Wandering Wednesday

I think I would have liked Mike Leach. The innovative and iconoclastic head football coach at Mississippi State died Monday night from a major coronary event.

Leach never played college football and yet was successful as the head coach at three different schools not normally associated with football excellence: Texas Tech, Washington State and, of course, Mississippi State. In general, Leach–unlike the current state of America–didn’t care about credentials. He cared if you were intelligent and had an open mind.

In one of the ESPN stories about him was this passage: “He was also known for his quirky personality, dry wit, and penchant for talking about history, business and politics (and, really, just about anything else) as comfortably as he did quarterbacks making the right reads and receivers running the right routes.” I think most major college and NFL coaches seem to be devoid of personality, but Leach was a rare and valuable exception.

When Vince Lombardi died, then commissioner Pete Rozelle remarked at his funeral that the people who would most miss Lombardi were those who had yet to meet him or be coached by him. While I don’t want to minimize the suffering of his family and friends, I think that could apply to Leach as well.


My wonderful wife and I made an offer on the “goose bumps” house. While I remain pessimistic that we will actually be able to consummate the purchase, for many reasons, at least we are in the game. We should have the sellers response to our offer within the next 10-12 hours.


Among the 3,800+ cars already consigned to the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, Florida next month are four of these:


The Precision of the Cadillac XLR GT Car - i GT Cars Directory


This is, of course, a Cadillac XLR although not one of the cars consigned to Mecum Kissimmee, at least not as far as I know. My wonderful wife and I have talked about attending that auction in the future, but might only attend the first few days and leave before the crowds become uncomfortably large.

Right now, unknown months before any potential purchase, I would say the XLR has a slight lead over the Pontiac Solstice GXP. I am in my early 60s and I think that the XLR would simply be more practical and more comfortable. Besides, I also think the exterior styling is better; in fact, the XLR, to me, might be one of the ten best-looking cars ever made. Hey, in many ways it’s just a re-skinned C6 Corvette and was built at the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Speaking of Bowling Green, rumors abound that General Motors might either close the plant entirely or have it just build engines. That would be sad, but…here it comes…the only constant in the world is change.








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Sorry, meant to show this within the body of the post. Yes, it’s freezing in the desert. Well, it was.



Ah yes, the beauty of digital publishing. Here are some frosty pictures from this morning.




Look Before You Leap

Is the post title too “on the nose?”

As down as yesterday’s post read, I actually felt even worse. When I woke up I felt so miserable that part of me thought it was going to be my last day on this earth. I feel a little better today, but I am still, to borrow a football expression, “behind the chains.”

Besides being a well-known expression, “Look Before You Leap” is also the name of an episode of Frasier that aired in late February, 1996 where Kelsey Grammar’s character, Dr. Frasier Crane, implores all of those in his circle to take advantage of the leap year/day by taking chances. The chance that he will take himself is to sing a difficult aria while appearing live on a PBS fundraiser. I am loathe to use Minions of The Evil Empire, but here is a link to a YouTube clip of the last four minutes of the episode. Frasier, Taxi and The Big Bang Theory are my three favorite sitcoms.


Today’s post title could be used to describe the process of my writing this post. Usually I have some ideas a few days in advance that I write in the invaluable notebook on my computer desk. However, other than the intro I don’t really have any other ideas for today.

I guess I could write that Mecum’s Kissimmee auction last month was, given the context of the current collector car market, a big success. Since I don’t own the data nor did I collect the data myself I can only give snippets of information. To me, what really signaled the success of the auction was the fact that the average selling price increased by 9.5% in 2020 compared to 2019. When one considers that almost 2,000 cars were sold at Mecum Kissimmee that increase is an impressive number.

Barrett-Jackson, the other heavyweight in the world of American automobile auctions, had similar success at its signature event, the January Scottsdale auction. While not quite the same level of increase as Mecum, Barrett-Jackson’s average selling price for Scottsdale 2020 was 3.5% higher than for 2019. Again, given that more than 1,900 cars were sold by Barrett-Jackson at Scottsdale 2020 that increase is impressive.

While it’s just a sample of two auctions, and both events occurred before the coronavirus outbreak, the aura surrounding the signature auctions for Barrett-Jackson and Mecum is quite real and manifests itself in results. Remember that the auction results for Monterey Car Week in August, 2019 were quite disappointing. The average price per lot declined by 24% compared to 2018.

So, am I actually going to show any cars today? Well, if you insist…


See the source image


This picture of a 2011 Maserati GranTurismo S is actually from AutoBlog, but a car like this in Black over Tan sold at Mecum Kissimmee for $36,300 all in meaning it hammered for $33,000. These cars were about $125,000 when new.


1954 JAGUAR XK120 DROPHEAD COUPE - Front 3/4 - 238535


From Barrett-Jackson is a picture of a 1954 Jaguar XK120 Drophead Coupe, which is just a fancy way of saying convertible. This lot was sold at the Scottsdale auction for $143,000 all in, meaning it hammered for $130,000.

Trying to pick two cars from the nearly 4,000 that were sold at the two auctions wasn’t easy. If any of you looks at the companies’ websites and finds an interesting car or two, please feel free to let us know.







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