Power Corrupts

This CNBC article reports on the second UAW (United Auto Workers) president to be sentenced as part of a multiyear corruption probe into the well-known American labor union. Power corrupts, whether it’s a high-ranking labor union official, CEO of a large company or a high-ranking government official. Of course, I have opined that many/most people seeking these posts are already corrupt and achieving their goal is “positive” reinforcement for their behavior, which worsens their corruption.

In general, I believe it is best for a country, for a society for power to be diffuse and not concentrated. When exceptions should be made is, of course, a very tricky matter, indeed.

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From this article titled “How Software Is Eating The Car” comes this estimate from Deloitte Touche: as of 2017, some 40% of the cost of a new car could be attributed to semiconductor-based electronic systems, a cost doubling since 2007. Obviously, a shortage of those semiconductors, like the world has been experiencing, makes it difficult to manufacture cars, whether they are ICE-powered, EVs or hybrids. From the piece is this tidbit:

 

“Today, high-end cars like the BMW 7-series with advanced technology like advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) may contain 150 ECUs [Electronic Control Units] or more, while pick-up trucks like Ford’s F-150 top 150 million lines of code. Even low-end vehicles are quickly approaching 100 ECUs and 100 million of lines of code as more features that were once considered luxury options, such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, are becoming standard.”

 

One can certainly understand the preference for non-computerized cars by many of those in the hobby. One should also understand that many of these systems are the result of ever increasing government standards. Some of those, of course, result in safer cars, but worse drivers. Much of the explosion in ECUs and lines of code, though, comes from customer expectations regarding comfort and performance. It is the automobile business, after all.

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It seems as though inventory is thin right now at the local luxury make complex. Nevertheless, here are some pictures I took yesterday:

 

 

I am still hoping for a real-world look at a Maserati MC20, but haven’t seen any, yet. The Maserati dealer in the complex was allocated eight MC20s, all of which were sold within days of availability. From Wallpaper Cave a picture of said vehicle:

 

See the source image

 

Can I put this car in Ultimate Garage 3.0? Can I include three different generations of Corvettes? Yes, it’s my blog and I guess I can do what I want. Sometimes, though, what we want to do is not what we should do.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

#PowerCorrupts

#SoftwareIsEatingTheCar

#LuxuryAutoMakes

#MaseratiMC20

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Musings 67

Some quotes from Socrates:

 

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

“When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

“It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.”

 

Supposedly, Socrates himself wrote no texts. He is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers composing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Whether or not he actually said everything that is attributed to him, the wisdom of those words is timeless, in my opinion.

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This article is titled “10 Most Anticipated Exotic Cars Coming in 2021.” I’m actually surprised the author and staff could find ten exotic cars. Here are pictures and descriptions for three of them:

 

McLaren Elva

 

This is the McLaren Elva, of which only 249 examples will be manufactured. As like all modern McLarens except the P1, the Elva will be powered by a twin-turbo small displacement V-8 engine (4 liters) with very high specific output: 804 HP/590 LB-FT of torque.

 

Maserati MC20

 

This is not the first appearance of the Maserati MC20 in this blog. I am simply smitten with this car, what can I say? I can say that later this summer I may be able to share photos of a “real” MC20. No, I did not buy one, but the local luxury make complex supposedly will have eight examples shipped to them. Of course, all eight are already sold, or so I was told.

 

Hennessey Venom F5

 

This is the Hennessey Venom F5, a car that has been “on display” for more than three years, but that has not been sold until now. Only 24 of these beasts will be produced at a price of over $2 million. This car is also powered by a twin-turbo V8, like the Elva, but the output is a little higher, like 1,800 HP! The Venom F5 is supposed to have a top speed above 300 MPH. That’s a mile every 12 seconds.

I’ve probably driven faster than 100 MPH only once or twice in my life; I’ve never driven my Z06 more than 90 MPH and that was for seconds while passing someone on Loop 101. I cannot imagine driving at 300 MPH.

I would very much like to read the experiences and opinions of those of you who have raced cars, like Dirty Dingus McGee, especially as it might pertain to a 300 MPH automobile.

 

#MondayMusings

#Socrates

#ExoticCars

#McLarenElva

#MaseratiMC20

#HennesseyVenomF5

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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March Monday Musings

Yes, it is March 1, 2021. Two of the many bonds in my investment portfolio pay me in March and September; one of those, a municipal bond from our former state of residence, pays me today. Most bonds, corporate or municipal, pay their interest twice a year, such as in March and September. Some bonds pay every month.

The interest from that muni bond is no longer exempt from state income tax. A small part of me wanted to sell it after we moved to Arizona, but I don’t think it’s wise to sell a AAA-rated bond with a 4% coupon with the US 10-year Treasury yield at less than 1.5% simply because the interest will now be subject to state income tax.

The other bond that pays me in March/September has an interesting story. Its coupon is in excess of 7%; I paid 103% of par for it initially. After some false news about the issuing company broke some years ago, the price of that bond plummeted to 58% of par. I doubled my position; it’s now trading at 130% of par. (The yield on most bonds has dropped in the last year–until quite recently–and that means that bond prices have increased. Of course, the causation really goes the other way.) Transactions like that explain how, for more than the last decade, our fixed income investment portfolio has more than doubled the average annual rate of return of the fixed income benchmark used by our brokerage company.

I have been investing in bonds for a long time as I have always been more risk averse than the average investor. My wonderful wife now has an extensive bond portfolio, but didn’t when we married. Not too long ago I bought one bond for her IRA (not a muni bond, obviously) whose price increased by 33 percent in the first 23 months she owned it. I sold half the position. Bulls make money, bears make money, but hogs get slaughtered.

Companies that pay dividends on their stock can decrease or simply stop paying the dividend at any time. A bond is a contract in which the issuer agrees to pay a fixed amount on a fixed schedule until the bond matures. Which is the safer source of income?

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From an email sent to me by my friend and former neighbor, MB:

 

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See the source image

 

From canadianautoreview (an unsecured site) comes a picture of the new Maserati MC20. Like all manufacturers should do, this car is available with an internal combustion engine (ICE) OR electric motors.

The 3-liter twin-turbo V-6 will produce 621 HP/538 LB-FT of torque and propel the car from 0-60 MPH in 2.9 seconds. This engine has 12 spark plugs and 12 combustion chambers. The “pre-chamber” system was originally developed for Formula 1 racing engines. By the way, the ICE engine for this car was developed by Maserati and not by Ferrari. From The Drive another picture of the same car:

 

See the source image

 

Every regular reader knows of my long-time affinity for Maserati. Starting at more than $200,000, it’s out of my price range, but I would love to have this car.

 

#MondayMusings

#BuyingBonds

#Socrates

#MaseratiMC20

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Maserati Sunday

Yesterday I mentioned that Maserati is bringing back the GranTurismo and has shown a new car, the MC20. From driving.ca, a teaser of the new GranTurismo.

 

 

The most recent version of the two-door GranTurismo has been out of production since last year after a long run that began in 2007. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful the new version will have a V-8 although Maserati’s V-6 is a nice powerplant. Oh, the new GranTurismo will also be available in an all-electric version, supposedly as early as 2022. What do you think of an electric Maserati? From Top Speed, a picture of the now defunct GranTurismo:

 

See the source image

 

Regular readers know that the earliest versions of this car, say from 2007 to 2010, were under consideration to be purchased after (if?) we move to the desert. (Don’t get me started on the difficulties of selling a house and the ineptitude of some in the real estate business. I am not referring to our realtor.) I would still like to buy one, but mindful of the axiom “Happy Wife, Happy Life” I seriously doubt that will happen.

I have decided, however, that IF we buy a four-door car, it will have to be a Quattroporte. We will just have to buy one a little older than we previously considered. From Maserati’s website, a picture of a Quattroporte:

 

See the source image

 

“Older” versions, say from 2005 to 2007, can be purchased in the $15,000 range, give or take a couple of thousand. In all honesty, my original plan for another car had a “price tag” of about $15,000.

From this article in Forbes pictures of the new Maserati model, the MC20:

 

Maserati MC20

Maserati M60 cockpit

maserati mc20

 

I think the fact that the MC20 will be powered by a Maserati-built engine is great news. Maseratis have had Ferrari-built engines for more than 20 years. The MC20 will feature the Nettuno (Neptune, in Italian), a 3-liter, twin-turbo V-6 that produces…621 horsepower. The car should be able to accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 2.9 seconds with a top speed of 202 MPH.

The MC20 will be available in the US, but probably not for at least a year. How much? The base MSRP is supposed to be around $210,000, which is actually not a high price for a car of this idiom.

I have been a Maserati fan for a long time. That affinity began with “pictures” like this:

 

 

This rendering of a Maserati 5000 GTI is from The Golden Guide To Sports Cars, first published in 1966 and first purchased by me in 1968 or 1969 through a program sponsored by my elementary school. This copy of the book is one I bought far more recently, but remnants of my original version are still in my possession. This shirt that I have had for at least 15 years is also still in my possession.

 

 

The Ferrari/Maserati dealer in Plano, Texas, where we used to live, gave me that shirt. My wonderful wife and I visited that dealership quite often. We test-drove a Maserati spider (convertible) on one occasion and after that test drive is when I may have been given the shirt.

OK, you are probably suffering from Maserati overload. It is not possible for me to do so, however.

 

#MaseratiSunday

#MaseratiGranTurismo

#MaseratiQuattroporte

#MaseratiMC20

#Maserati5000GTI

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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