More Miscellany

I’m taking a break from Throwback Thursday this week. In general, I am a believer in open trade. I don’t call it free trade because I believe that nothing is free or without sacrifice. While I am opposed, in general, to tariffs and to other trade barriers I have thought since the beginning of the current trade tensions that for the US the hoopla is largely much ado about nothing. Apparently I am not the only person who thinks this way. From this CNBC article (where else?) comes this: “The real risk from the trade wars [with China] is less about tariffs going up and hurting consumer spending. It’s more about confidence.” Those are the words of Ethan Harris, head of Global Economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. If I may paraphrase Mr. Harris, the actual “hard” effect on the US economy from a reduction in trade with China would be small, but if a decline in consumer confidence occurs that manifests itself in a major change in consumer behavior, then bad effects could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That conclusion to me is far from the “the sky is falling” reaction we hear and see from many with a media voice.

The headline from the same article read, “Trade wars could be worse for China’s economy than the pain they inflict on US.” Make of that what you will. Remember that pride often goeth before the fall. Both the US and China could get stuck in a “don’t lose face” scenario which takes both countries to a place they didn’t want to go. I believe that the origin of the idea of “losing face” is Asian.


See the source image

From a picture of a 1967 Corvette restomod with an LT1 engine from a C7 Corvette (2014-present). I would rather have the hardtop in place than the soft top and the wheels are little busy for me, but that’s a beautiful car.

While I don’t have any agreement in place to build my C2 (1963-1967) restomod, I did receive some “good” news regarding that build. The company with whom I have been communicating about the possibility of doing the project—and the company that is 99% likely to get the business when I finally commit to it—told me that my estimate for engine/transmission/chassis was off by about 20% on the high side. As I wrote them maybe that means I’ll get to have a really nice paint job, after all.

I have to admit that my obsession with a car I don’t own, a car that I can’t possibly own for at least two more years barring unforeseen circumstances, is making me think about selling my Z4. OCD is not a good thing even if it’s OCD-lite.


The fact that I occasionally post comments on car websites should come as no surprise. Car and Driver recently posted an article about the upcoming rebirth of the Toyota Supra. At first, the comments were very harsh about the car. I then posted this:


Wow! Lots of hate towards Toyota…at least they are SELLING a sports car even if they weren’t primarily responsible for its development. In my opinion, anything is better than another CUV or SUV or pickup truck.


That statement seemed to resonate with a lot of people. If you don’t know (or even if you do) the Supra will be the result of a joint BMW-Toyota project in which BMW will produce a new Z4 convertible and Toyota will produce a new Supra coupe. The cars will share much engineering. That fact as well as the animosity by manual transmission snobs [that’s what they are] because no manual will be available in either car led to many hostile comments at first.





After the trip to Corvettes at Carlisle I have the car in my brain more deeply than ever. For example, I hope to visit a “local” restomod Corvette shop tomorrow (if I can stay out of doctors offices long enough) to have very preliminary discussions about what I want and what it might cost. How does this look?

See the source image

From a picture of a 1967 restomod. Hey, how does one add words to the WordPress dictionary? I am tired of restomod or resto-mod being underlined in red as being misspelled.

My restomod will preferably be a convertible, but with the auxiliary hardtop welded in place to create a one-off hardtop coupe. The person with whom I’ve been communicating has been very helpful and very thorough with his email replies. One “bright” spot is that to get good HP (550+) will not necessarily require supercharging or turbocharging. That fact will help keep the price manageable. Of course, in a dream world where money is no object I would get them to build a 1,000+ HP engine, maybe a twin-turbo stroker motor.

Of course, the big news in the Corvette world right now is the anticipation of the debut of the C8, the eighth-generation Corvette. It is widely expected that the C8 will finally bring Zora Arkus-Duntov’s dream of a mid-engine Corvette to life. Road and Track is keeping track (pun intended) of C8 rumors here. I would like to show you their photos of the camouflaged C8 prototypes, but their pictures are copyrighted and it is never my intent to violate copyright laws.

According to Road and Track Mark Reuss, head of Global Product development at GM, says that the C8 will be “revolutionary.” To some Corvette watchers, that can only mean one thing: a mid-engine Chevy supercar. While some had hoped the car would be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show this past January, the best guess now is that the car will be shown for the first time sometime in 2019, perhaps to go on sale later in the year as a 2020 model.

From Road and Track: “The only reason the Corvette would switch to a mid-engined layout is for performance. Engineers at GM understand that there is a limit to how much power a front-engine supercar can put down, and how much cornering grip it can achieve. Although the current Corvette is a fantastic sports car, it’s inherently held back by its front-mid-engine layout. With the engine in the middle, the car’s weight distribution can be optimized, with turn-in and corner holding capabilities benefitting as a result.”

Also from Road and Track: “A member of the mid-engine Corvette forum recently discovered that Chevrolet has begun to trademark the name ‘Zora’ in several different countries, including the US, the UK, China, Japan, and Australia. If you’re not familiar with the name, Zora Arkus-Duntov was the GM engineer responsible for much of the early Corvette’s development, engineering, and racing success. He worked on the Corvette program from 1953 up until his retirement in 1975 at the age of 81 years old. Though he didn’t create the car, he’s known throughout the car world as the ‘father of the Corvette.'”

For some Corvette aficionados it is a matter of “I’ll believe it when I see it” in terms of a mid-engined car. In my opinion, the Corvette is already the best performance car in the world, dollar for dollar. No, even the ZR-1 will not keep up with a Bugatti Chiron, but the Chiron costs millions and the ZR-1 is about $140,000. What would a $1 million Corvette be able to do? Of course, how many $1 million Corvettes could GM/Chevrolet sell? Who knows, maybe more than I think.

For those Corvette fans out there, I keep asking what do you think about the seeming inevitability of a mid-engined Vette? Will the almost guaranteed higher price change the makeup of the Corvette market? What do you think about the likelihood that two generations of Corvette will be offered simultaneously for the first time?

As always, I hope to read your thoughts. Also, if you were to build a restomod Corvette without an unlimited budget, what would you want?



I’m not referring to the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling. (“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”) No, I am referring to my strong belief that if I still had my business as a baseball operations/player personnel consultant for multiple major league teams then I would probably buy this car:

From a picture of a C2 Corvette that is already fitted with a modern engine, modern automatic transmission and disc brakes. The ad claims the car is a 1963 model, but the hood is from a 1964. It is almost always easier and cheaper to buy someone else’s restomod than to build your own. The seller is asking $29,750. I think that’s a bargain and that belief doesn’t consider that one could probably acquire the car for less than the asking price. As much as I like my Z4, if I could have purchased this car two years ago then I would have spent my money on this one. Oh well…”If” might only be two letters, but it might be the biggest word in the English language.