Odds And Ends

No, that is not the name of the shared practice of a psychiatrist and a proctologist. My wonderful wife and I will not attend today’s final auction day at Barrett-Jackson as we have some more pressing matters.

Today’s docket is short, about 120 vehicles. A quick count yielded 51 pickup trucks and SUVs among those vehicles. While that might be a slightly higher proportion than for the rest of the auction, it’s not much higher if any.

I know I am already sounding like a broken record, but I am dismayed by the invasion of these non-cars into car auctions, regardless of how that mirrors what is happening in the “regular automobile” market where more than 70 percent of new vehicles purchased are not cars. I will once again offer my politically incorrect view that the trend away from cars is in large part due to the fact that more than 70 percent of American adults are overweight and more than a third are obese.

Shifting gears, the right to buy the first retail production 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 was sold yesterday for $3.6 million. It was among the vehicles sold for charity at this auction. Barrett-Jackson offers many significant vehicles where the sale proceeds are given to various charities with no fees paid by consignor or buyer. Operation Homefront was the organization that received the $3.6 million from the sale of the first C8 Z06. From their website: “Our mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive—not simply struggle to get by—in the communities that they’ve worked so hard to protect.” A relevant photo:



To be clear, VIN 001 for the 2023 Corvette Z06 has not yet been built. The winner of this car will get to pick the exterior color, interior color and trim, option packages, etc.


An interlude from Barrett-Jackson…four years ago today Kevin Towers, former General Manager of the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks, died of thyroid cancer. Of course, I worked with Kevin during my four years with the Padres. As I have recounted previously, he always treated me with respect and we enjoyed real camaraderie even though he didn’t hire me. Below is a picture shown many times before in Disaffected Musings.



This picture was taken in the visitors clubhouse at Dodger Stadium after we clinched the 1996 National League Western Division title. Kevin is the one kneeling in front and I am one of the other three people.

It is difficult to describe the amount of work necessary to be involved with making decisions in a professional sports organization. Although I enjoyed most of my roughly 10 years working in a full-time Baseball Operations job for a major league team–six-plus years with the Orioles and four-plus years with the Padres–it was a lot of work. (I worked as a Baseball Operations/Player Personnel consultant for major league teams for more than ten years, but that was not as a full-time employee.) It might not seem like work, but the effort expended is quite real.

It is important that the principals can work well together because the hours are so long and the stakes are high, relatively speaking. No, we’re not healing the sick, but in case you hadn’t noticed professional sports are important to a lot of people. Except for my last year with the Padres I enjoyed working there. My dissatisfaction at the end that led to my resignation had little to do with my baseball colleagues, anyway.


“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

– John Donne


Remember this car?



This supposedly genuine 1969 Pontiac Trans Am with the Ram Air IV option, of which only 55 were built, hammered for $105,000 yesterday, which is $115,500 all in. I am reluctant to mention this again, but a fugly box on wheels, a 1957 Volvo SUV, brought twice that amount.

Although the price of most collector cars is on the rise, and even though “experts” advise car aficionados to buy what they like instead of worrying about potential price appreciation, a comparison like the one above makes me wonder if relative car bargains still exist. I worked as a consultant for the Oakland A’s for ten years. The A’s, led by General Manager Billy Beane, were the team featured in Moneyball, Michael Lewis’s famous book about analytics in baseball and, in all honesty, a book that played a large role in the eventual end of my baseball consulting business, although that was not his intent, of course.

Anyway…the A’s never had a large player payroll–they couldn’t afford to–so they needed a way to compete with less. They needed to find assets that were undervalued in the baseball marketplace. Relying on data more and subjective evaluations less they used principles that are taken for granted today, but that were cutting-edge 20 years ago.

Eventually, of course, other teams copied what the A’s did. It has been said that teams like the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers started using “Moneyball” with real money.

The sub-head in the header of this blog reads, “I am a disaffected Moneyball pioneer who loves cars.” My contributions have been forgotten, but I am a real Moneyball pioneer. I was using analytics in a full-time job to help a major league team make decisions 15 years before the book was published.

If I had access to car auction data I might try to unearth relative bargains, assuming the collector car market can be modeled accurately. Sometimes, human behavior defies mathematical modeling.








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Winds Of Change, Barrett-Jackson Edition

While my wonderful wife and I have attended our fair share of automobile auctions, obviously we watch them more often on TV. For TV, I record the broadcasts to watch later. That allows me to skip commercials and vehicles in which I have no interest. These would include Volkswagens, Porsches, pickup trucks, SUVs, minibikes and motorcycles.

When you are attending an auction live you can’t skip through anything. The extent to which the “automobile” auction market has changed has become VERY apparent, for me anyway, while attending the current Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale. My ability to skip through lots while watching the broadcasts had sheltered me from the change, at least to some extent.

I would estimate, crudely, that I have interest in less than a third of the lots offered at this auction. Frankly, that diminution of interest makes watching the auction live less enjoyable than in the past.

The last auction we attended was the Mecum auction last August in Monterey, California. That is a special event, of course, filled with exotics and pre-war cars. Perhaps that has contributed to my “shock” and my perception of how much these events have changed.

I don’t think the collector “car” market is going to return to its previous state anytime soon. I fully understand that auction companies are at the mercy of consignors and buyers and are going to offer lots that will return good prices.

That being said, my being a “motorhead” doesn’t mean I have to have interest in anything with an engine and wheels. The seeming litany of pickup trucks is a huge turnoff for me. (Sorry, Philip.)

While I seriously doubt I will live to see it, I suspect online auctions will continue to significantly increase their share of the automobile auction market to the point where those auctions will dominate. When I first started following Bring A Trailer about five years ago, the number of active auctions was usually between 200 and 300. It’s now usually between 400 and 500.

You know what I am going to write next. The only constant in the world is change.


Don’t know if you can get a sense of how many people were at the Barrett-Jackson auction this afternoon from this picture, but it seemed far more like a Friday crowd than a Thursday.



Anyway, I suspect you want see more photos like the following.



The car above is not just a Split Window Corvette coupe, it’s also a “fuelie.” Extrapolating from actual figures, there were probably only 1,000-1,500 fuel injected coupes built in 1963.

The next two photos show a beautiful 1967 Corvette convertible restomod. Yes, it had an automatic transmission. The winds of change…



C1 (1953-62 Corvettes) and C2 (1963-67) interiors are not really that comfortable. The exterior of a C2, though, is a masterpiece.



This is a 2002 Cadillac Eldorado “Collectors Edition.” 2002 was the last year for the legendary model. While I could do without the rear spoiler, c’mon who are they trying to fool, I do like this car a lot. These have not been swept up in the rapidly rising tide of collector car prices. This one sold yesterday for $8,800 all in.



Yes, I showed a 1967 GTO from the auction a couple of days ago. So sue me. This is a 1965 Goat with documentation from Pontiac Historical Services (PHS) and, as you can see, has the much sought after Tri-Power setup. The interior is not the same as the one in my 1967 GTO. I guess the interior was changed between 1965 and 1967.



This 1951 Nash Airflyte is a restomod, which will turn off a few “purists”, but will make me smile. Yes, it has an automatic transmission. It sold for $39,600 all in.

The last photo for today shows a car already shown, but from a different perspective.



From this close, this 2004 Maserati convertible took my breath away. It hammered at $30,000 meaning the buyer paid $33,000 all in. If the buyer lives in Scottsdale, then he/she had to pay a sales tax as well.

I stuck my head into the aisle to get a better view and the bidder assistant (Mary Hartley) looked at me and asked if I wanted to bid $23,000 (the active bid was $22,000). I said, “My wife won’t let me.”

My wonderful wife left a few minutes later to get some refreshments. When she returned Mary said to her, “He only bought two cars while you were away.” We all had a big laugh. No, I didn’t buy any cars.






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More From Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale

A confession…we have yet to actually watch cars auctioned on the block. Yesterday, my wonderful wife did not feel well and we left just before the cars began at 2 PM local time. Today, something came up and we had to leave Westworld around 1 PM.

The car auction begins at 10 AM tomorrow so we will see cars be auctioned live. That’s the plan, anyway.

Without further ado:



Two pictures of one of my favorite cars at the auction, a 1958 Chevrolet Impala, which was the first year for the legendary model. I have realized that I don’t shoot or show enough photos of interiors so I am making a concerted effort to do more in that regard.



This absolutely beautiful 1963 Corvette Split Window restomod was one of eight restomod Vettes shown in the same row. Note the automatic transmission. I think seven of the eight restomod Vettes had an automatic. I would love to own this car, but I bet it will fetch between $350,000 and $400,000, way way out of my price range. (Update: this car hammered for $650,000 or $715,000 all in. Wow!)

In a market where only one percent of new vehicles purchased are equipped with a standard manual transmission, Hagerty can talk about saving the manuals all they want, but they are, basically, dead in the US. Even more and more restomods have an automatic transmission.



Supposedly, this is a genuine 1969 Pontiac Trans Am with the Ram Air IV option. Only 697 Trans Ams were built in its initial year (689 coupes, 8 convertibles) with only 55 of those with the Ram Air IV option.

The next two cars were parked back to back.



The car on top is a 1933 Auburn and the one on bottom is a 1931 Cord L-29. I had the good fortune to meet and to speak with the soon to be ex-owner of the Cord. He is reluctantly selling his cars (he recently sold his 2019 Corvette ZR1) due to advancing age.



OK, I am a big fan of the styling of the second generation Corvair like this 1969 model although I could do without the rear luggage rack. (I don’t like them on Corvettes, either.) However, the main reason I showed this car is that–allegedly–it has never been titled and has 13 original miles. Of course, that’s actually way too few miles for a car this age, but if true is amazing, nevertheless.

One of the most interesting cars here is chronicled below:



Thanks to my wonderful wife for taking these photos. Obviously, this is the last Buick Grand National ever made. Just as obviously, it is the last GM rear-wheel drive G body car ever made as well as the last car assembled at the plant in Pontiac, Michigan that opened in 1927. The car was made very late (December, 1987) to be considered a 1987 model year car, but GM didn’t want to call it a 1988 model year car as it would confuse buyers in the transition to the front-wheel drive platform for mid-size cars.

I have always liked these cars a lot and they would have been included in a “Just Missed The Cut” post for my Ultimate Garage 3.0. Three GNX Grand Nationals are being auctioned this week.

I have to show at least one neon sign offered this week:



Of course, Hudson was the “H” car in the Cars A To Z series, which will resume after the auction.

Obviously, I could show dozens of photos, but I don’t want to put too many in any one post. Once again, I would very much like to read feedback.






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Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale January 2022

First…I only watched one of the four NFL playoff games this weekend, Bills-Chiefs. What a finish! The teams combined to score 25 points in the last two minutes of regulation. Like probably most people, I figured Kansas City was done after falling behind by three points with 13 seconds left and starting possession on their own 25-yard line.

I like the Chiefs. I know I have told this story before, but after boycotting the NFL for several seasons following the move of the Colts out of Baltimore, I adopted the Chiefs as my AFC favorite. (Remember that I had been a Packers fan since the early 1970s.)

While I have nothing against the Bills I was happy at the outcome of the game with the Chiefs winning 42-36 in overtime. I think a Kansas City – Los Angeles Super Bowl has the potential to be very entertaining, not that I am predicting that outcome. In 2018 the Rams and Chiefs played (yes, the Rams had a different quarterback but one I think is not as good as Matthew Stafford) and the Rams won an amazing 54-51 game.

With the Cowboys, Steelers and Tom Brady all out of contention I can watch the conference championships and Super Bowl without grimacing. I guess I hope the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, but I will not be disappointed at any outcome. If the 49ers win it all it will be interesting to see if they still jettison quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo since they traded up in last year’s draft to select his supposed successor, Trey Lance, early in the first round.

I think the Ravens are still the only team to get rid of a quarterback right after winning a Super Bowl. On the strength of one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, the 2000 Ravens won the Super Bowl (allowing only one offensive touchdown in four playoff games) and then replaced Trent Dilfer with Elvis Grbac. That didn’t exactly work out as Grbac lasted only one season with the Ravens.


If the turnout today for a small docket of mainly minibikes and motorcycles is any indication, then this year’s Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona will be just as wild as the recently concluded Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida. One of our shuttle drivers (it’s a long way even from our great parking space to the auction building and my wonderful wife was not feeling well) remarked that it was “crazy” and that vendors had told him they had not seen sales levels (of food and merchandise) like that in many years, if ever.

I have taken well over 100 photos granting that many of them were of the car card, the piece of paper in the windshield that gives details about the car. I do that so no ambiguity exists about the identity of the car. Here are just a few of those pictures:



This is an absolutely beautiful 1963 Buick Riviera. Given that a 1965 GS hammered for $150,000 at Mecum Kissimmee, I’m sure this Riv will go for way more than I would want to spend, never mind that I have no place to put it.



As an homage to my father who lit the spark for my interest in automobiles, I offer this Flying A gasoline pump. He ran a Flying A station when I was very young before taking over an Amoco station, which he eventually purchased. That turned out to be a disaster, but that’s another story for another day.



Speaking of my father, as all of you know he bought me a 1967 Pontiac GTO as my first car. This one looked really sharp.



This is (supposedly) a 2023 Corvette Z06. I think VIN 001 of these cars is going to be offered at the auction. To be honest, I haven’t spent a lot of time with the catalog, especially since we didn’t receive our copy until today.



I would love to receive questions and/or feedback about this post and the ones to follow about the Barrett-Jackson auction.






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100 Tacos

After eating 16 Jack In The Box tacos during our first 21 days in Arizona I figured 100, 200, hell 1,000 tacos would not be far behind. By the way, 16 tacos every 21 days would equate to 278 a year. Oh, over a half billion Jack In The Box tacos are eaten every year in the US and the chain has locations in only 21 states.

I did not eat my 100th taco until yesterday. As a frame of reference, my wonderful wife and I have been living in Arizona for almost 15 months. (Where did that time go?!) Of course, I have been keeping track of the tacos. Can you say OCD math nerd?!

I guess the novelty wore off. I still really like those tacos. I don’t eat with anyone’s mouth, olfactory apparatus and brain except mine. Spare me the “Eww, how can you eat those? They aren’t real tacos.”

Whether I continue to keep a running taco count is anyone’s guess. By the way, one Jack In The Box taco has 190 calories, 11 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbohydrates including 3 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein. Not a terribly nutritious food, but not the worst thing one could eat, either.

I never remember to take a picture of those tacos, so here’s one from the Internet.


See the source image


As a concession to age and my sensitive GI tract, I order the tacos without the sauce that is now too spicy for me to consume.

I have been a taco eater for a long time. From the time I was about 14 until I graduated from college at 21, I would often make tacos at home using an Old El Paso “kit.” In college, a local restaurant (El Sombrero, long gone) had an all you could eat taco night every Tuesday for $4.99. I regularly ate 10 or 12. Ah yes, the wonders of youth. (The unofficial record there was 26 by a University of Delaware football player. What a surprise…)

However, my taco fandom began with Jack In The Box, probably at about the age of 10. Telling this story again, a Jack In The Box location was right next to the library I frequented quite often. It was quite rare that I would go to the library to borrow/return books and not stop there.

The best tacos I have ever eaten were short rib tacos made by yours truly. I just don’t have the patience to cook anymore. With my wonderful wife now retired, maybe we will both start cooking more at home.


While, technically, the big Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale begins tomorrow, vehicle sales will not start until Monday. Given the overwhelming success of the recently concluded Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida, I imagine expectations are quite high for the Barrett-Jackson event.

As I have written before, no Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawks or Cadillac Allantes are being offered. As for other Ultimate Garage members, two 1965 Buick Rivieras are on the docket. One seems stock while the other is customized. Here is a picture of the stock automobile:


1965 BUICK RIVIERA - Front 3/4 - 252751


We have no room at the inn and we’re about to spend a decent chunk of change on the second half of the outlay for our whole-home backup generator that will be installed the second week in February. Still, one can dream…







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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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