Saturday Admission

I have to admit that on some days I turn on my computer, sit in my office chair and have no idea what I am going to write for my post. Today is one of those days. Why am I writing then? First of all, this blog is very important to me. Even if I had fewer readers, I think I would still write as often because writing is a catharsis for me. In other words, blogging is cheaper than therapy and almost as effective.

In addition, one of the “rules of blogging” is to be consistent. As I have written a blog post almost every day for more than four years–the last two in my previous blog and two and a half years for Disaffected Musings–I think the readers have come to expect almost daily output. Supposedly, more blog posts also mean stronger results in search engines. So far this year, referrals from search engines account for 18% of all blog views; that number was just 6% in 2019. For 2020, even though the year is barely into its second half, the number of referrals from search engines is basically three times the number for all of 2019. Those of you who are mathematically inclined can deduce that, given these facts, the number of views for 2020 has basically matched the number for all of 2019.

Long way ’round, if any of my regular readers want to write a guest post (photobyjohnbo has already graciously contributed one), please feel free to let me know.

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Speaking of regular readers, this is a picture of Dirty Dingus McGee’s 1960 Studebaker Lark. Whether or not much of the appeal stems from the fact that these are a product of a defunct American make, I have always liked the look of the two-door Larks.

Even though I am not a fan of many cars considered classics by the majority of American automobile enthusiasts (GM A-Body cars from 1968 to 1972, for example), the universe of cars that appeals to me is still quite large. When I dream of having a four-car or five-car garage I think of what I could buy. I also think of cars that are not so rare as to be imprudent to be modified. These Larks fit that bill; from 1959 through 1961 a total of 26,001 Lark two-door hardtops were built. (Data courtesy of Studebaker 1946-1966, The Classic Postwar Years by Richard M. Langworth.) In addition, 81,090 two-door sedans were built.

56PackardMan was (is) very opposed to restomodding a car, as are many other enthusiasts. While I understand the sentiment, for me that restriction only applies to rare and historically significant automobiles, like a Duesenberg Model J, not that I will ever be able to afford one of those. While I never have had an automobile “collection” I can’t conceive of myself buying cars that are de facto museum exhibits. As I have written before, if I buy a car it is for the purpose of driving it, even if that’s just 1,200-1,500 miles a year.

While this topic has been discussed here before, I would still like to read your thoughts on when, if ever, restomodding is appropriate.

 

#SaturdayAdmission

#DirtyDingusMcGee

#1960StudebakerLark

#Restomods

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Sunday Supplement

I thought this pair of comments by Steve Dallas and me were worth putting into a post:

Steve Dallas:

How about Christianity morphing out of Judaism? Everyone seems to forget Judaism is by far one of the oldest religions, if not THE oldest religion. It is an ugly time in the World regarding anti-semitism. And totally agree with your sentiments!

As for buy versus build, it is a trade-off as in anything. Buying a built car will always be cheaper. Nowadays, wheels are not very expensive so that issue is not an issue at all. Paint gets expensive but one could always “wrap” a vehicle for the same effect and at a fraction of the cost! Going with a “wrap” can offer many more color combinations and result in a pretty cool effect.

Guess, like I tell clients/friends…..what do you plan on doing with the car? The more power one installs the less reliability you will achieve in the long run. If all you want is the fun, cool driver, buy one close to what you want then make the changes and be happy till you find whatever HP you have is NEVER enough, you really wanted a manual tranny, not a slushbox or whatever the next build becomes.

Honestly, to build a righteous vehicle requires a lot of many hours, prep work and cash! Lots and lots of cash. You put something together and find it either wont work the way you thought or find something later that looks and/or performs better. No, today’s auction pricing has stabilized and maybe even dropped a bit as the times change and fresh younger buyers emerge. Look at Mecum-IL, prices were very reasonable and some nicely built resto’s were had for a fraction of their build cost. That will always be true of any vehicle one builds for love….what you like may not appeal to the next buyer(s).

And auctions like Mecum, BJ and such have limited times for so many cars to run across the block. They pick and choose what will sell in their minds as its all about the “numbers” and bragging rights (beyond the obvious money-making). How about an “auction house” set-up to mimic the street-corner car sale? Sell what ya brung….in a massive warehouse setting with online viewing and sales along with weekend auctions? LOL (sorry for rambling)

 

Me:

Steve, please don’t apologize. I very much appreciate the thoughtful comment and all of your thoughtful comments. If you ever want to write a guest post, that would be great. That offer is extended to all regular readers. I have posted 27 days in a row and wouldn’t mind a break soon.

It is highly unlikely that my restomod will ever be on the track. I can’t really afford a ridiculous HP build (1,000+) and I think 550-600 HP is plenty for the street. I want a modern, reliable car with power, handling and comfort. I disagree with calling modern automatic transmissions slushboxes, though. My wonderful wife’s 2015 Corvette has the 8L90E and its shifts are amazingly quick, not to mention much more precise than almost any human being could manage.

Like you wrote, more horsepower means less reliability. Another tradeoff like every other life decision. I don’t really want to put in writing how much I expect to spend on the restomod build, including the donor car. Besides, I won’t really know until I do it. I am going into this with my eyes wide open; I know this will be, by far, the most expensive car I will ever buy barring a huge lottery win.

Thanks again and I appreciate your expert view.

 

By the way, it’s amazing how the number of views/visitors doesn’t change on Sunday from 1 PM-7 PM Eastern during football season.

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

 

Saturday Selection

Besides the Mona Lisa, is The Starry Night by Van Gogh the most famous painting in history? I am not an art connoisseur by any means, but Van Gogh’s work speaks to me.

This kind of art speaks to me as well:

Sorry for all of the carpet in the photo. I bought this from the artist at Corvettes at Carlisle. If you can’t tell, it is a portrait of GTOs. I think all of them are 1966s and 1967s, but I could be mistaken as the smaller cars in the painting are more difficult to see. It is still in its wrapper as I don’t have a frame with the proper size. Maybe this week…

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From Hemmings a beautiful 1963 Pontiac Bonneville convertible for sale. The seller, a dealer, is asking about $49,000. According to the 2019 Collector Car Price Guide by Krause Publications, a concours quality—the best of the best—1963 Bonneville convertible is worth $38,000. The Krause book is not right all of the time (for example, it lists the value of a BMW Z8 at no more than $41,000; good luck trying to buy one for $141,000), but if people are going to get into the world of car collecting they need to use an objective source of values in the process. I plan on taking the Krause guide to Scottsdale in January on the 1-in-100 chance I decide to buy something.

Of course, restomods and custom cars are not listed in the Krause book. As a very general rule, restomods usually sell for about half of the cost of the build once the original owner/builder decides to sell. A restomod build is not an investment in the traditional sense, but it is an investment in the enjoyment of life. How much is that worth? Monetary cost is often only a very crude approximation of value.

By the way, do you care if the photos are centered in a blog post? I don’t care, but I would like to know if you have an opinion.

 

 

RestoMod!

1966 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CUSTOM COUPE - Front 3/4 - 213473

I have posted a picture of this car before; it is from the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction in January of this year. It is nominally a 1966 Corvette, but it just looks like a ’66 Vette and not even completely at that given the stinger hood. This car has a modern LS3 engine with a 4L65E automatic transmission and power disc brakes. Let’s put aside, for the moment, the fact that I think this is the best-looking and most desirable American car ever. Let’s focus on what it is: a restomod.

In case you don’t know (or even if you do), a restomod is a vehicle that has been restored with modern components instead of stock. Ten or fifteen years ago, restomodding was considered a sacrilege by most car collectors. Fast forward to the present and well-done restomods can actually sell for more than original cars. This car hammered for $100,000. According to “expert” valuation company Hagerty, a concours quality 1966 Corvette coupe with the L79 327 cubic-inch engine (the more powerful of the two 327 engines offered that year) is worth about $88,000. The same car in excellent condition is worth about $67,000.

If I own a car it is for the purpose of driving, even if it’s just 3,000-ish miles a year. If I’m going to drive it, then I want it safe and reliable. This is 2018. I do not want to drive a car with a carburetor or drum brakes or points-based ignition.

I, like everyone else who has ever lived, do not have a monopoly on truth and wisdom. My preference, albeit very strong preference, for restomods is my opinion. I understand the allure of a car restored to original condition. However, I wouldn’t want to own one.

What do you think?