Throwback Thursday

First, a little housekeeping. I sent the link to yesterday’s post to my next-door neighbor who owns the McLaren 570S. Among the things I learned in his prompt and thoughtful replies was that he bought the McLaren used and did not pay anywhere near MSRP.

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Although this is not an apples-to-apples comparison, yesterday marked the day on which blog views for 2019 for Disaffected Musings surpassed those for all of 2018. The 2019 numbers for visitors/likes/comments passed those of 2018 2-4 weeks ago.

Besides the fact that this blog did not begin on January 1, 2018, the comparison is not apt because a new blog takes awhile to find an audience. I don’t know how many active blogs exist, but I suspect the number is in the millions. (Actually, some estimates place the number at 500 million!) For the nth time I think this blog should have 5-10 times the number of views/visitors it actually receives. However, it’s impossible for someone to read a blog whose existence is unknown to them.

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Although I have cancelled my subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket after 21 seasons I thought I would note that NFL training camps begin very soon. In that vein, I am using some of Throwback Thursday to show an evolution of football helmets. From packersuniforms.blogspot.com are three photos, courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Tennessean, showing the development of the NFL helmet.

 

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

As noted in the first picture and incredibly enough, it wasn’t mandatory that an NFL player wear a helmet until 1943. I also think players who were already playing then could still play without one.

I am not an engineer, but I think a potential mitigation against concussions is to have padding inside AND outside the helmet. The plastic shell could be encased in a high-density foam that could show the team colors and logo. Maybe a company is already working on such a helmet.

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How or why I made this connection I have no idea, but with the official unveiling of the next-generation (C8) Corvette just a week away here are the production figures for every year of the first-generation (C1) Corvette:

 

YEAR TOT
1953 300
1954 3,640
1955 700
1956 3,467
1957 6,339
1958 9,168
1959 9,670
1960 10,261
1961 10,939
1962 14,531

 

Many of those produced in 1954 were unsold for a long time which is why 1955 production was limited to such a small number. The total for the C1 is just 69,015 with 52% of those produced in the last three model years. Although I appreciate the significance of the C1 I am not a big fan of the car. Except for the 1961-62 models, the styling seems dated to me without being timeless. Of course, that is just my opinion. Many Corvette enthusiasts like this model not just the most among C1s, but the most of any Corvette:

 

See the source image

 

From megadeluxe.com a picture of a 1957 Corvette. Of course, that year is notable as the introduction of the fuel-injected engine, the legendary “fuelie” that would be available in that form through the 1965 model year. This car displays the Fuel Injection logo on the front fender in the cove.

1957 is also notable as the year Chevrolet/GM first offered an engine with 1 HP per cubic inch. The highest-rated fuelie was rated at 283 HP and the displacement was 283 cubic inches, an increase from the 265 CI offered in the first Chevrolet V-8 of 1955-56. I have read in many places, probably first in Modern Classics: The Great Cars of the Postwar Era by Rich Taylor, that those engines actually averaged 291 HP on the dynamometer, but that the marketing department liked the appeal of 283/283. Despite the notoriety of that engine, only 0.67 percent (43 of 6,339) of 1957 Corvettes were ordered with option 579D, the 283 HP fuel-injected engine.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#Morereadersplease

#NFLhelmets

#C8Corvette

#C1Corvette

#1957Corvette

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Gray Monday

The weather here matches my mood. My wonderful wife is off on a week-long business trip and I am already quite sad. Be careful and be safe, V Squared! I LOVE YOU!!!

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From corvetteblogger.com and AbsolutHank a leaked picture of the rear end of the C8 Corvette:

 

[PIC] LEAKED: Here is the Rear End of the C8 Mid-Engine Corvette

 

I guess this could be a fake although the official reveal is just ten days away. I wonder if I will see one before our trip to Bowling Green in late August. I can’t imagine we won’t see the C8 there.

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From this article:

 

“Roughly 80 percent of millionaires in America are the first generation of their family to be rich. They didn’t inherit their wealth; they earned it. How? According to a recent survey of the top 1 percent of American earners, slightly less than 14 percent were involved in banking or finance.

Roughly a third were entrepreneurs or managers of nonfinancial businesses. Nearly 16 percent were doctors or other medical professionals.

Lawyers made up slightly more than 8 percent, and engineers, scientists and computer professionals another 6.6 percent.”

 

Wealth doesn’t just exist; it is created by people in the private sector. Government exists to protect property rights, not to usurp them.

I am not a blind adherent of any political ideology, at least I don’t think I am. I disagree with many/most tenets of conservative policy, but on this matter I don’t. Government has no right to confiscate wealth for its own ends. Keep your hands out of our pockets or we will cut off your hands. (It should go without saying, but nevertheless: I am speaking metaphorically, not literally.)

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See the source image

 

From motorauthority.com a picture of a camouflaged Lexus LC convertible prototype that was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this past weekend. While I would be more excited to learn of a twin-turbo engine for the LC, which has been teased for a long time, a convertible is interesting news as well.

As EVERYONE who reads this blog knows I loathe the industry/market trend towards SUVs and pickup trucks. As everyone also knows I think obesity is a prime cause of the shift.

 

#MyWonderfulWife

#C8Corvette

#MythofWealth

#somanycarsjustonelife

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On The Other Hand: The C8 Corvette And Europe

In today’s first post I opined that one reason for the move to a mid-engine setup for the C8 was to spur sales in Europe. Maybe not…this article states that the Corvette and V-8 Camaro will be illegal in Europe beginning August 31st of this year. More precisely, it will be illegal to purchase new Corvettes and V8 Camaros. Of course, maybe GM/Chevrolet have tuned the C8 engine in a way that it will meet the new European emissions standards. Maybe that’s one reason why they are calling the engine the LT2 instead of the LT1.

 

See the source image

 

“Chazcron” (the nom de plume of Charles Cronley) has been “rendering” the C8 Corvette for quite some time. This picture is from corvetteblogger.com. It looks very much like a mid-engine Ferrari. Remember that mid-engine architecture means certain design elements are necessary and that others are impossible.

 

#C8Corvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

 

To 48-volt or not to 48-volt?

That is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles…wait a minute, I got confused.

Not long ago rumors surfaced that one reason the formal introduction of the C8 Corvette was delayed was because of electrical difficulties. More specifically, the 12-volt system standard in almost all cars since the 1950s was inadequate to handle all of the electrical doo-dads on the C8. Maybe I’ve missed it, but I haven’t read anything as to whether or not the C8 will have a 48-volt system. From this article on CorvetteBlogger from last December:

 

“The alternative to the 12V system that most automakers are going with are 48V systems which provide more than enough electrical power through the system. Not only does a 48V system have the juice to handle the new electronics, but they can also offer the ability for more performance and fuel economy savings. In fact, 48V systems are described as ‘mild hybrids’ because the alternator is replaced with an electric generator to provide the additional electrical power. As more of the mechanical components can be converted to electric systems, that means less parasitic power loss to engines which improves fuel economy, reduces emissions and increases power…

So going back to the Corvette’s electrical woes, we can imagine several scenarios where either they went with the 12V system similar to the C7s for cost savings and they are finding it’s just not enough power, or they went with the 48V system and are having some growing pains in getting all the systems to work correctly. A third option might be a hybrid 12V/48V system that divides the system for lights and vehicle starting vs everything else. As Corvette is the ‘technological tip of the spear’ for GM, it seems unlikely that engineers would go with any system that isn’t state of the art.”

 

Does anyone reading know the answer? From this CNBC article and from Chevrolet a picture of a camouflaged C8 in New York earlier this month:

 

2020 Chevy Corvette C8 1

 

Once again, I am not sorry I purchased a used C7 Z06 last month. Actually, I’m even happier now because I have the last generation of front-engined Corvette that will ever be made. I am also happy, though, that the C8 is real and that we will see it soon. If anyone knows the answer as to whether the C8 has a 48-volt electrical system please let us know. Thanks.

 

#C8Corvette

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Random Thoughts

If you’re not a Baltimore Ravens fan then skip this section…

The Ravens are going to “lose” two stalwarts of their defense, Terrell Suggs (who has played for the team for 16 seasons) and C.J. Mosley (five seasons). Under previous GM Ozzie Newsome I think the Ravens would have found a way to sign at least one of those players. Let me quickly add that I am not saying that would have been the “right” move. In fact, I think Newsome was a little too fond of veteran players.

Although the salary cap doesn’t really even things out among the teams at all times, because at any given time teams have disparate amounts of cap room, teams cannot prudently sign Grade B players for Grade A money or Grade C players for Grade B money. However, that’s exactly what happens because of the different amounts of cap space.

Like Jerry Seinfeld said a fan is only rooting for the laundry, anyway.

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According to this story on motor1.com a fleet of C8 Corvettes were recently tested in Arizona with one passenger of note, GM President Mark Reuss. The article notes that if the passenger was really Mr. Reuss then the C8 reveal is likely to be soon, whatever that means. Photos from the article are copyrighted so I cannot legally show them here. What I can tell you is that the photos, granted in camouflage, look very much like a mid-engined Ferrari 458 or 488. A mid-engined layout means that certain design elements must exist and that others are impossible.

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See the source image

From gtspirit.com a picture of the stunning Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. Has there ever been an ugly Aston? I don’t think so. Even Ferrari has made the FF, which I think is a “neither fish nor fowl” design.

This car is basically a DB11, but with some tweaks including wider tires. The engine has also been tweaked and now produces 715 HP. Although one can’t see the suspension on the Superleggera it is different from the “base” DB11.

How much? The base MSRP is just $308,081. Yes, even at that price one can pay more for options like a carbon fiber roof ($4,545).

Anyone want to offer an opinion on this or any other Aston Martin?

 

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Monday Musings

Once again I ask that if you are reading this blog, please read the comments for each post. They are as much a part of Disaffected Musings as the posts.

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Professional football is the undisputed king of the American sports landscape. Of course, that has not always been the case. Anyway, while I have not been watching the AAF I understand that its TV ratings have been respectable.

The AAF wants to partner with the NFL. So did the All-America Football Conference when it first formed. Not familiar with the AAFC? Where do you think the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers started?

I have always been fascinated with the idea of leagues that would compete with the establishment. Up until just a few years ago I would create such leagues on paper complete with league rules, team nicknames and yearly standings. The last one I created was called the North American Football League (NAFL) and it was a spring league that wouldn’t quite compete head-to-head with the NFL, like the AAF. Like I keep quoting from the movie Diner, if you don’t have dreams you have nightmares. I have nightmares, anyway, so I might as well have daydreams.

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See the source image

OK, from the trident on the front one should be able to tell it’s a Maserati. From supercars.net a picture of a Maserati Bora. On this day in 1971 the Bora was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show.

At this time Citroën had a controlling interest in Maserati and wanted to develop a mid-engined two-seat sports car to compete with the Lamborghini Miura and the De Tomaso Mangusta. At its introduction the Bora was powered by a 4.7 liter/288 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 306 HP/340 LB-FT of torque. It was a DOHC design with four carburetors. (Good luck tuning the car!) In 1973 a 4.9 liter engine was produced that would meet US emission standards.

Actually, according to Wikipedia the Bora was introduced with two engines (a 4.9 liter spec as well), but according to automobile-catalog.com only the 4.7 liter was available at first. I’m going to trust the latter, but I could be wrong, of course. In any event, the Bora was produced through 1978 with about 560 made.

With all of the speculation surrounding the possible introduction of a mid-engined Corvette for the eighth generation it is worth noting that many sports cars have had mid-engine configurations. The rumors about the C8 Corvette include the notion that GM/Chevrolet engineers believe they have reached the limits of the front-engine, rear-drive setup. We’ll have to wait a little longer to find out.

 

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Sunday Supplement

From Webster’s Dictionary, “the section of a Sunday newspaper consisting of material other than news and usually including pictures, comic strips, and light often sensational reading matter.”

A shout-out to my best friend, Dr. Zal, who graced us with his presence this weekend. His being here made the Ravens’ win over the Chargers even more enjoyable.

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On this day in 1987, I was formally offered my first full-time job in baseball. The offer was delivered via telephone by the Assistant General Manager, who began to tell me where he could be reached over the holiday so I could give him my response. I cut him off with, “Are you kidding? I accept the offer right now.”

I was in employment limbo having lost a job in July, 1987 and I had no idea what I was going to do next. I had been working for this team as a consultant since October of 1986 and actually gave them an ultimatum telling them that if they didn’t offer me a full-time job by the end of the year (1987) then I would no longer work for them in any capacity. Of course it was a giant bluff, but it worked. What would I have done if they had called my bluff? I guess we’ll never know.

The best part of the day was calling my marvelous mom to give her the news. When I told her I heard the phone drop and I heard her crying with joy. She was the only other person in the world who believed I could get a job in baseball and with the hometown team, no less. It is a GREAT feeling to be right when virtually the rest of the world is wrong.

While I lament my current state of affairs, I will have the memory of that day for the rest of my life.

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From automobilemag.com more news about the (alleged) C8 Corvette. Supposedly pictures of a couple of prototypes that don’t look the same as those “seen” earlier this year were posted on Instagram. More from the article: “Powertrain specs remain unclear at this point, but we’ve heard it could offer 4.2-liter and 5.5-liter dual-overhead-cam V-8 engines. Forced induction could also be in the cards. Citing unnamed sources, GM Authority reports that the mid-engine Corvette will likely debut this coming summer. The new report also claims Chevy will unveil the car at a standalone event rather than a major auto show. Reportedly, electrical issues have delayed the car’s debut.”

Despite my occasional protestations to the contrary, as a car nut and a Corvette nut I do care a lot about the C8. (Of course I am probably just a nut and cars and Corvettes have nothing to do with it.) I think GM/Chevrolet have A LOT riding on this car.

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https://ccpublic.blob.core.windows.net/cc-temp/listing/96/258/6172228-1961-chevrolet-corvette-std-c.jpg

From classiccars.com a picture of what I think is the best-looking C1 Corvette, the 1961 model. I like the more modern rear deck of the ’61 and ’62; I also like the cleaner grille. I like the ’61 better than the ’62 because I like the chrome around the cove and the potential for a two-tone paint job. In general, though, I am not a big fan of C1 Corvettes. To each his own…

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

 

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Did the Fed blink?

CNBC’s Jim Cramer opined that Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, has blinked. In early October Powell stated that he thought current Fed rates were far short of the “neutral” rate that neither stimulates nor dampens the economy, implying more rate hikes for 2019. Yesterday, Powell said that the rates were close to the neutral rate. Equity markets loved that news and stock prices soared.

Say what you want about Jim Cramer’s on-air histrionics, but he is a VERY smart man and was very successful running a hedge fund. He has been critical of the stance of Powell and the Fed regarding interest rates and the US economy. It looks as though Powell has listened to Cramer, either explicitly or implicitly.

I think it is a sad state of affairs that more Americans know who Kim Kardashian is (I don’t care if I spelled her name correctly) than who Jerome Powell is. Ignorance is NOT bliss!

FWIW, Cramer does not believe that China is a “friend” of the US. I believe that China, at least in their own hemisphere if not both, wants to be the dominant world power. Whether they can accomplish that goal before their population gets really old is an open question, in my opinion. (FYI, in 2017 the US trade deficit with China in goods AND services amounted to 1.7% of US GDP. I guess you can decide whether or not that’s a significant number.)

I love cars, but I live in the real world. As much as I despise politics, what large national governments do affects us all whether we realize it or not.

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In an episode of the original Top Gear, the hosts stated their opinion that Lancia has built more great cars than any other company in history. On this day in 1906, Lancia was founded.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.hiconsumption.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/1974-Lancia-Stratos-HF-Stradale-0-HERO.jpg

From hiconsumption.com a picture of the Lancia Stratos, one of the most successful rally cars in history. I really like the look of this car except for the box handle spoiler at the back of the roof.

 

https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/1975-lancia-fulvia.jpg?quality=85

From thedrive.com a picture of a Lancia Fulvia. A recent episode of Wheeler Dealers featured this model.

Fiat purchased Lancia in 1969. At first, the Lancia name stayed “independent” and the production of a model like the Stratos was a manifestation of that “independence.” Eventually, Lancia models really became badge-engineered Fiats.

At this moment I believe the only model with the Lancia name is the Ypsilon “supermini” built on the Fiat Mini/Fiat 500 platform. If Wikipedia is to be believed, then Lancia production has declined dramatically: from 300,000 cars in 1990 to 60,000 in 2017. Lancias were sold officially in the US only from 1975 to 1982. As I have written before a Stratos model recently sold on Bring a Trailer for $440,000.

 

I’m sorry, but does any other place exist where one can read a discussion of Fed policy AND about the Lancia automobile? If you like this blog, PLEASE tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

 

P.S. From corvetteblogger.com comes this news about the key fob and LOGO for the C8 Corvette being unearthed from an FCC filing. Very big news, IMO.

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

 

It’s Monday

As I wrote here, Friday doesn’t have the same meaning for someone like me who is (involuntarily) retired as it does for someone in a full-time job. Well, of course, neither does Monday. In all of my non-baseball office jobs I dreaded Monday. As I keep writing virtually nothing in life is all good or all bad; everything is a trade-off. As I have also written, the fact that someone with my skills and experience cannot find a meaningful and fulfilling work situation is not a good sign for America, even if it’s just a sample size of one. I don’t even want to work full-time, but I would relish a part-time or consulting role in which I can use my combination of analytical and communication skills to help a company make decisions.

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I have written about Patrick Mahomes, the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, a couple of times. Between fatigue and the rerun of a Mecum auction I missed almost all of last night’s Chiefs-Patriots game, which apparently was one for the ages. Since I didn’t watch maybe I shouldn’t comment, but 1) the fact that the Chiefs came back to take the lead at Foxboro bodes well for them and 2) NO penalties against the Patriots is very suspicious to me. It is well-known that the Chiefs’ defense is suspect, but I think the Patriots’ defense is not that good, either.

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I have no idea why Disaffected Musings already has dozens of views today, supposedly all from Canada, from very few unique visitors. It’s actually a little disturbing because it seems like a prank or even like a hack. ALL blog hosting platforms should understand that bloggers have no control over what strangers do. Since the beginning of this month the number of views/visitors for Disaffected Musings has increased dramatically, for which I am grateful, but that increase seems organic unlike today’s activity.

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A shout-out to Lee Iacocca who is, hopefully, celebrating his 94th birthday today. Iacocca is one of the most significant figures in the history of the American automotive industry. For all that he accomplished, he will probably always be most associated with his role in bringing this car to market:

See the source image

From silodrome.com a picture of a 1965 Ford Mustang. While I am tired of seeing an endless parade of Mustangs/Shelbys at car auctions I do appreciate the significance of the car. I have recently developed an affinity for the hardtop coupe (pictured above) of the first generation Mustangs up through 1968.

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From autoevolution.com a picture of a rendering by a Korean company, KKS Studios, of the upcoming C8 Corvette:

A lot of Ferrari 488 in that design as the autoevolution article points out. So many drawings and renderings have emerged regarding the C8 Corvette that it’s almost too many, almost. I still think the C2 Corvette (1963-1967) is the best looking American car ever (yes, I broke the moratorium which lasted 18 days) and with a restomod I can get a C7 in performance that looks like a C2. In any event, here’s hoping that the C8 will debut early in 2019.

 

 

C8!

First, from Maurice:

“Buying your passion is never wrong. It’s just how to do it with the highest pleasure/pain ratio. One man’s thirty year torture trying to rebuild a car is another man’s-or woman’s-labor of love. To live without passion is to die slowly every day.”

I believe it was Hegel who wrote, “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”

Speaking of passion:

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/25-cars-worth-waiting-for-2019-2022

Obviously from Car and Driver a picture of their take on the upcoming C8 Corvette. This is supposed to be the Vette that is “finally” mid-engined, as Corvette savior and guru Zora Arkus-Duntov would have wanted. Word has been frustratingly scarce in terms of details, but GM/Chevrolet are not obligated to reveal details before they formally introduce the car.

The prevailing “wisdom” has been that the C8 and C7 will be produced simultaneously for a couple of years, a Corvette first. Then, the C8 will be the only production model, but that it will be available with three or even four different engines. The word “e-Ray” has been trademarked by General Motors/Chevrolet leading to speculation that some type of hybrid drive-train will eventually be available. Who knows? Maybe it will be like the McLaren P1 or Ferrari LaFerrari in that it will use electric motors to boost output, maybe past 1,000 HP and 1,000 LB-FT of torque.

Here is the URL for the full Car and Driver write-up on the C8:

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/2020-chevrolet-corvette-c8-the-mid-engined-white-whale-is-nearly-here

I don’t think I or my wonderful wife will be in the market for the C8, but one never knows. 🙂