Bon Voyage, Wheeler Dealers

First…another weird/disturbing dream. For some reason I was walking outside in the dark, not my favorite activity. I had a specific destination in mind although the identity of that destination is now lost to dreamland.

As I was walking, lights seemed to be approaching, but the light source didn’t seem well-defined. I thought I discerned headlights, but headlights shrouded in fog, perhaps. Then, as the lights got closer I realized I didn’t have my phone with me, which meant I could not call my wonderful wife and she could not call me. I decided to turn around to get my phone and then I would restart the journey. That is when I woke up. Once again, WTF?!

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Last night, the last US-based episode of Wheeler Dealers aired on Motor Trend. After five (six?) seasons of being based in southern California, the show is returning to its roots and will be produced in the UK.

The episode was a retrospective with the “premise” being that Mike Brewer and Ant Anstead were dismantling the California workshop. It was nice to see Edd China in some of the clips. The fact that Anstead will no longer be the principal mechanic was not mentioned, although the last scene where Brewer drives away without Anstead and leaves him with a bike as transportation may have been intended as a send-off. In the Internet world, secrets about TV production are almost impossible to keep. (Apparently, Anstead is staying in the US and has three shows in the pipeline.)

I told my wonderful wife that even though the show will continue–filming has already started in the UK, in fact–the episode felt like a series finale to me. Although the show has aired since 2003, and since 2011 in the US, I did not start watching until 2016. It was my favorite TV show for about a year until the word that Edd China was leaving the series. His departure is still unexplained, as far as I am concerned. His disapproval of a change in how the garage scenes were to be filmed rings hollow to me; something is missing.

Anyway…I guess I’ll give the new version of the show a look, but something will be missing.

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top photo is Mike Brewer (L) and Edd China (R); the bottom is Ant Anstead and Brewer.

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I was originally going to call today’s post To The Letter. If I can trust a couple of sources, then it was on this day in 1955 that Chrysler began its Letter Series cars with the introduction of the C-300. From American Cars For Sale, a picture of a 1955 C-300:

 

See the source image

 

In 1956, the model name was the 300B; for 1957, it was called the 300C, etc. The letter “I” was skipped and the cars were produced through 1965.

These were limited-production automobiles. For example, 1,725 were produced in 1955. (That number is shown as 1,698 by some sources.) In the entire model run of 11 years only about 17,000 were built.

The Letter Series cars were high-performance luxury automobiles. The “300” in C-300 represented the fact that the car’s engine produced 300 HP, high output for 1955. The optional engine for the 1956 300B was the first American motor to produce at least 1 HP per cubic inch being rated at 355 HP from 354 cubic inches.

Since Chrysler wasn’t awash in cash, the Letter Series cars–at least at first–borrowed parts from other corporation products. The 1955 model had a front clip, including the grille, that was taken from the Imperial of the same year, but the rest of the car did not look like an Imperial. The midsection was from a New Yorker hardtop with a Windsor rear quarter.

Not counting the very limited production cars like the Chrysler Ghia ST Special, these are easily my favorite Mopar cars from this period. I am especially fond of the 300B. In fact, the 300B is a darkhorse candidate for Ultimate Garage 3.0.

 

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Another Weird Dream…

The memory of this dream is fading even as I write…

I dreamt I was at a baseball confab like the annual Winter Meetings. Somehow, I knew I didn’t belong there and didn’t interact with anyone. The venue was a luxurious complex (the Baseball Winter Meetings are never held at Motel 6) with a huge and airy lobby. Outside, opulence seemed to be the idiom. I saw long limousines—all in a weird, almost electric light green (once again, so much for men not being able to dream in color)—and other luxury vehicles.

As the meetings came to an end I went to look for my suitcase/travel bags. I found a large bin with many bags and simply grabbed what I hoped were all of my bags and just my bags.

Next thing I knew I was in Baltimore (where I was born and raised), still schlepping my bags and trying to find a way to my mother’s house. (My mother died in 2004, but was alive in this dream, apparently.) At first, I thought I would have to walk and as dusk was approaching this was not a pleasant scenario. This part of the dream is consistent with MANY dreams I had when I was younger that saw me attempting to walk home, often through dangerous neighborhoods, as dusk fell. In this dream, though, I stumbled onto a taxi and after I entered the cab I woke up.

Oh, the coronavirus was part of this dream. Out of habit I extended my hand to shake hands with the cab driver. Reflexively, he reciprocated, but then frowned as we both seemed to understand that this was not the time to shake hands.

What can I say except that it is hell to live inside my brain.

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How many of you have watched Car Fix on Velocity/Motor Trend? This show airs right before episodes of All Girls Garage on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

For the first eight seasons Car Fix was hosted by Lou Santiago and Jared Zimmerman. The latter also had a credit as a “Technical Producer” for his show and All Girls Garage. Season Nine premiered this past Saturday, with two new hosts (Bryan Fuller and Jeremy Bumpus) and, except for Fuller saying “Welcome to the new Car Fix” in the intro, one wouldn’t know anything had changed if this were their first time watching the show. I took a few minutes and searched the Internet for any news about the change, but found nothing.

I am curious as to whether or not Cristy Lee’s departure from All Girls Garage is related to the departure of Santiago and Zimmerman. Maybe Brenton Productions, the company that produces both shows, needed to cut costs. From blogarama a picture of Santiago (R) and Zimmerman (L):

 

See the source image

 

I enjoyed the show with the original hosts; the Season Nine premiere seemed flat, but I could just have been disoriented by the sudden, unannounced change.

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George: “…For I am Costanza, Lord of the Idiots.”

Woman Watching Race: “You’re all winners!”

George: “Suddenly, a new contender has emerged.”

 

Using that to segue to the search for a Corvette companion…a new car has emerged as a strong contender. (It is up to you to decide if I am like George Costanza.) It is a defunct model although not from a defunct make. It is a 21st-century car, which means it will be much more practical to own. This model has a long and distinguished history and would easily fit the bill as a grocery car. From Car Gurus a picture of a 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS:

 

Picture of 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS FWD, exterior, gallery_worthy

 

We wouldn’t have to have a 2007 as a 2006 SS would do. Why an ’06 or ’07 SS? Because for just those two years in the last generation the SS was powered by a good old Chevy small-block V-8. More specifically, the 2006-07 Monte Carlo SS had a fuel-injected, 5.3 liter/325 cubic-inch (have to keep Bill Stephens happy) V-8 that produced 303 HP/323 LB-FT of torque. It also has 15 cubic feet of trunk space and two rear seats.

I have written about and showed this car before. I like the looks of almost every generation of Monte Carlo and this last generation is no exception. My wonderful wife really likes this car as well. Of course, 2007 was the last model year for the Monte Carlo and it seems highly unlikely it will ever return. Total Monte Carlo production for 2006-07 was just 43,456 units with only 14,829 of those being SS models. (Yes, as the child of Holocaust survivors I get a slight twinge hearing/reading the letters “SS.” Chevrolet is not a German car.)

We will not have an easy time finding a nice example, but we are not in a hurry. Those that are offered for sale usually have a listing price under $20,000.

I would very much like to read your thoughts about this car. Thanks.

 

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More Weird Dreams

Please take a look at #111 on this list.

 

Last night I dreamt I was back in college. While I don’t know if this dream was set in the present day, I was much older than the rest of the students. Chaos was the operative idiom as people seemed to be everywhere and always in a frenzy.

I simply could not keep up. I was way behind in my reading for my classes AND I had lost my textbooks. Part of the dream was my frantic search for those books. To use a present-day expression for not the first time, what’s up with that?!

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The vast majority of sports announcers are AWFUL in understanding context. In particular, they become breathless when talking about the latest NFL passing record that falls.

When it comes to passing, NFL stats from today cannot be compared to those from, say, fifty years ago without a whole lot of massaging. For the last 40 years, the NFL has gone out of its way to make passing easier and that effort shows in the stats.

The NFL and AFL merged into one league beginning with the 1970 season. Here are the league passing statistics from 1970 and 2019:

 

1970   2019
51.1% Completion Pct 63.8%
6.73 Yards/Attempt 7.27
4.4% Touchdown Pct 4.6%
5.2% Interception Pct 2.3%
65.7 Passer Rating 91.3
181.1 Yards/Game 252.8

 

Someone with an expected completion percentage of 63.8% is 780 times more likely to complete 30 passes consecutively than someone with an expected completion percentage of 51.1%. Someone with an expected completion percentage of 70.0% is 12,598 times more likely to complete 30 passes consecutively than someone with an expected completion percentage of 51.1%.

Of course all of the records for yards, completion percentage, etc. are being set now. The season is longer now as well, 16 games compared to 14 games in 1970. Hey announcers, stop going ga-ga over passing records being set today. They are inevitable given the context. To paraphrase Shakespeare, there is nothing good or bad but context makes it so. Speaking of context, it is easier to have gaudy passing stats playing half of your games indoors:

 

Drew Brees, 2015-2019

Home Passer Rating    114.7

Road Passer Rating       96.5

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The idea of keeping facts in context applies to cars as well, of course. We are spoiled today in that we have automobiles with gobs of horsepower and torque that also get better gas mileage, produce fewer emissions and are intrinsically safer than cars from not that long ago. When I began working in baseball full-time in 1988, a road car like my C7 Corvette Z06 was unimaginable. Even the 1988 Corvette had only 245 HP. The car didn’t have a Tire Pressure Management System, for example, a system now mandatory on all cars. From corvsport.com a picture of a 1988 Corvette:

 

See the source image

 

I have to admit that those wheels look suspiciously like a set from a later generation Corvette, but what do I know? Going off on a tangent (what else is new?!)…I have written before how much the C4 Corvette is growing on me. I really think if someone wants to buy their first Corvette, a later C4 model (say, 1992-1996) is a very good place to start.

 

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Serious Sunday

Last week my wonderful wife received news of a less than pleasant nature that can only be interpreted as a life-changing event. Fortunately, it is not health-related. Still, it is yet another example of the random and unfair nature of life. Don’t tell me it’s all part of “the plan” because I don’t buy it.

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I had another strange dream. (It’s OK to think “consider the source.”) I dreamt I was on the set of The Big Bang Theory and two cast members were continually trying to pull pranks on me, but I was always one step ahead. Finally, I just asked them to stop and they agreed to do so. The weird thing (yeah, the dream wasn’t weird at all before) is that I’m not sure if I was actually in an episode and the pranks were part of the plot or if I was an observer/guest on the set. You don’t want to be inside my head…

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Can any of you identify this car? (Picture from Silodrome):

 

See the source image

 

I have been enthralled with this car for a long time after seeing a picture of it in this book:

 

 

OK, you can eliminate half the alphabet. You know I am going to reveal the identity of the car, so why don’t you take a minute and try to guess. (Cue the Final Jeopardy music…)

The car in the picture is an A.C. ME3000 (or 3000ME, I have seen it listed both ways). A prototype of this car was shown as early as 1973, but the car did not enter production until 1979. As is the case with many limited production automobiles, funding was always an issue and the rights to the car eventually belonged to three different companies, at least two of which went bankrupt.

The “ME” stands for mid-engined and I could list the powertrain specs, etc. However, it’s the looks of the car that intrigue me. Depending on the displacement and layout of the engine, mid-engine cars do not have to give up the long hood/short deck look. I think the 3000ME is a great-looking car.

 

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