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.

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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.

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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.

 

#AbrahamLincoln

#WestVirginia

#2018ChevroletCorvetteConvertible

#C8Corvette

#2019CorvetteCaravan

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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.

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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.

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#IStandWithIsrael

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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.

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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.

 

 

#WeAllWobble

#IStandWithIsrael

#BooOnEthanol

#C8Corvette

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

#WilliamMcNeill

#GlobalBElectricalSystem

#C8Corvette

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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

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#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.

 

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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…

 

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#disaffectedmusings

 

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