First Day Of The Last Month

I hope our reality is not as ominous as the post title might sound. All I mean is that IF everything goes according to plan, then by the end of this month my wonderful wife and I will be living in the desert.

She is very excited. I am excited to a degree, but mindful of all that remains to be done.

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My one-week hiatus from blogging probably “cost” me the second best month for views/visitors among the 33 (now 34) calendar months Disaffected Musings has existed. For the first half of September, the average number of views/visitors per day was easily the second highest, exceeded only by May of this year.

I find it odd that the two most read posts for September were written in January (Where Is Cristy Lee?) and February (Throwback Thursday 36). The “old” Throwback Thursday post had twice as many views as the Cristy Lee post and I still have no idea why so many people read it. Yes, I just can’t resist poking the world in the eye with a stick.

I guess it is a good thing that people can find older posts and will read them. If some of those people begin to read the blog on a regular basis, that is also a good thing.

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On this day in 1954 the Studebaker-Packard corporation officially came into being. After years of stop-start and often surreptitious talks among most or all of the American independent car manufacturers, the “mergers” began with Kaiser and Willys in 1953 and the Nash-Hudson amalgamation in early 1954 that became American Motors. George Mason, Chairman/CEO of Nash-Kelvinator, was the leading advocate for a “mega” merger of at least Hudson, Nash, Packard and Studebaker into one large company that could have competed with The Big Three. Sorry, Patrick Foster, but this idea of a grand merger did not only exist in the mind of Packard CEO James Nance.

Of course, we all know Studebaker-Packard failed quite rapidly. “Real” Packard production ended in 1956, with the company’s de facto acquisition–a de jure management contract–by Curtiss-Wright. Studebaker closed its long-time South Bend, Indiana plant in 1963 and got out of the automobile business completely in 1966.

People far more qualified than I should and have given their opinions on what went wrong. James A. Ward’s The Fall Of The Packard Motor Car Company and More Than They Promised: The Studebaker Story by Thomas E. Bonsall are two excellent books on the companies, the merger and their ultimate failure.

As I have written here so many times before, fewer automobile companies means fewer sources of innovation for engineering and for styling. In this context, Packard had long been an innovator and even up to the end was generating new ideas. Its Torsion-Level Ride was introduced for model year 1955 but only used through 1956, and the basis of such a suspension system was basically copied by Chrysler beginning in 1957 and was used all the way until 1989.

For me, I lament the loss of new styling cues or even variations on old ones that might have arisen in a car built by an American Motors (or United Motors) company formed from a large merger. As it is, some of the last Packards of the 1950s and the last Studebakers of the 1960s remain quite stylish, in my opinion.

 

See the source image

 

This 1956 Packard Four Hundred (note “400” is spelled out behind the front wheels) was a lot offered for sale at the Mecum auction in Indianpolis in 2016. To me, that looks as good or better than anything offered by The Big Three during the same period.

 

See the source image

 

The number of photos of the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk that have appeared in this blog is way into double digits. Speaking of digits, if our net worth had at least one more, we would have a house with a garage of sufficient size that would probably have examples of one or both of these cars.

With the departure of 56PackardMan from the blogging world, this blog receives many fewer comments on Packard and defunct American car companies. Given that fact, I am writing about those topics less often. Today gives me a good reason to write about the subject again.

Please feel free to share your favorites (if any) among the American car companies that are no more.

 

#FirstDayOfTheLastMonth

#Studebaker-Packard

#DefunctAmericanCarMakes

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Congratulations To Us/Sunday Saunter

In the big scheme of things this “event” is not even trivial, but minutial. That would be true even if the world were not in virus lockdown. However, to this blogger this event has meaning. Even though April, 2020 has a few days to go, Disaffected Musings has had more blog views this month than in any other month since its inception in January, 2018. More impressively (in my opinion, anyway), unlike the previous record month, April of last year, this month had no exogenous boost to readership. Last April saw a two-day surge in views when Bill James tweeted the main link to this blog. Those two days still rank 1-2 in daily views of Disaffected Musings. [By the way, Bill, please feel free to tweet the main link or link to a specific post anytime you want. 🙂 ]

So, congratulations to us and thanks for reading…people searching why Cristy Lee is no longer on All Girls Garage (or the Barrett-Jackson broadcasts) and/or people searching why Lou Santiago and Jared Zimmerman are no longer on Car Fix were the largest contributors to blog views this month. As I have written before, Where Is Cristy Lee? is now the most read post in the history of this blog, not counting the About page. As I write this, blog views for the year are 20 percent higher than the total for the first four months of last year. Here are the rest of the top five posts in all-time views:

 

Sunday Studebaker

Wednesday Wanderings

Saturday Studebaker

Saturday Salary Arbitration

 

Please feel free to acquaint, or re-acquaint, yourself with those posts. (I guess I haven’t written much about Studebaker lately.) Please keep reading and please tell your friends about Disaffected Musings. Thanks.

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My wonderful wife sent me this photo from Fack Fucebook. How do I feel about her using that company’s services? I don’t like it, but we have a marriage, not a dictatorship. Here’s another beautiful shot from Arizona:

 

 

Yes, that’s the lovely Katie Osborne, also courtesy of my wonderful wife. One more (just one more, pah two at the very most…inside joke for Dr. Zal) photo of the lovely Arizona sky:

 

 

Sorry, local friends and neighbors, but I just can’t wait to be able to see views like that outside my own window.

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Here’s a sample of my buying during these idle times:

 

 

Gee, what a surprise! Books about defunct American car companies…these were published by a company called Iconografix. As I cannot find a website for them I’m not sure they’re still in business. I am sure I would like to share some of the photos in these books, but the usual “you can’t use anything in this book anywhere without written consent of the publisher” warning is in all of them. If a company goes bankrupt, what happens to the rights to their products? I guess those rights could be sold at a bankruptcy auction and, therefore, would belong to the purchaser of those rights.

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As a follow-up to C8 Saturday, while I still have not seen one “in the wild” now I know someone who has. Scott Hoke texted me yesterday to say he had seen one “In bright red” while driving around his home turf in the Indianapolis area. From Ray Price Cars a picture of such a 2020 Corvette:

 

See the source image

 

Stay safe and be well.

 

#DisaffectedMusings

#ThanksToDisaffectedMusingsReaders

#ArizonaSky

#KatieOsborne

#DefunctAmericanCarMakes

#ScottHoke

#C8Corvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

 

 

Frugal Friday With A Side Of Ultimate Garage

Not that they are likely to see this, but thanks to the readers from Finland who clicked on this post today after seeing a link in the Cadillac forum. In my previous blog hosted by the Evil Empire (AKA Google) about 15% of readers were from outside the US. For Disaffected Musings that number is just 6-7 percent.

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David Banner recommended the idea that has become Frugal Friday; he is also the first reader to submit an Ultimate Garage. If you read the comments you would know this, but many readers do not. That’s a loss for those who don’t. Here is his Ultimate Garage:

 

1) Bentley Bentayga: because why not? The Cullinan is just too much, and the Bentley looks just as good in person. The perfect “I have no f**ks to give” vehicle.
2) Landcruiser/LX 450: luxury, durability, ability to carry seven live people or three dead ones. The Swiss Army knife of vehicles.
3) Aston Martin DB 11: because of James Bond, because of how it looks in two tone paint, because of all the other cars I have in my garage.
4) Rolls Royce Ghost: everyone should own a RR at least once in their lives, no?
5) Porsche 9114SC convertible: because my wife wants one…in silver with saddle interior…in manual…ASAP.
6) Ferrari California: because I want a Ferrari, because I want a convertible that’s not a pain in the ass re “rag top”, because it looks like sex on four wheels to me.
7) Chevy Malibu Hybrid: because sometimes you need to go over five hundred miles on a tank of gas in a car with a big trunk that can be fixed anywhere in the country. Trust me.
8) Porsche 928: in memory of a dearly departed friend who got me into cars and who owned one that was beat up but still was the perfect match for him. I tear up now even thinking about the first time I saw him step out of the car.

 

Of course, regular readers know I am not a fan of SUVs, no matter how luxurious, so none will appear in Ultimate Garage 2.0, but different strokes for different folks. The Ferrari California was included in my original Ultimate Garage and is a strong contender for 2.0.

I would love to post more of these from Disaffected Musings readers so don’t be shy!

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I haven’t written of this in awhile, but I still have an unhealthy obsession with defunct American makes. I mean, look at my garage:

 

What does that have to do with Frugal Friday? This week, still using Hemmings, I searched for cars being sold by US dealers, but this week the car could be from any year and I lowered the price range to $5,000-$6,000. Look what showed up:

A 1955 Studebaker Champion listed at $5,450. Country Classic Cars has a large percentage of the listings in today’s search. They have suffered quite a bit in recent years being the victim of a large fire AND a tornado.

Anyway, back to the Studebaker…supposedly it has only 46,000-ish miles and is powered by the base 186 cubic-inch inline 6-cylinder engine. Studebaker built about 50,000 Champions in 1955, about 38% of their total output of approximately 134,000. Stude fans would think this a sacrilege, but if I were so inclined to buy it that purchase would be for the purpose of resto-modding. Anyone else with me? Of course, the car would end up costing WAY more than the list price.

 

Sorry about the small picture…in honor of my wonderful wife who owned one of these, here is a 1990 Nissan 300ZX. The dealer is asking $5,600 and claims that a new transmission was installed a year ago. This is not the Twin-Turbo model, but is powered by a naturally-aspirated V-6 engine of 3.9 liter/181 cubic-inch displacement rated at 222 HP/198 LB-FT of torque. The twin-turbo engine was rated 280 HP/283 LB-FT.

My wonderful wife has owned a lot of cars including a Mach 1 Mustang, a Pontiac Trans Am, a Chevrolet Camaro, and a Jaguar XK-8 convertible. I think her current car, a 2015 Corvette, is her favorite but she speaks highly of some of her previous automobiles.

 

Any comments from readers on today’s Frugal Friday choices? Anybody there?

 

#frugalfriday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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It’s A Sickness

That’s a picture from our garage. Of course, the signs are not originals. Original signs like these in good condition are not cheap.

Why am I obsessed with cars in general and defunct American makes in particular? The simple answer is I don’t really know. My father was a mechanic who operated his own gas/service station. (Flying A and Amoco!) Therefore, I grew up around automobiles. Before I discovered sports or girls or music, I kept one of those hard back notebooks with the funky black and white covers (composition notebook?) filled with notes about cars. I wish I still had that today.

So, do I diverge from defunct makes and write about the car my father almost purchased or do I stick with defunct makes? Eenee, Meenee, Minee, Mo… Hey, stream of consciousness can be fun although it implies consciousness in the first place. 🙂

Take a guess which direction I chose…a picture I took of a Studebaker GT Hawk at a local auto show last year. This show, which is an annual event, had more than 600 vehicles on display and is my favorite car show of the year. Any car that is at least 25 years old can be displayed and the cars go back to the turn of the last century.

How many of you reading this have any familiarity with Studebaker? My wonderful wife’s father owned one when he was in his 20s. Most accounts I have read of the demise of Studebaker identify the causes as: the GM-Ford price/output war of the early 1950s that put great pressure on all of the independent (non Big Three) automobile companies, Studebaker management/Studebaker unions allowing/forcing per unit labor costs to be non-competitive and Studebaker management screwing up the 1953-54 cars by bodging the design of the sedans and underestimating the demand for the coupes.

Whatever the reasons, Studebaker production declined from about 321,000 in 1950 to about 60,000 in 1961, a drop of 81 percent. In December of 1963 Studebaker ended all automobile production in the US, closing its plant in South Bend, Indiana. The company manufactured a small volume of cars until March of 1966 at its plant in Hamilton, Ontario.

Studebaker

I love this logo, which was Studebaker’s logo for its last 10-12 years as an automaker. I’ll have to find one in three dimensions somewhere.

Once again, I ask that if you are a regular reader please tell others about this blog, please “follow” the blog and please feel free to post comments. Thanks.

 

 

Obsession

I am obsessed with defunct American car makes, such as Packard, Studebaker and Pontiac. Why? What shapes our interest in anything? I believe it is a combination of genetics and environment.

A picture like this (from Hemmings and, obviously, Volocars.com; https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/desoto/firedome/2016958.html) makes my day. This is a 1956 DeSoto Firedome. I have developed a real affinity for 1950s American cars, but the fact that this is a DeSoto makes it even more appealing to me.

I own and have intently read books on Packard and Studebaker. I will probably buy books on American Motors and fervently wish a complete history of Pontiac were available. In general, why am I so interested in cars? Is (was) it an attempt to bond with my father, even though he has been dead for 25 years? My father was an auto mechanic who owned and operated a service station in the days when those businesses sold gas and fixed cars, not gas, snacks and lottery tickets. No inanimate object captures my attention as much as cars. Honestly, I’m not sure I even want to know why that is so. What difference does it make, anyway?

See the source image

From conceptcarz.com a picture of a 1930 Packard 745 Deluxe Eight. I don’t know why, but a picture of a similar car built by Cadillac would not be as interesting to me.

Besides automobiles (I assume you’re interested if you’re reading this), in what other subjects do you have interest? Why do you think you’re interested or do you even care? I would very much like to read your opinions.