Wandering Around

On this day in 1911, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was guilty of monopolizing the petroleum industry through a series of abusive and anti-competitive actions. The Court’s remedy was to divide Standard Oil into many geographically separate and eventually competing firms.

Guck Foogle has a de facto monopoly in internet search and Fack Fucebook has a de facto monopoly in social media. The two companies have a de facto duopoly in digital advertising. Both companies have engaged in abusive and anti-competitive actions. Why have they not been broken up?

Our so-called representatives are asleep at the switch. We are governed by an unholy alliance of special interest groups and overly ideological politicians. Of course, a scary proportion of our “representatives” don’t even understand how Guck Foogle and Fack Fucebook work. They also don’t seem to understand the scary amount of power that all tech giants have, way too much power for a democracy to function properly.

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Besides a cloud-based DVR that seems to have a mind of its own, the other annoying thing about Hulu + Live TV is the excessive number of promos for shows that seem beyond stupid, including some of its own original programming. I won’t dignify the show by mentioning it by name, but the show–a Hulu original–reviewed in the linked article seems to be the definition of unappealing to me.

I know I will sound like an old fogy, but whatever happened to “real” comedies with clever writing, character development, AND live studio audiences?! I also think that political polarization and political correctness have ruined the “entertainment” industry.

I always make sure I have several Mecum broadcasts on my DVR so that when I feel like watching TV I will have something to watch. It’s too bad that the Hulu DVR “forgets” to record them from time to time.

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Well, I have taken the plunge and made the deposit for the work on my Z06. For many reasons, I have decided against the more invasive work that would have included the installation of a new camshaft, but would have also meant much more HP/Torque. This job is a “bolt-on” application.

Part of the job will include installation of an aftermarket heat exchanger for the supercharger in addition to a supercharger fluid expansion tank that adds 2 gallons of capacity to the stock system to slow the rise of intake air temps. More horsepower means more heat and in Arizona heat is already a concern.

It is possible the work could be done in late July, right after the expiration of my powertrain warranty. Oh, as if the car didn’t sound good enough as is, the new headers with a high temperature ceramic coating should make it sound even better. What does my car sound like now?

 

 

You know what the car looks like…

 

 

#WanderingAround

#StandardOilCoOfNewJersey

#GuckFoogle

#FackFucebook

#ModernSitcomsAreNotFunny

#MecumAutoAuctions

#MyZ06

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Full Immunity Friday

Today marks two weeks since my wonderful wife and I received our second doses of the Pfizer vaccine against the damn virus. Supposedly, that means we’ve reached “full” immunity. Of course, Pfizer’s CEO has recently remarked that he thinks people will need a third shot within a year. Let’s hope that research currently being conducted to create a universal coronavirus vaccine will bear fruit.

Our reaching this “milestone” does mean our behavior will change. I will resume dining at restaurants on a more regular basis, but still will insist on sitting outside. It’s a good thing we’re in Arizona as we can dine outside the majority of the year.

We will probably resume indoor shopping, but will try to restrict our time indoors and will continue to wear masks. We will attend car events again, but only those being held outdoors.

About 38 percent of the US population has received at least one shot of a vaccine and about 24 percent is fully vaccinated. Although recent polls suggest that the proportion of people who claim they will “never” receive a vaccination is declining, that proportion still exceeds 20 percent. Every non-vaccinated person is another potential host for the virus to replicate and to mutate.

If you haven’t already done so, please get vaccinated.

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Speaking of the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has finally issued a formal recommendation to halt the sale of live animals at so-called “wet” markets.  The WHO statement includes the “guidance” that animals–particularly wild animals–are the source of more than 70 percent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses like the one that has wreaked so much havoc since early last year.

I seriously doubt the WHO recommendation will be obeyed by those countries where the practice exists of selling live animals in the same place people can buy food and other items. I smell hypocrisy in the views of many who think we should all be vaccinated, but that we don’t have the right to recommend to other countries how their citizens can shop. If wet markets didn’t exist in China and in other places in Southeast Asia, the last year would probably have been a lot different.

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Some (hopefully) calming photos for a Friday:

 

 

Both of those photos that include the beautiful blossoms on the Ocotillo are from the east side of our house. The view showing the mountain faces north and graces our presence virtually every day. The exception, of course, is those very rare days with low clouds and precipitation.

Once again, I don’t know if my tune will change during the long and very hot summer here, but so far I remain captivated by the scenery and the weather.

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No one should be surprised by the fact that I receive regular emails from Mecum Auctions. The most recent one contained this photo:

 

 

Once again, it is not my intention to violate any copyright laws, but I didn’t see any note not to share the photo. 56PackardMan, who has now been missing from the blogosphere for almost a year, loves these ’34 Packards. My wonderful wife and I do, as well.

Only 960 Packard Twelves were produced in the “11th Series” across three models: the 1106, 1107 and 1108. Some 11th Series cars were actually produced in 1933 when Packard felt it was above the industry practice of designating cars by model year.

While my wonderful wife and I will not be attending the Mecum Indy event this year, we are closer to finalizing arrangements to attend this year’s Monterey auction in August. Hey, why did we get vaccinated if we’re not going to resume a more “normal” life?

Enjoy your weekend!

 

#FullImmunityFriday

#GetVaccinated!

#WHOGuidanceOnSellingLiveAnimals

#DesertPhotos

#MecumAutoAuctions

#1934PackardTwelveConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Twelve Five Twenty

In the latest episode of People Vote With Their Feet comes the news that, apparently, Elon Musk is moving from California to Texas. Let’s see: you can have much of your income taxed at the state level at 13.5%–California’s highest bracket for those “evil” wealthy people and the highest state income tax in the country–or you can have it taxed at zero as Texas has no state income tax. A person doesn’t have to be as smart as Musk to make that choice.

Some extremely misguided people (I am being kind in my characterization) who seem to fail to realize that the US is a federal republic and not a unitary one think all states should have the same laws, taxes, regulations, etc. Wrong!

 

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

 

That is the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Many would argue it has been largely ignored and that many federal regulations are implemented without the federal government’s right to do so having been delegated by the Constitution. Still, different states have the right to have different laws unless those laws have been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

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Has it really been nine days since Thanksgiving?! It really seems like two or three days to me.

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That is a picture of our desert home. The money shot would show more of the east side of the house and the amazing mountain views behind, but it would also show our address number, which is not a good idea in this day and age. We’ve been in the house about four weeks and we’re still unpacking, still having repairs/upgrades done. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll be “done” by the end of January.

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I am a big fan of Mecum auctions, and was long before Scott Hoke and I became friends, but have been somewhat critical of the recent dockets that, in my opinion, have too many Mustangs and pickup trucks. (That criticism applies to Barrett-Jackson dockets as well.) The current auction (which can be seen on NBCSN) from Houston has a lot of those, but has redeemed itself with some cars like this:

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1956 Studebaker Sky Hawk and the picture is, ironically, from Mecum and is a lot offered at their 2016 Dallas auction. For the nth time, Mecum does not allow online photos of lots from recent auctions to be captured.

The ’56 Sky Hawk consigned to the current Houston auction was bid to $12,000, but did not sell. The four Hawk models for 1956 sold 19,165 units (the ’56 Ford Thunderbird sold 15,631), of which only 3,610 were Sky Hawks.

Of course, the Hawk line was a remodeled version of the classic “Loewy coupes” that were actually designed primarily by Bob Bourke. Without the fins that appeared on some of the other Hawks, the Sky Hawk very closely resembles those classic coupes. This is my favorite of the four ’56 Hawks as I think it looks the best; the Flight and Power Hawks had visible B pillars and the Golden Hawk had larger rear fins that look out of place to me.

While this car wouldn’t make my Ultimate Garage 3.0, it wouldn’t be far off. Sacrilege though it might be to some, if I somehow acquired one of these I would certainly make a restomod out of it and might even have that hood scoop made functional.

Is anyone else, besides me and Stephen Cox, a big fan of Studebaker Hawks?

 

#TwelveFiveTwenty

#PeopleVoteWithTheirFeet

#ElonMusk

#DesertHome

#MecumAutoAuctions

#ScottHoke

#1956StudebakerSkyHawk

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Out Of Gas

Yes, I have run out of gas while driving, but that’s not what I am writing about today. In this post I wrote about a current medical condition. While the prescription was filled later that day and I have now been taking the medication for ten days, my symptoms have not improved.

This condition is leading to very poor sleep, both in terms of quantity and quality. As a result, I am extremely fatigued. (Yes, I have informed my medical provider of the lack of improvement. I am waiting for a response; I wish I still had a concierge doctor.)

It is said that growing older beats the alternative. Sometimes I’m not so sure.

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Hard to segue from that beginning…

 

Readers may notice that In Or Out?, Throwback Thursday and Frugal Friday have not been appearing on a regular basis. Before I decide how and/or if I want to continue these features, I would like to read your thoughts.

At first, I was going to ask you to rate the three features in order of your interest in them. I decided that was an unnecessary manifestation of my need to make order out of chaos. Still, I would like to read what you think of those features and even suggestions for others. Thanks.

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As always, I enjoyed watching yesterday’s NBCSN broadcasts of the Mecum auctions, which are being held right now in Kissimmee, Florida. Usually, Mecum’s Kissimmee auction is held in January and is their largest event of the year. Of course, this is not a normal year. This is a second Kissimmee event for 2020.

From a still from a YouTube video comes an image of a car like the one John Kraman really liked from yesterday’s lots. For the nth time, Mecum does not allow its online photos from current or recent auctions to be captured.

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, hopefully in Granada Gold. The Mecum example, very original and looking like it’s in excellent condition, hammered for $42,000 meaning the buyer paid $46,200 all in.

I am somewhat of a heretic in that I much prefer the looks of the GM A-Body cars from 1964 to 1967 to the ones that were built later. Sorry, but something about the C-pillar and rear fender/quarter of those ’68-’72 A-Body coupes just seems off to me. Beauty is supposed to be in the eye of the beholder although I think most people are dogmatic and intolerant.

What do you think? I welcome thoughtful comments. I added that last sentence because the sum of the digits in the word count was 13.

 

 

#OutOfGas

#MecumAutoAuctions

#1967ChevroletChevelleSS

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday, Mecum Glendale 2020 Edition

First…in Where Is Cristy Lee? I noted her absence from the telecast of the Barrett-Jackson auction from Scottsdale, Arizona in January. Well, as some of you may know that was Motor Trend’s last broadcast of a Barrett-Jackson auction, at least for the foreseeable future. When those auctions resume they will be shown on the A&E networks (e.g. History, fyi). As Cristy Lee is under contract to Motor Trend, I assume, given that Motor Trend is part of the Discovery “empire” and that A&E is jointly owned by Hearst and Disney, I don’t think the gorgeous Ms. Lee will be on the broadcasts, anymore.

Of all of the on-air talent only Steve Magnante actually works for Barrett-Jackson. It could be almost an entirely new cast of characters the next time a Barrett-Jackson auction is held and broadcast.

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Some automotive “experts” advise not to buy a car for less than $15,000 or so at any auction as that is strong evidence, they believe, of a sub-standard car. Well, I think that all depends. Some cars can be purchased for so little money that even if they need work the total cost will still be low. Example #1 from the recently concluded Mecum auction in Glendale, Arizona is a car like this:

 

See the source image

 

From autoblog a picture of a 1999 Cadillac Eldorado. The actual Mecum car was White over Tan with a faux convertible roof. Mecum’s own estimate for the price was $5,000-$10,000, granting that they have incentive to overstate the value. Anyway, the car sold all in for $3,850, which is even slightly less than Hagerty’s estimated value of about $4,500. OK, maybe this is not the best example of a frugal buy, but I think being able to buy a good-looking (IMO) Cadillac for under $4,000 is a good buy.

How many of you know what this is?

 

 

See the source image

From smclassiccars.com a picture of a 1986 Mercury Capri ASC McLaren convertible. Only 245 of these were made. They were powered by a 5-liter/302 cubic-inch, fuel-injected V-8. The Mecum example, also in Red, had just 28,000 miles. It sold, all in, for $5,775. That’s a rare, good-looking (IMO) convertible that is not a slug for less than six grand! I’m sorry, but that screams “Buy The Car!” to me.

If we weren’t about a year away from moving, which means we would have to store a new car outside and then move it across the country, we might have purchased a car like this.

 

#FrugalFriday

#MecumAutoAuctions

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wednesday Return

I am aware of current world events, but except for this passage it is unlikely I will write about them. I will write, however, that it is disappointing, but not surprising, that most people seem to view what is happening today through the very narrow lens of political ideology.

By the way, if any medical professionals unaffiliated with any government agency are reading I would very much like to read your views, suggestions, etc.

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Father Time is undefeated.

Just as I was perplexed and disgusted at the genuflecting shown towards the Patriots before the start of the most recent NFL playoffs, I am mystified by the notion that Tom Brady’s apparent move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fatally wounds the Patriots and makes the Buccaneers a Super Bowl contender.

Tom Brady has basically missed 20 games since he became the Patriots starting quarterback. I grant that is not a large sample, but what was New England’s record in those games? How about 14 wins and 6 losses?

Here is another chart to make the point (you didn’t think I was going to stop using charts, did you?!):

 

SEASON AGE PASSER    RATING
2015 38 102.2
2016 39 112.2
2017 40 102.8
2018 41 97.7
2019 42 88.0

 

Yes, Brady did not have Rob Gronkowski in 2019 and his supporting cast was less than sterling. Still, when do professional athletes improve at age 43? By the way, for November and December combined Brady’s passer rating was just 80.8.

Tom Brady is the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history, but he’s only human. By the way, like most NFL fans outside of New England I am tired of Brady and the Patriots. If both implode in 2020 I won’t be upset.

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So, where was I, if anywhere, during the hiatus? See if you can guess:

 

 

That last photo contains quite a few hints (duh…). Here’s one more:

 

 

My wonderful wife and I were, indeed, in Arizona for much of my writing hiatus. We spent most of four days at the Mecum Auction which was conducted as scheduled.

Although I was not well for the entire trip (and am still not well…don’t worry, Lon, I’m not contagious) we had a great time. We spent quality time with Scott Hoke and John Kraman, hosts of the Mecum broadcasts on NBCSN. We had a nice encounter with Katie Osborne, who is also on the telecasts. You think she looks good on TV? In person she is drop-dead gorgeous and could not have been nicer to us.

The docket on Wednesday the 11th (can’t believe that’s already a week ago) was weakened by a collection of “cinema cars” that were sold at no reserve. Most of them were in poor condition and some hammered for under $1,000. I think, though, that Mecum collects a minimum fee so that even if a car sells for less than $1,000 its commissions are based on a sale price of $1,000.

We did see a lot of amazing cars, though, like the 1964 Studebaker R2 Gran Turismo Hawk shown above. My obsession with making order out of chaos leads me to pick one car as my favorite.

 

 

From the Mecum listing:

 

Highlights

  • Custom build completed at J&M Enterprizes at Brooksville, Florida
  • Fuel injected LS3/525 HP V-8 engine
  • Dual exhaust
  • Aluminum radiator
  • 4L80E automatic transmission
  • Street Shop Inc. mandrel-formed rolling chassis
  • Corvette C7 suspension
  • 4-corner coilover shocks
  • Detroit Speed rack and pinion steering
  • C7 Z06 brake system
  • Black with Red stinger hood
  • Custom Red interior
  • Air conditioning
  • Power windows
  • AM/FM radio
  • Side exhaust
  • Tinted glass

 

Although I might prefer a metallic teal/gray exterior color with the red stinger hood, this 1965 Corvette is about as close to what I would want in a restomod as I have ever seen. The car did not sell, though, despite a high bid of $180,000. That is a reminder why I purchased my 2016 Z06 almost a year ago. (!) Yes, the front fenders and stinger hood are from a ’67. With a restomod I don’t care about matching parts.

Anyway, I am back and will probably resume regular posting. What’s life without a little mystery?

 

#TomBrady

#MecumAutoAuctions

#1964StudebakerR2GranTurismoHawk

#1965CorvetteRestomod

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Cars, Cars and More Cars

If you are among the few Disaffected Musings readers who comes for something other than cars, maybe you shouldn’t read today.

 

From this post by Classic Cars comes the first results for the Scottsdale auctions in 2020. According to Classic Cars, the gross sales amount for all of the auctions in Scottsdale, and there were eight of them this year (and you wonder why my wonderful wife and I want to move there…), was almost exactly the same as for 2019. Compared to the “disaster” of Monterey Car Week in August, 2019 when auction sales were off by a third compared to 2018, this result was welcome. However, 17 percent more cars were sold in 2020 than in 2019, so—obviously—the average per car was still significantly less than last year.

For whatever reason(s), the collector car market is softening. Potentially this could mean an entry point for collectors, experienced and novice alike, to get into the market.

 

As usual a lot of these were offered for sale at Barrett-Jackson. German or not, these are fine cars:

 

2004 MERCEDES-BENZ SL500 ROADSTER - Side Profile - 236083

 

This is a 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL500 offered for sale on Wednesday the 15th, one of 22 SL500s offered at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale this year. This car sold for $17,600 all in meaning it hammered for $16,000. The copy stated that the car had only 32,751 miles.

Before I bought my BMW Z4 in May, 2016, one of the cars I test-drove was an SL500. The car was in obvious need of new brakes and I didn’t care for the extreme pushiness of the salesman. Of course, I didn’t keep the Z4 very long as I sold it in October, 2018. Maybe the child of Holocaust survivors shouldn’t own a German car. The Z4 was the least reliable car I’ve ever owned.

 

Also from Wednesday the 15th, this basically brand new car (25 miles) was offered for sale:

 

2019 FORD MUSTANG BULLITT - Rear 3/4 - 236593

 

This is a 2019 Bullitt Edition Ford Mustang. This car has a 5.0 liter, 480 HP Coyote motor mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The car sold, all in, for $49,500. You FoMoCo guys out there, how does that compare to the price of a brand new 2020 Bullitt Mustang?

 

Also on Wednesday, this car was offered, supposedly not long after a frame-off restoration:

 

1972 TRIUMPH TR6 ROADSTER - Front 3/4 - 237433

 

This is a 1972 Triumph TR6. My wonderful wife’s father used to own one of these although I’m not sure how he could drive it because he is well over six feet tall. The car must have made quite an impression as it sold, all in, for $55,000.

 

Of course, one big US car auction took place in January somewhere other than Scottsdale, Arizona. The Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida offered more than 3,500 vehicles for sale as well as some guitars. Although this is a picture of a 1964 Chrysler Imperial convertible offered for sale by Mecum, it’s NOT the one offered at Kissimmee this month (on Wednesday the 8th, to be exact). I am loathe to write this again, but Mecum does not allow online photos of its current and recent lots to be captured.

 

See the source image

 

The one offered at Kissimmee this January was beige over beige and sold, all in, for $28,600.

The majority of Mecum lots are offered with reserve so many of them do not sell, either on the block or at “The Bid Goes On” desk. From Midwest Car Exchange, a picture of a car very similar to one offered at Kissimmee and that did not sell:

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1987 Buick Grand National, but not the rare, top of the line GNX. At Mecum, a car like this was bid to $40,000 but did not sell. I REALLY like these cars and they are a sleeper contender to be the companion to my Z06. However, I would not spend anywhere near $40,000 for a car like this. I have seen these cars advertised in places like Hemmings listed between $17,000 and $25,000. Even the top half of that range is more than I want to spend, but to get one of these for $17,000-$18,500 could work.

As you can probably guess, I could go on and on (and on and on) about the January auctions and the cars offered, but I’ll stop here.

 

#CarsCarsAndMoreCars

#ScottsdaleAuctions

#MecumAutoAuctions

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Frugal Friday, Mecum Auction Edition

As a change I decided to look at cars that have already been sold, in this case at the Mecum auction conducted in Louisville on September 20-21, instead of cars that are offered for sale. First, how many of you like Frugal Friday? Second, would any of you like to see it offered once a month instead of every week?

 

See the source image

 

From, obviously, gtcarlot.com a picture of a 2006 Jaguar XKR convertible. The XKR designation means the car is powered by a supercharged V-8 engine. For the nth time, Mecum does not allow the online photos of its lots to be captured from its website. The actual Mecum car was Black over Black.

According to Hagerty the average value of this car is $17,600. The Mecum lot sold, all in, for $11,550. Even ignoring for a moment the difference between the auction price and the Hagerty value, $11,550 just seems inexpensive, IMO, for a beautiful, 390-HP convertible built not much more than 10 years ago. In addition, if you had to put $3,000-$4,000 in it after purchase you would still be below the Hagerty value.

OK, how about another European high-performance convertible from the first decade of this century?

 

See the source image

 

This is a Mecum auction photograph of a 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG convertible, but not of the lot sold in Louisville in September, which was Black over Gray. These cars were powered by a supercharged V-8 that generated 493 HP/516 LB-FT of torque. (I am using the most conservative torque rating I have seen; some sources put the torque output at 590 LB-FT.) The Louisville car is said to have had fewer than 54,000 miles.

Hagerty values an average example at $24,900. All in, the car sold for $20,350. Once again, subjectively that just seems like not a lot of money for a car like this.

Many people believe that all auction cars are overpriced. While it is true that in the excitement of the moment bidders can bid up a car past what seems to be a reasonable price, it is also true that some bargains are available.

Now, a downer: I am very disappointed by the dramatic decrease in views/visitors over the past 7-10 days. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to complain about such things, especially to people who are reading the blog. Has this blog run its course? Is it just too difficult, in a sea of millions of active blogs, to gain traction without using Fack Fucebook? Any thoughts anyone has would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

 

#FrugalFriday

#MecumAutoAuctions

#2006JaguarXKRConvertible

#2004MercedesBenzSL55AMG

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Thank Goodness For Mecum/Sunday Kaiser: September, 2019

I am grateful for the quantity and quality of Mecum auction broadcasts. Last night another of my many physical “crises” kept me awake from midnight until about 4 AM. When the acute phase of the crisis passed I needed something to calm me down. I had two new Mecum broadcasts from the recently concluded auction in Dallas recorded so I watched the shorter one. Words are really inadequate to describe how much I enjoy watching those telecasts. Thanks to Mecum, to NBCSN and to both crews.

 

Mecum Auctions

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This article on allpar.com by Kelsey Wright is the best I’ve ever read on Kaiser automobiles. This passage was particularly interesting:

 

“Jack Mueller wrote, ‘The Kaiser body shell for the 1949-50 model run was, in four-door sedan form, the same basic shell as 1947-48; overall length changes reflect [the revised] design of front and rear bumpers and bumper guards to get a couple of inches here, a couple there, that sort of thing. The problem was that, in 1949, most other car companies either rolled out a new body platform for the model year (Big Three and Nash), or a good facelift of a recently released design. Additionally, Kaiser-Frazer had too many smaller dealers that could not or would not start selling the way the Big Three stores started doing that year. [Another] big problem is that Frazer turned in his resignation as president at the end of 1948. Frazer saw that the information from dealers showing 60,000 orders in hand, as of October 10, 1948, were made up of mostly bogus orders. That story is almost a chapter in itself.'”

 

The first car from the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation was for model year 1947. Henry Kaiser was so successful at building ships that many call him the father of modern American shipbuilding. Joseph Frazer was a long-time “operative” in the automobile business, beginning as a mechanic’s assistant in his brother’s Packard dealership and then working his way up the sales/management ladder at many companies until getting into business with Henry Kaiser. (That’s decades worth of story in two sentences. Indulge me.)

At first, Kaiser-Frazer was successful as the Big Three automakers used the postwar sellers market as a way to sell warmed-over pre-war cars. Kaiser-Frazer had a market share of more than four percent for model years 1947 and 1948. Ultimately, their inability and/or unwillingness to “get with the program” in terms of styling and engineering led to their demise in the US in 1955. Henry Kaiser is supposed to have remarked, “Slap a Buick nameplate on it and it would sell like hotcakes.”

 

See the source image

 

Speaking of Mecum here is a picture of a 1951 Kaiser Deluxe Sedan (yes, a 2-door sedan; I don’t want to open that can of worms) offered at their Kansas City auction in 2013. With input from noted car designer Howard “Dutch” Darrin these cars are appealing aesthetically, in my opinion. About 11,000 of these were built in model year 1951; total Kaiser production for that year was just shy of 140,000. All cars from Kaiser for 1951 (the Frazer part of the business ceased after model year 1951) were sold with the same engine: an L-head, inline six-cylinder motor of 226 cubic-inch displacement that produced 115 HP/190 LB-FT of torque.

The company, either as Kaiser-Frazer, just Kaiser or Kaiser-Willys (Kaiser purchased Willys-Overland in 1954) never offered hardtop coupes or sedans (cars without a visible B-pillar, a style introduced by GM in the late 1940s that proved to be quite popular), convertibles, station wagons or a V-8 engine. All of these types of cars became very popular in the early 1950s, but Kaiser did not have money for development and marketing.

Maybe Henry Kaiser’s lament about branding was partly true, but in a rapidly changing market his company’s inability to change with the times was their biggest problem. For the nth plus nth time I will opine that fewer companies making cars means fewer sources of innovation for styling and for engineering. The automobile as we have known it is not dead, yet.

 

#MecumAutoAuctions

#KaiserFrazer

#1951KaiserDeluxe

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Haphazard Friday

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

– Albert Einstein

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Elvis Presley died on this day in 1977. At the risk of incurring the wrath of many readers I must confess that I am not and never have been a fan of Presley. I don’t like his music and I could never get through more than five or ten minutes of any of his movies. Different strokes for different folks…Oh yeah, Presley once shot his De Tomaso Pantera after a fight with his girlfriend.

Babe Ruth died on this day in 1948. When I followed or cared about baseball I was a huge fan of Ruth and his unbelievable accomplishments. As Bill James has pointed out, Ruth’s last game in the major leagues (1935) is now closer in time to the end of the Civil War than it is to today.

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Has any of you ever watched The Great British Baking Show? I think the show is actually called The Great British Bake-Off in the UK. Our local PBS station airs the show and my wonderful wife and I are hooked.

Every season the show begins with 12 bakers. In each episode the bakers have a signature challenge, a technical challenge and a show-stopper challenge. At the end of each episode one contestant is named “Star Baker” and one is eliminated. However, the final competition episode actually has three bakers.

In the episodes aired here, which are older, the judges are Paul Hollywood (yes, that’s his real name) and Mary Berry. Berry left the show three years ago when it moved from the BBC to Channel 4. The show has been produced since 2010.

Unlike American competition shows The Great British Baking Show does not feature contestants fighting with each other. The difficulty of making the items given to them provides enough tension and the tension seems more genuine. Hollywood and Berry have an unusual, but endearing on-screen chemistry.

After the competition has ended the series shows what it calls Masterclasses where Hollywood and Berry (supposedly) make some of the items that were given to the contestants to make during that season. In my opinion, these shows are even better than the competition. The banter between Hollywood and Berry is hysterical, at times.

My mother’s parents were bakers in Poland before World War II began. I began baking when I was a teenager; believe it or not, I had much more patience during that time than I do now. My mother also baked; frankly, her pastries were too dry for me, but she liked dunking her cookies. When I began baking I used less flour than she did so that my cakes or whatever would be moist. My mother would always try to sneak extra flour into my batter and issue a stern warning that my batter was too thin and that my cake would fall down in the oven. I can honestly say that never happened.

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A car like this was offered for sale at the Mecum auction currently taking place in Monterey, California:

 

See the source image

 

From Hemmings a picture of a 1966 Buick Riviera. The badging on the front fender reads “GS.”

While I don’t think these cars are as stylish as the first-generation Riviera (1963-65) they are certainly more handsome than most. Other than the boat-tail generation I think Rivieras were well-styled automobiles.

 

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