment. The Javelin was far more successful than the car it replaced in the AMC lineup, the Marlin, but still fell far short of its Big Three rivals in sales.

AMC produced about 56,000 Javelins in its first model year. In the same year, General Motors produced 235,000 Camaros AND 107,000 Firebirds while Ford produced 317,000 Mustangs.


On a total tangent…perhaps as a side effect from the stress we are experiencing in trying to sell our house, which itself might be contributing to my health issues, I was just overcome by a desire to simply delete this post I have been writing for the past 30+ minutes. Deep breath…


Anyway…while Tesla reaching the million mark in sales in 2022 shows that an “upstart” company can make headway in the US automobile market, if predictions come to fruition like one recently issued by Goldman Sachs that Tesla’s share of new electric vehicles sold in the US will drop from 80 percent to 20 percent in the next 5 years, then maybe the Big Three are still too powerful to overtake. Of course, given the not that distant bankruptcy by two of those companies in 2009, maybe they are still vulnerable to competition, at least from outside the US.









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Throwback Thursday

On this day in 1902 Theodore Roosevelt became the first sitting US President to ride in an automobile. The occasion was part of a tour through New England; the car was a Columbia electric automobile and the location was Hartford, Connecticut. As far as I can tell, Columbia was the first US company to manufacture at least 1,000 cars and led the US in auto production in 1899-1900. I would have liked to show a photo of the occasion, but the one used on the New York Times website is very small and I could not find the original one that supposedly exists in the Library of Congress archives, even though that probably wouldn’t have been any larger. From a “generic” photo of Theodore Roosevelt:


See the source image


On this day in 1967 the AMC Javelin debuted as a 1968 model year car. The Javelin was either AMC’s late entry into the ponycar market or second attempt after the less than successful Marlin. How unsuccessful? How about these production numbers:


1965  10,327

1966    4,547

1967    2,545


Both my wonderful wife and I are big fans of the first-generation Javelin. The car was in her Ultimate Garage and was among the cars that just missed the cut for Ultimate Garage 2.0 for me.

The Javelin was much more popular than the Marlin had been with 1968 model production of more than 56,000 and contributed to a 16% increase in AMC/Rambler sales compared to 1967. The standard Javelin engine was actually a 232 cubic-inch inline 6-cylinder that produced 145 HP/215 LB-FT of torque. However, by the end of the model year production run the Javelin was available with any of the three AMC V-8 engines including the 390 cubic-inch displacement variant that produced 315 HP/425 LB-FT.

See the source image

From a picture of a 1968 Javelin with SST badging on the front fender. From Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer GuideĀ®, “Its styling was arguably the cleanest of the lot [ponycars].” As much as I like the looks of the first-generation Camaro and Firebird I’m not sure I would argue with that assessment.






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Monday Musings

Yet another photo of an AMC Javelin, this one a 1969 model. I took this picture yesterday at a local Cars & Coffee gathering. A photo from the rear actually looks a little better, but I didn’t want to show this car’s license plate. It wasn’t profane, but who knows who’s reading this. I really think this car is among the best looking American cars ever although I prefer the 1968 since that year doesn’t have the hood scoops.

Even if many of the cars were “excessively” customized for me, I was heartened by the large turnout and by the age of many of the people in attendance. I have never been to such a gathering and seen so many people in their 20s and 30s. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Japanese cars in one place other than at an event dedicated to Japanese cars. Here’s one that always catches my eye:

Of course, that’s a Nissan GT-R, which has already been the subject of a post here. ( I am quite curious as to what Nissan will do to “replace” this car. They can’t produce it forever in its current form. Perish the thought that cars like this go away; it’s bad enough that sedans are facing extinction under the onslaught of SUVs and pickup trucks.

My wonderful wife and I attended two Cars & Coffee events this weekend; in the one from which the pictures are shown here we were accompanied by her parents. One should never wish time away, but I am looking forward to my wonderful wife and I reaching the age where we can tap into our retirement money without penalty.