Frunk Fix

From Corvette Blogger:

 

“After several YouTube videos caught the Corvette’s frunk suddenly opening, the Corvette Team has determined that it’s caused by customers inadvertently opening the frunk via the key fob or interior release buttons and then missing the audio and visual warnings when they put the car in drive.”

As also explained in the Corvette Blogger piece, the fix is to reprogram the fob so that “it’s less likely to be inadvertently pressed causing the frunk to open while the fob is in your pocket. The recall update also updates the maximum speed at which you can drive with the frunk open to 26 mph, down from the 82 mph it is set at currently.”

 

With nearly 9,000 C8 Corvettes having rolled off the assembly line so far, getting the fix now is a good thing. Oh, you want to see one:

 

See the source image

 

From midenginecorvetteforum.com (are you surprised such a website exists?) a picture of a C8 convertible in Torch Red.

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From this Carbonhans Blog piece comes the “news” that the C8 Corvette will have a Z06 version–which will probably first be offered for the 2022 model year–and it will be powered by a small displacement (4.2-4.4 liters, 255-270 cubic inches), twin-turbo, dual overhead cam V-8. I put the word “news” in quotes because a C8 Z06 has long been rumored and documents confirming the rumors have been leaked about the different C8 variants.

The real question is whether or not the LT2 engine that powers current versions of the C8 Corvette will be the last “traditional” pushrod engine for the Vette. Remember that Corvettes have been offered with overhead cam engines before. The ZR-1 version of the C4 Corvette, which was introduced for the 1990 model year, was powered by an engine developed jointly by Chevrolet and Lotus that had four overhead cams and 32 valves.

With the move to a mid-engine design, also moving to an overhead cam design would complete the transformation of the Corvette from “advanced” muscle car to “world” sports car. Well, that’s my opinion. What do you think?

 

#FrunkFix

#C8Z06

#C8CorvetteConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Tuesday Twist

The coronavirus is blasting giant holes in the belief that society would be better off if we all lived in urban areas with high population densities. “Oh, we could walk everywhere or use public transportation and people would have to learn to live together” is the “foundation” of that preposterous notion.

From an NBER paper by Jeff Harris via The Grumpy Economist by John Cochrane:

 

“New York City’s multitentacled subway system was a major disseminator – if not the principal transmission vehicle – of coronavirus infection during the initial takeoff of the massive epidemic that became evident throughout the city during March 2020. The near shutoff of subway ridership in Manhattan – down by over 90 percent at the end of March – correlates strongly with the substantial increase in the doubling time of new cases in this borough. Maps of subway station turnstile entries, superimposed upon zip code-level maps of reported coronavirus incidence, are strongly consistent with subway-facilitated disease propagation. Local train lines appear to have a higher propensity to transmit infection than express lines. Reciprocal seeding of infection appears to be the best explanation for the emergence of a single hotspot in Midtown West in Manhattan. Bus hubs may have served as secondary transmission routes out to the periphery of the city…”

 

The population of New York City proper is about 8.4 million and the city has a land area of only about 300 square miles. That’s about 28,000 people per square mile. The population density of the contiguous 48 states and the District of Columbia is 114 people per square mile. I excluded Alaska and Hawaii so no one could accuse me of distorting the data. Given Alaska’s very low density (1.3 people per square mile) and large size (570,000 square miles, more than twice as large as Texas, the second largest state), the overall US density is actually fewer than 100 people per square mile. Manhattan’s population density is almost 70,000 per square mile.

Even ignoring, for a moment, that high population density can lead to very high housing prices (especially given restrictive zoning and permitting practices), such density can rapidly propagate contagious pathogens. These facts are actually not lost on many millennials who are suddenly looking to move out of urban apartments and into single-family houses in less populated areas. This CNBC article is about that very phenomenon. From the article by Diana Olick:

 

“Home sales nearly ground to a halt at the end of March, as the coronavirus pandemic forced an economic shutdown that scuttled open houses and shattered consumer confidence. Now, demand appears to be coming back, especially for newly built homes…”

“…The drive to dense, urban areas by the millennial generation may reverse course, especially as some worry about second shelter-in-place orders after the economy reopens.”

“Staying at home is hard enough, but the smaller the home, the harder that is. Urban apartment dwellers often don’t have the luxuries of separate home offices, basements for exercise equipment, or back yards for private outdoor time.”

“As more companies become more comfortable with their employees working from home, attitudes toward longer commutes may also change — not to mention that gas prices are currently extremely low. Some workers may soon be able to come to the office one or two times a week, and some not at all.”

 

Once again, history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future. History is also replete with examples of the danger of high-density living in terms of the rapid spreading of disease.

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Nire emaztea maite dut, baina nire bi zitza gorruto dut.

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According to 365 Days of Motoring, on this day in 1956 the Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner debuted at the New York Auto Show. The Skyliner is considered by most automotive historians to be the first mass-produced retractable hardtop convertible. It was certainly the only retractable hardtop in the world at that time. Remember that micro processors and very efficient electric motors did not exist then. The Skyliner had three roof drive motors driving four lift jacks, four door-lock motors, ten solenoids, four locking mechanisms for the roof and a total of 610 feet of wiring.

According to Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®, the standard engine for the 500 Skyliner was a 272 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 190 HP. According to Automobile-Catalog the standard engine was a 292 cubic-inch engine that produced 212 HP, the base Thunderbird engine. Either way, Ford sold 20,766 for model year 1957. Sales declined to 14,713 in 1958 and 12,915 in 1959, which was the last year of production. From Classic Cars a picture of a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner:

 

See the source image

 

One of these, the same one, is brought to almost every local car gathering. The owner is extremely proud of his Skyliner and it seems to be in excellent condition.

Come full circle and the C8 Corvette is available in the first hardtop convertible offered in a Vette. Once again, I think the likelihood that my wonderful wife will own one of these is far greater than 50-50.

 

#MythOfUrbanDensity

#FordFairlane500Skyliner

#C8CorvetteConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Happy Birthday, Bill James/Z06 Corvette Dr

Obviously, today is Bill James’ birthday. I wish him a most happy day! Bill is really the father of modern sports analytics so, in a way, he is at the forefront of the analytics/big data movement in all of business. He has also been my friend for more than 30 years and his work was the inspiration for my sports career. Alles Gute zum Gerburtstag, Bill! From baseballwhispererblog.wordpress.com a picture of Bill:

 

See the source image

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How old am I?! Yes, I ordered a “street” sign showing an “address” of Z06 Corvette Dr. Hey, you only live once…I wonder if Bill ever thought a picture of him would be shown next to a faux street sign that reads Z06 Corvette Dr?! Once more, the car that is inspiring this behavior:

 

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Speaking of Corvettes, the C8 convertible has been officially revealed and it is a retractable hardtop! In my opinion that’s the only way to do it if at all possible. It’s like owning two cars for the price of one and I think much safer, for many reasons not all of which having to do with structural rigidity, than a soft-top. If you click this link and scroll down to the section titled “The Convertible Has Arrived” you can watch a video of the hardtop being lowered.

I’m reasonably sure that at some point in the not too distant future a C8 convertible will grace our garage.

 

#HappyBirthdayBillJames

#Z06Corvette

#C8CorvetteConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Tuesday Twaddle

I follow Dominic Chu of CNBC on Twitter (@TheDomino). He is knowledgeable without being arrogant and passionate without being partisan. Occasionally we engage in short dialogues via Direct Message on Twitter. Often those dialogues are the result of my sending Dom a link to a Disaffected Musings post. Yesterday, in the middle of one of those dialogues Dom wrote this wonderful comment, “Your posts are awesome.” Wow! I mean, Wow! Dom’s comment was not in response to my asking him what he thought about the blog or any specific post. He offered it unprompted by me.

As every regular reader knows I am very proud of this blog AND wish many more people were reading. However, it is always great to receive such positive feedback, especially from someone who is a professional journalist. Thanks again, Dom.

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C8 Convertible

 

From this autoblog.com piece comes a picture of a C8 Corvette convertible. The article is about Chevrolet’s announcement that the official reveal of the C8 convertible will occur on October 2, despite the fact that the car was already shown in official company photos when the C8 was revealed in July.

No doubt the C8 convertible will have a soft-top and, no doubt, the chassis will be beefed up in order to compensate for the loss in structural rigidity a fixed roof provides. I suspect the base price for the convertible will be $5,000-$6,000 more than the coupe. Are any potential buyers reading this?

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More evidence of the softening of the collector car market: the gross sales total from all of the auctions held during Monterey Car Week last month was down by about 31% from 2018. The average price per lot was down about 24% and the median price declined by 16 percent. Combine that with slightly fewer lots offered and a small reduction in the sell-through rate and, voila, -31%.

Total sales have actually declined in four of the past five years in Monterey with only 2018 being an increase compared to the previous year. Remember that even the very wealthy don’t have to buy expensive collector cars. In all honesty, though, data like this makes me a little nervous about the overall economy.

My wonderful wife ribs me from time to time about having too much cash in our holdings. The ribbing happens even though our family portfolio has significantly outperformed its expected risk-adjusted return over a period of more than a decade. If the economy falters then having a substantial cash position will be quite an asset, in my opinion. Also, if the collector car market continues to soften and if that softening trickles down to all segments then maybe I can buy that Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk for even less than the modest amount one would cost today.

 

#DominicChu

#C8CorvetteConvertible

#SofteningOfCollectorCarMarket

#StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Today’s post title is nothing more than my penchant for self-deprecation and alliteration.

 

 

An Apology To Hemmings

In this post I complained that Hemmings refused to publish my comment about this article. Well, once again we have an example of why patience can be a virtue. They did publish the comment although more time passed than usual between submission and publication. I apologize.

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Motor Trend published an article titled, “10 Cars You Won’t Believe Cost More Than A Base C8 Corvette.” Of course, everyone is focused on Mark Reuss’ comment that the base C8 will start at less than $60,000. (His comment that was surprising to me was the C8 will be offered with right-hand drive in the appropriate markets.) Of course, $59,995 qualifies as less than $60,000. More importantly, I doubt many people will buy a 1LT, non Z51 car with no options at all. However, I don’t think anyone will buy a C8 that costs as much as this Toyota:

 

 

From that Motor Trend article a picture of a Toyota Land Cruiser. The price of this “vehicle” is listed at…$86,460! NFW! Save the car! By the way, the subtitle for the Motor Trend article is, “This ‘Vette might be the bargain of the century.”

Here’s an interesting photo from motor1.com:

 

See the source image

 

Yep, that sure looks like a C8 convertible. Maybe I shouldn’t have shown this photo or my wonderful wife might want to buy one. Just kidding, I think. She really likes the C8, by the way, more than I do.

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I’ve written about the difference between stated preferences and revealed (or actual) preferences. When being polled or just in normal conversation, people often say they feel one way about something, but their actions reveal they actually feel another way.

In Ultimate Garage 2.0 I included a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado among the 11 cars. (No Toyota Land Cruisers were included.) I really do love that car and for awhile I would, on occasion, look on websites where “classic” cars are sold to see what a ’67 Eldo would cost.

In the last 2-3 weeks, though, my browsing has almost exclusively consisted of one car: a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. I look almost every day at multiple websites to see what a GT Hawk will cost. By the way, I do not look for a 1964 model as I like, for some reason, the rear deck molding that was really only there to cover the grooves stamped into the rear of the deck lid that was added to the GT Hawk’s “predecessor” in 1956. For 1964 a new stamping was made that eliminated those grooves. I looked for a public domain photo of the molding, but was unsuccessful. Therefore, from Studebaker’s 1962-64 Gran Turismo: Final Flight Of The Hawk by Mark James, a picture of the relevant item from a ’63:

 

 

I mean if you’re going to have one might as well tell the world what it is, right? Actually, I just think it looks better than the unadorned rear deck of the ’64.

So, what do they cost? I have seen cars that are running listed anywhere from just under $5,000 to over $30,000. According to Hagerty a base 1963 Gran Turismo Hawk has an “average” value of about $15,000. Coincidentally that is the same value they place on a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado.

Anyway, this tangent is about what car really “should” have been in Ultimate Garage 2.0. The GT Hawk has been on the “cars that missed the cut” list in both Ultimate Garage iterations, but maybe it should have been in instead of out. I sure think about it a lot more than some of the cars that were included. At this point I am also forced to conclude that I am more likely to buy one as a companion to my 2016 Z06 than any other car. Of course, that’s not going to happen any time soon, anyway.

 

#AnApologyToHemmings

#C8CorvetteConvertible

#WhatPeopleDoIsMoreImportantThanWhatTheySay

#1967CadillacEldorado

#StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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