Throwback Thursday, Beautiful Highways?

On this day in 1965 President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Highway Beautification Act. The new law called for control of outdoor advertising, including removal of certain types of signs, along the nation’s growing Interstate Highway System and the existing federal-aid primary highway system. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.

LBJ’s wife, Lady Bird, played a major role in the passage of the act. In the movie Good Morning, Vietnam, Robin Williams (as disc jockey Adrian Cronauer) comments about the passage of the bill and says one of its provisions is that Lady Bird will no longer be allowed to drive in a car with the top down. Since most of Williams’ dialogue in the scenes in the radio studio was ad-libbed, I assume that line was also ad-libbed.

I don’t really remember what America’s major highways looked like before passage of the bill, but frankly I think that unless some natural scenery exists, interstate highways project too sterile an appearance. I also think the bill (and its descendants, more on that below) has been ignored on US routes–as opposed to interstate highways–and many of them have long stretches that are nothing but a harsh, dissonant mix of stores, advertising and more stores, a cacophony of sight, if you will.

I’m sure Lady Bird Johnson meant well, but as is the case with most government regulations the Highway Beautification Act has spawned a cottage Congressional “industry” of subsequent committees and more laws. In writing about the George Brett homerun that was nullified because of the placement of pine tar on his bat, Bill James wrote, “Laws that are not enforced are unenforceable.” The “pine tar” rule had been in effect for awhile, but had never been applied until that instance making that enforcement the definition of arbitrary. Despite the myriad of laws that are supposed to govern the appearance of major roads and highways, many of them are either garish or sterile in appearance.

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

– Mark Twain

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In this piece Colin Windell notes that Fords sold in South Africa are available with a USB port in the rear-view mirror to accommodate dash cams. Does anyone know if Ford or any other vehicle manufacturer sells cars so equipped in the US?

My wonderful wife’s 2018 Corvette is equipped with option code UQT (say that out loud), which gives her the ability to record high-def video and audio and save it to a storage device so the A/V can be played on most computers. However, in this instance the ability to record sight and sound is built into the car.

I think dash cams are a great idea and have looked into adding one to my Z06. I think the use of such devices is a prime example of “Better Safe Than Sorry.”

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So, is this car going to be released or not? Does anyone know?

 

See the source image

 

From carmagazine.co.uk (obviously) a picture/rendering of the 2021 Alfa Romeo GTV. Some time last year Alfa announced that all of its 2021 offerings would either have a hybrid or all-electric drivetrain, which most of the automotive world interpreted as the end of the Giulia-based GTV coupe. Other publications say such a car may still be introduced, although perhaps not until model year 2022, and it may or may not have a non-ICE drivetrain.

It would be a sad day if all Alfa Romeo builds are SUVs and four-door sedans, regardless of how they are powered. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (Dylan Thomas, of course…)

 

#ThrowbackThursday

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#MarkTwain

#DashCams

#NewAlfaRomeoGTV?

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Rain, Rain, Go Away

Yet another gray, rainy day…for most of my life I have actually enjoyed rainy weather, but now not so much. I can’t wait to live in the desert with its 330-ish sunny days a year.

 

🎶 Arizona, take off your rainbow shades. 🎶

 

I don’t like to drive my Z06 in the rain, primarily because the car gets very dirty. I can’t take the car to an automated car wash, either. The owners manual issues a stern warning against doing so. I don’t mind washing the Z06, it’s actually a small car and can be washed in 15-20 minutes, but it’s impossible to wash it in the garage and, obviously, I can’t wash it outside if it’s raining.

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Return to Back to the Future…

Given that the SEMA lawsuit against NHTSA has finally forced the latter to issue regulations to implement the 2015 Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, James Espey, vice president of DeLorean Motor Company, has confirmed that plans are underway to prepare for limited production of a new, much-upgraded version of the classic stainless steel, gullwing coupe.

I have always thought the cars have a great look, but constraints ruined the drivetrain making the car underpowered. The cars will be manufactured from a mix of new old stock parts and new parts AND should be powered by a 350 HP engine. The original DMC-12 engine produced 130 HP/152 LB-FT of torque. Without further ado:

 

 

side-view

 

The picture is from the Hagerty article linked a couple of paragraphs back. Maybe in the next year or so we will see a new one on the road.

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From Mark Twain via The Muscleheaded Blog:

 

“Clothes make the man—naked people have little or no influence on society.”

 

Hope you’re having a sunnier day than I am, literally and figuratively.

 

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: Car Number Five

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

– Mark Twain

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Last night I had a strange dream. (“Last night I had a crazy dream about a chick in a black bikini.” Anyone remember “Chick-A-Boom” by Daddy Dewdrop?) I dreamt I was a drummer in a band, but I was missing one of my drumsticks and was in a panic. No one had any sympathy for me at all and I had the impression I would be replaced, even at the last minute, if I could not find my drumstick. To use a colloquialism, what’s up with that?!

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This car is not making its first appearance in Disaffected Musings so its place in Ultimate Garage 2.0 should not be a surprise.

 

See the source image

 

The top photo of a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado is from History of the American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®; the bottom is from Mecum and was a lot offered at their Harrisburg auction in 2017.

What can I say? I just love these cars. I love the styling, the ride, the technology, the luxury. To me, these cars are transcendent. Of course, they were based on the same front-wheel drive platform introduced in the Oldsmobile Toronado in 1966. The Toronado is a fine car, but the Eldorado is in another league, in my opinion. The styling is just so much sharper.

The one pictured at the top reminds me of so many great moments I had riding in the ’67 Eldorado of my then brother-in-law. His was the same color. I just remember being in awe whenever I was in the car even if it was returning from another rained-out Orioles game in 1971. They had so many rainouts that year (well in excess of 20, I believe) that they only played 158 games meaning that four games were never made up.

The ’67 Eldo was powered by Cadillac’s 429 cubic-inch V8 then in its last year at that displacement. For 1968, the engine was increased to 472 cubic inches, perhaps in part to offset the effects of having to meet new government emissions standards that were mandated beginning in the 1968 model year. The 429 cubic-inch motor produced 340 HP, but 480 LB-FT of torque. Even though it had only two doors, the ’67 Eldorado weighed 4,500 pounds so it needed some torque to be drivable. Cadillac produced 17,930 Eldorados for 1967 with an MSRP of $6,277. As a point of reference, and the two cars were obviously not in competition, the base price for a 1967 Corvette coupe was $4,389. The base price for a 1967 Lincoln Continental hardtop coupe was $5,553.

According to Hagerty the average value of a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado is a modest $15,000. Currently on Hemmings four 1967 Eldorados are listed for sale with asking prices ranging from $9,900 to $20,000. For an Ultimate Garage car, the ’67 Eldo is quite a bargain.

 

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Sunday C8 Key Fob

From this article in corvetteblogger.com comes these pictures, from FCC filings, of the key fob for the C8 Corvette:

[SPIED] 2020 Mid-Engine Corvette Keyfob and C8 Logo from FCC Filing

[SPIED] 2020 Mid-Engine Corvette Keyfob and C8 Logo from FCC Filing

Here is some more information from the article:

“On the backside of the keyfob is a Crossed-Flags Corvette logo which appears more elongated and pointed than the C7’s crossed flags logo. If you look at it closely, its almost in the shape of a “V”. If this is indeed the logo for the C8 Corvette, it’s a significant sighting as its the first time the C8 logo has been spied in public.”

“Further documents from FCC filing specifically lists the keyfob as a ‘GM MY20 B1 Keyfob.’ [emphasis mine] Also included is the in-car receiver for the transmitter which carries the GM part number of 13529177.”

“This is pretty big news during a time when details have been scant. This FCC filing appears to confirm the C8’s arrival for the 2020 model year, as well as the new crossed-flags logo for the C8 generation!”

What will the C8 look like? How much will it cost? What engines and transmissions will be available? Speculation on these and other questions have existed for quite some time, but based on the FCC filings it does appear that the car is real and will be introduced for the 2020 model year.

Of course, photos of a keyfob don’t confirm a mid-engine configuration. However, it is difficult to believe that with all of the “smoke” about a mid-engine Corvette that a “fire” doesn’t exist.

The “spy” shots of supposed C8 Corvettes in camouflage do nothing for me and seemingly all of them are copyrighted so I can’t use them here, anyway. (Sour grapes?)

Some people must know the real story, but apparently have been fairly tight-lipped. This is contrary to Mark Twain’s famous remark, “The only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead.”

I assume that the vast majority of Corvette enthusiasts await the C8 and the potential for two generations to be sold simultaneously, which would be a first for the Corvette. For me, while I welcome the innovation I don’t think a mid-engine car can ever look as good as a C2 Corvette.

https://www.corvsport.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/dsc8414__large.jpg

From corvsport.com a picture of a 1967 Corvette. Hopefully, my restomod will look very similar to this, but in a different color. That body style cannot accommodate a mid-engine configuration.

 

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#disaffectedmusings