Mega Millions Fever

As many/most of you reading know no winning ticket was sold for the most recent Mega Millions drawing. As of this writing, the annuity value of the jackpot is $1.6 billion and the cash value is over $900 million. Given the enormous number of tickets that will be sold before the next drawing those values will increase. I believe this is already the largest jackpot in US lottery history.

I would rather have a 1-in-300 million chance of winning than a 0-in-300 million chance, which is why my wonderful wife and I buy lottery tickets most weeks of the year. Once again, I ponder which cars I might buy if we somehow won this extraordinary amount of money.

Yes, my wonderful wife and I would make sure our family and close friends never had to worry about money again. Yes, we would donate lots of money to charity. Still, for me an unimaginable windfall means CARS!

I haven’t driven a vehicle with a manual transmission in 40 years and reject the “knee-jerk macho” attitude that no one can really enjoy driving a car with an automatic transmission. All that being said, one of these might find its way into my possession after a lottery win:

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From rarecarsforsaleblog.com a picture of one of my all-time favorites, a Honda S2000 in Imola Orange. I wrote about this car in this post in which I revealed the inside joke about the S2000 that my wonderful wife and I share. Although they are not a common sight 66,000 S2000s were sold in the US and we occasionally see one. When we do I always say, “Did you know that I love these cars?” and she answers, “Really? I had no idea.”

I think the S2000 is almost a perfect blend of styling, performance and aura. I have a soft spot for two-seat roadsters, anyway. All 110,000 of these cars were made with a manual transmission. I guess I would have to reacquaint myself with manuals if we were to win the Mega Millions and I decided to buy an S2000. Oh darn…

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While I am not certain if the actual date was today (October 20th) or October 17th, it was around this time in 1902 that the first Cadillac was built. I wrote about Cadillac in this post in which I detailed how they, in 1908, became the first American company to win the prestigious Dewar Trophy and that it was awarded its second Dewar Trophy just four years later.

At least three Cadillacs would be serious contenders for Ultimate Garage 2.0. I have shown pictures of them before, but what the hell…

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From momentcar.com a picture of a 1968 Cadillac Eldorado. I would be happy with a 1967 model, also. I think these cars look magnificent and had amazing performance for their size. I might, emphasize might, prefer the ’68 because the engine was larger and had more power.

 

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From classiccars.com a picture of a Cadillac Allante that I am almost certain I have shown before. I really like the wire wheels and the green exterior of this particular car. These cars are much maligned and much of that sentiment was “earned.” However, I think they are beautiful cars. How could they not be as the bodies were designed and built by Pininfarina? A later model with a more powerful engine or maybe even a more modern engine would make for a very nice car, in my opinion.

 

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From bestride.com a picture of a Cadillac XLR; this is another picture I have shown before. If I didn’t have a friend who had bad experiences with these cars, I probably would have purchased one instead of the Z4. (The Z4 may be an “ex car” by this time next week.) Again, like the Allante the XLR had major quality issues at first. By the time these were fixed the car’s reputation was permanently ruined and then the “Great Recession” was the last straw. I think the XLR has extraordinary looks and more than enough performance for the vast majority of drivers, especially in XLR-V trim.

Cadillac is experiencing an existential crisis. In 2005 Cadillac sales totaled about 235,000 and 1.4% of the US market. By 2015 those numbers had declined to 175,000 and 1.0%. In 2017 sales slumped further to 156,000 and 0.9%. The make is considered passé by younger consumers and the average age of a Cadillac buyer is almost 60. (Hey, I’m almost 60. Yeah, that’s the point.)

Maybe I’m way off base and out of touch with today’s automobile market, but just like I think Buick needs a halo car (I have suggested an improved version of the Solstice/Sky) I think Cadillac also needs a halo car, a vehicle to generate excitement and to help Cadillac stand apart. The company has shown some amazing concept cars and before the departure of Johan de Nysschen Cadillac announced it would be bringing the Escala to market as a production vehicle. Now, I don’t know.

What do you think? As always I eagerly await your comments. Once again I would very much like to “hear” from those north of the border in Canada.

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

Here We Go

The Khashoggi incident shows that the Saudi leadership is hardly an enlightened group and still believes in medieval methods. I would love it if the US never bought another drop of oil from Saudi Arabia. Before one compares what happened to Khashoggi to US interrogation of terrorists, Khashoggi was no terrorist.

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My love of cars with internal combustion engines may seem very inconsistent with my desire to stop buying oil from the Saudis. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” I believe that the phrase “a foolish consistency” applies to those who blindly follow a particular ideology. Repeat after me: NO ONE has a monopoly on truth and wisdom and neither does ANY ideology.

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An interesting set of comments from BMW’s head of research and development, Klaus Fröhlich, as quoted here in Automobile Magazine: “If you assume that, from this 30 percent [pure electric cars and hybrids], half of them are plug-in hybrids—I have 85 percent in my portfolio in 2030 with a combustion engine.” Fröhlich also remarked, “But the world—Russia, Australia, a large portion of the world—they will have combustion engines for a very long time.”

More than 1.2 billion cars and trucks are owned by citizens all over the world and almost all of those vehicles run on gasoline or diesel. Every year, more than 70 million new cars and trucks are purchased by people all over the world and most of those run on gasoline or diesel. Even forgetting that the manufacture of plastics is based on petroleum, the sheer number of vehicles in the world using internal combustion engines means that the oil infrastructure is not going away any time soon. Countries that seek to ban all internal combustion engine vehicles from operating within their borders in the intermediate future are seeking a pipe dream and/or a harmful disruption to their economies. “Be careful what you wish for because you may get it.”

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Does that last statement apply to winning the lottery? The level of Mega Millions ticket sales has boosted the annuity value of the jackpot to $970 million and the cash value to $548 million. I believe this is the second highest jackpot in US lottery history. I can’t find rock-solid research on this topic, but I have read in multiple places that about two-thirds of lottery winners are bankrupt within five years of their win. I have my theories as to why that might happen, if true, but those theories are extremely politically incorrect and I am not interested in starting a flame war. I will simply repeat something I have written here: Ignorance is NOT bliss.

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If my wonderful wife and I were to win the Mega Millions lottery, what other cars might I buy besides a C2 Corvette and a De Tomaso Longchamp? Earlier this week I showed the 1987 Buick GNX as a possible purchase. How about this?

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From hotrod.com a picture of a 1967 Mercury Cougar with what I think are non-standard wheels. While every regular Disaffected Musings reader knows I am not a big FoMoCo fan because of its founder, I like to think I am an agnostic when it comes to cars. That is, with the exception of Volkswagen and Porsche, I try to judge the car apart from its manufacturer.

While the Cougar was basically a Ford Mustang with a different body I think the Cougar is a great example of crisp American styling. I didn’t show the front end, but I am a big fan of hidden headlights, which is one of the very few topics about which I can be accused of preferring form over function.

Six 1967 Cougars are currently listed for sale on Hemmings, not counting auction vehicles. The asking prices range from $8,000 to $29,900 with four of the six listed at less than $20,000. I didn’t grow up with money so maybe that’s a partial explanation as to why I like so many cars that are not expensive.

OK, folks…what cars would you buy if you won an unimaginable amount of money?

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

 

Wednesday Wackadoodle

It’s Wednesday and some people who know me think I’m a wackadoodle.

I am very proud of yesterday’s post. So much so that I sent the link via email to a few people who are not signed up as followers. I hope he doesn’t mind my sharing this, but one of those people was Michael Lewis. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind telling me his reaction to the post. What did he write? “Main reaction is it’s a pity you aren’t working in sports.”

In a reply to another friend to whom I sent the link I wrote this: EVERYONE thinks “it’s a pity” that I’m out of sports and yet, here I am. Of course in reality it’s not EVERYONE or I would have never left. It’s too bad so many people are arrogant ingrates. I’ll leave it to you to conjure up the names of the people to whom I am referring.

While I really have little interest in sports, and none in baseball, I still think it was a “miscarriage of justice” that someone with my skills and experience, someone who is a pioneer in analytics and pro scouting was simply tossed aside by the entire industry. Are you tired of reading my “whining?” Tough…I am on a campaign against those who think that everyone gets what they deserve and/or that everything is a matter of destiny.

I believe that life is a Monte Carlo simulation. I think that if it were somehow possible to run the same person’s life 100 times the same life would not occur all 100 times and that numerous different lives, maybe even as many as 100, would occur. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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OK…the annuity value of the Mega Millions jackpot has reached $868 million and since the prize is so large the number of tickets sold will drive the jackpot even higher. By the way, the cash value of the Mega Millions prize is $494 million. One side effect of higher interest rates is that the cash value has decreased relative to the annuity value of the Mega Millions and the Powerball. For any given annuity value it takes less cash to generate the returns needed to fund the annuity. In the state in which my wonderful wife and I live we would probably net about 52 percent of the cash prize after taxes, or about $257 million.

In this post from July called Mega, I asked how many cars could a person buy if they won $154 million, which was the amount we would net after taxes if we had the only winning ticket for the next drawing. What would you do if you netted roughly a quarter of a billion dollars?

Once again, I do not expect to win the lottery. On the other hand, if I don’t play then my chances of winning are zero. If I do play then my chances asymptotically approach zero.

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My taste in cars does not run to the ultra-expensive. Although I would like to be able to afford one, I really would not want a Koenigsegg and certainly not a Bugatti given its membership in the Volkswagen Group. I also would not want to own what is, essentially, a museum exhibit that cannot be driven. I often say to my wonderful wife about the clutter in our home that we live in a house, not a museum.

Everyone who reads Disaffected Musings on a regular basis knows about my affinity for C2 Corvettes and the De Tomaso Longchamp. If the roughly 1-in-300 million odds are overcome and we won the Mega Millions, what might I buy besides those two cars?

Without revealing Ultimate Garage 2.0, here is one car that might end up in my possession:

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This is a photo from Hemmings of one of the 547 1987 Buick GNXs. Car and Driver just ran this story on the evolution of the car and maybe that’s why I am thinking about it.

I can bore you with the details of how the car evolved, of McLaren’s intimate involvement with the car, of how Buick almost certainly understated the output of the turbocharged 3.8 liter (231 cubic inches for Bill Stephens) V-6 engine. What I want to say is this: it was this car, a Buick, that was without a doubt the fastest production car sold in the US in 1987. It is this car that, in my opinion, SCREAMS to General Motors to let Buick have an improved version of the Solstice/Sky as a halo car. It is also my opinion that the styling of the GNX is still fresh more than 30 years later.

Given the rarity, the GNX is not a cheap car. Hemmings currently has two listed for sale with asking prices of $105,000 and $125,000. At the Mecum auction in Kissimmee in January of 2018 a GNX hammered for $90,000, which means the buyer actually paid $99,000 with commission. Still, for a car with its rarity and history the GNX is not really expensive, especially if you just won $257 million!

Good luck to all of the lottery players out there, but not too much. WE want to win it all!

 

 

Mega

How many cars could you buy if you won $154 million? That amount is, as best as I can figure, how much my wonderful wife and I would net if we were the only winners of the next Mega Millions drawing. At our age, we would take the cash and that amount is the cash value of the prize minus taxes.

As I have written before, I could probably limit my purchases to the following two cars:

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The top photo, courtesy of amcarguide.com, is a 1967 Corvette complete with stinger hood and side exhaust. The bottom photo, from collectorscarsworld.com, is a De Tomaso Longchamp. Actually, I think this particular Longchamp belonged to Isabelle De Tomaso, former wife of company founder Alejandro. I would spend serious money resto-modding the cars, but they would retain all, or virtually all, of their classic looks.

I don’t think my wife or I would go crazy and buy dozens of cars. Besides, where would we put them? (Yes, in our new house with a 12-car garage.) I also don’t think we would buy any individual cars that would cost $1,000,000 or more, but I believe that one never really knows how they would act in a completely new situation.

My wonderful wife would keep her Corvette and I would probably keep my Z4. I can’t speak for her, but I would make some more modifications to the Z4, including a repaint in a different color: Space Gray Metallic.

I do not expect to win the lottery, but I think one of the positives in buying a lottery ticket is that allows a person to dream about what they would do if they won. You can’t win if you don’t play and repeating one of my favorite movie lines, this one from Diner, if you don’t have dreams you have nightmares. I have nightmares, anyway, so I might as well give myself something good to ponder.

What would you do if you won millions in a lottery?