Frugal Friday, Solstice/Sky Edition

Since last night’s Big Bang Theory series finale I cannot get the show’s theme song or “Soft Kitty” out of my head. I thought it was a good, not great, end to the show. I know it’s TV and I have to “suspend my disbelief,” but Sheldon’s reverting to his obnoxious and self-centered personality after winning the Nobel Prize in Physics only to have an epiphany of selflessness while accepting the prize seemed somewhat forced and inorganic to me. Yes, it’s America and people want a happy ending. That was delivered, for sure. Once again, while no one connected with the show will ever read this I offer my thanks to the cast and crew. I am sad that The Big Bang Theory will no longer be produced.

 

See the source image

 

From lifeandstylemag.com a picture of the cast of The Big Bang Theory.

******************

 

A recent photo by yours truly of a Pontiac Solstice Coupe. I don’t think I had ever seen one in person until this. While a Solstice has been featured in a previous Frugal Friday, and I have written about it and its close cousin—the Saturn Sky, I have not featured both of them in a Frugal Friday post.

Obviously I am a big fan of these cars. While they shared the same platform they did not share any sheet metal. I like the looks of the Sky more than the Solstice, but I think both cars are quite handsome.

My wonderful wife and I have both test driven a Sky, although not in Red Line spec. The Sky Red Line and Solstice GXP had a 2-liter/122 cubic-inch, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produced 260 HP/260 LB-FT of torque, which still might be the highest specific output of any GM engine ever. An available dealer installed option was a modified computer tune and two new sensors that resulted in an increased output to 290 HP/340 LB-FT.

Today’s Frugal Friday, therefore, is the “best” deals on a GXP and Red Line. Much subjectivity is involved as it’s not necessarily the least expensive car offered for sale in the US, but a combination of price and perceived quality. The Solstice first:

 

Used 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP Convertible APALACHIN, NY 13732 - 515556646 - 1

 

Picture via Autotrader; it is a 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP in Yellow over Black with a manual transmission and just 37,000 miles. I limited my search to cars with fewer than 60,000 miles. The seller is asking $14,490.

 

Used 2007 Saturn Sky Red Line Fredericksburg, VA 22408 - 504746622 - 3

 

Also from Autotrader and, obviously, offered by Lucky Line Motors (in Fredericksburg, VA) is a 2007 Saturn Sky Red Line in Black over Red. This Red Line has 51,000 miles and has an automatic transmission. The dealer is asking just $10,990.

It’s hard for me to imagine two more interesting cars that are so affordable. For the nth time the average “transaction price” of a new vehicle in the US is approaching $40,000. The list price of both of these cars combined is only about $25,000. A shout-out to David Banner who suggested a feature like this.

Since it is likely I will begin revealing my Ultimate Garage 2.0 tomorrow and since that reveal, along with the cars that just missed the cut, will take about two weeks, Throwback Thursday and Frugal Friday will not appear until after Ultimate Garage 2.0 is finished.

The straw that breaks the camel’s back doesn’t even have to be as heavy as the other straws…

 

#BigBangTheory

#FrugalFriday

#SaturnSky

#PontiacSolstice

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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

 

 

 

Frugal Friday, Pony Car Edition

Allergies have much the best of me today. Hope that doesn’t show in this post. I think with the recent increase in dewpoint comes an increase in mold to which I am quite allergic. Add that to abundant pollen and I’m struggling. Do drier climates have less mold? If so, another argument for moving to such a climate.

******************

I asked this of WordPress and only received a “partial” answer. Do any of you bloggers out there know if an increase in referrals from search engines is significant? For April, the number of such referrals was greater than the total for January through March combined. The percentage of total views for April that were referred from search engines was more than twice that of January-March.

I am hoping such an increase is a harbinger of a gain in viewers. Of course, if any of you Grade A “social media influencers” are reading a recommendation would be much appreciated. 🙂

******************

As the post title suggests today’s Frugal Friday is about pony cars. (Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? Yes, a Seinfeld reference. Sue me…)

The current US pony car market consists of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang. Camaro sales have slumped to the point where it is now last in this segment. In 2017, the Camaro outsold the Challenger 67,940 to 64,537, but for 2018 through the first quarter of 2019 the Challenger outsold the Camaro 80,147 to 63,046. For the same period Ford sold 92,759 Mustangs. Note that for the last five quarters almost a quarter-million pony cars were sold. I think some segment of the car-buying market still wants a good-looking performance car.

Using autotrader.com I searched for these three cars for model years 2010-2012 with V-8 engines and fewer than 60,000 miles. I also used a 200-mile search radius from my house as I suspect a nationwide search would yield too many vehicles. I like the fact that Autotrader lets you search for multiple makes/models simultaneously. I exercised some discretion in terms of cars that seemed acceptable based on the photos and the ad copy.

When sorting the results by price from lowest to highest it seems as though the Mustang dominates the lower priced segment of this market. Not many Challengers were found near the bottom of the price sort. Of course, I don’t really know how much these cars cost when new.

 

Used 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe w/ 2SS Thurmont, MD 21788 - 509296719 - 4

 

A picture of a 2010 Camaro SS Coupe with the 2SS trim package in Red Jewel Tincoat over Beige. This car has about 51,000 miles and the seller, a Chevrolet dealer, is asking $16,888. I think these cars look good and pay homage to the first-generation styling. Having driven both a fifth-generation and sixth-generation Camaro I can say that the cars have large blind spots to the rear. This car has a 6-speed automatic.

 

Used 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T Fredericksburg, VA 22408 - 502646122 - 3

 

This is a 2010 Dodge Challenger in Silver over Black. Like the Camaro I think these cars are well-styled and are a good updating of the original design. This car has a manual transmission and has about 56,000 miles. The seller is asking $16,990.

 

Used 2011 Ford Mustang GT Premium PASADENA, MD 21122 - 506686307 - 1

 

This is a 2011 Ford Mustang GT in Grey over Cream. I don’t dislike Mustangs, but I am not a huge fan of them, either. Still, I appreciate the significance of the model and understand the rabid fandom it generates in many people. This ’11 has an automatic transmission, has about 57,000 miles and the seller is asking $17,866.

 

Here are three good-looking pony cars with V-8s, each at far less than $20,000. Remember that the average “transaction price” for a new vehicle in the US is approaching $40,000. Life is far too short; have some fun!

 

#FrugalFriday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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

 

I was negligent, to say the least, in failing to mention Yom HaShoah yesterday. Never Forget! Never Again!

 

 

 

Frugal Friday, EGD Edition

Not that anyone asked, but the EGD (upper GI endoscopy) went well yesterday. Other than a little redness/inflammation in a couple of areas in my stomach lining my excellent GI doc, Dr. M, found nothing out of the ordinary. He did not have to dilate my esophagus as there were no strictures from scar tissue. I was going to post photos of my GI tract, but my name appears on every picture and this is still an anonymous blog. Dr. M did take a couple of tissue samples for biopsies, but seemed totally sure that the pathology would show nothing wrong.

For people with GERD two items that are supposed to be avoided are alcohol and spicy foods. I don’t consume alcohol (unless I take a nighttime cold medicine, which happens maybe a couple of times a year) and I don’t eat spicy foods because I dislike them intensely. Oh well…

******************

For this Frugal Friday I went to autotrader.com and performed the following search: convertibles and coupes nationwide being sold by a dealer, from model years 2000 to 2004 (the first five model years of this century), with V-8, V-10 or V-12 engines and with fewer than 75,000 miles. I then simply sorted by price from lowest to highest.

Many of the cars at the very low end of the price spectrum were damaged and that was clearly shown in the photographs; many of those were going to be auctioned in the near future. So, for my first selection for this Frugal Friday how about this?

 

Used 2002 Cadillac Eldorado ESC Tucker, GA 30084 - 505506785 - 1

 

This is a 2002 Cadillac Eldorado ESC. ESC stands for Eldorado Sports Coupe. Why Cadillac developed this affinity for three-character model names is beyond me; I think it’s dumb.

This car is silver over tan and has about 72,000 miles; that’s barely 4,000 miles a year. These cars were front-wheel drive and were powered by a 4.6 liter/279 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 300 HP/295 LB-FT of torque. Cadillac abandoned manual transmissions for a long time and this Eldo is no exception.

The ad copy is sparse, which is suspicious, but the dealer is only asking $5,490. I like the way these cars look and it’s a Cadillac, which means it certainly has many creature comforts.

 

Car #2 for today:

 

Used 2000 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Coupe Ansonia, CT 06401 - 486230280 - 7

 

This is a 2000 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 coupe with about 64,000 miles. It’s red over gray. This car has an automatic transmission and is powered by a 5.7 liter/346 cubic-inch engine producing 305 HP/335 LB-FT of torque. My first Corvette (a 2002 model) had this engine, basically, but that was rated 350 HP/375 LB-FT. The dealer is asking $7,500. Once again, the average “transaction price” for a new vehicle in the US is approaching $40,000.

 

OK, a bonus car today as I wanted to include one car with a V-10 or V-12:

 

Used 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL 600 Glendale Heights, IL 60139 - 491174922 - 2

 

Obviously from Greater Chicago Motors comes this 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL600. The “600” designation means the car has a V-12 engine. The color combo is not listed in the ad, but from the pictures it’s a dark blue over gray.

This car has about 71,000 miles and the copy is sparse, but the dealer is asking $21,995 for a V-12 powered Mercedes-Benz. Let’s see, for that price you could buy a new Honda Civic. Hmm…no guessing as to which car I would prefer, German or not. Did I mention this car’s engine is a twin-turbo? The engine output is 493 HP/590 LB-FT of torque from 5.5 liters/337 cubic inches. It has a 5-speed automatic transmission.

I welcome comments about these cars or any other topic.

 

#FrugalFriday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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

“Frugal” Friday

I am going to stretch the concept of Frugal Friday, maybe until it breaks. Until now I have focused on a dollar amount and year range for cars. Yesterday’s post that featured a Rolls-Royce Camargue got me thinking about luxury makes that could be acquired for less than luxury money.

Consider that at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee in January a 1988 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur hammered at $13,000 meaning the buyer paid $14,300 all in. A 1999 Silver Seraph hammered at $18,000 meaning the buyer paid $19,800. From bentleygoldcoast.com a picture of the latter:

See the source image

If you’re buying a car like this for status then your friends and neighbors almost certainly wouldn’t know what you paid for the car, just that you’re driving a Rolls-Royce.

So, for today’s Frugal Friday I have picked a couple of luxury makes and then searched for the least expensive example. Sticking with Rolls-Royce, on cars.com one model, a 1976 Silver Shadow with 75,000+ miles, was listed at $3,995, but looked to be in very poor condition. In my very superficial search for one that looked decent I found a 1983 Silver Spur with 59,000 miles listed at…$11,900. In a still from a YouTube video here is an example of this car:

See the source image

OK, so you’re probably still going to have to pay Rolls-Royce prices to have the car serviced. Just think, though, that you can buy a Rolls-Royce for $11,000-$12,000.

 

How about Ferrari? Going back to the Mecum Kissimmee auction a 1986 Mondial, still a Ferrari, hammered for $26,000 meaning the buyer paid $28,600 all in. From bestcarmag.com a picture of a 1986 Mondial:

See the source image

 

On cars.com a 2001 Ferrari 360 Modena was listed for…$4,501. That price and the lack of exposition in the ad copy made me suspicious that the car doesn’t run. Some cars are not worth buying no matter the price. The next “cheapest” 2001 360 Modena was listed at $43,988.

How do you like this car?

See the source image

From dyler.com a picture of a 1997 Ferrari 456 GTA. A car like this is advertised on cars.com for $39,999. That example has about 30,000 miles. Like with the Rolls, you would have to pay Ferrari prices to have the car serviced and $40,000-ish is not cheap, per se. Still, the average price of an average new vehicle in the US is approaching $40,000. As regular readers know I would MUCH prefer this to an SUV or pickup truck. These cars were powered by a 5.5 liter/333 cubic-inch V-12 rated at 436 HP/398 LB-FT of torque. C’mon! A V-12 Ferrari for the price of a mundane SUV! The 456 and 456 M were produced from 1992 to 2003 with a total output of almost 3,300 units.

I would very much like to read your thoughts on today’s Frugal Friday.

 

#FrugalFriday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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

 

Frugal Friday: It’s March (!) Edition

First, before Frugal Friday (by the way, it’s snowing here on the first day of meteorological Spring)…

Something I like to say when I want to sound clever is to paraphrase/twist Shakespeare: There is nothing good or bad, but context makes it so. This relates to the fact that human beings seldom judge the world on the basis of objective reality, but based on expectations and the status quo.

Disaffected Musings views for February fell just a handful short of a nice round number, but exceeded those of January by 15% despite being, obviously, three days shorter. However, about ten percent of February views came in just one day (the 1st) AND January was a short month in terms of the number of posts.

Extending this pointless exercise even further, February views per day were about 4 percent below those for December and a whopping 45 percent below November. (Both of those months were “normal” in terms of the number of posts.) So, was February a good month for views? Like I keep saying, that depends on the context. I don’t know anything about seasonality in blog viewing on the WordPress platform, what the normal “uptake” or “stickiness” rates are for blogs, or any of a host of factors.

The current administration stated that if its fiscal policies were enacted that the annual growth rate for real GDP would be pushed to 3%+. Yesterday the Federal Government released its first estimate of 4th quarter GDP growth and, therefore, first estimate for overall growth for 2018. Did GDP growth reach 3%? Well, that depends on how you count.

For calendar year 2018, real GDP grew at 2.9% compared to calendar year 2017. So, it seems close, but not quite. However, some economists talk about year-over-year growth for the fourth quarter as a good measure. That figure was +3.1%. In any event, these numbers are usually revised.

As Bill James has written, statistics are not truth; they are an approximation of the truth. Even when we have computers implanted in our brains that can spit out the history of the universe at a billion words a second, there will be things about the world that matter but that cannot be measured precisely, if at all. Remember what Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.”

******************

Today’s listings for Frugal Friday come from Autotrader. As such, those listings are their property.

The criteria for today were convertibles and coupes for sale at US dealers for between $9,000 and $10,000, that are between five and ten years old and have fewer than 60,000 miles. The search unearthed 170 vehicles matching those criteria. Despite that number, not a single car had an 8-cylinder engine.

A lot of these cars were either a Fiat 500, a Smart Car or a Kia Forte. One that was not was this car:

Used 2009 Pontiac Solstice Convertible Columbus, IN 47201 - 505578202 - 16

This is a 2009 Pontiac Solstice. I have written about this car and its cousin, the Saturn Sky, before as I am a fan of them. This car is not the GXP turbo version, but is powered by the normally aspirated 2.4 liter, inline 4-cylinder engine that was rated at 173 HP/167 LB-FT of torque. This car has a 5-speed manual transmission and has about 47,000 miles. The list price is $9,998. (Don’t you love those cute retail prices? Not…)

My wonderful wife and I test drove the Solstice and the Sky years ago. Of course both have been out of production a long time (since 2010). Even the naturally aspirated cars are quick and they handle well, but not exceptionally well. However, the interiors feel REALLY small and cheap, to be honest. As I have written before, I believe GM made a big mistake in not upgrading the Solstice/Sky and letting Buick sell it as a halo car.

 

Used 2009 Volvo C70 T5 Convertible Raleigh, NC 27604 - 508046007 - 9

This is a 2009 Volvo C70 T5 convertible (duh!). It has an automatic transmission (5-speed), is front-wheel drive and has the turbo 5-cylinder, 2.5-liter/154 cubic-inch (you’re welcome, Bill Stephens) engine. The engine is rated at 227 HP/236 LB-FT. This car has 53,000 miles and the seller is asking, wait for it, $9,995.

While I’ve always thought the name Volvo (Latin for “I roll” or “I rotate”) was a little weird for a car, Volvo began its life as a manufacturer of ball bearings so the name is probably only weird to me. The make has a reputation for quality and reliability.

Have a good weekend…

 

#FrugalFriday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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

 

Here is part of the GDP report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

2018 GDP Real GDP increased 2.9 percent in 2018 (from the 2017 annual level to the 2018 annual level), compared with an increase of 2.2 percent in 2017 [emphasis mine]. The increase in real GDP in 2018 primarily reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, federal government spending, private inventory investment, and state and local government spending that were slightly offset by a small negative contribution from residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased. The acceleration in real GDP from 2017 to 2018 primarily reflected accelerations in nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, federal government spending, exports, and PCE, and an upturn in state and local government spending that were partly offset by a downturn in residential investment.

During 2018 (measured from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018), real GDP increased 3.1 percent, [emphasis mine] compared with an increase of 2.5 percent during 2017. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.1 percent during 2018, compared with an increase of 1.9 percent during 2017.”

Both GDP growth measures I cited were on the same page in the same report.

 

 

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.

******************

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!

******************

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

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

Frugal Friday

At today’s end an eighth of 2019 will already be gone. Carpe Diem!

******************

From today’s Friday Funnies by 56packardman:

gas $1.39

******************

Reader “David Banner” suggested writing about collector cars for “the average Joe/Jill.” I think that’s a good idea although defining “average” and “collector car” is subjective.

Today’s selections are from Hemmings and, as such, the listings belong to them. As today’s Frugal Friday is the first I am kind of winging it. If I continue the feature I will probably not rely solely on Hemmings.

For today I chose cars listed at between $9,000 and $10,000, inclusive, and cars that were made between 1989 and 2004. The criteria are arbitrary, I admit. That reminds of me what I used to say about salary arbitration in baseball. Salary arbitration is well-named because the results are completely arbitrary. I also only included cars sold at US dealers and not by individuals as well as including only those ads with photos. I will try to avoid cars about which I have written before, but it is inevitable that some of them will be included. Without further ado:

Here is a 1991 Chevrolet Camaro RS:

It’s in Red Metallic over Gray and has only 56,000-ish miles. It’s not an overly powerful car; the engine is a 305 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 170 HP/255 LB-FT of torque, which is not a high output for a 3,300 pound car. It has a 4-speed automatic transmission. The asking price is $9,500.

About 101,000 Camaros were produced for the 1991 model year. I think if you want a nice driver with a little flair for not a lot of money you could do a lot worse than this car. ALL used cars come with risk.

 

A Jaguar for under $10,000?! Yep…

This gorgeous burgundy over beige 2001 Jaguar XK-8 coupe with about 56,000 miles is listed for $9,900. My wonderful wife had an XK-8 convertible and it was not without its issues, but they are beautiful cars and are nice GT cruisers. Bill Stephens, one of the hosts of Mecum Auto Auctions on NBCSN, has an XK-8 about which he speaks very highly.

This car has a 4-liter (244 cubic inches for the aforementioned Bill Stephens) V-8 engine rated at 290 HP/290 LB-FT of torque. The XK-8 has a five-speed automatic transmission. Even if you had to put $2,000-$4,000 into the car after purchase, you would still have a Jaguar that cost you less than $15,000.

Please let me know what you thought of the first Frugal Friday post.

******************

Had to include a link to this CNBC article about Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. The title is, “Charlie Munger says California, Connecticut have been ‘stupid’ for driving rich people away.”

 

#frugalfriday

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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