Look Before You Leap

Is the post title too “on the nose?”

As down as yesterday’s post read, I actually felt even worse. When I woke up I felt so miserable that part of me thought it was going to be my last day on this earth. I feel a little better today, but I am still, to borrow a football expression, “behind the chains.”

Besides being a well-known expression, “Look Before You Leap” is also the name of an episode of Frasier that aired in late February, 1996 where Kelsey Grammar’s character, Dr. Frasier Crane, implores all of those in his circle to take advantage of the leap year/day by taking chances. The chance that he will take himself is to sing a difficult aria while appearing live on a PBS fundraiser. I am loathe to use Minions of The Evil Empire, but here is a link to a YouTube clip of the last four minutes of the episode. Frasier, Taxi and The Big Bang Theory are my three favorite sitcoms.


Today’s post title could be used to describe the process of my writing this post. Usually I have some ideas a few days in advance that I write in the invaluable notebook on my computer desk. However, other than the intro I don’t really have any other ideas for today.

I guess I could write that Mecum’s Kissimmee auction last month was, given the context of the current collector car market, a big success. Since I don’t own the data nor did I collect the data myself I can only give snippets of information. To me, what really signaled the success of the auction was the fact that the average selling price increased by 9.5% in 2020 compared to 2019. When one considers that almost 2,000 cars were sold at Mecum Kissimmee that increase is an impressive number.

Barrett-Jackson, the other heavyweight in the world of American automobile auctions, had similar success at its signature event, the January Scottsdale auction. While not quite the same level of increase as Mecum, Barrett-Jackson’s average selling price for Scottsdale 2020 was 3.5% higher than for 2019. Again, given that more than 1,900 cars were sold by Barrett-Jackson at Scottsdale 2020 that increase is impressive.

While it’s just a sample of two auctions, and both events occurred before the coronavirus outbreak, the aura surrounding the signature auctions for Barrett-Jackson and Mecum is quite real and manifests itself in results. Remember that the auction results for Monterey Car Week in August, 2019 were quite disappointing. The average price per lot declined by 24% compared to 2018.

So, am I actually going to show any cars today? Well, if you insist…


See the source image


This picture of a 2011 Maserati GranTurismo S is actually from AutoBlog, but a car like this in Black over Tan sold at Mecum Kissimmee for $36,300 all in meaning it hammered for $33,000. These cars were about $125,000 when new.


1954 JAGUAR XK120 DROPHEAD COUPE - Front 3/4 - 238535


From Barrett-Jackson is a picture of a 1954 Jaguar XK120 Drophead Coupe, which is just a fancy way of saying convertible. This lot was sold at the Scottsdale auction for $143,000 all in, meaning it hammered for $130,000.

Trying to pick two cars from the nearly 4,000 that were sold at the two auctions wasn’t easy. If any of you looks at the companies’ websites and finds an interesting car or two, please feel free to let us know.







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Saturday Greetings

I believe that almost no behavioral paradigm is always appropriate. What may be the most difficult part of being human is knowing when to deviate from one’s normal, “acceptable” behavior.


Hey! Guy and Chris from Cleveland…where have you been? We met many nice people in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Barrett-Jackson auction including Guy and Chris from Cleveland. Feel free to email me or to comment on the blog.


I guess I have had Rolls-Royce on the brain recently. (I hear you; what brain?!) On this day in 1906 Rolls-Royce Ltd was officially registered with Charles Rolls and Henry Royce as directors.



From motorauthority.com a picture of a Rolls-Royce Wraith. As you may know, after a series of machinations and transactions Rolls-Royce became a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMW although the company is still technically headquartered in England and the cars are still manufactured there.

Have you ever seen suicide doors on a two-door car? From the Rolls-Royce website a description of the Wraith, “Propelled by a muscular engine, this is the most powerful series model to carry the Rolls-Royce name. Wraith delivers a truly remarkable, spirited drive unlike any other.” As the company acknowledges, the Wraith is a Grand Tourer and not a sports car, per se.

The Wraith is 17 feet long and weighs 5,500 pounds! It is powered by a 6.6 liter V-12 rated at 624 HP. The base MSRP is about $315,000. Hey, if you can afford it and want one who am I to say you can’t have one?

Apparently, even though Rolls-Royce has about 40,000 paint colors “in stock” they will still custom-blend a color for you. The company has seen a strong increase in sales especially compared to the middle of the first decade of the 21st century. In 2005 Rolls-Royce sold only 796 cars; ten years later that number had increased to 3,785. Much of the growth has come from Asia, particularly from China.

Barring a lottery win I will never own a new Rolls and even winning the lottery might not propel me to buy one. Still, they seem like great examples of luxury even if the luster seems to have faded from the name a little.

Any thoughts on Rolls-Royce?




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Monday Musings, Pro Sports Edition

Moral victories do not exist in pro sports, which are not even a “what have you done for me lately” business but a “what can you do for me now and in the near future” business. Trust that I know of what I write.

Steelers’ fans love to say “six rings” in reference to the franchise’s six Super Bowl titles. The Detroit Lions won three NFL titles in the 1950s; are they still relevant? The Steelers’ rings from the 1970s are nothing but dusty relics on the shelf of history. What happened even five years ago has no bearing on today in pro sports.

Fantasy sports are well-named because they bear little or no resemblance to the real thing. When I was Director of Baseball Operations for a major league team I had to hobnob with wealthy season-ticket holders from time to time. I cannot tell you how many of them said things like, “I could run a major league team. I finished second in my rotisserie league last year.” (Rotisserie baseball was the original fantasy sport.) I would bite my tongue hard and then ask one or two questions about evaluating players or running a team. I am still waiting for my first correct answer.

Former major league catcher Wes Westrum is supposed to have said, “Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand.” I strongly believe that applies to all professional sports. Jim Mora’s (the elder) scolding of a sportswriter with these words is quite apt, I think: “And I’m promising you right now, you don’t know whether it’s good or bad. You really don’t know, because you don’t know what we’re trying to do, you guys don’t look at the films, you don’t know what happened, you really don’t know. You think you know, but you just don’t know, and you never will.

With the current widespread availability of coaches “film” more people outside of pro football do have an understanding of what actually happened than ever before, but most fans don’t watch the video and most wouldn’t understand it if they did watch. Being a fan, paying or otherwise, gives one the right to criticize but doesn’t mean that you are right to criticize.


Thanks to 56packardman for sending this link to a story about Carlos Ghosn, who was recently ousted as Chairman of both Nissan and Mitsubishi after his arrest stemming from allegations of financial misconduct. Supposedly Ghosn was planning to oust Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa as part of a larger management shakeup. Nissan’s earnings have fallen sharply although it still produces the largest share of earnings for the Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi alliance. Nissan has also been embroiled in a final inspection scandal that has led to the recall of more than one million vehicles in Japan.

I have written before that I think one of Nissan’s problems is simply that it makes too many boring vehicles. Its two “performance” cars, the GT-R and the 370 Z, are very old designs.


I can’t get this car out of my head:

1965 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CUSTOM COUPE - Side Profile - 224932

This car is being sold at no reserve at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona next month. My wonderful wife, her parents and I plan to attend. (Of course the picture is from barrett-jackson.com.)

It is a restomod and except for being a coupe is very close to what I want. The temptation to purchase it and to avoid the long wait for a build is quite strong. C/2 has already offered his opinion that unless the car is a bargain I should wait to buy a convertible. What do you think? Is anybody out there?




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