What If?!

“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!'”

John Greenleaf Whittier’s famous line resonates all over human history. Being a car nut I think of this line often in the context of great automobile designs never produced or produced but not successful because of exogenous circumstances.

No, this is not a picture of a first-generation Mercury Cougar:

As the caption reads this is actually a picture of the AMX II with more “traditional” styling than the AMX that was produced. (The resemblance to the first generation Cougar is striking, in my opinion.) Potential buyers may have claimed they liked the styling of the production car better, but only about 19,000 of the first generation AMX (1968-1970) were produced. In 1968 alone Chevrolet produced 235,000 Camaros and Pontiac produced 107,000 Firebirds. Yes, it is somewhat of a specious comparison given the relative sizes of GM and AMC, but it is what it is.

This picture and the ones that follow are shown here thanks to the gracious courtesy of Patrick Foster and the Patrick Foster Historical Collection. (Please do not use these photos without first obtaining permission.) The pictures are from Mr. Foster’s terrific book, American Motors Corporation – The Rise and Fall of America’s Last Independent Automaker. This book and others by Patrick Foster can be purchased here.

The red car was the AMX/2 and the yellow car was the AMX/3 that actually saw very limited production. The AMX/3 looks Italian to me, perhaps a little bit like the Lamborghini Miura. The Italian look is honestly derived as the exterior was designed by Giotto Bizzarrini.

Believe it or not USA Today ran a story about the AMX/3 in December, 2016 titled Just Cool Cars: AMX/3 could have saved American Motors. The text in the story actually contradicts the title, however.

OK, regular Disaffected Musings readers, you all know where this is going. For literally the n-hundredth time fewer automobile manufacturers means fewer sources of innovation for styling and for engineering. The consolidation of car companies also means fewer choices for the consumer and has led, with a big nudge from government regulation, to the homogenized group of automobiles sold today. (No, not all regulation is bad, but ALL regulation comes with a cost just like everything else in life. One definition of an ideologue is someone who refuses to acknowledge that the positions they advocate come with costs.)

AMC was late to the pony car market with the Javelin (one of my favorites) not being introduced until the 1968 model year. The AMX was a derivative of the Javelin. The Mustang was introduced in April, 1964 as a 1964 1/2 (1965) model year car. The Camaro and Firebird were introduced in the 1967 model year. That delay in entering a popular segment hurt American Motors. Still, perhaps it was inevitable that AMC would succumb to the Big Three. Remember, however, that I do NOT believe that what happened was the only thing that COULD have happened. All we can do at this point is simply to ponder what might have been.

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Another ho-hum game for Patrick Mahomes in a 45-10 Chiefs’ blowout of the Cincinnati Bengals. He threw for 358 yards in 39 attempts with 4 touchdowns. Mahomes also set a record by throwing 22 touchdown passes in his first eight career games. The NFL has changed the rules many times in the last 40 years; almost all of those changes favor offense and the passing game. Still, Mahomes’ accomplishments so far are noteworthy.

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

 

 

It’s Monday

As I wrote here, Friday doesn’t have the same meaning for someone like me who is (involuntarily) retired as it does for someone in a full-time job. Well, of course, neither does Monday. In all of my non-baseball office jobs I dreaded Monday. As I keep writing virtually nothing in life is all good or all bad; everything is a trade-off. As I have also written, the fact that someone with my skills and experience cannot find a meaningful and fulfilling work situation is not a good sign for America, even if it’s just a sample size of one. I don’t even want to work full-time, but I would relish a part-time or consulting role in which I can use my combination of analytical and communication skills to help a company make decisions.

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I have written about Patrick Mahomes, the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, a couple of times. Between fatigue and the rerun of a Mecum auction I missed almost all of last night’s Chiefs-Patriots game, which apparently was one for the ages. Since I didn’t watch maybe I shouldn’t comment, but 1) the fact that the Chiefs came back to take the lead at Foxboro bodes well for them and 2) NO penalties against the Patriots is very suspicious to me. It is well-known that the Chiefs’ defense is suspect, but I think the Patriots’ defense is not that good, either.

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I have no idea why Disaffected Musings already has dozens of views today, supposedly all from Canada, from very few unique visitors. It’s actually a little disturbing because it seems like a prank or even like a hack. ALL blog hosting platforms should understand that bloggers have no control over what strangers do. Since the beginning of this month the number of views/visitors for Disaffected Musings has increased dramatically, for which I am grateful, but that increase seems organic unlike today’s activity.

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A shout-out to Lee Iacocca who is, hopefully, celebrating his 94th birthday today. Iacocca is one of the most significant figures in the history of the American automotive industry. For all that he accomplished, he will probably always be most associated with his role in bringing this car to market:

See the source image

From silodrome.com a picture of a 1965 Ford Mustang. While I am tired of seeing an endless parade of Mustangs/Shelbys at car auctions I do appreciate the significance of the car. I have recently developed an affinity for the hardtop coupe (pictured above) of the first generation Mustangs up through 1968.

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From autoevolution.com a picture of a rendering by a Korean company, KKS Studios, of the upcoming C8 Corvette:

A lot of Ferrari 488 in that design as the autoevolution article points out. So many drawings and renderings have emerged regarding the C8 Corvette that it’s almost too many, almost. I still think the C2 Corvette (1963-1967) is the best looking American car ever (yes, I broke the moratorium which lasted 18 days) and with a restomod I can get a C7 in performance that looks like a C2. In any event, here’s hoping that the C8 will debut early in 2019.

 

 

October Office Photo

This is the photo I will see in my office for the month of October. (Photo by Ron Kimball – Kimball Stock) As one can read the caption indicates the car is a 2015 Icona Vulcano Titanium LS9 V8.

Icona is an Italian automobile company and as the name of this particular model suggests, the car is made of titanium. (Icona makes/made automobiles from more “traditional” materials as well.) This metal is really the ultimate in terms of the combination of strength and light weight, but it’s not cheap. The amazing SR-71 spy plane was made largely of titanium obtained surreptitiously from the then Soviet Union as they surely would not have sold the US the metal needed to make an “unsinkable” spy plane.

See the source image

From taringa.net a photo of the SR-71. Words cannot describe my affinity for this plane nor can they describe the amazing engineering and performance. The SR-71 was developed by the famous Skunk Works division of Lockheed headed by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson.

The SR-71 was capable of flying at such a high rate of speed (Mach 3.3+) that pilots reported seeing the sun rise in the western sky. The plane was capable of sustained flight at 85,000 feet and of reaching 90,000 feet in zoom climbs.

I am fortunate in that I have seen one of these in person. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the annex of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum located at Dulles International Airport, has an SR-71 prominently on display. No guessing my reaction the first time I saw the SR-71 in person…

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Patrick Mahomes, in his first year as a starting quarterback, continues to amaze with his performance. He led a second-half comeback against divisional rival Denver in the Monday night game. However, everyone watching will remember one play in particular. Here is the recap from Yahoo Sports: “Sure, the Kansas City Chiefs have seen Patrick Mahomes go with a left-handed pass … in practice. But in a game? With Von Miller about to sack him, trailing by three points late, 76,656 fans screaming and millions watching on ESPN? ‘We’ve seen it in practice,’ Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ‘Not under those conditions before.’

Mahomes wasn’t as dominant as he was in his first three games. It really doesn’t matter because all we’re going to remember from Monday night is Mahomes sprinting to his left and throwing a short first-down pass with his left hand to Tyreek Hill. That unbelievable play kept a game-winning drive going, and the Chiefs moved to 4-0 with a 27-23 victory.”

Through the first four games of the season Mahomes has thrown 14 TD passes without an interception, has an average gain per attempt of 8.70 (the league average is always right around 7.00) and a passer rating of 126.5 when the league average is usually in the high 80s to about 90.