Monday Musings

Some of you may note today’s Monday Musings post is not numbered. While I have not researched to generate empirical evidence, I believe that numbering these posts costs me blog views. If I had numbered the post title, it would have been number 86.

 

There is no D-Day Museum in Gettysburg.

Abigail Shrier speaks truth to Princeton.

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Once again wading into the debate about whether or not to modify a “classic” car is this Hemmings article discussing the pros and cons of various possible upgrades. Here is part of the opening:

 

“…But while many appreciate a stock machine and what it has to offer, there are just as many owners who minimize outings in their classics. Why? The creature comforts aren’t there. You need to stick to back roads because it’s not pleasant on the freeway. You don’t want to wear it out. You don’t trust it more than a few miles from home.
Factory-stock vehicles have that authentic feel, but cars of the past were built to a different set of standards. The world that these cars live in has changed. Technology that once felt space-age has become commonplace, even in cars that are more than a decade old. Such advancements only highlight what’s lacking on a vintage vehicle, particularly to those who experienced some of today’s classics back when they were new.”

 

My views on this topic are well-known to regular readers. With the possible exception of an extremely rare and historically significant car, I think an automobile owner can do whatever they want to their car, including the installation of a modern and reliable drivetrain, modern suspension and brakes and modern creature comforts. I also do not believe in owning a de facto museum exhibit. A car should be driven, even if it’s just 1,000-2,000 miles a year.

Of course, the idea of modern upgrades led to the whole restomod movement. If I were to purchase the body of this car, why on earth would I want to leave it stock?

 

See the source image

 

Via Pinterest this is a picture of a favorite of mine, albeit an idiosyncratic favorite: a 1942 DeSoto. With the hidden headlights and fence-like grille, I think this car has one of the greatest “faces” of any automobile. Still, why would I want to drive a car with an 80-year old engine (that produced all of 115 HP/190 LB-FT of torque when new), brakes, suspension, etc.?

Obviously, a good restomod will not be cheap. I am somewhat reluctant to write this, but I think that some/many who buy an older car and then defend their decision not to modernize the car really can’t afford to have the work done and can’t do it themselves. Steve Strope criticizes modern “rat-rods” with an appearance to match the name. He says the original generation of these cars looked ragged because owners couldn’t afford to make them look nice, not because they were making a design statement. Hey, political correctness is just fascism in disguise. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I am still not close to being in a position to acquire another car, but even if I were to buy a Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, I would do what I could to modernize the car and to make it more reliable.

 

 

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments, both from “The Big Five” commenters and from those of you who have never commented.

 

#MondayMusings

#InvisibleCarUpgrades

#1942DeSoto

#SteveStrope

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Corvette Saturday

Chevrolet Announces Final Total of 26,216 Corvettes Produced for the 2021 Model Year

 

From this piece by Corvette Blogger is the news that Chevrolet has announced a final production amount for 2021 Corvettes: 26,216. That figure is about 29% higher than the number for the truncated 2020 model year. As best as I can figure, 2021 production will bring the total number of Corvettes produced to 1,788,799 since its beginning in 1953.

Apparently, 2022 model year production will begin on Wednesday, September 8th. Although David Banner (not his real name) may be buying an Italian car in the near future, I think he really wants one of these.

My stance hasn’t changed: I don’t think I will buy a C8 or any other Corvette, for that matter. I love the looks of the front half of the C8, but not the rear and especially not the rear three-quarter views. Also, remember the hashtag, #somanycarsjustonelife.

In the opening for the show Hand Built Hot Rods, Pure Vision owner Steve Strope says something like, “There are people who only like muscle cars, and then there are those [narrowing his hands] who only like Chevrolets, and then there are those [narrowing his hands more] who only like Camaros. Well, I don’t frickin’ think that way.” For me, I think three Corvettes is enough. If I am ever in a position to buy another car–not counting a potential replacement for our damaged Cadillac ATS–I will buy something completely different. Variety is the spice of life. I just want to avoid heartburn.

While I almost certainly will not buy a C8, Andy Reid of Classic Cars thinks it’s the best sports car in the world and not just “dollar for dollar.” The piece is titled, “Why spend more when you can buy the best, the C8 Corvette.” Here is an interesting excerpt:

 

“Quite simply, the C8 Corvette has democratized the world of super high-performance sports cars. It is not the underdog. Instead, it is many cases the top dog.”

 

The fact that two-thirds of C8 buyers have never previously owned any Chevrolet speaks to its broad appeal. If a few sticks in the mud–OK, let’s call them “purists”–don’t want to buy a mid-engine Corvette, so be it. Remember, though, that Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter recently remarked that Chevrolet could have sold three times as many C8 Corvettes as it has produced. Taking him literally would put 2020-21 Corvette sales at about 140,000, or about 70,000 per year. Corvette sales have only exceeded 50,000 twice in its long history.

From the Classic Cars piece:

 

2021 C8 Corvette

 

Maybe it’s just my bias, but it seems as though most published photos of C8 Corvettes show a side view or a front three-quarter view and not a rear view.

I will lament the end of Internal Combustion Engines in the Corvette, but that development is inevitable. Enjoy ICE Corvettes while you can. While I will probably never buy another Vette, I will also probably never get rid of my 2016 Z06.

 

#CorvetteSaturday

#C8Production

#SteveStrope

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Mittwoch Mishmosh

Again, Mittwoch is the Yiddish/German word for Wednesday. Mittwoch means middle of the week.

 

In the five weeks-plus since my wonderful wife and I returned from Arizona I have been grocery shopping 4-5 times. On one of those occasions I had a full-fledged panic attack on the way to the supermarket. The fact that it was almost a 20-mile drive probably didn’t help.

This morning I went shopping closer to home and, despite wearing an N-95 mask and gloves, if I had been in the store another 30 seconds I would have had another panic attack. I had originally intended to go grocery shopping on Monday, but delayed it until today (12 days since my last trip to the grocery store) because I was anxious about going out and being among people. OCD + Depression + Pandemic = Brain Crap…I wish I could have a brain enema.

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Steve Strope is one of the most decorated car builders in the world. His small shop, Pure Vision, is located in Simi Valley, California.

I became aware of him and his shop when Motor Trend starting airing a show about him called “Hand Built Hot Rods.” In the show, Strope seems a little rough around the edges, but not over the top. In this podcast, though, he comes across as almost cantankerous. However, his no-nonsense, no-BS attitude is quite refreshing in this awful world of political correctness.

Strope says some less than flattering things about Chip Foose, about shows like “Roadkill” and about Rat-Rods. One of Strope’s pet peeves is the fact that shows like Foose’s “Overhaulin'” misrepresent the amount of time and effort it takes for a quality build. Strope’s builds take one to two years, not seven or eight days. Anyway, it’s a long podcast–about an hour and 35 minutes–but hey, what are you doing these days?

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On this day in 1964 the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair opened. I vaguely remember the World’s Fair, but don’t seem to recall any similar events in recent history. (Well, I guess I also have some memories of Expo 67 in Montreal.) My sweet sister did attend the fair in New York with a longtime friend.

The World’s Fair was too broad in scope for a fair exposition in a 500-word blog post. A summary from the beginning of the Wikipedia article:

 

“The 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair was a world’s fair that held over 140 pavilions, 110 restaurants, for 80 nations (hosted by 37), 24 US states, and over 45 corporations to build exhibits or attractions at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, New York City. The immense fair covered 646 acres on half the park, with numerous pools or fountains, and an amusement park with rides near the lake. However, the fair did not receive official support or approval from the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE).”

“Hailing itself as a “universal and international” exposition, the fair’s theme was “Peace Through Understanding”, dedicated to “Man’s Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe”. American companies dominated the exposition as exhibitors. The theme was symbolized by a 12-story-high, stainless-steel model of the earth called the Unisphere, built on the foundation of the Perisphere from the 1939 World’s Fair. The fair ran for two six-month seasons, April 22 – October 18, 1964 and April 21 – October 17, 1965…”

“The fair is noted as a showcase of mid-20th-century American culture and technology. The nascent Space Age, with its vista of promise, was well represented. More than 51 million people attended the fair, though fewer than the hoped-for 70 million. It remains a touchstone for many American Baby Boomers who visited the optimistic exposition as children, before the turbulent years of the Vietnam War and many cultural changes.”

 

From the article a picture of the site:

 

See the source image

 

According to Wikipedia the most popular exhibit of the fair was General Motors’ Futurama, a ride that paid homage to the exhibit and ride of the same name at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

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In this post I lamented the fact that the US doesn’t build any super-luxury cars like Rolls Royce. Tying this to General Motors’ concept cars from Futurama and their numerous Motorama exhibits is a recent (2003) concept car from Cadillac that could have filled the void:

 

See the source image

 

From Supercars.net a picture of the 2003 Cadillac Sixteen concept car. Yes, this car was powered by a V-16 engine, a type not seen in the US since the end of Cadillac’s V-16 that was available from 1930 to 1940. The engine for the Sixteen was an enormous 13.6 liters/829 cubic inches and without forced induction it produced 1,000 HP/1,000 LB-FT of torque. Believe it or not, it was equipped with the GM system that deactivates half the cylinders when the car is cruising at a constant speed with minimal or no throttle input in order to reduce fuel consumption. My Z06’s engine, a supercharged 376 cubic-inch V-8 with 650 HP, has the same technology.

I will once again, as is my wont, opine that a car like this would have a market in the US, although perhaps not with an 829 cubic-inch V-16 engine. It might not be called a Cadillac, either, even if built by them and GM. Lexus is built by Toyota, but has (had?) been cleverly crafted to carve out its own identity as a luxury make.

What do you think about the potential market for a US-made super-luxury car?

 

#MittwochMishmosh

#BrainCrap

#SteveStrope

#1964-65NewYorkWorldsFair

#2003CadillacSixteen

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday Returns

First, on this cool and very rainy morning in the mid-Atlantic a bit of a personal throwback from not very long ago although my time in baseball seems like a long time ago. In this post I wrote, “As has been our experience, people at this car event were, almost without exception, friendly and polite. I find more camaraderie among strangers at car events than among co-workers at every place I’ve worked and that includes major league baseball teams with the exception of one of my consulting clients.” I decided to send a link to the post to the President of Baseball Operations and the General Manager of the team that was the exception; I worked with both of them for 10+ years. Of course, both responded quickly. One response was very nice, and yet, very sad to me.

 

“That is very kind of you.  I hope you’re doing well.  I was recently reminiscing with one of the now 35 people that work in our front office that we used to have 8 of us in the front office, and you consulting with us as our analytics “department”!  Baseball has changed a ton over the past 10-15 years.  You were at the forefront of that change, and helped to get us thinking about the right things in the right way.

Best to you, and thanks for the email.”

 

I am not so full of myself that after not having worked in baseball for almost a decade and not having followed the game for almost a decade that I think I could still contribute to a major league organization. However, I firmly believe that if I had stayed in the game I would have continued to be an asset and no one will EVER be able to convince me otherwise. The fact that I am a “father” of Moneyball, but that no one seems to know or to care will always be a source of anger and frustration. Sorry, I’m only human.

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Another voice in the “Automatic vs Manual” debate…Steve Strope is the founder and owner of Pure Vision, one of the most respected and most decorated custom car shops in the country. During an episode of Hand Built Hot Rods when a client brings his custom Firebird in because he can’t really drive the 6-speed manual in the traffic and hills of southern California, Strope remarks, “So having a high-performance car with a stick and a heavy clutch. I’m sorry, we’ll just blow the whole romance out of the water. It sucks.” An automatic 4L80 is installed in the car and the client enjoys driving it much more than before.

A note: this episode makes me even more suspicious about all of these car “makeover” shows. I remember the person and his Firebird from an episode of Overhaulin’. One would think that would have been mentioned.

Speaking of first-generation Pontiac Firebirds:

 

 

From this listing on Hemmings a picture of a 1969 Firebird for sale. It no longer has the original engine, but supposedly has new paint, a new interior and a new stereo system. No mention of anything else about the mechanicals other than the non-original engine.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#IamNOTobsolete

#SteveStrope

#PureVision

#1969PontiacFirebird

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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