Frugal Friday and Goodbye, Twitter

After thinking about doing so for a couple of months I deleted my Twitter account yesterday. With the exception of two days, the platform was useless in driving traffic to this blog in the 14 months I was “on” Twitter, which was the only reason I established the account in the first place.

I will miss not being able to communicate with people like Dominic Chu of CNBC, but I will not miss the large number of Twitter users whom I call Twidiots. Excessive profanity is the refuge of ignorance and lends no credence to one’s position. Making statements without facts to back those statements proves nothing. Oh, people in America can no longer spell worth a damn.

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My wonderful wife suggested today’s car for Frugal Friday. It was a car she owned and drove without incident for six years.

The fellows of the original Top Gear named this car as the worst car in the history of the world. Top Gear was entertaining at times, but like many car show hosts, the boys forget that people live in the real world, that the price of the car matters to 99% of the population and that reliability is important.

Without further ado:

 

Used 2003 Lexus SC 430 Convertible SYKESVILLE, MD 21784 - 532622115 - 3

 

From this AutoTrader ad a picture of a 2003 Lexus SC 430. The story of how my wonderful wife wound up buying a car like this (a 2006 model purchased new in March of 2007) is very interesting, but I’ll save it for another day.

This car rode with a smoothness unmatched by any other car she had ever driven and with a 4.3 liter/262 cubic-inch V-8 producing 288 HP/317 LB-FT of torque the car was not slow. The SC430 did not give her one day of trouble in the six-plus years my wonderful wife owned it.

The SC430 pictured above has about 51,000 miles and is being offered at $13,995. My wife’s 2006 model stickered at about $67,000, but because it was a new 2006 still unsold in March of 2007 she received a significant discount from MSRP.

If owning a reliable convertible that is not a slug appeals to you then you could do a lot worse than buy a used SC430. Remember that Lexus finishes at the top of the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study almost every year and was recently named the most reliable car brand in America by Consumer Reports.

 

#FrugalFriday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday, Sort Of

Until now, virtually all Frugal Friday posts have shown cars being offered for significantly less than the average “transaction price” for a new car in the US, about $40,000. On March 8th I did show a Ferrari 456 GTA with a list price of $39,999. However, with the news that Alfa Romeo will cease making interesting cars I decided to show at least one automobile from them.

 

Used 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe Chicago, IL 60611 - 534178609 - 4

 

From this Autotrader listing a picture of a 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C coupe. Yes, I am not a big fan of white cars, but I think the color is a reason the asking price is only $39,841.

This 4C has been driven quite a bit, almost 40,000 miles, which is another reason the ask is under $40,000. I like the car mainly because it looks like nothing else on the road; it is also quite a good performer. The 4C is powered by a turbocharged, 1.7 liter/106 cubic-inch four-cylinder engine with a maximum output of 237 HP/258 LB-FT of torque. For a car weighing just 2,500 pounds, that is a lot of oomph. The 4C can accelerate from 0-60 MPH in under five seconds.

This is not a practical car. For one thing it is quite small with a wheelbase of just 94 inches. As a comparison, a C7 Corvette, not a big car by any means, has a wheelbase of just under 107 inches. It is loud inside a 4C while driving as well. However, if you want something fun and unique you can do a lot worse than this. Kelley Blue Book estimates a car like this should be worth between $42,000 and $45,000. Arrivederci, Alfa Romeo!

 

Another desirable car, while not inexpensive, priced within the range of many buyers:

 

Used 2013 Maserati GranTurismo Sport ORLANDO, FL 32809 - 505621117 - 5

 

This 2013 Maserati GranTurismo coupe, also listed on AutoTrader, is being offered at $38,498. Unlike the 4C shown above, this Maserati has reasonable mileage for its age, almost exactly 20,000. Once again, I think the color holds the price down as do, most likely, the potential maintenance costs. These cars were about $130,000 when new depending on options.

This car is powered by a Ferrari-built 4.7 liter/286 cubic-inch V8. I have seen different output ratings, seemingly odd for such a recent automobile, but I will show HP/Torque at 433/361 LB-FT. These cars were equipped with a six-speed, paddle-shift automatic transmission.

These have a less idiosyncratic look than the 4C; I think the Maserati GranTurismo is quite stunning. Stating my well-known opinion, I would MUCH rather buy one of these for $35,000-$40,000 than some generic SUV. It’s too bad that is becoming more and more difficult.

 

#FrugalFriday

#2017AlfaRomeo4C

#2013MaseratiGranTurismo

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday and The One That Got Away

First, is it really November, 2019?

Second, can “it” be “The One That Got Away” if you are unaware of “it” at the time. I’m going to rule Yes.

 

 

From Bring a Trailer a picture of an almost perfect 1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. This is how I envision my GT Hawk looking if/when I buy it. Maybe I would want a slightly darker green, but this car just looks awesome to me. It even has both the clock and tach on the instrument panel. Fewer than 1,800 of these were built for model year 1964 before Studebaker closed its South Bend facility and the Gran Turismo Hawk (and Avanti) were no more.

This car was auctioned on BaT last July/August selling on August 2 for $15,250. I think that’s $16,012.50 with the buyers commission. Even though I have had the idea to buy one of these for quite some time, I wasn’t explicitly looking when this car was available. Had I known who knows what I might have done. I still had the BMW Z4 at the time and that could have been an obstacle. By the way, in the comments the seller claimed he had more than twice the sale price in the car and that the car was “all there.”

Money is important, but it isn’t everything. Albert Einstein once remarked, “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” I don’t ever want to be the type of person who knows the cost of everything, but the value of nothing. Car restorations should be a source of satisfaction for the person involved above and beyond the value of the build. By the way, I did not grow up with money and, as the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.”

 

Perhaps inspired by my friend Joe’s very recent purchase of a 2016 Corvette Z06 convertible, I have decided to show an affordable C6 Corvette. From Car Gurus:

 

 

This is a 2010 Corvette in 2LT trim plus navigation with about 46,000 miles in Crystal Red Metallic over Cashmere. The seller is asking $21,995. These cars are powered by a 6.2 liter/376 cubic-inch V-8 that generates 430 HP/424 LB-FT of torque. The NPP “two-mode” exhaust option would raise the maximum output slightly to 436 HP/428 LB-FT.

A beautiful, modern Corvette with more than 400 HP for a little more than $20,000…that’s a great deal, in my opinion. What do you think?

 

#FrugalFriday

#TheOneThatGotAway

#1964StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#AlbertEinstein

#2010ChevroletCorvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday, Among Other Things

Going back to yesterday’s post for a moment…a lot of people have asked me why I don’t do more commercials. Well, that’s another endeavor that has been corrupted by credential-ism. Ad agencies and their clients want “proven” talent and/or, I kid you not, people who have taken acting lessons. What a bunch of f*ck*ng b*llsh*t! Just because life isn’t fair doesn’t mean we should just keep our mouths shut.

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From my WONDERFUL wife, a Friday Funny:

 

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I have to admit that it is increasingly difficult for me to find cars for Frugal Friday. I have compiled the list of all Frugal Friday cars so I won’t repeat myself, at least not too much. Still, this is not a blog about SUVs or Ford Taurus four-door sedans.

For some reason I hear the words of the late Dennis Hopper in my head, “If you can remember the sixties then you weren’t there.” Hey, look at this:

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of what seems to be a very nice 1966 Pontiac Bonneville:

 

 

The seller claims the car has only 64,000 original miles and is a two-owner vehicle. The ad also states that the car has new tires, new shocks and a new exhaust system. The asking price is $18,000.

Of course, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for Pontiac. I also think this seems to be quite a nice car. About 42,000 Bonneville hardtop coupes (called Sport Coupes by Pontiac) were produced in 1966 at an asking price of $3,354. Pontiac was in the middle of its eight-year run (1962-1969) as the third best-selling make in the US.

From the year before America lost much of its innocence, 1962, here is another car from Hemmings:

 

 

This is a 1962 Ford Thunderbird listed at $9,850. 1962 was the middle of the three-year run of the third-generation Thunderbird, often called the Bullet Bird. The ad copy is sparse, but hey, they’re asking less than ten grand for the car.

Just under 70,000 Thunderbird hardtop coupes, both with and without the Landau roof, were sold in 1962. The list price for the non-Landau version was $4,321. The standard engine was Ford’s 390 cubic-inch V8 rated at 300 HP/427 LB-FT of torque. That’s not a weak engine, but the car weighed about 4,100 pounds.

This is well-worn territory, but I think it bears repeating that although it’s the first-generation Thunderbirds that are revered today, the subsequent generations sold much better. Remember that about 70,000 T-Bird hardtop coupes were sold in 1962; only 53,166 cars were produced for the entire first-generation (1955-1957). It is the automobile business, after all.

Once again, I ask for Frugal Friday suggestions from you. I will also ask, once again, if you want Frugal Friday to continue as a weekly feature. Thanks.

 

#FrugalFriday

#FridayFunny

#1962PontiacBonneville

#1962FordThunderbird

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday

If you are a regular reader of Disaffected Musings and have not commented recently or ever, please consider sending thoughtful comments. I welcome an intelligent dialogue. I don’t want to rely on two or three readers for all of the comments, even though I enjoy theirs.

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Although some economists don’t believe the absolute magnitude of Chinese GDP data, the fact that data released today showed the lowest quarterly GDP growth rate since 1992 indicates trade issues are affecting the Chinese economy. I refuse to call the current situation a trade “war.” A trade “war” would be something like the nearly complete cessation of trade and the existence of astronomical tariffs. Let me quickly add that I do not necessarily condone (or condemn) the current administration’s stance on trade, but the Chinese economy is experiencing negative effects. As a net exporter, China GDP growth will slow if trade slows.

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I was going to use recent results from the Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas as the basis for today’s Frugal Friday. However, unlike the Mecum website, I cannot see auction results all on one page, but have to look at each lot to see the hammer/all-in price. That’s simply too inconvenient and time-consuming.

Today’s Frugal Friday cars are the result of a large, free-form search on Hemmings of cars for sale in the US for model years 2004 to 2009, inclusive. I also tried to exclude cars that have previously been featured on Frugal Friday. Here is a picture of a 2006 Nissan 350Z for sale:

 

 

The ad copy is almost non-existent and very few pictures are offered. The mileage is not shown, either. However, the asking price is just $6,000.

Hagerty’s website doesn’t seem to be working this morning. Kelley Blue Book “valued” this car at between $5,800 and $7,700 in a “private party” transaction. Of course, I had to make some guesses about mileage and the vehicle condition. Subjectively, $6,000 just doesn’t seem like a lot of money for this car.

Here is a listing for one of my “sleeper” cars, a 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS with a V-8:

 

 

 

2007 was the last model year for the Monte Carlo, which began its run in 1970 although the car was not produced continuously during that period. This is not a low-mileage example with over 103,000 miles, so I would understand wariness on the part of some of you. The seller is asking $9,497.

I think these cars are quite stylish. The 5.3 liter/325 cubic-inch engine had an output of 303 HP/323 LB-FT of torque. Unlike the ad for the 350Z the ad for the Monte Carlo SS is quite expansive, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good car, of course. Still, and almost regardless of the evaluation of “neutral” parties, a car like this listing for under $10,000 seems like a bargain to me.

 

#FrugalFriday

#ChinaGDPSlowdown

#2006Nissan350Z

#2007ChevroletMonteCarloSS

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday, Mecum Auction Edition

As a change I decided to look at cars that have already been sold, in this case at the Mecum auction conducted in Louisville on September 20-21, instead of cars that are offered for sale. First, how many of you like Frugal Friday? Second, would any of you like to see it offered once a month instead of every week?

 

See the source image

 

From, obviously, gtcarlot.com a picture of a 2006 Jaguar XKR convertible. The XKR designation means the car is powered by a supercharged V-8 engine. For the nth time, Mecum does not allow the online photos of its lots to be captured from its website. The actual Mecum car was Black over Black.

According to Hagerty the average value of this car is $17,600. The Mecum lot sold, all in, for $11,550. Even ignoring for a moment the difference between the auction price and the Hagerty value, $11,550 just seems inexpensive, IMO, for a beautiful, 390-HP convertible built not much more than 10 years ago. In addition, if you had to put $3,000-$4,000 in it after purchase you would still be below the Hagerty value.

OK, how about another European high-performance convertible from the first decade of this century?

 

See the source image

 

This is a Mecum auction photograph of a 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG convertible, but not of the lot sold in Louisville in September, which was Black over Gray. These cars were powered by a supercharged V-8 that generated 493 HP/516 LB-FT of torque. (I am using the most conservative torque rating I have seen; some sources put the torque output at 590 LB-FT.) The Louisville car is said to have had fewer than 54,000 miles.

Hagerty values an average example at $24,900. All in, the car sold for $20,350. Once again, subjectively that just seems like not a lot of money for a car like this.

Many people believe that all auction cars are overpriced. While it is true that in the excitement of the moment bidders can bid up a car past what seems to be a reasonable price, it is also true that some bargains are available.

Now, a downer: I am very disappointed by the dramatic decrease in views/visitors over the past 7-10 days. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to complain about such things, especially to people who are reading the blog. Has this blog run its course? Is it just too difficult, in a sea of millions of active blogs, to gain traction without using Fack Fucebook? Any thoughts anyone has would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

 

#FrugalFriday

#MecumAutoAuctions

#2006JaguarXKRConvertible

#2004MercedesBenzSL55AMG

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday Friday Funny

56packardman posts a weekly feature called Friday Funnies, like this. It is usually very funny.

People often tell me I’m very funny, to which I usually reply, “Looks aren’t everything.” My wonderful wife sent me this picture that I think is quite funny:

 

 

I am not making light of diabetes; I am a Type 2 diabetic although my sugars are very much under control. I just thought this was hysterical.

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What is not hysterical is the disgusting smell of the compost used to grow mushrooms. We live in a mushroom growing region; in fact, we are not far from the self-proclaimed “Mushroom Capital Of The World” although we live in a different state. My wonderful wife and I went out for breakfast this morning and were greeted by the revolting smell of the aforementioned compost. Another reason Arizona sounds (and smells) better to me all the time.

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My wonderful wife gave me the idea for this week’s Frugal Friday.

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 1969 AMC Javelin. According to the ad copy the car only has 10,000 miles and has always been garage-kept.

I’m not crazy about the wheels and also not crazy that the seller claims the price is “firm” at $20,000. One item that is suspicious is that the ad states the car comes with a 401 cubic-inch engine, but in 1969 the largest displacement offered by AMC was 390 cubic inches. The 401 engine wasn’t offered until 1971. Advice to would-be car collectors: fill your library before you fill your garage.

Still, it’s a great-looking car, IMO. I wouldn’t pay $20,000 for it, but I would pay $15,000-ish. According to Hagerty, the “average” value for a 1969 Javelin (given the appraisal is for a car with the 343 V-8) is less than $14,000. Once again, do your research before buying a car.

Even at somewhere between $14,000 and the asking price of $20,000 I think this Javelin qualifies as a Frugal Friday car. What do you think?

 

#FrugalFriday

#StinkyMushroomCompost

#1969AMCJavelin

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday; Clash Of Rights

Cars in a bit…this CNBC article is about Japan Airlines showing the seats where passengers will be traveling with children age 2 or younger, presumably so other passengers can choose to sit somewhere not near those seats. AirAsia X has introduced a “Quiet Zone” on all of its flights, eight rows that cannot be occupied by children under the age of 10. IndiGo, a “budget” airline, calls its premium extra leg room areas “quiet zones” that cannot be occupied by children younger than 12.

Any thoughts from any of you on this? How about if I told you, in a somewhat related story, that over 90% of airline employees who are in “customer-facing” positions report having suffered verbal and/or physical abuse from passengers?

This is just my opinion, of course, but I think people are more rude, more selfish and more self-absorbed than ever before. This is also just my opinion, but I think that, in public spaces, the rights of people with children do not supersede the rights of people without. I have long thought that airlines should have certain flights that are entirely kid-free when possible.

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Six months ago today (!) my 2016 Corvette Z06 was delivered. Just as it is difficult for me to believe I’ve already had the car for six months, it is hard to believe that I’ve only driven it about 1,800 miles. That is very similar to my usage of the 2009 BMW Z4 I owned; I drove the Z4 8,500 miles in 29 months. Although I was sure I would drive the Z06 more I guess the nature of my life is such that I drive my primary car only about 300 miles a month.

Some minutia about the Z06: in this post I showed the build sheet for my car. I questioned why the interior color was shown as “BLK” when the color is really Dark Gray. Well, the code on the build sheet for the interior color, “12i,” was the code for Dark Gray. Live and learn…

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Before I present today’s Frugal Friday car, I ask that readers feel free to submit such cars. These submissions can either be requests for me to find inexpensive cars of a certain make or can be actual cars that you have found.

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 2006 Maserati coupe in Blue Metallic over Beige. This car has about 68,000 miles on the clock. The seller is asking…$19,995.

This car is powered by a Ferrari-built 4.2-liter V8 producing 401 HP/333 LB-FT of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. I mean, c’mon, a high-performance GT for less than 20 grand! I also happen to think the car is drop-dead gorgeous.

Yes, the car is not expensive to buy, but will probably be costly to maintain. The cost of ownership might explain why the car will sell for less than $20,000. Still, it’s a Maserati and it’s less than 20 grand! It even has four seats although I suspect the rear seats are for groceries only. Well, groceries and insurance. All other things being equal, it costs less to insure a car with more than two seats than one with only two seats.

 

#FrugalFriday

#TheRudeSociety

#2006MaseratiGT

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday, Idiosyncratic Edition

As I have written often, virtually nothing in life is all good or bad. Virtually everything is a trade-off. (By the way, this is going to be a very long post.)

Not being highly scrutinized by outsiders (a euphemism for not having thousands or tens of thousands of daily readers) means I have almost complete freedom to write what I want. In that way I can indulge my highly idiosyncratic nature.

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Many people, especially those of a certain ideological bent, are highly critical of publicly traded companies buying back their stock. They think it is a “waste” of resources, but also that it distorts the stock prices of those companies by artificially inflating their Earnings/Share ratio through decreasing the number of shares in the float, the total available pool of shares.

If that were the case, then one might conclude that the stock price of companies that buy back their stock would perform better than those that don’t engage in buybacks, ceterus paribus. From the insightful Mike Santoli of CNBC comes these facts:

In the last five years the S&P 500 has seen a 49.7% increase.

In the last five years the SPDR Buyback ETF (SPTB) has increased by…35.4%.

OK, maybe something idiosyncratic about SPTB, its sector-weighting perhaps, means it’s not fully representative of “buyback” stocks.

In the last five years the Invesco Buyback Acheivers ETF (PKW) has increased by…38.5%.

If a company’s float is reduced by 10% through buybacks, but the company’s earnings (profits) decrease by 20% what happens to the Earnings Per Share (EPS) ratio? A company’s stock price is, to a large extent, an estimate of the future value of its EPS adjusted somewhat for dividends.

Would I like to see companies spend more on capital investment and less on buybacks? Probably, but it’s not up to me. It’s also not clear that buying the stock of companies who buy back a lot of their stock is a good investment strategy, anyway. The reason for investing is to make money.

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Today’s selection of Frugal Friday cars started with an impossibly large search on Hemmings and then morphed into something idiosyncratic and personal. I began by looking at cars from model year 1956 through model year 2005! The only filtering was that I looked solely at US cars and cars with listed prices and photos. I then sorted by price from lowest to highest. This car caught my eye:

 

 

From this ad a picture of a 1993 Pontiac Grand Prix. This car is in Blue over Gray cloth and has about 82,000 miles. The seller is asking $2,750.

When I moved to California and was unable to buy a Buick Reatta I wandered the showroom of the Buick/Pontiac/GMC dealer until I saw a 1995 Grand Prix. I was really taken by the styling. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the car I owned the longest (at least as of now) and the first car I would own in two states as I took it to Texas when my wonderful wife and I moved there. When I bought the Grand Prix I had not even met my wife.

I also didn’t know at the time that I would soon be promoted to Director of Baseball Operations and be placed in charge of one of my pet projects, a department devoted solely to scouting the minor leagues. I won’t bore you with details, but I believe this has now become standard operating procedure for major league baseball organizations. I also had no inkling that as head of a department I would be able to receive a car allowance on top of my not-small salary.

The car I bought to replace the ’95 Grand Prix was this one:

 

 

This is a 2002 Corvette that I purchased used from Corvettes of Dallas in 2004. I think the business now operates under a different name. The ’02 was my first Vette and I had no idea at the time that I would become totally hooked on them and would, eventually, end up owning (at least) three Corvettes. From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 2004 Corvette coupe for sale:

 

 

Talk about an iconic car, it’s a little red Corvette. 2004 was the last model year of the C5 Corvette. This particular example is in Red (OK, Burgundy) over Black and has about 101,000 miles. The asking price? $10,900…it was not the least expensive car in the search, either.

C5 (and C4) Corvettes are incredibly affordable. Of course, the C5 almost didn’t happen…a long section from Steve Magnante’s 1001 Corvette Facts:

 

“Planning for the C5 began in 1988, a full nine years before the finished car hit dealerships…when planning began the goal was to unveil the new model for 1993, just in time for the Corvette’s 40th anniversary. However, in May 1989 a cut in the GM engineering budget delayed the release until 1994. Then in August 1989, General Motors pushed back the release date to the 1995 model year. In October 1990, the release was further rescheduled for 1996. Hiccups along the way included the fall 1992 retirements of chief engineer Dave McLellan and stylist Chuck Jordan…while General Motors posted a record $4.86 billion profit for 1988, four years later it lost a staggering $24.2 billion. Through it all, certain factions in GM management viewed the ultralow-volume Corvette as an unnecessary frill and lobbied for its termination.”

 

So, not only was the Corvette almost killed after the 1955 model year it was almost terminated in the 1990s. Who knows? After the 2008 recession calls for the end of the Vette may have grown quite loud at GM.

Getting back to Frugal Friday…my search on Hemmings for 2000-2004 Corvettes (US only, only with photos and listed prices) yielded about 50 with an asking price of less than $20,000. When the average “transaction” price for a new US vehicle has reached nearly $40,000 don’t you think spending half of that on a Corvette is a great option if you don’t have kids?

Even though I have written a lot today I want to continue, but I will stop here. Please feel free to post thoughtful comments. Thanks for reading.

 

#FrugalFriday

#IdiosyncraticTradeOff

#DontCommentWithoutCommandOfFacts

#1993PontiacGrandPrix

#2002ChevroletCorvette

#C5Corvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday Last Of July

First…I must really be messed up. Despite the fact that it’s been more than two months since the last Big Bang Theory episode aired I am still sad that the show will no longer be produced. Despite many attempts I cannot watch the series finale—either all or in part but always including the tag (the mini-scene at the end of a show)—without tearing up at the end.

I am trying to wrap my head around why this is so. Is it because I watched The Big Bang Theory for more seasons (all 12) than any other TV show? Is it because it is highly likely I will never watch a new sitcom ever again? (Sorry, but I have tried watching some current “sitcoms” and none of them are funny to me in any way, shape or form.) Is it just as simple as I liked the show far more than I realized and will miss not being able to watch new episodes? Of course, as I am writing this I hear the theme song in my head, but it’s the acoustic, solo version used only in the finale and the wrap-up show and not the main theme used in the 279 episodes. Farewell once more, Big Bang Theory.

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A recent episode of Wheeler Dealers featured a car like this:

 

Large Picture of '91 MR2 - OUER

 

From classiccars.com a picture of a second-generation/W20 Toyota MR2, in this case a 1991 model. I have written about this car before, but not specifically about the second generation.

Despite the wheels, they’re not appealing to me even if they’re stock, I think these cars look great. It was this version, a significant re-design from the first generation, that was dubbed “a baby Ferrari” or “a poor man’s Ferrari” as many styling cues were adopted from Ferrari and this car is mid-engined.

This one is offered for sale by a company in Virginia that apparently specializes in Japanese right-hand drive vehicles. The asking price is $16,900. The ad doesn’t indicate whether or not this is the turbo version, but I suspect it isn’t. I mean, if it were that fact would be prominent. I still think that’s a great price for a good-looking car that’s not a slug. By the way, the MR2 Turbo engine produced 200 HP/200 LB-FT of torque and the car would accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 6.1 seconds. It could run a sub-15 second standing quarter mile.

 

Sticking with mid-engined cars, I guess as a nod to the new mid-engined Corvette:

Large Picture of '88 Fiero - QI2E

This is a 1988 Pontiac Fiero. These cars were, unfortunately, a symbol of some dark days for General Motors, from an era when GM seemed to use its customers as beta testers. From Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer GuideĀ®, “As it had with the X-cars, GM shot itself in the foot by selling a car [the Fiero] before it was fully developed.” I’ll tell you what, though, I think these are great-looking cars. Like the Cadillac Allante and other cars, just as the Fiero seemed to be sorted out, GM pulled the plug. This was the last model year for the Fiero, which started successfully in 1984 with almost 137,000 sold, but after that sales declined dramatically as word spread of the issues with the car.

This Fiero was powered by the 2.8 liter/173 cubic-inch V6 that produced 135 HP/165 LB-FT of torque. Of the 23 Fieros that are listed for sale on classiccars.com, only five were listed for more than $10,000. This is not one of those five; the dealer is asking $8,900. The car does have a lot of miles, more than 143,000.

I still think in an effort to shed its “boring” image, GM should let Buick produce a halo car. I think a modern, slightly larger and roomier version of the Fiero could be a contender. Of course, it could be that GM/Chevrolet wouldn’t want to steal the thunder from the release of the mid-engined Corvette.

 

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