Hearing The Siren Song…

of blog views? If you prick us, do we not bleed? (What? I’ll explain shortly.) The first four days of August have seen a healthy rebound in blog views and visitors. While it was my sincere intent to post less, I am only human (hence the line from Shakespeare). The less I post, the fewer views and visitors. Until and unless blog readership dwindles, I guess I’m stuck with posting almost every day.

I will have to make an exception next week, though. As of now, my wonderful wife and I are still scheduled to attend the Mecum auction in Monterey, California. It will be difficult to post every day as mobile devices are just not as good for writing as a desktop computer and I suspect we will be fairly busy.


These should be a better siren…



After receiving about five inches of rain in July, the dewpoints have dropped from the 60s. Yesterday, our dewpoint reached 45°. Clouds like this don’t usually appear when the dewpoint is 45° and these pictures were actually taken on August 1st. (As I write this, though, the dewpoint–a measure of the absolute amount of water vapor in the air–is back up to 57°.)

This is day 66 of Meteorological Summer, which means we’re down the home stretch in my OCD-addled brain. A month from today the average high temperature for where we live (not Sky Harbor Airport) will be back into double digits instead of triple digits and by the end of September the average high is about 90° (32° C). Ninety degrees with a dewpoint in the 40s (or lower) is quite comfortable, trust me.

Thanksgiving is on November 25th this year. The average high for that day here is about 70° (21° C). I don’t want to mess up my karma or put a jinx on my life, but I think I will survive my first summer in Arizona no worse for wear.


Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the FDA, tweeted this yesterday:


“There is some evidence that the delta wave is contracting in some of the early outbreak states in the south, with the Rt falling below 1.0; and in other states where the epidemic is still expanding, the rate of that expansion has slowed with the Rt declining.”


Rt is the basic or effective reproduction number for a virus. A value below 1.0 means that infections are decreasing. I believe that in the UK and even in India, the “delta wave” was relatively short-lived peaking in just five or six weeks before declining. Once again, the vast majority of new cases, especially new symptomatic and serious cases, are in the unvaccinated.


This morning, the US Labor Department reported that continuing jobless claims fell below 3 million for the first time since March 14, 2020, or almost a year and a half ago. That number peaked at about 32 million almost a year ago.


At the shopping center where our nearest Lowe’s is, this car is frequently seen:



In case you don’t know, or even if you do, this is a Pontiac Solstice. While I like the looks of the Saturn Sky better (the two cars were built on the same platform and were both two-seat roadsters), I very much like the Solstice as well.

I assume that the owner of this car works in this shopping center as, once again, I/we have seen it many times here. While, of course, I could drive my wonderful wife’s Corvette convertible almost any time I want, I wouldn’t mind having a drop-top of my own. An Allante would be first among affordable cars–an Allante is now parked on the driveway of a house just a few houses down from us–but I wouldn’t balk at a Solstice or Sky.

I would like to read your thoughts on the Solstice, convertibles, siren songs or almost any other topic.








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Saturday Solstice

If today’s Belmont Stakes starts on time, then the race will begin in the Spring and end in the Summer. Post time for the Belmont is supposed to be 5:42 PM ET; the summer solstice is at 5:43 PM and the race lasts two and a half minutes. It’s not likely, though, that the race will start on time.


From Sophia Loren via The Muscleheaded Blog:


“It’s a mistake to think that once you’re done with school you need never learn anything new.”


Amen…oh, you want to see a picture. OK, from the post quoted above:










Until watching the most recent episode of Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC I was unaware of this car. Live and learn…


image of hotel


My wonderful wife and I were both immediately smitten by the looks of this car. (The picture is from chryslerboano.com, which is not a secure site. Hey people, it’s not difficult to make your site secure. Why it’s not done all the time is beyond me. OK, maybe unscrupulous people want you to visit a site that is not secure.)

From the same website:


“Toward the end of 1955 Italian Industrialist Gianni Agnelli known as “L’ Avvocato” commissioned building of the Chrysler-Boano Coupe while he was vice president of Fiat. He tasked Mario Boano, formally of Carrozzeria Ghia, with producing a, ‘2-seat coupe with a powerful, modern mechanical system, a classic British style coupe, not a modern shape.'”

“The basic design sketches took just ten days. Mr. Agnelli chose his favorite one and from that single sketch a “master model” was created, In the meantime, a new Chrysler 300 chassis was ordered; 3N561171 was produced by Chrysler on February 1st, 1956. By the fall of 1956 the body panels were welded to the chassis. It would take an additional two months of hand fabrication work to create the individual components.”

“Toward the end of 1956 the car was completed and on an invitation from Boano, Agnelli came to inspect the finished coupe. While he was very pleased with the final result, he was bothered by the prospect of being seen in public driving a foreign car while he was ascending to the presidency of Fiat. Ultimately Agnelli decided to give the car to his brother Umberto.”

“…The Chrysler-Boano coupe features a frame shortened by the coachbuilder from the original 126” to 119” to better complement the two-seater layout. The mechanicals remained the stock Chrysler 300B high performance 354 cubic inches (5.8 liter) Hemi engine combined with a 3 speed TorqueFlite push-button automatic transmission.”


I confess I cleaned up some spelling and other “mistakes.” The Chrysler-Ghia partnership of the 1950s yielded some stunning cars like the Dual-Ghia, the Chrysler Ghia ST Special and this car.

The episode was about cars reaching perfection and this car was shown at the end of the episode during the “Assess and Caress” segment featuring renowned automobile appraiser Donald Osborne. He gave the car a value of $800,000. To me, the car is priceless.


You didn’t think I would write a post with the word “Solstice” in the title and not show one of these, did you?


See the source image


From supercars.net a picture of a Pontiac Solstice, supposedly a GXP model.








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Frugal Friday, Solstice/Sky Edition

Since last night’s Big Bang Theory series finale I cannot get the show’s theme song or “Soft Kitty” out of my head. I thought it was a good, not great, end to the show. I know it’s TV and I have to “suspend my disbelief,” but Sheldon’s reverting to his obnoxious and self-centered personality after winning the Nobel Prize in Physics only to have an epiphany of selflessness while accepting the prize seemed somewhat forced and inorganic to me. Yes, it’s America and people want a happy ending. That was delivered, for sure. Once again, while no one connected with the show will ever read this I offer my thanks to the cast and crew. I am sad that The Big Bang Theory will no longer be produced.


See the source image


From Hollywood.com a picture of the cast of The Big Bang Theory.



A recent photo by yours truly of a Pontiac Solstice Coupe. I don’t think I had ever seen one in person until this. While a Solstice has been featured in a previous Frugal Friday, and I have written about it and its close cousin—the Saturn Sky, I have not featured both of them in a Frugal Friday post.

Obviously I am a big fan of these cars. While they shared the same platform they did not share any sheet metal. I like the looks of the Sky more than the Solstice, but I think both cars are quite handsome.

My wonderful wife and I have both test driven a Sky, although not in Red Line spec. The Sky Red Line and Solstice GXP had a 2-liter/122 cubic-inch, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produced 260 HP/260 LB-FT of torque, which still might be the highest specific output of any GM engine ever. An available dealer installed option was a modified computer tune and two new sensors that resulted in an increased output to 290 HP/340 LB-FT.


July, 2020 Update:

Originally I showed a 2007 Solstice GXP with 37,000 miles and an asking price of $14,490 along with a 2007 Sky Red Line with 51,000 miles and a list price of $10,990. Both cars were sold a long time ago so AutoTrader took the pictures and/or links off its website. I’m not going to bother finding generic replacements for the photos. Back to the original post:


It’s hard for me to imagine two more interesting cars that are so affordable. For the nth time the average “transaction price” of a new vehicle in the US is approaching $40,000. The list price of both of these cars combined is only about $25,000. A shout-out to David Banner who suggested a feature like this.

Since it is likely I will begin revealing my Ultimate Garage 2.0 tomorrow and since that reveal, along with the cars that just missed the cut, will take about two weeks, Throwback Thursday and Frugal Friday will not appear until after Ultimate Garage 2.0 is finished.

The straw that breaks the camel’s back doesn’t even have to be as heavy as the other straws…








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Wouldn’t It Be Nice?

I hadn’t planned on posting again today, but I also didn’t expect to receive the email I am about to share. I sent the URL for the post Congratulations! to Buick. An aside: I couldn’t send an email to General Motors per se, but had to pick one of the makes. Since you probably don’t have this blog memorized like I do, the majority of the post was about the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky and I wrote that I have long believed that the Solstice/Sky should be improved and revived and sold by Buick as a halo car. That’s why I sent the link to Buick because, of course, neither Pontiac nor Saturn exists.

Here is a portion of an email I received today from the Buick Customer Assistance Service Team:

“Thank you for contacting Buick Customer Assistance Center.  We appreciate you taking some of your time to write, and share with us this link, featuring two of our GM vehicles, a Pontiac Solstice GPX [sic], and a Saturn Sky Red Line.  We are very pleased with your enthusiasm for GM brands!

We are not ruling out the possibility of bringing these vehicles back to the market.  [emphasis mine] Please note that your suggestion is documented and made accessible to the appropriate department for proper review.  The Service Request Number that we have created for your feedback is…”

While I realize that replies like this are done to foster goodwill among the car-buying public, and I doubt I am the only person to send such an idea, I have to admit I was excited by “We are not ruling out the possibility of bringing these vehicles back to the market.”

I would be more excited if I were to receive one of these cars as a token of appreciation if/when they are revived. 🙂  What would they call it? Buick Wildcat, Buick Electra…Wouldn’t it be nice?

See the source image

From topcarrating.com a picture of a Pontiac Solstice.

See the source image

From conceptcarz.com a picture of a Saturn Sky.


Kudos to Bob Baffert, Mike Smith and everyone else in the Justify crew! As Smith and Justify controlled the pace, when he ran the first half-mile in 48 seconds and change and the first six furlongs in a minute, 13 seconds and change I told my wonderful wife that Justify was probably going to win the race. My father’s gas station was across the street from Pimlico (a TERRIBLE neighborhood now) and I spent many days at the track. Believe it or not, my tremendous and growing aversion to newsprint—I can’t STAND the smell or the feel—makes it difficult for me to bet at the local track because I like to study the charts in the Daily Racing Form before I bet. Strange, you say? Well, if the shoe fits…

Oh, given the difference in times if Secretariat could be resurrected, he would have won yesterday’s race by more than 20 lengths over Justify. No offense intended to Justify, just an affirmation of the greatness of Secretariat.


I have been reading The Pontiac Solstice Book, which chronicles the development of the car. The book is not really an objective history, but more of a promotional piece.

The Solstice (and Sky) had a very compressed time from concept to production. One of the key players in the program, Mark Hogan, made what has turned out to be a sadly ironic remark, “If the market keeps fragmenting into lower volume, more expressive vehicles, the ability of a manufacturer—GM, Toyota or anybody else—to do these low-cost, low-volume vehicles becomes the holy grail.” Of course, the lower volume, more expressive vehicles have become the sole domain of very expensive car makes and the large manufacturers just grind out as many SUVs, pickup trucks and cars that all look alike as they can. I have long believed and often written that General Motors should have kept producing the Solstice/Sky, with some refinements, as a Buick halo car.

The higher performance version of this model, the Solstice GXP/Sky Red Line, was a hell of a car. The turbocharged, 2-liter (122 cubic inches, to make Bill Stephens happy), 4-cylinder engine produced 260 HP and 260 LB-FT of torque, the highest specific output for any GM engine in history. Pontiac and Saturn even had a program for a dealer performance upgrade that boosted HP to 290. The car only weighed about 3,000 pounds. In homage:


See the source image


From pinthiscars.com a picture of a Pontiac Solstice, a GXP, in fact.


From motorcarclassics.com a picture of a Saturn Sky.


See the source image


In my opinion, these cars still stand out amidst the homogenized offerings of today’s large car companies. I know this plea falls on deaf ears, but GM, bring back this car!