Monday Musings 80

I am still not in the best of moods, so read accordingly.

 

This post from Why Evolution Is True is about Andrew Sullivan’s (he is a somewhat “famous” author, blogger and political commentator) belief that people are pushing back, hard, against the plague of wokeness to the point where it may be on the wane. The post author is not so sure, but sees some rays of hope.

One of Sullivan’s eight examples is this:

 

“Both The Atlantic and The New Yorker have just published long essays that push back against woke authoritarianism and cruelty. Since both magazines have long capitulated to rank illiberalism, this is encouraging. And since critical theory is an entirely elite-imposed orthodoxy, it matters when the ranks of the elite crack a little.

Anne Applebaum links the woke phenomenon to previous moral panics and mob persecutions, which is where it belongs.”

 

I hope Sullivan is right and I know Applebaum is. Still, I think the only solution will be dissolution. I have often thought about in which US spinoff I would like to live. The sad thing is that none of them would probably appeal to me.

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Today’s Pick Of The Day in the Classic Cars Journal is…a 1991 Cadillac Allante. The title of the piece is, “Pick of the Day: The Italian Cadillac.”

I suspect most of you reading know that the Allante was a collaboration between Cadillac and legendary Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina. The bodies and interiors were built in Italy and then flown to Detroit in specially equipped Boeing 747s where the rest of the car was installed. That production chain contributed to the very high price of these cars ($54,700 MSRP when introduced in 1987; a 1987 Corvette convertible was $33,172), which itself contributed to the failure of the car in the marketplace. Yes, I must show a picture:

 

The Pick of the Day is a 1991 Cadillac Allante being offered for sale by its second owner. 

 

This configuration, with the auxiliary hardtop in place, is how I think these cars look their best. By the way, this is post #1,201 and the 25th in which the Allante is mentioned. Some of you might think it’s the 250th.

To better days…

 

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#WokenessIsEvil

#CadillacAllante

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 79

I have no doubt that the damn virus is real and has infected millions and killed many thousands in this country. I also have no doubt that some in government don’t really want the virus to be subdued as it has given them cover to impose more control over the population. (In this polarized country many would argue that one cannot hold both of those views simultaneously. I utterly reject the American bullshit binary political paradigm that says one must choose all from Column A or all from Column B.) The irony, of course, is that those who refuse to be vaccinated as a protest against government “intrusion” are playing into the hands of those public officials who don’t want to let go.

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If you look just to the left of the leftmost peak, you can see a dark blue little cloud above the puffy white ones. I don’t know why, but I watched that formation for a long time yesterday before finally getting off my ass and taking a picture. It almost looks like the shadow of a cloud so, combined with the shadows on Black Mountain (which is very green these days after a wet monsoon season), I called this picture Cloud Shadows.

Speaking of wet monsoon season, we are supposed to be affected by the remnants of tropical system Nora on Wednesday. While I feel bad for those suffering in the wake of Hurricane Ida, I wonder about the idea of having a large metropolitan area with a central city that has a mean elevation of eight feet below sea level in a hurricane prone zone.

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This is sort of a random car photo:

 

 

This is a 1970 Triumph GT6. The GT6 is one of three Triumph models that interest me, the others being the Stag (which has been shown and written about in Disaffected Musings) and the Spitfire (which I don’t think has been mentioned). I think the GT6 used the Spitfire platform, but with an inline-six cylinder engine instead of the four-cylinder used in the Spitfire. I think the bodies for all three of my favorite Triumphs were designed by the legendary Giovanni Michelotti.

Like I wrote in the first Ultimate Garage 3.0 post, it’s a car’s looks that grab me first and foremost. I admit this isn’t a great picture of the GT6, but I think it has a great look.

The GT6 was produced in three iterations from 1966 to 1973. Total production was about 41,000 units. The engine for the 1970 model produced 104 HP/120 LB-FT of torque, which means that even though the car was small (84-inch wheelbase, under 150 inches in length, 2,000 pound weight) it was not a beast, by any means.

The first iteration of the car was a disappointment in terms of handling. Even though those issues were largely addressed for the MkII/GT6+ (introduced in 1969), sales did not improve.

I don’t like this car enough to overlook the lack of an automatic transmission (unlike, say, the Honda S2000) so I won’t be trying to buy one. Still, I think the car is a great styling exercise.

As always, I welcome thoughts from you. Feel free to chime in.

 

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#CloudShadows

#TriumphGT6

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 78

While my wonderful wife and I are attending the Mecum auction this week, posting will be sporadic or non-existent. Writing a post using the WordPress app forces one to use the awful Block(head) Editor.

In any event, after posting for 15 consecutive days I could use a break. I am grateful, though, for the resurgence in the number of views and visitors so far in August.

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One year ago today I published this post, titled Why Can’t I Buy This Car?! The specific car mentioned is the Alpine A110, built by Renault. Here is a picture:

 

See the source image

 

Yes, Renault doesn’t sell cars in the US at the moment. However, it would be illegal for me to import one from Europe. As I wrote last year, I do not believe in unconstrained freedom, but why is this car illegal and some monstrous SUV legal? Sorry, but that’s just wrong.

Many blinded by political ideology think government regulation is necessary to rein in big businesses. In actuality, regulation hurts small businesses that lack the resources to comply.

Eighty-three (83) percent of US businesses have annual sales of less than $1 million. Eighty-one (81) percent have fewer than 10 employees. Even so, these businesses employ millions of people.

No, Renault is not a small business. The point is still valid and the regulations that make it illegal for me to import one of their cars actually benefit the big automobile companies that do sell cars here.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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Well, I guess my wonderful wife can’t buy the Ferrari California she drove awhile back.

 

 

The sign in the windshield indicates it has been sold. Inventory was sparse at the local luxury make complex. While I don’t know for sure, the worldwide computer chip shortage that has hampered production of so many items may be a factor.

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I’ll end today’s post with some desert/sky scenery. See you on the flip side, I hope.

 

 

 

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#AlpineA110

#SaveSmallBusinesses

#FerrariCalifornia

#DesertScenery

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Monday Musings 77

See the source image

 

Jim Parker was a Hall of Fame (both Pro and College Football Halls of Fame) offensive lineman who played for the Baltimore Colts from 1957 to 1967. As you can see, he wore number 77.

He was the first “pure” offensive lineman inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. By “pure” I mean he did not play defensive line as well.

Even though unlimited substitution became a permanent part of the NFL in 1950, rosters were so small that many players had to play on offense and defense. In today’s world of “package” football–different combinations of personnel for offense and defense depending on down and distance–that can be hard for younger fans to understand.

Parker was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He was named to the NFL’s 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time teams. In 1999, he was ranked number 24 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, second among guards behind John Hannah, and third among offensive linemen behind Hannah and Anthony Muñoz, both of whom began their careers well after Parker retired. To be clear, Parker was an All-Pro player at both offensive tackle and guard, the NFL’s designation of him as a Guard in the photo notwithstanding. No offense to Hannah or Muñoz, but they didn’t excel at both positions.

I have a vague recollection that one of Parker’s children attended the same elementary school as I did during much of the time I was there. I wish I had more information. I also seem to recall that even though Parker’s last year was 1967, his PR picture was among those included in a set of 1968 Colts players pictures my father acquired for me. That set has long been out of my possession.

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On this day in 1966 Saab introduced a V-4 engine–licensed from Ford–for its production models, most notably the 96. Here is a picture (from jamesedition.com) of a 1967 model Saab 96:

 

See the source image

 

Although the internal combustion engine is in the late stages of its life cycle, I have long thought that a V-4 engine configuration had some design advantages, despite the added cost of two cylinder heads compared to one in the infinitely more popular inline four. Most notably, the short length of the V-4 allowed it to, potentially, be mounted almost anywhere in the chassis. Here is a picture of one of my idiosyncratic favorites, which happened to be powered by a V-4 engine, the Saab Sonett III:

 

 

I wonder if there are any V-4 gurus in the US. As #somanycarsjustonelife implies, I am almost always thinking about cars.

 

#MondayMusings

#JimParker

#SaabV-4

#SaabSonettIII

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 76

Hindsight is at least 20-20…I guess I should have posted yesterday as Disaffected Musings had the second highest number of views on a day without a post in its 3 1/2 year history. Oh well…

 

Without any elaboration I pass along this article from Hagerty about how to get even the worst smells out of a vehicle. OK, one interesting tidbit: the Hyundai Palisade has/had a known issue about an awful smell in vehicles with black or brown interiors with the Nappa “leather.”

The interior of my wonderful wife’s 2018 Corvette convertible in 3LT trim doesn’t smell all that great to me and I think it’s the leather. Of course, with the top down the smell is not noticeable. Some people still prefer vinyl or cloth interiors and I completely understand.

 

 

We need to take some photographs of our Corvettes in our new environment. I’m not sure why we haven’t, yet. Yesterday marked 37 weeks that we have lived in our Arizona house.

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The WordPress editor is working without a hitch today so here comes the media:

 

 

 

It is said that no two Nissan GT-R engines are exactly alike because they are all hand built. Hopefully, you can see the small plaque on the engine with the “signature” of the person who built this particular motor.

 

 

I think the C2 Corvette knock-off wheels are one of the absolute best-looking in automobile history. The side pipes don’t hurt the look of this car, either.

OK, this pair of photos is a “Before and After.” The second shot was taken at the tail end of a lightning flash. I don’t know how photographers get such vivid images of lightning. I guess that’s why they’re professionals and I’m not.

 

 

 

OK, I’m probably close to overdoing it, if I haven’t done so already.

 

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#LeatherSmell

#NissanGT-R

#DesertLightning

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Monday Musings 75

Happy Birthday to my (i)ncomparable niece!

 

I could have easily titled today’s post “Pictures For A Monday.” I have a lot of photos I would like to share, but I must admit I worry a bit about showing so many pictures of the desert and of automobiles.

I know a blog needs a “hook,” some theme that has a strong appeal to a segment of readers. Still, I have never wanted this blog to be all desert or all automobiles all the time. In that vein:

 

 

This sign sits outside of Andreoli Italian Grocer in Scottsdale. While imported Italian food items are sold there, it is also a sit-down restaurant.

When I lived in Baltimore I ate many, many meals in the Little Italy area. My favorite restaurant there was Germano’s Trattoria and my favorite dish was something called Penne Strascicate. I had never seen that dish offered anywhere else, until I looked online at the Andreoli menu.

Andreoli was featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on The Food Network. My wonderful wife and I watched the episode before we moved to Arizona, but after we had decided we would move here.

As the damn virus has subsided, and we have been vaccinated, we have resumed dining out. A little more than two weeks ago we finally made it to Andreoli. Of course, I ordered Penne Strascicate as did my wonderful wife.

We were not disappointed. I won’t say the Andreoli version of the dish was better than Germano’s, but it was as good. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was an 11. Since it was still the June Of Me, we ordered chocolate mousse for dessert. That was also an 11.

We have been back to Andreoli one more time. Of course, I ordered the Strascicate, but my wife ordered the Gnocchi and said it was fabulous.

Back to the sign…the servers wear T-shirts that have a picture of Andreoli’s owner, Giovanni Scorzo, on the back wielding a large knife and the words, “Mangia e Stai Zitto!” In English that means, “Eat and Shut Up!”

During the damn virus, enjoying a nice meal in a restaurant was one of the few things we actually missed. I used to joke that we were the original practitioners of social distancing. We don’t go “clubbing” or attend large parties. Anyway, it was great to really enjoy a fabulous meal in a restaurant once again.

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Here are some photos:

 

 

According to the owner of that DB11, the exterior color is called Kermit Green and there are only three DB11s in the world in that color. To me, it’s a beautiful car in any color. I mean, I did just include it in my Ultimate Garage 3.0. By the way, the two Ultimate Garage posts are, so far, the two most read of the month and are just one apart in number of views.

 

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#Andreoli

#DesertViews

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Monday Musings 74

I hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend.

This Independence Day marks the 245th anniversary of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress. Although I won’t live to see it, I predict that the United States of America will not exist to celebrate the 300th anniversary.

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This Corvette Blogger article reports that Ford has been benchmarking the C8 Corvette. The piece begins:

 

“We’re used to seeing Ferraris and Porsches being used as benchmark vehicles for new Corvette models.

Now the shoe is on the other foot as the hot new C8 Corvette is reportedly being used as a benchmark car by Ford Motor Company, according to a post by Ford Authority.”

 

The beginning of the C8 era has, unfortunately, been somewhat lost amidst the UAW strike and, of course, the damn virus. Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer, recently remarked that Chevrolet/GM could have sold three times the number of C8 Vettes that were actually produced. “Proof” of that is the fact that most C8s offered for sale at auction have sold for more than the original MSRP. From the Corvette Blogger article:

 

Ford Has Been Caught Benchmarking the Mid-Engine C8 Corvette

 

I may have very well purchased my last Corvette, but I am glad the C8 has done so well in the marketplace. All of the hand-wringing and wailing by Corvette “purists” that a mid-engine design AND no manual transmission would doom the Corvette have been proven to be 360 degrees of wrong.

Speaking of my Z06, I have been told by more than one person–all of them at car events–that I could sell my car for $10,000-$15,000 more than I paid for it. Of course, I have no intention of selling and by the end of the month the car will look and perform better than it does today. That improvement is not free nor should it be.

 

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#TheDissolutionOfTheUS

#FordBenchmarkingCorvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Monday Musings 73

“Ask The Man Who Owns One”

That was Packard’s famous advertising slogan, which was used for decades. I don’t know why this Hagerty article from December showed up in my email last week, but it’s titled, “If you want to buy Packard, ask the man who owns it.” The piece is about Roy Gullickson, who purchased the rights to the Packard name in 1992 and then spent many years trying to revive the brand, but only succeeded in building one prototype. Here is a picture of said prototype:

 

 

It’s difficult to show a flattering perspective of this car, in my opinion. From the Hagerty article,

 

“…[A]s impressive as the Packard Twelve prototype is from an engineering standpoint (certainly up to historic Packard standards) it could not be considered widely attractive. Trying to evoke the 1940s Clipper makes it look a bit dumpy awkward. To be frank, Dick Teague did a much better job evoking the traditional Packard grille in the Predictor than Gullickson’s team did with the Twelve.”

 

I don’t know if a sale has happened since December, but Gullickson put the “assets” of the company on sale asking $1.5 million. As much as I have lamented the demise of many American automobile makes in this blog, especially the independent ones, I don’t think any of them could be successfully revived. Very few people under the age of 40 have heard of Packard or Studebaker or probably even Oldsmobile, for that matter. The names simply do not resonate, anymore.

What do you think?

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Kerbeck Corvette near Atlantic City, New Jersey has been the largest Corvette dealer in the country for years. (No, the picture wasn’t taken at Kerbeck.) Therefore, it came as quite a shock to read that Kerbeck has agreed to sell three of its dealerships, including its Corvette store, to Ciocca Dealerships.

My wonderful wife bought her first Corvette from Kerbeck in 2015. The salesman could not have been more pleasant, nor less pushy. Supposedly, virtually the entire staff of Kerbeck Corvette will stay under the new ownership. I probably will always think of that dealer as Kerbeck Corvette, not that we are ever going to buy a car from them again.

Perhaps in a sign of the times, the last three Corvettes we have purchased were not from dealers in the state in which we were living. I never saw my Z06 in person before I bought it. Welcome to the 21st century, I guess.

 

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#AskTheManWhoOwnsOne

#Packard

#KerbeckSale

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Monday Musings 72

I must admit that I often have the feeling, “What good does any of this do?” I often feel as if I am spending too much time preaching to the choir. I actually think it’s almost impossible to do anything else these days.

Due in large part to the scourge of “social media” too much of the world’s population is firmly entrenched in bubbles of thought, never considering that their “favorite” ideology is filled with dangerous inconsistencies and is woefully inadequate in dealing with real-world complexities.

In the current debate over infrastructure one truth that is being left out is simply how difficult it has become to actually get such projects completed in a timely manner. Consider that it took four years to build the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in the 1930s whereas it took two decades to repair one-third of it after the 1989 Bay Area earthquake. Here are some words of wisdom, IMO, from George Will:

 

“Can today’s nation — divided by the politics of envy and race-mongering; with “leaders” too timid to ask 98.2 percent of Americans (those earning less than $400,000) to pay for the gusher of new government benefactions — perform great feats?

Last month was the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s speech summoning the nation to send astronauts to the moon in the 1960s. Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalist, says of the speech: “It seems like it comes not just from a different time but from a different country.” Kennedy’s challenge required accomplishing 2 million tasks, a million of which involved then-uninvented technologies. He did not stoke racial or class divisions; he spoke of a national identity receptive to great and uncertain exertions. He did not pander to particular constituencies, promising union jobs and racial “equity” throughout the space program. Instead, he asked the nation to take gigantic risks for the nation’s, and humanity’s, benefit.

Whereas “Kennedy called the nation to dare,” today, Domenech writes, America is where “schools can’t fail kids for giving the wrong answers, where teachers refuse to teach even with precautions and vaccinations, and where local authorities won’t put down riots.” A different country.” (My question: would Kennedy be considered a traitor by today’s Democratic party? He also played a major role in a large tax cut.)

 

The US is headed for dissolution, which is not surprising when such a large segment of the population does nothing except harp on differences. Whatever happened to “first earn, then receive?” Yes, I suspect I am preaching to the choir as people who think differently from me don’t read this blog. However, just as the rest of the world laughed at me in the 1980s–and was wrong–when I said baseball teams eventually would use data as the linchpin of their decision-making processes, I am more certain than ever that the US as we know it will not exist in 50 years. Unfortunately (maybe not), unlike in baseball where I lived to see my predictions come to fruition, I will not live 50 more years.

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Yesterday marked 31 weeks that we moved into this house. We decided to make a real dent in the mess in the room that is supposed to be, eventually, our guest bedroom.

Let me repeat my belief that the interstate moving business is a racket. Anyway…many of the items in this room were packed pictures. Opening one of them made my heart sink. The glass for a framed picture of Secretariat had broken and one of the shards had left a six-inch long scratch on the picture.

We have already “settled” on our damage claims, so we cannot be reimbursed for this. It’s not as if this piece is worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, but it has/had tremendous value to me.

While I am happy to be in Arizona, this move was even more stressful than my first cross-country move when I left the area in which I was born and raised. Not only does the financial bill seem to increase without end–you cannot imagine how much money we have had to spend on this house already–but it seems as though I am suffering from sort of a delayed stress syndrome.

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OK, I had another strange dream. Yes, I know that dreams often don’t mean anything, that they are–supposedly–the brain filtering and sorting information without the intent of that information being interpreted. However, I think dreams are often an expression of fears and wishes. Anyway…I had an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. My appointment was in room S151; yes, the room number was very prominent.

After a long and angst-inducing search, I finally found room S151 and its large sign that read “Room S151.” However, I heard people calling my name and after another stress-inducing interval I saw three people, each sitting in a separate chair with plexiglass partitions, on the other side of the wide hall. They were the ones calling my name. I then woke from this dream. All I can write is WTF?!

Sorry, no cars today.

 

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#FirstEarnThenReceive

#MovingStress

#MoreStrangeDreams

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Monday Musings 71

In Monday Musings 70 I wrote about how 1970 was a great year to be a young Baltimore sports fan. Well, 1971 was a most disappointing year to be a Baltimore baseball and football fan.

The Orioles earned their third consecutive World Series berth and through the first two games of that series had won 16 games in a row. Unfortunately, they lost four of their next five games. You know what four losses mean in the World Series.

The Baltimore Colts had a fine 1971 season earning a playoff spot led by one of the great defenses in NFL history. They easily won their first-round playoff game, but alas, that was the end of the good news.

In the 1971 AFC Championship Game, played on January 2, 1972, the Colts were shut out by the Miami Dolphins 21-0. The irony was thick for Colts fans as the Dolphins’ head coach, Don Shula, had been the head coach of the Colts from 1963 to 1969. The Dolphins were found guilty of tampering with Shula and the Colts were given the Dolphins’ first-round draft pick in 1971 as compensation.

I have often written, and firmly believe, that human beings almost never judge events by “objective” reality, but instead against expectations and the status quo. For sports fans in many cities, having their MLB franchise reach the World Series in the same season their NFL team plays in the conference championship game would be a great year. For Baltimore sports fans, with both teams having won it all in 1970, the following year was quite a letdown, especially when you’re not even a teenager.

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The most interesting American car for 1971, to me, might be this one:

 

See the source image

 

From Hot Rod a picture of a 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger. The engine output ratings didn’t change in the six years the second-generation Hemi was offered in street cars: 425 HP/490 LB-FT of torque. Of course, many of those “in the know” think both of those numbers were understated on purpose by Chrysler Corporation.

This article makes the claim that the 426 Hemi really had about 470 HP. Other “experts” think that number was closer to 500. 1971 was the last year the second-generation Hemi was offered in cars from Chrysler Corporation. That was also the year almost all automobile aficionados mark as the last year of the original muscle car era.

I think we’re living in the real golden age of automobiles, but that will come to an end with the widespread adoption of alternatively powered vehicles, whenever that happens. I’m going to drive my Z06 as long as I can.

 

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#1971BaltimoreSports

#1971DodgeHemiChallenger

#somanycarsjustonelife

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