Throwback Thursday, Mecum Edition

When the 2009 baseball season started I had four teams as clients. Less than two weeks after the 2010 season ended I had one. My business was essentially dead so I had to find a job. This excerpt from Steve Magnante’s 1001 Corvette Facts could have been written by me: “My life as a Chevrolet salesman was brief. After six months, I learned there was a big difference between liking cars and selling them.” By the way, Corvette fans should buy the book.

My first job after baseball was training to be a salesman at a local Nissan dealer. I didn’t last six months, though; I lasted four days before I quit. I received a job offer from a (very) large financial services company, the same company where my wonderful wife was working so I accepted. I lasted nine months at that job before I resigned. I am NOT cut out to sit at a desk in front of a computer screen 40-45 hours a week doing someone else’s bidding. The longest I’ve ever stayed in a non-baseball office job is one year.

Maybe I’m just fooling myself, but I would love to work for an automobile auction company, like Mecum. Don’t these companies have a need for someone who can analyze data?

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See the source image

From playtoysclassiccars.com a picture of a 1975 Bricklin SV-1 like the one that will be offered for sale today at the giant Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida. Once again, Mecum does not allow online pictures of its lots to be captured. I used to have a couple of photos of a Bricklin, but they were lost when I couldn’t access the backup of my old iPhone after I bought my new one.

Malcolm Bricklin, who started the General Vehicle company that manufactured the SV-1, seems like quite a character. A Rolling Stone article from 2013 described him as, “brash, bombastic, and pathologically prone to betting the farm on pie-in-the-sky automotive endeavors.” Bricklin founded Subaru of America in 1968 and was the importer of the Yugo, considered by many to be the worst car ever made. In fact, I just ordered a book titled The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History by Jason Vuic.

From Hagerty a concise history of the car: “The Bricklin SV-1 was conceived in 1973, when the U.S. auto industry was in a slump due to fuel shortages, emissions regulations, and increased safety requirements. Subaru importer Malcolm Bricklin believed there was a seam in the market for a ‘safe’ and individual sports car, so he persuaded the Canadian government to invest money for construction of such a car in depressed New Brunswick. [My note: the unemployment rate in New Brunswick at that time approached 25%.] Cost overruns and quality control problems with the inexperienced workforce led to eventual bankruptcy. The first Bricklins were built in 1974, and the factory shut down in late 1975, with a few 1976 models built from leftover parts.”

I believe the Canadian and/or New Brunswick government pulled the plug on the project so even though Bricklin was providing jobs something must have made the government(s) think the investment was no longer worthwhile.

The “SV” in SV-1 stood for Safety Vehicle. Bricklin wanted to build a car that exceeded US government safety regulations. Initially the SV-1 was powered by a 360 cubic-inch American Motors V-8 and later by a Ford 351. The SV-1 was a front-engine car, looks notwithstanding. The car was fraught with quality issues like overheating and gull-wing doors that wouldn’t open. About 3,000 cars were produced in total.

In person the Bricklin is quite a handsome car, in my opinion. It’s not a contender for Ultimate Garage 2.0, but very few cars are. What do you think of the Bricklin?

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Mecum Auctions

Scott Hoke is the “lead” host on the Mecum Auctions broadcasts on NBCSN. He and his co-host, John “The Professor” Kraman, both follow Disaffected Musings on Twitter, for which I am very grateful. (Gentlemen, is it too much to ask for a mention of this blog during a broadcast? Hey, nothing ventured nothing gained. By the way, if you are on Twitter Scott’s handle is @ScottHoke1 and John’s is @CarKraman. Mecum’s handle is simply @mecum.)

In response to this post about the most significant years in US automobile history, Scott sent this via Twitter message:

“Morning! To your question of most significant years in US automotive history: tough question, with many possible answers. ’67 was big as you point out. 1955 as well. Maybe 1964? Unveiling of the Mustang, Barracuda and, oh yeah, the GTO! I think other than possibly Henry Ford putting America on wheels, 1955-70 may be the most important era. But that’s a large can of worms!”

Of course, 1964 was a big year especially given the introduction of the Mustang, which is still being produced despite Ford turning into a non-car company. As for the GTO, regular readers of this blog know my first car was a ’67 Goat as (fuzzily) pictured here:

If I had the money and the room for multiple car acquisitions then I might buy a GTO of this vintage. Despite being only two letters in length “if” is a very big word.

If you are a car person, and since you’re reading this blog you probably are, then you should watch the Mecum broadcasts on NBCSN. As I have written here before, I very much enjoy the telecasts. Every on-air person makes a meaningful contribution to the effort, but an element of levity exists that is missing from other similar broadcast efforts. The Mecum crew love cars and love the auctions, but they don’t always take themselves quite so seriously and that adds to the show in my opinion.

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

 

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday

I don’t know how many of them are reading this, or will read this, but my thanks to the legion of Studebaker fans who clicked on yesterday’s post enough for Disaffected Musings to reach a new daily high in unique visitors and just miss the “record” for views. Thanks to 56packardman for posting a link to “Wednesday Wanderings” in a Studebaker Drivers Club forum. 56packardman and I have never met nor ever spoken voice-to-voice. However, he has done more to promote this blog than anyone else, by far. I am grateful.

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Could I have chosen any other make today?

https://i2.wp.com/momentcar.com/images/studebaker-president-1932-8.jpg

 

From momentcar.com a picture (obviously at an RM auction) of a 1932 Studebaker President. NBCSN airs Mecum auctions, but also airs Mecum specials. One of those specials showed the top ten pre-war cars in terms of hammer price. A 1932 Studebaker President was one of those ten although I don’t remember the number or the specific variation of the car. One of the hosts of the show (John Kraman?) commented that this automobile was the pinnacle of collectible cars for Studebaker enthusiasts. To the Studebaker fans reading this, do you agree?

From More Than They Promised by Thomas Bonsall: “The wonderful President chassis received its greatest accolade in this period [circa 1932] when it was selected, in more-or-less stock form, as the basis for a series of Studebaker race cars especially built for the grueling Indianapolis 500. In 1932, five Studebaker Specials had been built. The top finisher, driven by Cliff Bergere, came in third and averaged 102.66 miles per hour overall—the first time a ‘stock’ racer had cracked the century mark.”

The 1932 President was powered by a 337 cubic-inch inline eight-cylinder engine that produced 122 HP. Although only about 2,400 were built that year they were available in an overwhelming variety of body styles, 16 in all if my counting is to be trusted. That means, of course, that some of the variations were and are exceedingly rare. However, not all of them are exceedingly expensive. At the recent Mecum auction in Chicago (Schaumburg, Illinois to be exact) a 1932 Studebaker President State Sedan hammered for $28,000 meaning the buyer paid $30,800 all in.

As many of you know and as I have written before, the next year—1933—was a disastrous one for Studebaker. The company declared bankruptcy and its President, Albert Erskine, committed suicide. Studebaker seemingly recovered, though, and reached its all-time high in yearly production in 1950 at almost 321,000 vehicles, which ranked eighth among US car companies and was the only independent in the top ten. By 1963, however, fortunes had declined so dramatically that Studebaker ceased production at its main factory in South Bend, Indiana and limped along making cars at its Canadian plant in Hamilton, Ontario until March of 1966.

I won’t write it again, but most regular readers know what I am thinking…

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

#tbt

 

Hey, Canadian readers! I would love to read some comments from you.

 

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