Throwback Thursday/C8 Reveal Day

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From torquenews.com one of many renderings by “ChazCron” of the C8 Corvette as well as the announcement of the reveal date, which is today, of course. Since most of us were not invited to the event in Tustin, California I think you can watch here. If you live on the East Coast, the event doesn’t start until 10:30 or 11 PM.

I think that the entire future of the Corvette could be decided by the success, or lack thereof, of the C8. While Chevrolet/GM can rationalize the sharp decline in Corvette sales since 2014—the first model year of the C7—by “blaming” the drop on the rumors surrounding the C8, the American automotive landscape has changed dramatically. In the back of my mind I wonder if the upcoming discontinuation of the Camaro has as much to do with helping the Corvette as with declining Camaro sales. Of course, if that were really true then Camaro production would probably be stopped before 2022 or 2023.

 

Schedule of Events for the C8 Corvette Reveal Now Public

 

From corvetteblogger.com a picture of an invitation to and the schedule of the C8 reveal. I really hope the C8 is a success although I have no desire to own one at present. I think it would be a shame if Chevrolet didn’t get to produce the two millionth Corvette, which is about 300,000 units away.

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From cargurus.com a picture of an example of the last year of the C4 Corvette, 1996:

 

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While I am not a big fan of their TV commercials, my wonderful wife and I both found our current Corvettes on CarGurus. As I have written before, I have not always been a big fan of the C4. For many years I thought the styling was bland and until the introduction of the “new” LT-1 engine in 1992 I don’t think the cars were great performers. However, I have grown to appreciate the looks of the later models of the C4. In addition, the 1995 and 1996 models had improved fuel injectors that were better able to deal with ethanol content in gasoline, or as I call it, the corn farmers subsidy program.

As almost every Corvette fan or person in the collector car business knows, C4 Corvettes are not expensive at all. A search on AutoTrader, limited to a 100-mile radius of my house, unearthed six 1995 or 1996 Corvettes with list prices under $10,000. A nationwide search, but only for cars with 75,000 miles or fewer, revealed 18 such cars under $10,000. Of course, if you don’t have to have a 1995 or 1996 model then your choices multiply greatly. C4 production totaled 359,028 in the 13 model years it was manufactured (1984-96).

The Corvette world will never be the same after today. I would very much like to read your thoughts, either before or after the reveal or both.

 

#C8CorvetteReveal

#C4Corvette

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Frugal Friday

First, my take on the college admissions scandal. TOO many kids are in college. Americans have been brainwashed to think that working with one’s hands is beneath them and their children. Welders, plumbers, automobile techs and the like are in short supply and make a good living.

In 1940 there were 6 high school grads for every college grad. Now, there are 3 high school grads for every 2 college grads. About two-thirds of high school grads are attending college the year after graduation. That’s absurd, in my opinion. Of course, government subsidies of higher education do little except to raise its cost significantly. The price of a good or service CANNOT be reduced by subsidizing demand. Go back to Econ 101. Yes, I am aware of the irony of referring to a “college” course. However, Econ 101 or its equivalent should be taught in high school, if not earlier.

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On to Frugal Friday. Maybe I should have titled the post Frugal Friday, Corvette Edition.

 

Used 1999 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe ALVERTON, PA 15612 - 509555524 - 1

From autotrader.com a picture of a 1999 Corvette with 49,000 miles. Although the listing didn’t specify a transmission type interior photos indicate the car is an automatic. How much? The seller, an independent dealer in Pennsylvania, is asking $11,900. Oh…this first search was for C5 Corvettes, 1997-2004.

This wasn’t the least expensive C5 but seemed to me to be a good balance of price, mileage and condition. My first Corvette was a C5—a 2002 model—and I liked the car enough so that I will probably be a Corvette guy for the rest of my life.

 

This next search was for 1995 and 1996 Corvettes, the last two years of the C4. As I have written before, I have not always been a fan of this generation Corvette, but have developed an affinity for these cars in the last couple of years. However, I certainly wouldn’t buy one before the introduction of the new LT-1 engine in 1992 and would strongly prefer to buy a 1995 or 1996 as the fuel injectors for those years were improved to deal with the effects of the corn farmers subsidy program…uh, ethanol in gasoline.

 

Used 1995 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe FREMONT, NE 68025 - 504940066 - 2

Also from autotrader.com a green 1995 Corvette, automatic transmission with the Nebraska-based dealer (Go Big Red!) asking $8,850 for this car with 69,000 miles. It’s a little suspicious to me that the car was photographed in the rain and the interior is worn, although not torn.

I hear people saying that C4 Corvettes are potentially very good investments as their values will have to increase in the future. NO ONE can predict the future, but if you want a Corvette you can still buy what seems to be a nice one for FOUR figures. Once again, the average “transaction price” for a new vehicle in the US is approaching $40,000.

Any thoughts on these choices for Frugal Friday?

 

#FrugalFriday

#Corvette

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Connections

Connections is a fascinating (IMO) TV series created, written and narrated by James Burke, a science historian. Each episode would link people or inventions that didn’t seem to be related at all. From the Wikipedia article about the series here is the synopsis for a typical episode:

“‘Eat, Drink and Be Merry…’ begins with plastic, the plastic credit card, and the concept of credit, then leaps back to the time of the dukes of Burgundy, the first state to use credit. The dukes used credit for many luxuries, and to buy more armor for a stronger army. The Swiss opposed the army of Burgundy and invented a new military formation (with soldiers using pikes) called the pike square. The pike square, along with events following the French Revolution, set in motion the growth in the size of armies and in the use of ill-trained peasant soldiers. Feeding these large armies became a problem for Napoleon, which caused the innovation of bottled food. The bottled food was first put in champagne bottles then in tin cans. Canned food was used for armies and for navies. In one of the bottles, the canned food went bad, and people blamed the spoiled food on ‘bad air’, also known as swamp air. Investigations around ‘bad air’ and malaria led to the innovation of air conditioning and refrigeration. In 1892, Sir James Dewar invented a container that could keep liquids hot or cold (the thermos) which led three men – Konstanin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard, and Hermann Oberth – to construct a large thermal flask for either liquid hydrogen and oxygen or for solid fuel combustion for use in rocket propulsion, applying the thermal flask principle to keep rocket fuel cold and successfully using it for the V-2 rocket and the Saturn V rocket that put man on the moon.”

Each episode in the original series (1978) was fascinating to me. I didn’t enjoy the book anywhere near as much nor did I enjoy the “sequels,” Connections2 or Connections3 as much as the original.

In his book Steve Magnante’s 1001 Corvette Facts, Magnante writes about a “Connections” event. Fact #518 links the Chevrolet Corvair, the Porsche 928 and the C4 Corvette. Magnante writes that Porsche developed the front-engined 924 and 928 as a response to the reaction to the rear-engined Corvair. Porsche worried that the US, its largest export market, might ban rear-engined cars. The introduction of the 924 and particularly the 928 led General Motors/Chevrolet to abandon any mid-engined Corvette and re-commit to a front-engine layout in the C4. (In my opinion much of the excessive and vitriolic criticism of corporate America has its roots in the Corvair and the controversy it created. In his book Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars, Paul Ingrassia connects the Corvair to the election of George Bush in 2000. Ralph Nader became so famous that he ran for President and received enough votes in Florida so that the state and its electoral votes would be awarded to Bush instead of Al Gore. That’s a real Connections story!)

 

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From journal.classiccars.com a picture of a first-generation Corvair.

 

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From momentcar.com a picture of a Porsche 928.

 

https://www.corvsport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/VHaFnI.jpg

From corvsport.com a picture of a C4 Corvette. This happens to be a 1990 model.

 

People who think they can predict the future are either delusional or lying. Nature is extremely complex and the only prediction that can be made is that nature is unpredictable. Human behavior, while not as complex as nature, can be inscrutable as well.

 

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Gallimaufry

“…a confused jumble or medley of things…”

From this CNBC article comes this chart:

United States 79,595
Japan 17,915
China 16,875
Germany 15,080
Canada 10,840
France 10,120
Hong Kong* 10,010
United Kingdom 9,370
Switzerland 6,400
Italy 5,960

OK, what is it? According to data firm Wealth-X this is the number of Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals in the ten countries with the most such people. Wealth-X defines UHNW as having a net worth of $30 million or more. By the way, the asterisk next to Hong Kong denotes that it is a “semi-autonomous, special administrative region of China.”

Seven percent of all American households have a net worth of $1 million or more and the number of US households with a net worth of $25 million or more has increased 73 percent since 2008. I have written this data before because I didn’t understand why a wealthy country with so many empty-nester and single-person households seemingly buys nothing but SUVs and pickup trucks. Thanks to my friend Robert I have come to the realization that it is America’s obesity that plays a major role in what vehicles the country’s citizens buy.

I have no problem with wealth as long as it is acquired legally. As I have also written before I believe that money I have legally earned, legally saved and legally invested belongs to me. Government does not have “dibs” on the entirety of a country’s wealth so that it can “fix” wealth distribution. Government exists to protect property rights, not to usurp them.

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Speaking of property:

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From cargurus.com a picture of a 1995 Corvette, the next to last year of the C4 generation. Five years ago I did not care for these cars. The looks seemed bland to me and until the introduction of the “new” LT-1 engine in 1992 these cars were less than spirited performers. As I have often written, however, as I grow older my tastes have changed and I appreciate cleaner lines more. Not that I am going to buy a C4 Corvette, but if I were I would still buy something 1992 model year or newer, preferably 1995 or 1996 because the fuel injectors were improved in 1995 to deal with the effects of the corn farmers subsidy program…I mean ethanol content in gasoline.

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I titled this photo “WTF Buick.” I wish I could remember the source, but it is a picture or rendering of the Buick Avista concept car. Of course, the first concept car was the Buick Y-Job from 1938:

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The photo is from cartype.com. From time to time American automobile manufacturers tease the public with stunning concept cars, but most of them never come close to production. Conceptus Interruptus

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The next Barrett-Jackson auction begins soon so I thought it was about time for another Cristy Lee photo:

 

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From cristylee.tv…

 

 

Monday Musings

On this day in 1809, Charles Darwin AND Abraham Lincoln were born. Americans would disagree, but Darwin had a larger impact on the world. It is surprisingly difficult to ascertain what percentage of Americans believe in evolution. The Huffington Post, which I will admit is not one of my favorite organizations, published a poll in 2013 that about a third of Americans don’t believe in evolution. Other published polls have shown an even larger percentage. Not surprisingly, older and more religious Americans have a greater level of disbelief. I believe in evolution and think the evidence is overwhelming. Of course, as Satchel Paige is supposed to have said, “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”

February 12 has seen some very bad days in the automotive industry. In 1957, a fire destroyed much of the Jaguar Browns Lane factory in Coventry including some vehicles that were being transitioned from D-type race cars to street-legal XKSS autos.

On February 12, 2008, in a prelude of what was to come, General Motors offered a buyout to its entire US hourly workforce: 74,000 workers. Today, GM is actually doing quite well although its future is uncertain as the automotive industry transitions to electric and/or autonomous vehicles. In the Basque language: “Ez niretzat.”

As a Corvette fan, this day also has a bad connotation as it was on February 12, 2014 that a large sinkhole swallowed eight historic Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Three of the eight—the ZR1 Blue Devil prototype, the 1,000,000th Corvette, and a 1962 model—have been restored, but the others are on display as they were recovered.

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From cargurus.com a picture of the last C4 Corvette, a 1996 model. Five years ago the C4 did not appeal to me, but its clean lines and the introduction of the modern LT1 engine in 1992 have made it a favorite of mine, now.

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