Monday Musings 51

“We are nothing but raindrops on a windshield.”

OK, who made that remark? Jerry Seinfeld to Michael Richards in an episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, a series which I believe has now been discontinued.

People who take themselves very seriously have lost perspective on the world, I believe.

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Could anyone have imagined in 1975 that on this day in 1995 Chrysler Corporation would open a car dealership in…wait for it…Hanoi, Vietnam? Obviously, many Americans, especially many veterans who served in the Vietnam War, were opposed to Chrysler’s action. Chrysler Vice-President for International Operations Tom Gale said, “By starting business here we feel we’re helping the healing process. We have consulted with veterans groups and the U.S. government. Some feel it’s time to move on. Many of the veterans groups support American investment in Vietnam as an outlet to increase access to the country.”

Chrysler had intended to eventually build factories in Vietnam, but the Vietnamese government refused to give up rice pasture land for the construction of new production facilities and so I don’t think such plants were ever built. The Wikipedia article about Chrysler factories, both open and closed, does not list any Vietnamese plants.

Since abandoning rigid adherence to a centrally-planned (socialist/communist) economy in the mid-1980s and moving to a market-based economy, Vietnam’s economic growth has been impressive although the country remains far from wealthy. (Did you know that Vietnam is the 15th most populous country in the world with a population just shy of 100 million?) Could anyone in 1975 have imagined that Vietnam would have a market-based economy with a fully functioning stock exchange and that its largest export market would be the United States? History is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.

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From this post:

 

From The Fall of the Packard Motor Car Company by James A. Ward:

 

“The news of Packard’s demise was announced on July 13 [1958, emphasis mine], but nobody at S-P [Studebaker-Packard] took responsibility for it. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal ran retrospective pieces, emphasizing Packard’s past, and explained its death by saying that S-P’s ‘destiny is tied to smaller cars.’ The Times pointed out that with Packard’s demise, only 16 remained of the 2,700 nameplates that had appeared since 1893. Business Week headlined its story ‘Ask The Man Who Owned One’ and compared the fall of Nash, Hudson, Packard, Willys, Crosley, and Frazer to the disappearance of automobile companies in the depression.”

 

Of course, the 1957 and 1958 model Packards were really just badge-engineered Studebakers. Still, this was the day after which the glorious Packard name would no longer have a place in the automobile industry. From a Pinterest account a picture of a 1956 Packard Caribbean hardtop:

 

See the source image

 

Maybe one of these days…

 

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Random Thoughts

If you’re not a Baltimore Ravens fan then skip this section…

The Ravens are going to “lose” two stalwarts of their defense, Terrell Suggs (who has played for the team for 16 seasons) and C.J. Mosley (five seasons). Under previous GM Ozzie Newsome I think the Ravens would have found a way to sign at least one of those players. Let me quickly add that I am not saying that would have been the “right” move. In fact, I think Newsome was a little too fond of veteran players.

Although the salary cap doesn’t really even things out among the teams at all times, because at any given time teams have disparate amounts of cap room, teams cannot prudently sign Grade B players for Grade A money or Grade C players for Grade B money. However, that’s exactly what happens because of the different amounts of cap space.

Like Jerry Seinfeld said a fan is only rooting for the laundry, anyway.

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According to this story on motor1.com a fleet of C8 Corvettes were recently tested in Arizona with one passenger of note, GM President Mark Reuss. The article notes that if the passenger was really Mr. Reuss then the C8 reveal is likely to be soon, whatever that means. Photos from the article are copyrighted so I cannot legally show them here. What I can tell you is that the photos, granted in camouflage, look very much like a mid-engined Ferrari 458 or 488. A mid-engined layout means that certain design elements must exist and that others are impossible.

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See the source image

From gtspirit.com a picture of the stunning Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. Has there ever been an ugly Aston? I don’t think so. Even Ferrari has made the FF, which I think is a “neither fish nor fowl” design.

This car is basically a DB11, but with some tweaks including wider tires. The engine has also been tweaked and now produces 715 HP. Although one can’t see the suspension on the Superleggera it is different from the “base” DB11.

How much? The base MSRP is just $308,081. Yes, even at that price one can pay more for options like a carbon fiber roof ($4,545).

Anyone want to offer an opinion on this or any other Aston Martin?

 

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