A Or B?, Million-Dollar Concept Car Edition

First…the death of former Houston Astros pitcher JR Richard struck close to home. He was one of the first players, if not the first, whose career I followed who didn’t play for the Baltimore Orioles.

I subscribed to The Sporting News at age 10. That publication opened my world to baseball beyond Baltimore. Its minor league coverage was a revelation to me. In this age of Internet Instant Information it is difficult for younger people, and even older ones, to understand a time when not everything was chronicled and available 24/7 in real time.

I first learned about Richard in The Sporting News. The Astros had jumped him over class Double-A to Triple-A in 1971, when he was just 21. He finished his minor league season with 202 strikeouts in just 173 innings and a fine 2.45 ERA.

Richard made his major league debut that September and in his first major league game he amassed 15 strikeouts. That is still the major league record for most strikeouts by a pitcher in his major league debut.

Despite the auspicious start, Richard’s control (lack thereof, more specifically) held him back and he didn’t establish himself as a regular major league starting pitcher until 1975. In time, he became one of the best and most intimidating pitchers in baseball.

Richard was 6-foot-8 and threw very hard. He was death on right-handed hitters (Richard threw right-handed). In his ill-fated final season of 1980, right-handed hitters hit just .124 (or .144, I’m not sure) against him.

Richard joined Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers in major league history with consecutive seasons with 300+ strikeouts when he accomplished that feat in 1978 and 1979. He also led the league in ERA in 1979.

He was off to an amazing start in 1980, despite suffering from arm fatigue. He threw four shutouts in just 17 starts, compiled an excellent 1.90 ERA, and–of course–had more strikeouts than innings pitched. Apparently, that’s fairly common in today’s baseball, but wasn’t in Richard’s time.

His season, his career, and very nearly his life came to an end on July 31, 1980 when he suffered a major stroke. Richard had been complaining of arm fatigue and numbness and tingling in his pitching hand all season, but many did not believe him and doctors at Houston Methodist Hospital cleared him to play on July 25.

His post-baseball life was difficult. By the winter of 1994 Richard was homeless and living under a highway overpass in Houston. He was befriended by a church minister and began working at an asphalt company.

I don’t know if he had been vaccinated against the damn virus, but Richard died in a Houston hospital on Wednesday, August 4th and his family claimed he had been suffering from COVID-19 complications. From Pinterest a picture of James Rodney (JR) Richard:

 

See the source image

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I almost split today’s content into two posts. Yes, A Or B? returns. This edition is total fantasy.

You have stumbled onto a million dollars and decide you want to build a faithful replica of a famous concept car. One is the first concept car, the Buick Y-Job of 1938. The other is Tom Tjaarda’s legendary Rondine. You can only build one and you can assume that both will be fully modern underneath the skin. Which one do you want?

 

See the source image

 

 

The Y-Job was fully functional and was very much ahead of its time, including electric-powered windows and a power-operated convertible top.

Yes, this is total fantasy, but what a dream! I think if my wonderful wife and I actually won $50+ million in a lottery, finding a company to build one of these would be one of the first things I would do. So, which one would you have built?

 

#AOrB

#MillionDollarConceptCarEdition

#JRRichard

#RondineConceptCar

#BuickYJob

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Moonday

Of course, on this day in 1969 Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon. I think the need to explore is part of being human and I think a society that spends its time gazing at its collective navel instead of at the stars is a society destined for mediocrity.

 

“The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams.”

– Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

According to Wikipedia, the English name for this day of the week is derived from Old English Mōnandæg and Middle English Monenday, originally a translation of Latin dies lunae “day of the Moon”.

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The Earth’s moon is the fifth-largest among the hundreds in the solar system and is easily the largest relative to the planet it orbits. (Charon is larger relative to Pluto, but the latter is no longer classified as a planet.) The moon currently orbits at an average distance of about 239,000 miles from Earth, but the distance is increasing.

The most “accepted” theory of the Moon’s formation is that it formed after a large body the size of Mars crashed into Earth early in its existence. The impact caused a large volume of material to be ejected into Earth’s orbit and then that material coalesced and formed the Moon.

From the Wikipedia article about the Moon, an amazing picture by Jessie Eastland of a full moon appearing as a half moon during the January, 2018 lunar eclipse, which occurred during the Moon Triple Crown or Trifecta: a full moon, a “Supermoon” and a lunar eclipse.

 

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I think it will be difficult to segue from that picture to almost anything else, but I’ll try…

 

 

I can’t stop thinking about this car, the Rondine concept car from 1963 drawn by American Tom Tjaarda under the auspices of Pininfarina. How much do you think it would cost to have a company fabricate a replica of the body and then install it on an existing Corvette chassis?

Not that I am likely to ever have the means to have this done, but I am already thinking about the complications of installing this on a C7 chassis given the large number of functional vents on a C7 body that, if duplicated here, would probably ruin the looks of this car. Maybe this would have to be installed on a C5 or C6 chassis or if the rear transaxle is incompatible with the body, then a C4. “If you don’t have dreams you have nightmares” is not exactly compatible with “I have dreams, but I live in the real world,” but a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. How did Casey Kasem end each American Top 40 broadcast? I think it was, “Keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars.”

 

#MondayMoonday

#NeildeGrasseTyson

#RondineConceptCar

#CaseyKasem

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Saturday Song

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A 1963 concept from legendary car designer Tom Tjaarda called the Rondine. Supposedly this was derived from the Chevrolet Corvette, but I don’t know for sure if it was derived from the C1 or C2. I suspect the former. That is literally one of the five or six most beautiful car designs I’ve ever seen. Does anyone know anything about this car? (Sorry, but I don’t know the source of this photo.) How much do you think it would cost to have something built from scratch that resembles the Rondine? Maybe the equivalent of the GDP of a small country…

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He who hesitates is lost…my search for a 2016 Z06 automatic led me to find one at a dealer very close to where I live. I wasn’t crazy about the interior color (Kalahari), but the exterior was Long Beach Red, it had chrome wheels—not black, it was 2LZ trim, it had only 11,000+ miles and the dealer wasn’t asking an outrageous sum. Of course when I checked my CarGurus search this morning I discovered that the car has been sold.

 

See the source image

 

From Edmunds.com a picture of a 2016 Corvette Z06.

 

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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