Weird Car Wednesday

Believe it or not, this is the first post with this title. “Weird,” “Weirdo” and “Weirdness” have been part of previous titles, though. Also, do not infer that this is the start of a series of posts with this title, although I guess it could be.

Of course, some probably think this car is weird.

 

 

The wire arrived on time (our brokerage company did not disappoint, after all) so my wonderful wife and I drove down to the dealership yesterday to pick up the new resident of our garage. The much higher beltline of the Cascada relative to the Corvetttes really stood out to me after the car was parked.

The Cascada has some features not found on our Corvettes, such as a lane departure warning system and parking sensors. However, my new car does not have memory seats or a built-in garage door opener. Good thing we found the only hand-held opener we have for that door and that it works. Yes, we replaced the battery. Of course, I could have purchased a universal garage remote and programmed it for the two-bay door.

During the two previous test drives I had never noticed any turbo lag. I did on the drive home, though. I actually enjoyed when the turbocharger kicked in. The audio/navigation controls are idiosyncratic, but not inscrutable.

The real payoff for buying the car will come when the weather cools down a bit and I can get in some top-down driving. While I don’t believe in an afterlife, I did think of my parents when I got in the car to drive it home. As I have written probably far too many times already, the Cascada was built in Poland, the country where my parents were born.

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The real inspiration for today’s post came from an episode of For The Love Of Cars, with Ant Anstead and Philip Glenister, that I watched yesterday. A vehicle like the car below was featured.

 

See the source image

 

This is a Saab 96. Something about the design that I cannot articulate is very appealing to me.

I think that for many the Saab 96 is a weird car. At first, it used a two-stroke, three-cylinder engine even though the car was introduced in 1960. That engine was replaced in 1967 by a V-4; yes, a V-4.

For some reason that I don’t even understand, I am fascinated by the concept of a V-4 in an automobile. I tell myself it’s because the extremely short block can be placed almost anywhere in the chassis, but actually I think I like the V-4 just because it’s different. The V-4 used by Saab was built by Ford, which originally was going to use that motor for a new compact car intended for the US market to be called the Ford Cardinal. The Cardinal was never built as Ford developed the Falcon, instead.

The 96’s unusual, but aerodynamic body is also decidedly not mainstream. Remember, though, that Saab began as an aircraft company in 1937. Oh, even though the car-making arm of the business is defunct, Saab is still very much alive and continues to build aircraft and offers related products and services.

Making my attraction to the Saab 96 even stranger is that I envision the car as a blank canvas for a restomod. I imagine just using the body and maybe even abandoning the front-wheel drive layout.

When I was in college a friend of mine bought me a card with a cartoon whose caption read, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, maybe he marches to the beat of a different drummer. Or maybe he’s just a weirdo.” Of course, the first sentence is taken from Henry David Thoreau. I am who I am, for better and for worse.

 

#WeirdCarWednesday

#BuickCascada

#Saab96

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Freeform Friday

The local casino/resort has still not refunded the money when it charged me twice for one massage. I am thinking I will have to drive out there and park my butt inside the spa until they process a refund.

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Here are links to two articles from CNBC:

 

Bill Gates says crypto and NFTs are ‘100% based on the greater fool theory’

The greater fool theory argues that prices of an asset can increase because people are able to sell overpriced assets to a “greater fool.” That is, of course, until there are no greater fools left. Last November, Bitcoin was trading at more than $60,000; today, its “value” is about $20,000. I think it has no intrinsic value at all.

Don’t make these 11 punctuation mistakes that ‘irritate people the most,” say grammar experts

I am “guilty” of one of those mistakes, the use of ellipses (…). Many people consistently make more than one.

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My best friend, Dr. Zal, composed his list of the greatest NFL coaches of all time and asked that I do the same. I asked him not to send me his list until after I had created mine. Here are the two lists, Dr. Zal’s first:

 

1a Vince Lombardi

1b Bill Belichick (a bit of a cop out, but I couldn’t decide)

Paul Brown

Bill Walsh

Chuck Noll

Tom Landry

Don Shula

George Halas

Joe Gibbs

John Madden

 

Honorable mention:

Andy Reid

Curly Lambeau

Bill Parcells

 

I didn’t rank my list:

Bill Belichick

Vince Lombardi

Paul Brown

Bill Walsh

Tom Landry

Don Shula

Joe Gibbs

Andy Reid

 

Dr. Zal thought I had simply forgotten about Chuck Noll, long-time coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I didn’t; I excluded him because: 1) the Steelers only made the playoffs once in his last seven seasons as head coach and had four losing seasons among those seven, and 2) I think he benefited tremendously from the Steelers’ excellent scouting and the lack of free agency at the time. Of course, if the Steelers had drafted Dan Marino instead of Gabe Rivera in 1983, who knows what would have happened.

I also excluded people like George Halas and Curly Lambeau because I think pro football changed dramatically after the NFL-AAFC merger in 1950 with the permanent adoption of unlimited substitution and the real integration of the game. I just don’t think that the Green Bay Packers’ 1929 “championship” or the Chicago Bears’ 1932 “championship” are relevant. (In case you don’t know, or even if you do, Halas was the founder and long-time coach of the Bears while Lambeau, for whom the Packers’ home stadium is named, coached Green Bay in those “prehistoric” days.)

For the minority of you who are football fans, I would very much like to read your thoughts on this topic.

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I guess I must have scratched my automobile itch, at least for now. Yesterday was the first day in many months that I did not peruse car listings on the Internet. Once again, a couple of pics of the car that will soon live in our garage:

 

 

Of course, I had to sell a small part of my stock portfolio to pay for the car. I executed those sales yesterday, a day when equity prices tumbled sharply. Of course…(hey, ellipses are what I do).

 

#FreeformFriday

#GreaterFoolTheory

#PantheonOfNFLCoaches

#BuickCascada

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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An Unexpected Day

Light in the sky at 4 AM, that’s not unexpected just worth mentioning, in my opinion. Not enough light to take a good picture, though.

 

Without further ado:

 

 

Once again, without having any a priori inkling of doing so I bought a car. This is a 2019 Buick Cascada with about 16,000 miles and I will pick it up on Tuesday.

After a little bit of negotiating I paid less than $30,000 out the door, meaning with all taxes and fees. I paid less all in than the original list price, if that means anything. The car is certified pre-owned. What does that mean? In this case, that means instead of the “bumper to bumper” warranty expiring this month, I get an extra year. Also, the car now has five years remaining on the powertrain warranty instead of the original two years. Less importantly, I receive two free oil changes/maintenance visits.

I hope I have scratched my itch for now and that the car will fill the need I perceive for a practical convertible without being yet another drain on my mental and emotional energy. I must admit the fact that this car was built in the country of my parents’ birth played a large role in the decision, as illogical and irrelevant as that might seem.

I don’t really have anything else to write today. Wish me luck.

 

#AnUnexpectedDay

#BuickCascada

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Nothing In Particular

Once again, my very strongly held opinion:

Republicans/Conservatives have a foolish amount of faith in human nature.

Democrats/Liberals foolishly think they can change and/or ignore human nature.

Without acknowledgment that none of us is right all the time, the divide will grow to the point of being intractable, if it hasn’t already.

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“Crypto is one big con job.”

Those are not the words of Warren Buffett, but the consensus view of tech executives in Silicon Valley who recently spoke to Jim Cramer of CNBC. The problem is as people figure this out the appetite for all “risk-on” assets, like equities, will take a hit.

Sovereign fiat currency is at least “backed” by a country’s ability to tax and to borrow. While that capability doesn’t guarantee a nation’s currency won’t collapse, crypto is only backed by people’s faith in it. I have written that I wouldn’t buy Bitcoin at $1 and I still feel that way. I know some very intelligent people who have lost a lot of money “investing” in cryptocurrencies.

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“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words ring very true to me.

Why did I write that famous passage? I am still thinking about buying a convertible, perhaps by the end of this year. I have been focusing primarily on “Ultimate Garage” cars or those that were almost included in my “dream” collections.

In the past couple of days I have realized that an Ultimate Garage is, for the most part, a dream, a fantasy. Even if some of those vehicles are not prohibitively expensive, why should I limit my choices to a very small subset of available cars?

In addition, I should not–and will not–be overly swayed by reviews from automotive journalists and publications. I already have a street-legal race car, for all intents and purposes. Any convertible I might buy doesn’t have to have 400 HP, accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 4.5 seconds and be able to run a sub-eight minute lap at the Nurburgring.

All of this has crystallized and led to a car that my wonderful wife and I test drove in Arizona.

 

See the source image

 

This is a Buick Cascada. It is not a performance car given its 0-60 time of about eight seconds. (My Z06 has a sub-three second time 0-60.) The Cascada was not well-reviewed, in large part because the reviewers were comparing it to automobiles that were designed to be performers instead of cruisers.

While I don’t think the car is ugly, it’s certainly not Jaguar or Aston Martin handsome. So, what’s the appeal? In a way it’s an homage to multiple inspirations. The first car I ever drove was a 1956 Buick Century and that was also the first family car I remember. The Cascada was built in Poland; both of my parents were born in Poland. It’s also a “protest” of sorts against the fact that Buick no longer manufactures cars, only SUVs.

The car has four seats, a decent-sized trunk (13 cubic feet with the top up, about 10 cubic feet with the top down) and a surprising amount of rear leg room so it could function as a grocery car/taxi. This is Arizona and a convertible can be driven in any month here, even during the summer. For example, I went to Starbucks at 5:30 this morning to get breakfast for my wonderful wife and me. The temperature was in the low-to-mid 70s, ideal top down weather.

I have not decided that I will definitely buy a Cascada. I need reassurance that the audio/navigation controls are not as difficult to use as is often reported. Of course, that means another test drive, assuming I can find one locally. On our previous test drive we were more focused on ride quality and the extent of convertible “wobble.” The car passed both tests.

Between now and the likely time of purchase, my thinking could change, of course. I believe it’s OK to change your mind even if there’s nothing wrong with the one you have.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

 

#NothingInParticular

#CryptoIsAConJob

#BuickCascada

#somanyCARSjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Musings 60

It will probably be a short post today as ever since lunch yesterday, my GI tract has been extremely upset. Hope the wild mushrooms in my pasta dish were not too wild.

 

If you don’t know that on this day in 1941 Japan attacked the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, then you must have flunked history class…several times. Father Time is undefeated and soon no survivors of the attack or among those who served in World War II will remain. Many others are far more qualified than I to discuss details of the attack. Suffice to say that Japan awakened a “Sleeping Giant” and, as a result, sowed the seeds for its eventual defeat in the war. Japanese Admiral Hara Tadaichi remarked, “We won a great tactical victory at Pearl Harbor and thereby lost the war.”

I have never been to Hawaii; from our new “home” airport it’s about a 7-hour flight to Honolulu, nonstop, which is at my limit for length of flight before I want to get a parachute and jump. Maybe we will visit Pearl Harbor someday, but that trip is far from a certainty. That I may never visit is, of course, no affront to the brave people who served there.

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So, recent model convertibles with four seats and a decent-sized trunk are not common, especially if one only wishes to spend a modest amount. Even at a higher than modest amount, such cars are not readily available. I understand as convertibles are not often viewed or used as “practical” cars.

Obviously, we don’t have to buy a convertible, but we are not buying a sedan or SUV. Life is too much of a compromise already or, as I used to say all the time, life is too short to be unhappy on purpose. The Cascada looks better to us every day.

 

See the source image

 

Picture “courtesy” of The Car Connection.

 

#MondayMusings

#PearlHarbor

#ConvertibleDearth

#BuickCascada

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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950

 

 

Not So Frugal Friday

First…perhaps this lawsuit is a last-ditch effort by a lame-duck administration to gain notoriety, but Fack Fucebook has been sued by the Department of Justice alleging the “company” discriminated against American workers in the way it hired foreigners for high-paying positions. From the linked story in US News & World Report:

 

“A lawsuit filed Thursday by the Justice Department accuses Facebook of refusing to recruit or consider U.S workers for some 2,600 positions from January 2018 to September 2019, instead reserving those jobs for H-1B temporary work visa holders that the company sponsored for permanent residency, often known as a green card.

Federal law requires companies to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers for a position before it offers the job to a foreign worker on a temporary visa who the company can then sponsor for an employment-based green card.

DOJ alleges in its lawsuit that Facebook reserved those thousands of jobs for foreign workers it sponsored for green cards through a federal immigration process dubbed PERM. Facebook did not advertise the positions on its careers website, required applicants to apply by mail and refused to consider U.S. workers for the roles, the Justice Department alleges.”

 

Why should anyone be surprised by a company that even puts itself in a position for such a lawsuit when it’s run by a person who has said, “You can be unethical and still be legal; that’s the way I live my life?” As I wrote here someone who admits unethical behavior is almost certainly not opposed to illegal behavior, despite Muckerberg’s statement to the contrary.

Delete Facebook! Fack Fucebook!

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My wonderful wife and I test-drove a Buick Cascada yesterday. Although the ride was a little “floaty” and the car did have the convertible wobble going over bumps, it was very comfortable and while it is certainly no C7 Corvette, it had more oomph than its power-to-weight ratio would have suggested.

However, while we were waiting for the Cascada to be brought around for the test drive, I saw this car in the showroom:

 

 

This 2019 Z06 convertible took my breath away. No, I/we am/are not going to buy it, but I started thinking about having a different set of constraints. I don’t mean an unlimited budget or a bigger house with a 6-car garage, but being able to spend for the Grocery Car/Taxi/Corvette Companion an amount similar to what we spent for our Corvettes, about $60,000 each. The car would still have to have four seats and a decent-sized trunk.

Using AutoTrader for such a search yielded a lot of German cars. In fact, and perhaps somewhat unfortunately, I may have to “hold my nose” when we buy the next car because if we don’t insist that it is a convertible, then it may be a German car although it would never be a Volkswagen or Porsche. Here is one of the only cars that met all of our criteria and wasn’t from a German company, picture from 0-60 specs.com:

 

See the source image

 

This is a 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat. Once again, this is not the actual AutoTrader car as links to pictures on their website break quickly. The AutoTrader car is White (not a preferred color for us) over Red, has about 27,500 miles and the asking price is $56,199.

Believe it or not, the trunk in these cars is quite large at over 16 cubic feet. Supposedly, the car will seat five, but it should certainly be able to seat four comfortably.

That would be cool having a 700+ HP grocery car/taxi. With the intake and exhaust mods on my Z06, that would give us two cars with 700+ HP. We would almost have a 2,000 HP garage. Still, we are not going to spend $55,000-$65,000 on this car, but I wanted to imagine what we could buy if we were willing AND the car had four seats and a decent-sized trunk.

As for the Cascada, we are not buying anything before the new year–which is scarily just four weeks away–but yesterday’s test drive did not eliminate the car from consideration. With the top up, the trunk has enough size for groceries and the back seats can comfortably carry two normal-sized people. Although I was somewhat facetious the first time I wrote this, the fact that the car was built in the country of my parents’ birth–Poland–is drawing me to the car. The fact that it’s a Buick, at least in name, is also a plus as buying it would be an homage to the car I grew up with and the first car I ever drove, my father’s 1956 Buick Century. Also, having another convertible in Arizona is not overkill. The test drive was with the top down…in December.

If anyone has any additional thoughts on this matter, I would be happy to read them. Thanks.

 

#NotSoFrugalFriday

#DeleteFacebook

#FackFucebook

#2019CorvetteZ06Convertible

#2018DodgeChallenger

#BuickCascada

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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