Chick-fil-A Saturday

I had a Twitter account for a little more than a year. My purpose in creating and using the account was to drive traffic to this blog. Except for the two-day surge caused by Bill James’ tweeting the main link to Disaffected Musings, Twitter was an abject failure in generating traffic so for that, and other reasons, I deleted the account late last year.

Most of my tweets were met with utter silence except for one: Chick-fil-A is awesome. Other than that tweet, mine were never liked and/or re-tweeted by more than 3 or 4 people. That tweet had 500 likes and 50 re-tweets.

Growing tired of cold cereal and oatmeal, my wonderful wife and I had breakfast from Chick-fil-A this morning. As always, and even under these circumstances, the employees were very friendly and polite. The food, as always, was delicious. I don’t think it’s a mystery why the company is now #3 in sales in the US among “fast-food” restaurants behind only McDonalds and Starbucks. That’s true even though Chick-fil-A is closed on Sunday, more on that later.

The company has been criticized for being less than tolerant of gays and lesbians. More recently, Chick-fil-A has been criticized for “kowtowing” to LGBT groups. For me, as long as the company does not tolerate Nazi sympathizers, I don’t care about their politics. This is supposed to be a country where people can express their opinions. If you disagree with a company’s stance on an issue, you can stay away from them.

As for being closed on Sunday…when I was young most businesses were closed on Sunday. Even our local A&P grocery store was not open on Sunday. Weirdo that I am, sometimes I would walk to the store on a Sunday (it was very close to where we lived) and look in the window. I loved looking at the darkened store space. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know.

If Chick-fil-A wants to be closed on Sunday, then that is their prerogative. NO ONE has a monopoly on truth, wisdom, good taste or good judgment. Stop thinking that your way is the only way.

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Along those lines…I had an interesting email dialogue with Dan from Bring A Trailer. This is my original email, entitled “Don’t Shoot The Messenger.”

 

Greetings,

Just curious…98%-99% of new vehicles sold in the US have automatic transmissions, but I would estimate 60%-70% of BaT listings have manuals. Why do you think that is? In my opinion, many, but not all, people with a “preference” for a traditional manual transmission are just engaging in signaling that they’re “a real automotive purist” or “a real man.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Would like to read to the opinion(s) of BaT staffers.

Thanks and be well.

 

Dan sent a very gracious reply, which read, in part:

 

Thanks for writing in and that’s certainly an interesting question. I venture that the reason manual transmissions are highly represented on BaT is because that is where the interest of the auto enthusiast audience and market is. Like any marketplace, BaT caters to our users, and our users are often enthusiasts who like manual transmissions more than the average car buyer.

I can’t speak for the rest of the BaT staff, but I personally prefer a manual transmission because I enjoy driving as an activity, and I enjoy the extra engagement with the driving experience that a manual transmission offers. I have no criticism of anyone who prefers an automatic…

 

Part of my response was this:

 

Of course, people should be able to drive what they enjoy, as long as it’s available in the marketplace. What people shouldn’t do is to assume that their preference has to be shared by everyone else. I can say that the only unpleasant people I’ve met in my many years in the car hobby are the manual transmission “snobs” who think every “real” car enthusiast has to drive a car so equipped.

 

 

As every regular reader knows, I have a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. OK, the obligatory picture:

 

 

For model year 2016, Chevrolet built 13,275 Z06 Corvettes. What percentage were equipped with automatic transmissions? I mean this is among the ultimate in American performance cars. Surely, the “real enthusiasts” prefer a manual, right? 76% of these were sold with an automatic transmission. Tadge Juechter, chief engineer for the Corvette, said during an interview shortly after the C8 introduction that the “takeup rate” for automatics has risen to 85% for Corvettes, even for the Z06 and ZR1.

Of course, being part of a majority doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re “right.” Still, I think that, at least in the US market, the traditional manual transmission is already dead on its feet and no one has had the decency to knock it over and to give it a proper burial. (In the third quarter of 2019, 98.9% of new vehicles sold in the US had automatic transmissions.) That’s not to say that I think no one should drive a manual. If that’s what you like, and you can find one, then drive it to your heart’s content. Just don’t assume that everyone else has to agree with you.

 

#ChickfilA

#BringATrailer

#ManualTransmissionSnobs

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Saturday Studebaker

I have mentioned Bring a Trailer before. It is a website where people buy and sell cars online via auction. The consignor pays just $99 and the buyer pays just five percent commission, which is capped at $5,000. You don’t think that matters? A VERY rare Lancia Stratos sold on Bring a Trailer for over $440,000 meaning the buyer saved almost $40,000 in commission compared to the standard fee of ten percent uncapped at most brick and mortar auctions.

To my surprise and delight Bring a Trailer currently has not one, but two Studebaker GT Hawks for sale. The GT Hawk was Brooks Stevens’ masterful redesign of the Hawk on a budget. From Bring a Trailer here are pictures of the two GT Hawks currently available via auction.

1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

The top one is a 1963 model while the bottom one is from 1964, the last year of the GT Hawk. 1962 was the first model year for the Gran Turismo (or GT) Hawk. The current bid on the ’63 is $3,600 with three days left and the bid on the ’64 is $7,000 with five days left. Buying a collector car doesn’t have to be expensive, even for a car as rare as the GT Hawk of which only about 14,000 were made.

Unfortunately, production of the GT Hawk (and the Avanti) ceased when Studebaker ended production at its factory in South Bend, Indiana in December, 1963 and moved all of its operations to its plant in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. More than 55 years after its initial release the GT Hawk still looks fresh and sleek to me. It’s interesting to me that two of these are available concurrently on Bring a Trailer given they are almost never seen at auctions like Barrett-Jackson and Mecum. When my OCD-addled and ADD-addled brain wanders occasionally I dream of starting a car auction company called ATOC Auctions. ATOC stands for All The Other Cars. I would limit the percentage of lots that could be any one model and I would try like hell to find cars like the GT Hawk. (Not trying to pick on anyone, but at one Barrett-Jackson auction Mustangs/Shelbys were 51 of the roughly 700 cars available. I think that’s just WAY too many. I even sent Barrett-Jackson a letter in which I mentioned this among other things.) I would also only sell cars at no reserve and have lower fees than other brick and mortar auction houses. Hey, a free business idea. Just make sure you give me a cut when this takes off. 🙂

Anyone else a fan of the GT Hawk? I wonder if any will be available when my wonderful wife, her parents and I go to Scottsdale, Arizona for the Barrett-Jackson auction in January. No, I don’t think I’ll buy one, but who knows? Stranger things have happened and consider the source.

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Musings

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles. I must confess that yesterday’s Super Bowl was one in which I had zero rooting interest, but it was an enjoyable game.

Have you ever heard of Bring a Trailer? It is a website where people can buy and sell cars via auction for far less in commissions than traditional auction companies. Cars like this:

2006 Fisker Latigo #001

Do you know what this is? This URL will help: https://bringatrailer.com/listing/2006-fisker-latigo/

This was based on the E63 BMW 6-series and was supposed to have a limited production run of 150, but only the prototype and this car were built. As I write this, the high bid is $39,999 and the auction ends in a little more than four hours.