In Or Out?

I almost certainly will not be posting tomorrow. After 32 consecutive days of writing, I think I can take a break.

Once again, a car for you to consider whether it would be In Or Out of some vaguely defined personal automotive Top 100. I do not expect you to actually create a Top 100 or tell us where a car would rank exactly. Without further ado:

 

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From Hagerty Insurance Agency a picture of a first-generation (1967-1970) Mercury Cougar. In the interest of full disclosure, I will offer my opinion that this is one of the underrated cars in US automotive history. I think these look better than the Ford Mustang on which they’re based, came with good performance options and, of course, would make a great basis for a restomod. The Cougar was named 1967 Motor Trend Car of the Year, the first Lincoln-Mercury vehicle to receive the honor.

Despite not really being a pony car or a personal luxury car, the Cougar was popular after its introduction. More than 150,000 were sold in the debut year of 1967. About 437,000 were sold in the first four model years.

OK, people, first-generation Mercury Cougar…In Or Out? Once again, if this car doesn’t receive at least five votes then the feature will be discontinued.

 

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In Or Out? Et Al.

Everyone who knows me knows that squirrels would be a giant OUT! This video shows one of those “rats with better PR” being treated better than it deserves. Squirrels are part of the order Rodentia (from the Latin Rodere, meaning “to gnaw”), the same group to which mice and rats belong.

 

 

 

Also a giant OUT! are those AWFUL Limu Emu and Doug commercials. I won’t even mention the insurance company. The ads are brain-dead, mind-numbingly stupid. On those occasions when we are watching “live” TV, as opposed to something recorded on the DVR, if any of those commercials begins to air I hit Pause, back up the telecast a few frames to before the beginning of the “ad,” count to 15 or 20 and then fast-forward without looking at the screen. Given the large population of this country I’m sure millions of people think the ads are great. For me, an ad campaign that has one commercial where an animatronic emu vomits office supplies is beyond awful. If you’re wondering (or even if you’re not), I couldn’t get to the remote fast enough to avoid seeing that commercial.

 

OK…Philip Maynard suggested this car for In Or Out? so here it is:

 

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From the Mecum Monterey Auction in 2014, a picture of a 1967 Sunbeam Tiger MkII. Whether Philip knew it or not, I am a big fan of these cars.

These are often called the Poor Man’s Cobra. The Tiger was also designed, at least in part, by Carroll Shelby and featured an American V-8 stuffed into a small British roadster, in this case the Sunbeam Alpine from the Rootes Group. The MkII spec had the famous Ford 289 cubic-inch V-8 while the MkI had the less famous 260 cubic-inch V-8. Only 633 of the MkII were made and only in the final year of Tiger production, 1967. About 7,000 Sunbeam Tigers were produced in total.

I’m guessing that the MkII engine had the same output as the base V-8 Mustang engine for 1967: 200 HP/282 LB-FT of torque. As the MkII only weighed about 2,600 pounds that’s a good power-to-weight ratio.

Alright, people…Sunbeam Tiger MkII, In Or Out?

 

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A Year. A Year? A Year!

On this day in 2019 the 279th and last original episode of The Big Bang Theory aired. To me, nothing is a more stark reminder of the scarily swift passage of time than that fact. I can’t even process that reality in any context except, perhaps, intellectually. I’m actually getting more depressed just writing about it. Think about how much has changed in the last year, but try not to get depressed like I am.

From The Mary Sue a picture of the original cast of The Big Bang Theory.

 

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Quick note on C8 production: apparently, it will re-start on May 26th, but not at full speed. The re-start at GM plants will begin with a single shift and then ramp up to two or three shifts as demand warrants. The obligatory C8 photo, this time from Top Speed:

 

See the source image

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Does anyone have any idea when the IRS will “re-start production?” For some reason, my accountant of more than 25 years was unable to e-file our federal and state tax returns. Therefore, we had to mail paper copies, which we did in late March. Our state processed our return swiftly and we received our refund in less than two weeks. The IRS? Supposedly they are not “processing” returns at the moment. Obviously, we have not received our refund (an unusually large one for us) nor does the IRS Refund page even have any record of our return. The IRS refund “hotline” is not being staffed at the moment. Yes, I know these are most unusual times and circumstances. Yes, I know the filing deadline was pushed back to July. The situation is still frustrating. Sorry, I’m only human.

I was going to use this situation to note that everything in our “low-tax” state, like road maintenance and processing tax returns, seems to work fine, in many instances better than in the “high-tax” states that surround us, but I would never do that.

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Thanks to Philip Maynard for submitting a car for In Or Out? If you read the comments, and you should, you know what car it is. If you don’t and won’t then you’ll just have to wait to find out.

In the What If? category, on this day in 1952 Studebaker and Porsche signed an agreement for the German company to design a small car for the wagon-makers from Indiana. Only three prototypes were produced.

I don’t know how I feel about that “What If?” or the fact that Studebaker passed on multiple opportunities to be the US distributor for Volkswagen. Studebaker might still be in the automobile business. On the other hand, since they wouldn’t be a defunct American make and might be selling Nazimobiles my feelings about the company might be 180 degrees from what they are. The beginning of a novel that I started writing, but never finished is this, “Nothing is inevitable about life except its end. The prosaic and the extraordinary, the random and the deliberate all contribute to how one’s life unfolds.” Anyway, from Bring A Trailer a picture of what is probably Studebaker’s most iconic car, the 1953 Commander Starliner:

 

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By the way, this car sold for $28,880 in September of 2018. If that figure doesn’t include the buyers commission, then the price was $30,324 all in.

 

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In Or Out?

This is the third installment of In Or Out? Not to be crabby, but if this post doesn’t receive at least five votes, then this feature will be discontinued.

 

 

This is a photo of a 1986 Toyota MR2 (the year means it’s a first-generation MR2 or W10) that I took at the Mecum auction in Glendale, Arizona in March of 2020. It’s hard to believe it’s already been two months since we attended. As one can see from the sticker in the middle of the windshield this car was sold at no reserve and hammered for–are you ready for this?–$3,575 all in. The fans of these cars much prefer manual transmissions and this car had an automatic.

If my (i)ncomparable niece casts a vote the vote will be “IN!” She had one of these, absolutely loved it, and credits her experience with her MR2 as igniting her interest in cars. She will often ask me, jokingly (OK, maybe only half-joking), if one of these would fit in the living room of her New York City apartment.

The Mecum car was equipped with a 1.6 liter (98 cubic inches for Bill Stephens although he would probably reject a car with an engine of that displacement) inline, transversely mounted mid-ship 4-cylinder engine that produced 112 HP in naturally aspirated form. Starting in 1986, although not until 1988 in the US, the MR2 was available with a supercharged version of the motor that produced 145 HP/137 LB-FT of torque.

The MR2 was sold for more than 20 years in three very distinct generations. It was the first Japanese mid-engine production car. According to this website, more MR2s were sold in the US and Canada than in Japan. About 163,000 MR2s were sold in total from 1984 to 1989, which is the span of W10 production.

OK, folks…1st generation Toyota MR2, In Or Out?

 

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In Or Out?

Without further ado:

 

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The top pic is from favcars.com, the bottom is from fwallpapers.com. These are two pictures of the 1957-58 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. This was a hand-built, top of the line luxury car. It was derived from the Orleans and Park Avenue show cars of 1953-54.

This car was groundbreaking in many respects. From the Wikipedia article about the Cadillac Eldorado, here is a description of the innovations:

 

“The car featured a roof trimmed in brushed stainless and self leveling air suspension…It also had the first automatic two-position “memory” power seats, a dual four-barrel V-8, low-profile tires with thin white-walls, automatic trunk opener, cruise control, high-pressure cooling system, polarized sun visors, electric antenna, automatic-release parking brake, electric door locks and a dual heating system. Other unique features included an automatic starter with restart function, Autronic Eye, drum-type electric clock, power windows, forged aluminum wheels and air conditioning…Buyers of Broughams had a choice of 44 full-leather interior and trim combinations and could select such items as Mouton, Karakul or lambskin carpeting.”

 

The Eldorado Brougham also had many luxury touches like a leather cigarette holder (remember this was the late 1950s) and a vanity kit. The air suspension was a bust as the technology of the day just wasn’t up to the demands of the design. The price was a staggering–for the time–$13,074; a Series 62 Eldorado Biarritz convertible was $7,286. Do you really care about the drivetrain? OK…for both years the Eldorado Brougham used Cadillac’s 365 cubic-inch V-8 with a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Engine output was 325 HP/400 LB-FT of torque for 1957, 335 HP/400 LB-FT for 1958.

I don’t think I ever saw one in person until the 2016 Barrett-Jackson auction at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. It’s not too surprising that I didn’t see one before then as only 704 were made during the two model years it was produced.

OK, for the 1957-58 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, In Or Out?

 

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In Or Out?

First…56PackardMan has decided to stop writing his blog. For me, that is sad news, indeed. We don’t agree on every issue, but that’s okay. He has been a tremendous supporter of Disaffected Musings. I hope he will continue to read this blog, at least occasionally, and share his knowledge in comments. All the best, sir.

 

For the 100th post of 2020 I have decided to show the first installment of In Or Out? (Could be the last for all I know.) This car, which I admit is a particular favorite of mine, was featured in an episode of Wheeler Dealers that I was recently able to “re-acquire.” Yes, I know if I subscribe to the Motor Trend app/service, I can watch any episode and without commercials if I choose the premium subscription. Sorry, but after spending triple digits a month on satellite TV I’m not spending more money to watch a channel that I can already watch.

Let me set out a few ground rules…I do not expect you to write “this car is #73 on my list of favorite cars.” I do not expect you to sit down and actually compose the list of your favorite 100 cars. This is just an exercise where you comment on whether or not a particular car would likely be in or out of your 100 favorites. You can explain your reasons or not. This is a free-form exercise with no rules. Just write what you want about the car, but I very much hope for meaningful participation. Without further ado:

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

From AutoEvolution a couple of pictures of the Maserati 3200GT. This car was manufactured from 1998 to 2002; 4,795 were produced. The 3200GT was really only available in Europe. The successor, simply called the Maserati Coupe, was imported into the US.

The 3200GT was designed by Italdesign, which was founded and led at the time by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who had designed the legendary first Maserati Ghibli. This car was powered by a Ferrari designed and built 3.2 liter/196 cubic-inch twin-turbo V-8 that produced 363 HP/362 LB-FT of torque. It was available with a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic.

These cars had one known flaw. The fly-by-wire throttle system would become erratic over time. It was more a matter of design than of execution.

OK, Maserati 3200 GT…In Or Out?

 

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It Might Have Been…

“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been.'”

Many are familiar with this line by John Greenleaf Whittier, but most are probably not aware that it is from his poem “Maud Muller.” The picture below is an example of “it might have been” although certainly not the most poignant or significant. As much as I love cars and cars from defunct American makes, I am not so dense as to be oblivious to the rest of the world.

 

 

From Studebaker Hawk 1956-1964 Photo Archive by Ed Reynolds (I hope Stephen Cox, “Mr. Hawk,” has a copy of it) is a picture of Brooks Stevens’ rendering of what the 1965 Gran Turismo Hawk could/should have looked like. I really like the more modern look of the front grille and trunk lid. The fact that this car could still look fresh in the mid-1960s is, of course, a tribute to the original design of the “Loewy coupes” that were actually drawn by Bob Bourke.

The reality is, and yes hindsight is 20-20, production of the GT Hawk could have continued even after the shutdown of the main Studebaker factory in South Bend, Indiana in December, 1963. While the Avanti was made in a “special” area only in South Bend, GT Hawks had been manufactured in Canada. Of course, Studebaker was in its death throes as an automobile manufacturer by this time and the money for even the modest changes proposed by Stevens simply did not exist.

While no longer in the lead as candidate for Corvette companion/grocery car, the Gran Turismo Hawk is still in the running. Who knows how many iterations of rank will exist between now and the actual time of purchase?

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A dialogue between me and Dirty Dingus McGee about yesterday’s post got me thinking about my favorite 100 or 200 cars of all-time. I am never going to be able to rank that many cars, but I thought about adding a feature to Disaffected Musings. I would call the posts “In Or Out?” and would show a car and then ask you to say if it would make your top 100 without your actually putting a number on it. Does anyone like the idea and, if so, would you participate?

 

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