Mega Millions Fever

As many/most of you reading know no winning ticket was sold for the most recent Mega Millions drawing. As of this writing, the annuity value of the jackpot is $1.6 billion and the cash value is over $900 million. Given the enormous number of tickets that will be sold before the next drawing those values will increase. I believe this is already the largest jackpot in US lottery history.

I would rather have a 1-in-300 million chance of winning than a 0-in-300 million chance, which is why my wonderful wife and I buy lottery tickets most weeks of the year. Once again, I ponder which cars I might buy if we somehow won this extraordinary amount of money.

Yes, my wonderful wife and I would make sure our family and close friends never had to worry about money again. Yes, we would donate lots of money to charity. Still, for me an unimaginable windfall means CARS!

I haven’t driven a vehicle with a manual transmission in 40 years and reject the “knee-jerk macho” attitude that no one can really enjoy driving a car with an automatic transmission. All that being said, one of these might find its way into my possession after a lottery win:

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From rarecarsforsaleblog.com a picture of one of my all-time favorites, a Honda S2000 in Imola Orange. I wrote about this car in this post in which I revealed the inside joke about the S2000 that my wonderful wife and I share. Although they are not a common sight 66,000 S2000s were sold in the US and we occasionally see one. When we do I always say, “Did you know that I love these cars?” and she answers, “Really? I had no idea.”

I think the S2000 is almost a perfect blend of styling, performance and aura. I have a soft spot for two-seat roadsters, anyway. All 110,000 of these cars were made with a manual transmission. I guess I would have to reacquaint myself with manuals if we were to win the Mega Millions and I decided to buy an S2000. Oh darn…

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While I am not certain if the actual date was today (October 20th) or October 17th, it was around this time in 1902 that the first Cadillac was built. I wrote about Cadillac in this post in which I detailed how they, in 1908, became the first American company to win the prestigious Dewar Trophy and that it was awarded its second Dewar Trophy just four years later.

At least three Cadillacs would be serious contenders for Ultimate Garage 2.0. I have shown pictures of them before, but what the hell…

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From momentcar.com a picture of a 1968 Cadillac Eldorado. I would be happy with a 1967 model, also. I think these cars look magnificent and had amazing performance for their size. I might, emphasize might, prefer the ’68 because the engine was larger and had more power.

 

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From classiccars.com a picture of a Cadillac Allante that I am almost certain I have shown before. I really like the wire wheels and the green exterior of this particular car. These cars are much maligned and much of that sentiment was “earned.” However, I think they are beautiful cars. How could they not be as the bodies were designed and built by Pininfarina? A later model with a more powerful engine or maybe even a more modern engine would make for a very nice car, in my opinion.

 

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From bestride.com a picture of a Cadillac XLR; this is another picture I have shown before. If I didn’t have a friend who had bad experiences with these cars, I probably would have purchased one instead of the Z4. (The Z4 may be an “ex car” by this time next week.) Again, like the Allante the XLR had major quality issues at first. By the time these were fixed the car’s reputation was permanently ruined and then the “Great Recession” was the last straw. I think the XLR has extraordinary looks and more than enough performance for the vast majority of drivers, especially in XLR-V trim.

Cadillac is experiencing an existential crisis. In 2005 Cadillac sales totaled about 235,000 and 1.4% of the US market. By 2015 those numbers had declined to 175,000 and 1.0%. In 2017 sales slumped further to 156,000 and 0.9%. The make is considered pass√© by younger consumers and the average age of a Cadillac buyer is almost 60. (Hey, I’m almost 60. Yeah, that’s the point.)

Maybe I’m way off base and out of touch with today’s automobile market, but just like I think Buick needs a halo car (I have suggested an improved version of the Solstice/Sky) I think Cadillac also needs a halo car, a vehicle to generate excitement and to help Cadillac stand apart. The company has shown some amazing concept cars and before the departure of Johan de Nysschen Cadillac announced it would be bringing the Escala to market as a production vehicle. Now, I don’t know.

What do you think? As always I eagerly await your comments. Once again I would very much like to “hear” from those north of the border in Canada.

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

Underrated

Bill James (yes, his name is here again) once wrote about how he didn’t like the terms overrated and underrated. His point was that there really are no official ratings for most things in life and, therefore, how can anything be underrated or overrated? OK, good point, but this post from thrillist.com is about the ten most underrated American cars, at least according to the author. Some of these cars will be familiar to those of you who read this blog.

At #10 is one of my favorites, the Cadillac Allante. From the thrillist piece: “A spiritual predecessor to the Corvette-based XLR, the Allante was somewhat ill-received because it was front-wheel drive and thus didn’t have world-crushing handling. The rest of the car was an odd mix that involved Pininfarina (the same Italian design house that’s responsible for scores of your favorite Ferraris over the years) building the bodies in Italy, flying them to Detroit, and mating a decent chassis and V8 to the car. If you’re just cruising around, it’s hard to argue against its value.” It was also ill-received because it was under-powered at first (170 HP/235 LB-FT of torque for its first two model years, 1987 and 1988) and fraught with quality issues.

I still think the Allante is a beautiful car and if you can get a later one that’s been looked after, it’s a bargain and a great entry point into the world of car collecting. Here’s a picture from autoevolution.com:

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So, what was/is the #1 most underrated American car? Here’s a picture from the thrillist piece:

Corvair

This is the Chevrolet Corvair and this one is supposed to be in Monza trim. The Corvair, of course, is one of the most controversial cars in US history and the car that made Ralph Nader famous, for better or for worse. (It’s a little bit of both, in my opinion.) From thrillist: “Today, the Corvair is most known as the subject of Ralph Nader’s book,¬†Unsafe at Any Speed, wherein he argues that many people died as a result of GM cutting corners with the car’s suspension. In truth, however, the suspension setup was fundamentally the same as contemporary Porsches and Mercedes, and statistically, the car wasn’t any more dangerous than other vehicles. It had an advanced air-cooled flat six engine that was mounted in the rear. It was basically GM’s version of a Porsche for normal people, but thanks to Nader’s controversy, the car died, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was born.”

Many car “experts” argue with the claim that Nader’s book killed the Corvair. Those “experts” believe it was actually the Ford Mustang that killed the Corvair because the Mustang was more versatile. For example, the Mustang, which was released in April of 1964, was offered with many engine options, including various V-8s. It was impossible to put an 8-cylinder engine into the Corvair. (Nader’s book was published in 1965.) The story of the Corvair is quite interesting and I think the best history of the car is in Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars by Paul Ingrassia.

The Corvair is another way to get into the car hobby without taking out a second mortgage. I did a search on Hemmings of second generation Corvairs (1965-1969). I found two that look decent and were priced under $10,000. I think the second generation cars look much better than the first and had the “bugs” worked out.

What cars do you think are underrated? Do you think that the concepts of underrated and overrated are valid? By the way, I am still hoping for honest, constructive feedback about Disaffected Musings. I am very proud of this blog, but maybe I am missing something that can only be seen by someone with a different perspective.

 

If you’re here after clicking on a link from Hemmings, welcome. Please feel free to bookmark the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com) and to visit often. Thanks.

 

 

“Cheap” Cars At Auctions Do Exist!

At the recently concluded Mecum auction in Denver, a car like this was offered for sale:

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From consumerguide.com a picture of a 1990 Cadillac Allante. Once again, Mecum does not allow online photos of its lots to be captured or I would have shown a picture of the actual car.

I realize that my affinity for these cars is WAY higher than 99.9% of the car fanatic population. Still, want to guess what the hammer price was? $1,500! Even Kelley Blue Book puts a higher value on these cars than that price. OK, with the premium the buyer actually paid $1,650.

Auctions are not venues of complete integrity. The auction companies make absolutely no guarantees as to the quality of the cars. It is the definition of caveat emptor, buyer beware. In fine print, the auction houses reserve the right to “bid up” cars sold with a reserve, a minimum price that must be met before the consignor will agree to sell. (The Allante in question was obviously sold at no reserve.) Also, don’t forget that two or three determined and well-heeled bidders can force the price of any given car way beyond its “market” value.

Still, on occasion a car can be purchased at auction “below the market.” That probably doesn’t happen often, but it does happen as this Allante sale proves. Remember that one sale doesn’t make a market, so the fact that this particular car sold for such a low price doesn’t mean the next five will.

For $1,650 plus whatever it would have cost for shipping I would have found a place to park this car. One of the allures of automobile auctions for me is the hope that, one day, I will buy a car because the price is just too tempting. My wonderful wife and I currently plan on attending the big Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona next January with her parents. I think the probability that her father buys a car, while not high, is also not zero. That’s OK because life should be enjoyed.

I would very much like to read about your experiences with car auctions. Thanks.

Electric Turbos

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/electrification-might-be-the-answer-to-the-turbochargers-biggest-problem

I’ve often wondered why turbochargers didn’t have some type of electric assist at low end to get rid of turbo lag. Well, now some turbos will. Of course, I’ve often wondered why we don’t have thermo-chromic roof shingles that turn a lighter color at higher temperatures to reflect heat and turn a darker color at lower temperatures to absorb heat. Actually, I think some company has developed such a product, but as I understand it, stupid, arbitrary HOA covenants are a big obstacle. Don’t get me started…

A friend once said to me that I should stop coming up with ideas and start developing them. Well, I’m not an engineer and I am not well connected. In general, no man is an island. I cannot develop an ecosystem out of thin air that would allow me to actually develop these ideas on my own or even let me do what I want to do for a living (assuming I knew what that was) and earn reasonable compensation. Almost all of us need some help on occasion. No one who can help has been willing to help me for a long time.

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From autoevolution.com a picture of a Cadillac Allante convertible with the optional hardtop in place. In my previous blog I often wrote of my interest in these cars. In fact, even though I am not a member I receive emails from the national Cadillac Allante/XLR club.

The Allante was a failure; no other way exists to describe it. It was underpowered at first, very expensive and fraught with reliability issues. In its seven year run, only about 21,000 were produced. Many car enthusiasts have put the Allante in the same category as cars like the Pontiac Fiero in that as the Allante was finally developed into a good car, General Motors pulled the plug.

I think the exterior design is breathtaking and I don’t mean that in a Seinfeld kind of way. Of course, the body was by the legendary Italian company Pininfarina, so the looks should be no surprise. Here’s another one in a different/better color and better wheels:

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From classiccars.com a picture of a 1993 Allante in green and with wire wheels. In my opinion these wheels really suit the car. I have no room in my garage for another car and, to be honest, as a retired person on a pension I should not be dabbling in automobiles just as a hobby. If I were still earning a good living, though, I would probably buy a “toy” car every now and then, drive it for awhile and then sell it to buy something else. Oh well, as the line from Diner says, “If you don’t have dreams you have nightmares.”