Monday Monday

Monday Monday, can’t trust that day…of course those are a small part of the lyrics from the song by The Mamas and The Papas. As a retired person Monday doesn’t really have significance for me, but for my wonderful wife it is still her least favorite day of the week. Fortunately, except for when she is out of town on business (which is not more than about 8-10 weeks a year), she works from home.


I had a weird dream last night/this morning. (Yes, once again, it’s OK to think “consider the source.”) I dreamt I looked out the window and everything, except the road and sidewalk, was painted red, and I mean a vibrant red. I don’t think I was home, but perhaps in a hotel out of town. I didn’t want to wake my wonderful wife so I just stared out the window. I have read that men don’t dream in color, but I do, obviously. I wish my friend Richard Segal were still alive because he was good at interpreting dreams, even mine. Of course, I wish he were still alive, period.


For much of yesterday Most Valuable Packard and Most Valuable Studebaker were neck and neck for number of views, but the Packard post pulled away, which is not surprising because it was the more recent post. Internet “attention spans” are frighteningly short.

Thanks again to 56packardman for putting the link to both posts on the appropriate forums. Yesterday’s number of views was even higher than Saturday’s for the best two-day total since Bill James tweeted the main link to Disaffected Musings in early April. Thanks for reading, but please keep reading and please tell your friends about this blog.


Does anyone reading this really want me to chime in on the impeachment hearings? All I’ll write is that I think it is highly unlikely that a Senate with a Republican majority will cast 67 votes to end the President’s tenure. As Ambrose Bierce wrote many years ago, “Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles, public affairs conducted for private advantage.”


Did any of you notice that neither Throwback Thursday nor Frugal Friday appeared last week? In an effort to shake up the blog I have decided that those features will no longer appear every week. Once again, I welcome suggestions and comments from any and all readers, as long as they are not profane or mean-spirited.


This recent Hemmings article is about the first AMX/3 and the fact that it is, finally, about to undergo a restoration. As the sub-head for this Motor Trend article stated, “AMC’s supercar is a mesmerizing example of shoulda’, woulda’, coulda’–and nearly did.”


See the source image


From Keith Martin’s Sports Car Market a picture of the exceedingly rare AMC AMX/3. From the Motor Trend piece: “No doubt about it: The AMX/3 stands as the undisputed magnum opus of Dick Teague’s distinguished, near-40-year career in automotive design…the AMX/3 was an Italo-American hybrid. Giotto Bizzarrini sheparded the chassis development work and the construction of the first six prototypes in Turin. Having been involved in numerous Ferrari and Iso designs, not to mention cars he built and sold under his own name, Bizzarrini certainly qualified for the job.”

However, the AMX/3 was powered by AMC’s 390 cubic-inch V8 that generated 340 HP and a stout 430 LB-FT of torque. Of course, it was Teague and his team who drew the swoopy, voluptuous body. Once again, from Motor Trend:


“Numerous factors conspired to keep the AMX/3 from making it to AMC showrooms. A massive union strike brought the company to its financial knees and rendered several special projects–like a low-volume supercar–irrelevant. And further number crunching revealed AMC would have to charge at least $12,000 for the car–about 20 percent more than Ford was asking for the De Tomaso [Pantera].”

“Teague told Bob Stevens in an interview for Muscle Cars of the ’60s and ’70s, that ‘…the program was done on a shoestring, and we were on the verge of entering a new era. The musclecar period was ending, and industry priorities were starting to change.’ Safety bumpers, catalytic converters, fuel economy, emissions, gas-shortage hoaxes–you know the rest.”


For the nth plus nth time I will offer that fewer companies building cars means fewer sources for innovation in styling and in engineering, even in the face of strict government regulation. More competition is almost always better for consumers, a lesson lost on so many in government.







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What If?!

“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!'”

John Greenleaf Whittier’s famous line resonates all over human history. Being a car nut I think of this line often in the context of great automobile designs never produced or produced but not successful because of exogenous circumstances.

No, this is not a picture of a first-generation Mercury Cougar:

As the caption reads this is actually a picture of the AMX II with more “traditional” styling than the AMX that was produced. (The resemblance to the first generation Cougar is striking, in my opinion.) Potential buyers may have claimed they liked the styling of the production car better, but only about 19,000 of the first generation AMX (1968-1970) were produced. In 1968 alone Chevrolet produced 235,000 Camaros and Pontiac produced 107,000 Firebirds. Yes, it is somewhat of a specious comparison given the relative sizes of GM and AMC, but it is what it is.

This picture and the ones that follow are shown here thanks to the gracious courtesy of Patrick Foster and the Patrick Foster Historical Collection. (Please do not use these photos without first obtaining permission.) The pictures are from Mr. Foster’s terrific book, American Motors Corporation – The Rise and Fall of America’s Last Independent Automaker. This book and others by Patrick Foster can be purchased here.

The red car was the AMX/2 and the yellow car was the AMX/3 that actually saw very limited production. The AMX/3 looks Italian to me, perhaps a little bit like the Lamborghini Miura. The Italian look is honestly derived as the exterior was designed by Giotto Bizzarrini.

Believe it or not USA Today ran a story about the AMX/3 in December, 2016 titled Just Cool Cars: AMX/3 could have saved American Motors. The text in the story actually contradicts the title, however.

OK, regular Disaffected Musings readers, you all know where this is going. For literally the n-hundredth time fewer automobile manufacturers means fewer sources of innovation for styling and for engineering. The consolidation of car companies also means fewer choices for the consumer and has led, with a big nudge from government regulation, to the homogenized group of automobiles sold today. (No, not all regulation is bad, but ALL regulation comes with a cost just like everything else in life. One definition of an ideologue is someone who refuses to acknowledge that the positions they advocate come with costs.)

AMC was late to the pony car market with the Javelin (one of my favorites) not being introduced until the 1968 model year. The AMX was a derivative of the Javelin. The Mustang was introduced in April, 1964 as a 1964 1/2 (1965) model year car. The Camaro and Firebird were introduced in the 1967 model year. That delay in entering a popular segment hurt American Motors. Still, perhaps it was inevitable that AMC would succumb to the Big Three. Remember, however, that I do NOT believe that what happened was the only thing that COULD have happened. All we can do at this point is simply to ponder what might have been.


Another ho-hum game for Patrick Mahomes in a 45-10 Chiefs’ blowout of the Cincinnati Bengals. He threw for 358 yards in 39 attempts with 4 touchdowns. Mahomes also set a record by throwing 22 touchdown passes in his first eight career games. The NFL has changed the rules many times in the last 40 years; almost all of those changes favor offense and the passing game. Still, Mahomes’ accomplishments so far are noteworthy.