Saturday In The (Virtual) Park

First…Cristy Lee is recovering from an appendectomy AND she is no longer on the cast of All Girls Garage. In a long “social media” message she noted her hectic work and travel schedule for 2019 and stated she needs to take better care of herself in the future.

Ostensibly she is supposed to continue on Garage Squad whenever that program resumes production—it is in a coronavirus hiatus—but somehow I get the feeling she won’t. When we attended her live interview during the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale in January of 2019 she mentioned that she had been involved in fixing houses before her days on Velocity/Motor Trend and that “something was in the works” for a possible return. Cristy Lee on HGTV and/or DIY? Those networks are under the Discovery “umbrella.”

When the announcement was made in May, 2019 that Cristy Lee would be joining Garage Squad I sent her a tweet (I still had an active Twitter account) that I hoped the news didn’t mean she was leaving All Girls Garage. I guess it did…from her Twitter page, I assume, a picture of Cristy Lee:


See the source image


The town in which we live—we don’t actually live in the incorporated part but have a town zip code—has a population of a little more than 30,000 but seems to have enough parks for a place with 100,000. These parks look nice, but were seldom used even before the coronavirus. I guess their mere presence is a positive, but I have often thought at least a small percentage of these parks could be used for more productive activities.

I am also still a little mad that the town tore down a very old mill tower and used some of the bricks in a new park at the site. From an Evil Empire blog a picture of the tower:


See the source image


Of course, the town council claimed the tower was too expensive to maintain and that its “memory” would be preserved in the new park named for the mill. I miss seeing the tower, what can I say?


This Carbonhans Blog article compares the C8 Corvette to the Lamborghini Huracan Evo. The subhead reads, “With six figures separating their prices, are these mid-engine sports cars even comparable? Yes.” Here is an interesting passage:


“Surprisingly, the Corvette streaks to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds (as tested by our friends at MotorTrend), matching the estimated figure for the Huracan Evo. The European boasts a higher top speed of 202 mph, whereas the Corvette tops out at 184 to 194 mph, depending on equipment. Since there are basically no places in America for owners to probe those speeds, the Lambo’s lead here is negligible. What counts is that the C8 can hang with the Lamborghini in straight-line speed—with less power (but greater torque) and without all-wheel drive. Oh, and for less than a third of the price.”


I think if you’re interested you should read the article yourself. Once again, the Corvette is simply unmatched in bang for the buck among performance cars anywhere in the world. OK, a picture from the Carbonhans piece:


2020 Chevy Corvette vs Lambo Huracan EVO 1


With all that is going on the C8 has been lost in the maelstrom. Of course, that pales in significance to other manifestations, but just sitting stuck in your house under a stay at home order and moping is probably not good for anyone. This, too, shall pass although it will pass like a giant kidney stone, wreaking much havoc and with the potential to cause long-lasting damage. As I have had (at least) six kidney stones I have some knowledge on the subject.


Please feel free to post thoughtful comments. I always welcome them, but they are particularly welcome now.








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Cult Of The New

First things first…after today I will be posting sporadically or not at all for awhile. I will also not be in a position to “Like” posts on the many blogs I read.

Here are links to the three most-read posts so far this year:

Monday Mishegas

Ultimate Garage 2.0: Honorable Mention & Car Number One

Where Is Cristy Lee?

Here is the link to 2019’s most-read post:

Saturday Salary Arbitration


I have used the expression “Cult Of The New” many times in Disaffected Musings. That is actually the title of Chapter 9 in David Maraniss’ outstanding biography of Vince Lombardi, When Pride Still Mattered. The chapter begins with the closing stanza of a poem written by legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice a month before his death in July of 1954:


Far off I hear the rolling, roaring cheers.

They come to me from many yesterdays,

From record deeds that cross the fading years,

And light the landscape with their brilliant plays,

Great stars that knew their days in fame’s bright sun.

I hear them trampling to oblivion.


Even though the main subject of the book is Vince Lombardi, obviously, and the main theme is football, Maraniss uses the first two pages of the chapter to discuss the “Cult Of The New” and, whether it’s intentional or not, his discussion is a critique of blindly following any trend. What seems like progress can have a very dark side. If you’re a football fan I highly recommend the book.


This blog has become very C8 Corvette “heavy” in recent weeks. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the first 2020 C8 Corvettes have been shipped from Bowling Green, Kentucky and some have been delivered to customers. I assume I will see one “in the wild” in a matter of weeks.



So, what else should I write about given this will probably be the last “full” post for awhile? I often daydream about checking the number of blog views on my computer or on my phone and instead of seeing a few dozen views for the day I see a few hundred or a few thousand, instead. Yes, I am still obsessed with blog views and why this blog doesn’t receive more of them. I know without using Fack Fucebook my readership will never approach my daydreams, but I still think I should have more readers. If any of you have suggestions, please feel free to pass them on. If you are a regular reader, please be an advocate and spread the word. Thanks.


This Hemmings ad is for a car I might consider as a Z06 companion even though I have not mentioned it previously. Here is a picture:



In addition to the fact that the car comes from a defunct American make, this 1963 Oldsmobile Starfire currently resides in our old stomping grounds of the Metroplex, the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The car probably is not as good as its pictures, but its pictures are very good.

The ad copy claims that the engine, transmission, suspension and brakes have all been rebuilt. If true that mitigates the nearly 90,000 miles on the clock although no time frame for the rebuilds is mentioned. The car is powered by the Olds 394 cubic-inch V8 that produced 345 HP/440 LB-FT of torque and is coupled to a Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.

This Starfire would more than qualify as a grocery car. In fact, it might be “overqualified” in that it is 214 inches long (17′, 10″), which could make it tough to fit in a garage. My wonderful wife and I used to live in a house with a “two-car” garage that was only 19 x 19.

So, what’s the price? The seller is asking what seems to me to be a reasonable $16,900. I have seen Oldsmobiles of this vintage sell for a lot more. As this is just a theoretical exercise for now (and perhaps always) no harm in looking at ads and dreaming. If you don’t have dreams, you have nightmares.

Hope your dreams are good ones. See you on the flip side.








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Monday Musings It’s March, 2020 Edition

I doubt many of you watched and many of you are probably not even aware, but the “Underwear Olympics,” AKA the NFL Scouting Combine, concluded yesterday. Many teams used to be suckered into liking a player without good game tape because he had “performed” well at the Combine. Long-time NFL coach and current Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bruce Arians had this to say (the remark is taken from here): “The tape don’t lie. The combine lies. You can fall in love at the combine and get your ass broke.”

Albert Einstein’s oft-repeated remark is quite appropriate here, yes even in football. (By the way, does anyone besides me think Einstein would have been a great football strategist if he had studied the game for a few years?) “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”


Apparently, the first shipments of C8 Corvettes did not occur last Friday as anticipated/hoped. However, photographs from the assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky show hundreds of C8s parked outside, supposedly ready for transfer. From this post comes a link to this video.

For Corvette fans like me (and my wonderful wife) the success of the C8 is important. I have written before that I think if the C8 fails that will be the end of the Corvette. From Corvette Forum yet another picture of a C8 Corvette:


See the source image


The more I see them, the better they look. I hope to see one on the road before the end of this month.



A picture I took yesterday while my wonderful wife and I were driving through an equestrian/Old West park. I love horses although I am not a rider or outdoor person in any way. I was, however, once part of a group that owned a thoroughbred race horse. She actually won twice while under our 14-month ownership and we broke even, which is better than the vast majority of horses do for their owners.


On this day in 1990 a team of drivers completed a two day trial during which they set a dozen land speed records with a Corvette ZR-1 and a Corvette L-98. The cars did not have mufflers or catalytic converters, but otherwise were stock. Records broken included 5000 miles in a time of 28:46:12.5, 5000 km in a time of 17:40:53.7, and 4221.3 miles in 24 hours. The average speed for all record runs were 170-175 MPH. The ZR-1 set the 24-hour record, driving over 4200 miles at an average 175 MPH. The trial occurred at the Firestone Test Center in Texas. From this Hemmings article a picture of a 1990 Corvette ZR-1:


1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1


The ZR-1 debuted in model year 1990. The engine was the result of a joint effort between Chevrolet and Lotus; the engine had four overhead cams and 32 valves. It was rated 375 HP; the base Corvette engine for 1990 was rated 245/250 HP. The base engine had different outputs depending on whether or not the car was a coupe and its rear axle ratio. Don’t ask…

The base price of a 1990 Corvette coupe was $31,979, but the ZR-1 option cost an additional $27,016. Believe it or not, over 3,000 ZR-1s were ordered out of a total Corvette coupe production of 16,016. (The ZR-1 was only available as a coupe in 1990.)









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I have never understood why so many people in the US are so interested in Britain’s “Royal Family.” A “royal wedding” occurred while Dick Vermeil was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He was asked by a reporter if he was going to watch the “royal wedding.” He answered, “the royal what?” Great answer…for me, all the news about that family belongs on WGAF TV. I think you can figure out what WGAF stands for.


From Fred Allen via The Muscleheaded Blog:

“A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.”



Below are two charts that, in my opinion, no one in the US should apologize for:


Rank Country Tot Wealth ($B, 2019) Global Share Population Pop Share Share/Per Cap Wealth/Pop
#1 United States $105,990 29.4% 332,639,102 4.4% 0.884 6.63
#2 China $63,827 17.7% 1,394,015,977 18.6% 0.127 0.95
#3 Japan $24,992 6.9% 125,507,472 1.7% 0.550 4.13
#4 Germany $14,660 4.1% 80,159,662 1.1% 0.511 3.84
#5 United Kingdom $14,341 4.0% 65,761,117 0.9% 0.608 4.56
#6 France $13,729 3.8% 67,848,156 0.9% 0.560 4.20
#7 India $12,614 3.5% 1,326,093,247 17.7% 0.026 0.20
#8 Italy $11,358 3.1% 62,402,459 0.8% 0.497 3.73
#9 Canada $8,573 2.4% 37,694,085 0.5% 0.637 4.78
#10 Spain $7,772 2.2% 50,015,792 0.7% 0.440 3.30
#11 South Korea $7,302 2.0% 51,835,110 0.7% 0.386 2.90
#12 Australia $7,202 2.0% 25,466,459 0.3% 0.785 5.89
#13 Taiwan $4,062 1.1% 23,603,049 0.3% 0.466 3.50
#14 Switzerland $3,877 1.1% 8,403,994 0.1% 1.309 9.82
#15 Netherlands $3,719 1.0% 17,280,397 0.2% 0.579 4.34
  All Other Countries $56,585 15.7%        
  Global Total $360,603 100.0%        


This chart is from this post, except I added the population and wealth share per capita, for which I must admit I had to multiply the number so that it wouldn’t have a lot of zeroes after the decimal. Yes, I could have divided the actual wealth figure by population, but I thought my way is more novel. Yes, I could have added a column for share of world population and divided the wealth share by the population share. The rankings of the per capita metric would not have changed. OK, here is that chart:


Country Tot Wealth ($B, 2019) Global Share Pop Share Wealth/Pop
United States $105,990 29.4% 4.4% 6.63
China $63,827 17.7% 18.6% 0.95
Japan $24,992 6.9% 1.7% 4.13
Germany $14,660 4.1% 1.1% 3.84
United Kingdom $14,341 4.0% 0.9% 4.56
France $13,729 3.8% 0.9% 4.20
India $12,614 3.5% 17.7% 0.20
Italy $11,358 3.1% 0.8% 3.73
Canada $8,573 2.4% 0.5% 4.78
Spain $7,772 2.2% 0.7% 3.30
South Korea $7,302 2.0% 0.7% 2.90
Australia $7,202 2.0% 0.3% 5.89
Taiwan $4,062 1.1% 0.3% 3.50
Switzerland $3,877 1.1% 0.1% 9.82
Netherlands $3,719 1.0% 0.2% 4.34


The US share of world wealth is almost 7 times its share of world population. Among these countries, only China and India have a smaller wealth share than population share, but that’s probably to be expected for the two most populous nations on earth. Yes, more than a third of the world’s population lives in just those two countries.

Only Switzerland, with a population 1/40 of the US, has a higher share of wealth per capita than the US. These charts also show how poor India really is. Almost all of these countries are democracies and whose economies are, for the most part, capitalistic.

Share the wealth? How about EARN the wealth.


From this post comes the news that the C8 Corvette will reduce torque output for the first 500 miles. The C7 Corvette displayed a yellow band around the tachometer for the first 500 miles warning not to rev the engine above 3,500 RPM. For C7s equipped with dry-sump oiling systems, it was highly recommended that the oil be changed at 500 miles. Regardless, the yellow warning band disappears at 500 miles. From the same post, more from Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer:


“Any machinery that has moving parts, whether they have point contact, a rotational interface or slide against each other will “bed-in” over time. What that means is, no matter the manufacturing process, two interfacing parts will find their own equilibrium. You can think of it as mutually refining each other’s surface texture until they reach a steady state. This steady state condition generally minimizes noise, vibration and wear. Although manufacturing has improved to a point where break in effects are minimized, they are still at play despite claims to the contrary. And the truth is, there may be additional minor benefits to a longer break in period. If it was my car, I would try to be patient for 1,000 miles.”

“Starting with the 7th generation Corvette we established a variable red line on the tach to give drivers a visual indication on when it would be advisable to take it easy on the car. We used it for the first 500 miles of driving and when the engine was coming up to operating temperature after break in was complete. Our reconfigurable display enabled us to do that. We didn’t actually limit torque, horse power or RPM, it was just a visual indication. Despite the tach and owner’s instructions, some customers use the full capability of the car immediately. We have too many videos of people doing burn-outs off the dealer lot or showing up to a track (both road course and drag strip) with near zero miles. Taking any green and cold engine to max torque and speed can cause undesirable wear patterns that could affect engine operation over the long term. Running full torque through the trans under the same conditions can score gears, especially those in the differential after the engine torque has been multiplied. We have had examples of customers not observing the break in guidelines and then returning the car to the dealer with complaints of gear noise or differential whine. [emphasis mine]”

“For the 8th generation Corvette, we have taken it a step farther. With more weight on the rear, the car has more traction and we take advantage of that with more aggressive gearing. That translates into more torque multiplication and more loads in the driveline. We decided for the first 500 miles to limit maximum torque in first and second gears. The torque reduction is roughly 25 to 30% depending on which transaxle (standard or Z51) and which gear…”


It’s too bad that some people behave in an ignorant manner and use their vehicles contrary to instructions. I am not being facetious. In his book about Corvettes, Steve Magnante wrote that GM/Chevrolet considered turbocharging the car as early as the C4, but were worried that people would ignore the instruction to use premium gas and tuning the turbo(s) to account for that, the performance gain per dollar wasn’t worth it. A few bad apples can spoil the party for everyone…

Of course, I now “must” show a picture of a C8 Corvette. As production will not begin until next month I have not seen one anywhere except at Bowling Green.



Once again I will offer my thought that I will not be surprised if my wonderful wife trades her current C7 convertible for a C8 convertible in 3-4 years.







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OK, the charts do not display on mobile devices. I hope this works.


Country Global WealthShare Global PopulationShare Wealth/Pop
United States 29.4% 4.4% 6.63
China 17.7% 18.6% 0.95
Japan 6.9% 1.7% 4.13
Germany 4.1% 1.1% 3.84
United Kingdom 4.0% 0.9% 4.56
France 3.8% 0.9% 4.20
India 3.5% 17.7% 0.20
Italy 3.1% 0.8% 3.73
Canada 2.4% 0.5% 4.78
Spain 2.2% 0.7% 3.30
South Korea 2.0% 0.7% 2.90
Australia 2.0% 0.3% 5.89
Taiwan 1.1% 0.3% 3.50
Switzerland 1.1% 0.1% 9.82
Netherlands 1.0% 0.2% 4.34

My apologies to Dirty Dingus McGee. In my attempt to edit the first two charts to make them more legible on mobile devices, his thoughtful comment (and my reply) was lost.

First Monday Musings Of 2020

Father Time is undefeated…


I will tell you that the genuflecting shown to the Patriots before the playoffs by people who get paid to talk about the NFL was disgusting. One, a former attorney who now hosts an NFL TV show, called the Patriots “The Terminator” as in “turn your back on them at your own peril.” Another, a former player to whom I will refer as “Prime Time Big Mouth,” said his confidence in the Patriots was “extremely high” and when asked to elaborate he just said “They’re the champs.”

Anyone who objectively watched the Patriots over the last half of the season would have told you that they did not resemble a championship team in any way, shape or form. The Patriots are just not athletic enough to be considered a great team. They are, obviously, well-coached, but there is no substitute for talent.

Switching teams…I am not a big fan of either the Vikings or the Saints, but I can’t say I was disappointed by the Saints’ losing at home. I have never, ever heard anyone describe their coach as a good person. I have heard and read him described as the ultimate in smugness and arrogance.

My “dream” Super Bowl of the Ravens vs. the Packers can still happen although I doubt it will. I am not so arrogant as to think I can actually predict the outcome of the NFL playoffs. Remember that pro sports, like the rest of life, is just a Monte Carlo simulation. Whatever happens is not the only thing that could have happened and doesn’t even have to have been the most likely outcome.


From one of the top Corvette salesmen, Mike Furman, via Corvette Blogger:


“The New Year has begun and 2020 mid-engine Corvette coupe production officially starts within a month…the GM allocation system is frustrating as the patience of many gets tested. We live in an instant gratification world but the 2020 allocation rollout will be slow and methodical. I’ve been down this road many times before and the only thing that has changed is how we receive information. The computer informs all in an instant which is like a double-edged sword. The saying goes, “Patience is a virtue”…well all I can say is the 8th generation Corvette is well worth waiting for.”


I really like the sentence, “The computer informs all in an instant, which is like a double-edged sword.” I have written many times and fervently believe that virtually nothing is all good or all bad and that virtually everything is a trade-off. I have also written about how so many people have been seduced by the “Cult Of The New.” I don’t subscribe to “Status Quo Uber Alles,” either. To me, neither new nor old is automatically good or bad. From CorvetteForum a picture of something new that I think is really good, a 2020 C8 Corvette (in orange, of course):


See the source image


I think having seen the C8 in person has made the photos of the car look better to me. I hope I will be able to take a picture of the first one I see on the street, but that will probably be a few months from now.






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Monday Miscellany

Thanks to 56packardman for sending the link to this Motor Trend article about GM subsidizing the Corvette, at least at first. The sub-head states that Chevrolet will lose money on every C8 sold below $80,000. [However, amortization of new C8 systems will lower the per unit production cost of the car over time.—my note] The article also states, not surprisingly, the demand for Corvettes drops off dramatically once the price sails past $100,000.

Of course, that’s for previous Corvettes. I have no inside information, but I would not be surprised if Chevrolet/GM hope some Ferrari and Lamborghini buyers will consider buying the C8—now that the car is mid-engine—and if the higher-performance versions cost north of 100 grand, those buyers won’t balk at the price, especially since any Z06 or ZR1 will still cost much less than a new Ferrari or Lamborghini.

This post from reveals that one can spend about $114,000 for a C8 convertible, but that’s the MSRP for a car fully loaded. I am going to wade into it now. Too many Americans don’t understand that a big world exists outside the US. Cars costing millions when new are produced by companies in other countries, particularly in Europe. How much do you think the Swedish-built Koenigsegg costs? The Jesko model is $3 million and all 125 examples will be gobbled up quickly. Even if a high-performance C8 is $150,000, that’s a tiny 5 percent of the price of a Jesko and the C8 is probably no more than 5 percent below the Jesko in performance.

Yes, a $150,000 Corvette will not be within the means of many current Corvette owners, but it will seem like a bargain to those in the supercar/hypercar market. A 900+ HP, all-wheel drive ZR1 C8 Corvette will be able to accelerate from 0-60 MPH in less than 2.5 seconds, have a top speed in excess of 200 MPH and be able to pull well over 1g on a skidpad test for a fraction of the price of high-performance cars made abroad. I find it almost impossible to believe that some people in those markets will not be attracted to a C8 Corvette. In fact, this will be the first Corvette available with right-hand drive, so Chevrolet/GM is anticipating sales in markets like the UK, Japan and Australia.

The US is not the only car market in the world, nor is it the largest market. While Chevrolet/GM cannot ignore US consumers, in order to thrive in the future it must have products that have appeal outside the US. From the article a picture of a C8 convertible:



A McLaren 720S Spider costs more than $300,000 and a Ferrari F8 Spider is at least $300,000; a C8 convertible at $114,000 is not expensive in that context. I think Chevrolet/GM are aiming for that market.


Thirty days from today will be January 1, 2020! That fact is frightening and amazing at the same time. Remember that you are older now than you’ve ever been before and younger than you will ever be again.

The RAND Corporation, a well-known “think tank,” predicted in 1994 that by 2020 apes could and would be bred such that they could perform manual labor like cleaning your house. Never forget that history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future. Of course, robots may very well be performing such tasks in the not too distant future.

Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich gained much fame with his book, The Population Bomb, which was published in 1968. Of course, most of his predictions were totally wrong such as, “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

In the developed world what is happening instead is that it is likely that populations will begin to decrease as the birthrate in places like Japan and the US have declined to at or below the “replacement rate.” EVERYONE has an agenda so what EVERYONE says has to be taken with a grain of salt, including me.






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Tuesday Truth

Truth: I love my wonderful wife, who is supposed to finally return today from her long trip.

Truth: Her absence has laid bare just how much I dislike the rest of my life.

My feelings of boredom, disappointment and even anger are so profound that I can taste them. Remember that you can’t understand or judge someone else until you’ve “walked a mile in their shoes.” DO NOT project your life on to me or on to anyone else. Except perhaps for identical twins or triplets, no two people are exactly alike.

I am not even asking for advice; I am just venting. I don’t want to hear that I should just volunteer my time or I should just take any job. In my hierarchy, doing nothing slightly outranks doing something I don’t want to do. The longest I’ve ever stayed in a non-baseball office job is one year. At this stage of my life, working in any full-time job where I would have to work in an office would be detrimental to my mental and physical health.

My last full-time job, as a “stockbroker” for a firm that no longer exists, lasted two weeks. Every day in the office I had severe headaches and diarrhea. Amazingly, on the weekends I felt fine <end sarcasm>; I resigned after two weeks. Obviously, I used to hold Series 7 and Series 63 FINRA licenses.

Speaking of those licenses, explain to me (not really because no rational explanation exists) how someone who, in his 50s, made two of the highest scores in the nation can’t find a meaningful and fulfilling work situation. Explain to me how someone who earned those scores AND finished the tests in possible record time can’t find a good job. The time limit on the Series 7 was six hours; I finished in an hour and 40 minutes. The time limit for the Series 63 was an hour and 45 minutes; I finished in 20 minutes.

Life is not always a meritocracy; it never has been and it never will be.


I think almost everyone needs to vent now and then…

This article lists the ten cars the new C8 Corvette “defeated” in a Figure-8 track test. Those cars are:


2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT-S

2013 Dodge SRT Viper

2019 Jaguar XE SV Project 8

2006 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo

2010 Corvette ZR1

2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

2010 Ferrari 458 Italia

2012 Lexus LFA


I grant that the comparison to some cars that are almost ten years old or older is a little specious. Hey, I didn’t do these tests or write this article. However, the fact that the C8 outperformed the Porsche 911 GT3 RS or the Lexus LFA is very impressive. How do I get my hands on a C8 so I can test one for an article?! From the article a picture of a C8 Corvette:




I wish Chevrolet and GM nothing but the best of luck with the C8. I think the future of the Corvette is riding on it.







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What Would Abe Think?

The National Corvette Museum and the plant where the Corvette is built are in Bowling Green right off Interstate 65 in south-central Kentucky. Much or all of that section of the interstate is known as the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Expressway. I couldn’t help wondering what Lincoln would think of modern America, of car culture and Corvette Caravans, and of modern inventions. By the way, Lincoln was born in Kentucky and lived there until his family moved to Indiana when the future President was seven.

I also couldn’t help wondering what Lincoln would think of today’s political landscape. In my opinion, and I am not an expert historian, the US is more divided politically (and socially) than at any other time since before the Civil War. I do not think that massive armies will engage in battle to determine the future of the nation. I do think, however, that it is likely that at some point the people of say, North Dakota, will decide they no longer want to be in the same country as say, California, or vice versa.

Countries, like everything else, are subject to entropy. Does Czechoslovakia still exist? What about the Roman Empire? Nothing guarantees that the United States will remain in its current configuration forever. While I won’t live to see it, I think the US will not exist in its current form 50 or 100 years from now.



A picture I took while my wonderful wife was driving through West Virginia on the way back from Bowling Green. Both of us were taken by the physical beauty of the state. It is sad to me that West Virginia has had so many economic struggles. In both chained and current dollars the state ranks 48th in the nation in per capita GDP.

I can’t help think that tourism could be a way to boost the West Virginia economy. We stayed at a beautiful resort in Roanoke, West Virginia on the way to Bowling Green for three days, a property complete with restaurants, magnificent views and a top-notch golf course, apparently. (I am not a golfer.)

Oh, I want the anti-performance car crowd to choke on this: on the 300+ mile drive from Bowling Green to Charleston, West Virginia, my wonderful wife’s 2018 Corvette made 29 MPG at an average speed of 66 MPH. (Most of the interstates in this area have a 70 MPH speed limit.) So, a car that will accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in less than four seconds, that can reach a top speed of 190 MPH and that can pull more than 1G on a skidpad made almost 30 MPG on the highway.

Someone with a “lighter” foot may have made 30+ MPG. In fact, one of the many items that the Corvette’s driver display can show is a summary of gas mileage for the last 50 miles. During one of those stretches the best mileage recorded was almost 34 MPG although I admit I do not know over how long a stretch because the display also showed an average mileage in the 20s in the same 50 miles.



A picture of the aforementioned 2018 Corvette convertible.


OK, so how were the Corvette Museum and the Corvette Caravan? First, I want to thank the members of the local Caravan who were so welcoming to us. We are not members of the local Corvette Club, but we were treated very warmly.

The biggest thing that stuck with me is that if the throngs surrounding the new C8 Corvettes are any indication, the car will sell like crazy. Here is one picture I managed to take without crowds:



In person I think the C8 is stunning. Chevrolet is going to have two shifts producing the car, a sign the company expects it to sell well, but C8 production will not start before December.

One of the top Chevrolet salesmen in the US spoke to our caravan at a dinner. He said he believes the car will sell very well based on the number of deposits he has already received. He also said that Chevrolet is gearing up for a minimum 2020 run of 40,000 cars. The last Corvette year with sales that high was 2016; that was also based on a normal length model year production run beginning in August/September of 2015. The 2020 model year may be short for the Corvette even if it starts in December and not in January.

After the dinner I approached this salesman (thank you, Mike) and asked if the new Global B electrical architecture was a 48-volt system. He confirmed that it was. The Corvette will be the first General Motors car to have the new system, but all GM cars will have it by model year 2023.

OK, I’ve run on quite long. If anyone has any specific questions about Bowling Green or anything else, please feel free to ask. I am probably not finished with the Caravan and Museum as a topic for blog posts.









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Wednesday Wobble

Thanks to 56packardman for putting a link to yesterday’s post on the Studebaker forum. Thanks to readers of that forum for making the post the most read for the month of August; I just wish those same readers were actually reading this expression of gratitude.


Did you know that the Earth’s spin about its axis is not completely smooth? The Earth’s axis drifts slowly around the poles. These wobbles don’t affect our daily life, but they must be taken into account to get accurate results from GPS, Earth-observing satellites and observatories on the ground.

I think our lives also wobble. I have an inherent distrust of people who always seem to be in the same place.




Yesterday I asked if anyone knew whether or not additives that allegedly can mitigate the negative effect of ethanol in gasoline really work. Except for a general reply from 56packardman, I didn’t receive any answers. The damage done by ethanol content in gasoline is not a myth. This article explains in great detail why ethanol can damage your car, especially older ones. From the article:


“All gasoline is susceptible to changes due to weather and moisture content, but ethanol exacerbates this problem. A higher concentration of alcohol in a gas tank (any gas tank — at the production facilities, the tankers traveling on the highway, the storage tanks at a gas station, your car’s reservoir and even the red plastic can sitting on the floor in your garage) means that the alcohol can grab and hold more water than straight gasoline. If the water concentration gets high enough, the alcohol and water will drop out of suspension, turning the fuel into a globby mess that your car’s engine can’t use. And it can happen at any stage of the transport, storage and usage process — even getting worse as it goes along. In short, ethanol increases the chances that your car will be damaged trying to process and burn contaminated gasoline.”


So why is ethanol added to our gas? Again, from the howstuffworks article:


“Do you want to know the truth? We have more corn than we know what to do with — and corn is cheap. It’s taken the place of cane sugar in most of our prepared and packaged foods. Not only that, but it’s increasingly sneaking into our gasoline, too, in the form of ethanol.”

“Conventional wisdom tells us that an inexpensive, domestically produced substitute for fuel would be a good thing; unfortunately, it’s not that simple. With few exceptions, ethanol is not an acceptable fuel on its own merits.”


Subsidy programs are surprisingly easy to get approved by governments because the benefits are concentrated and the costs are diffuse. Make no mistake, though: the costs are real.


This Motor Trend article is about a subject in which most Corvette fans have much interest: will more powerful C8 Corvette models be introduced in the future? The answer seems to be YES! From Ed Piatek, Corvette Chief Engineer:


“Corvette’s got a history of different levels of performance so stay tuned…We can certainly use horsepower more efficiently now with this configuration than we did with the previous generation. So that’s an exciting proposition…

“If you look at the current generation car with 460 hp and the 0-60 time, you can add 300 horsepower to that number and the 0-60 time barely moves,” Piatek said. “This car, we already start with a really low 0-60 time but with 20 percent more of the mass on the rear axle and a wider wheel-tire package in the rear, the opportunities to do really, really, high-performance cars is there.”


I don’t agree that moving from a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds (the base C7) to one of 2.8 seconds (the ZR1 time) is barely moving, but whatever. Z06, ZR1 and “Zora” variants of the C8 have all been rumored for a long time.









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What Do You Write When You Have Nothing To Say?

I have nothing this morning. I have not been feeling well (physically and mentally) for quite some time. Anyway…I found this interesting. William H. McNeill was a noted historian, author and professor. From this post comes these words from McNeill:


“Most historians disdain myths, believing that their job is to dispel error by showing how shorthand, mythical interpretations of the past fail to explain all the facts. Yet myth is more subtle than such practitioners admit.”

“Historians’ assaults on myth are themselves based on a myth: the faith that facts speak for themselves, that infinite detail somehow organizes itself into meaningful patterns without the intervention of human intelligence, and that historical truth resides in faithful transcription of recorded words and deeds.”

“…Truth, in short, does not reside in exact recording of every detail. It never has. Instead, it resides in myth–generalizing myths that direct attention to what is common amid diversity by neglecting trivial differences of detail.”


I interpret McNeill’s words, in part, to mean that human bias is unavoidable. For example, what is a “trivial difference of detail?”

I am a person who much prefers facts to opinions. However, even I acknowledge that “facts” can be subject to interpretation.


I was hoping for more responses about favorite Corvette generations in terms of styling. Only C/2 offered any thoughts. I guess I thought more Corvette fans read this blog than is perhaps the case. On the other hand, the vast majority of people who read blogs never post comments. Trying to encourage comments is the main reason I try to reply to every one.


This article from Automobile Magazine is about the new electrical system in the C8 Corvette. However, I could not find any reference as to whether it is a 48-volt system, a 12-volt system or something else. General Motors calls the new system “Global B.” GM also said that this new system will “scale” its way onto almost all of its vehicles by 2023.

From the article: “Global B was developed to handle roughly five times the data flow as GM cars on the road today, as much as 4.5 terabytes of data processing power per hour, according to the automaker.” Many of us have described today’s cars as computers on wheels. This system is simply reinforcement that the description is quite apt.



From Chevrolet’s website about the C8 a “captured” picture of the new Corvette.







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