Monday Message

This message will sound selfish, but is a view in which I firmly believe. Other than to respect their life and to respect their property I have no obligation to strangers. Charity and philanthropy are great, coercion is not. Creating new incentives for people not to be productive will create millions of people who will not be productive.

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Whenever my wonderful wife and I get ready to move to the desert, I hope a house like this is available:

 

11408 E Running Deer Trl, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

11408 E Running Deer Trl, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

 

Just like I am already considering alternatives for a car purchase that might not even happen and if it does will be 2-3 years in the future, I am already casting an eye on available homes in our desired location. As my wonderful wife and I are not rookies in terms of buying a house, we have a very good idea as to what we want, which we hope will make the search fairly smooth and quick. Since the move and house with a 3+ car garage have to happen before the car purchase, you do the math on the timing of the move.

🎶 Arizona, take off your rainbow shades. 🎶

“If you don’t have dreams, you have nightmares.”

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Yes, I took the plunge and joined the Studebaker Drivers Club (SDC). Since I have a STRONG aversion to newsprint, my membership is digital only without receiving the SDC newsletter.

Since today is the day my readers poll about which car should be my Z06 companion ends, I am going to announce the results, such as they are.

1) Buick Riviera

2) Studebaker Avanti

3) Buick Grand National

My own personal vote probably would have had the same order. Of course, the readers poll is not binding on me and neither is my current preference. I could buy an Avanti not made by Studebaker, like this:

 

 

From this Hemmings ad comes this listing for a 1970 Avanti II from, obviously, Country Classic Cars. I don’t really like white cars, and good automobile paint jobs are far more expensive than most people realize, but with an asking price of $12,450 and a Chevrolet drivetrain I could do much worse. A picture of the odometer does show 98,000+ miles, so that would be a worry.

The car has four seats and a trunk so it could function as a grocery car. Even in the car-crazy desert I doubt one would see too many cars like this. I could consider this car an homage to my longtime love of these cars that began when I saw this rendering in The Golden Guide To Sports Cars when I was probably 8 years old:

 

 

Being analytical to the point of being able to see all sides of an issue, no matter how obscure, but not being able to choose among them is most assuredly a curse.

 

#CharityBeginsAtHome

#DesertOasis

#StudebakerDriversClub

#1970AvantiII

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Monday Musings

Thanks to 56packardman for putting a link to yesterday’s post on the Studebaker Drivers Club (SDC) forum. I would thank SDC members for clicking on that link often enough so that views of Disaffected Musings reached their highest level in about a month, but I doubt any of them are reading this.

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I absolutely do not condone industrial espionage and theft of IP by Chinese companies and the Chinese government. Without respect for property rights economic activity is excessively constrained and without healthy economic activity nothing that a population and its government want to achieve is really possible. Such behavior is also, obviously, a blatant violation of international law.

However, I understand the motivation for such illegal and unethical behavior. Between the so-called “one child policy” and the enormous number of deaths due to pollution in China, the country is at real risk of growing old, of demographic “collapse,” before its population can become first-world wealthy. Yes, I know the “one child policy” is no longer in effect, but the policy existed in one form or another from 1979 to 2015.

Many people say that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t care about the Chinese people since the party holds control without fear of political opposition. While I don’t accept the view held by many in this country that the Chinese Communists are infallible and all-knowing, the party leadership is not stupid. Economic stagnation and retreat after years of progress could cause widespread dissatisfaction leading, possibly, to rebellion.

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On this day in 1965, the Oldsmobile Toronado debuted (as a 1966 model year car). Of course, the Toronado was the first US-produced front-wheel drive car since the Cord 812 in 1937. The car was named 1966 Motor Trend Car Of The Year and also finished third in the European Car Of The Year competition.

Oldsmobile had been working on front-wheel drive (FWD) since 1958, although at first the goal was to put FWD in a compact car. It’s probably difficult to understand today given how many FWD vehicles exist, but for the US market at this time FWD was “way out” there. Eventually, given that buyers of economy compact cars were less likely to be influenced by technical innovation than buyers of larger cars (and more likely to balk at the cost of a car that included some amortization of significant development expenses), Oldsmobile moved its focus to putting FWD in a “personal luxury” car.

(A personal note: my father, who was an auto mechanic, was very dismissive of front-wheel drive cars. He did, however, own many four-wheel drive Jeeps.)

From Mecum Auctions a picture of a 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado offered at its Kissimmee auction in 2016:

 

See the source image

 

The engine for the Toronado was Oldsmobile’s 425 cubic-inch V-8, but tweaked to give more horsepower and torque than the engine did in other cars. (The Toronado motor produced 385 HP/475 LB-FT of torque compared to the 375 HP/470 LB-FT or 365 HP/470 LB-FT output of other cars.)

The transmission was the Turbo Hydra-Matic 425, which was based on the Turbo Hydra-Matic 400. However, compared to the TH400, in the TH425 the gearbox was separated from the torque converter, turned 180 degrees (which also required reversing the directions of its internal gear rotation and clutch engagements), and offset to the left. The Toronado transmission also used chains, and not gears, to transmit power.

The Toronado was a success selling about 41,000 units in model year 1966. This was a very similar performance to the debut year (1963) of the Buick Riviera, a car in the same market segment as the Toronado, in which 40,000 cars were sold. Although Toronado sales declined by half in 1967 they subsequently recovered and reached nearly 56,000 in 1973 after a redesign in 1971. The car was produced in four different generations through 1992 with almost 800,000 built in total.

Sadly, Oldsmobile cars are no longer manufactured. The company that introduced (or co-introduced) modern front-wheel drive, the modern overhead-valve V8 and, of course, the modern automatic transmission has been out of existence for over a decade. As has been mentioned before, Oldsmobile is the only US company to have produced cars in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. I think aficionados of American cars should never forget Oldsmobile.

 

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#ChineseBehavior

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Tuesday Collection

LS7? LS9? LSA? LS3? To someone like Steve Dallas (and to me as well), those letters and numbers are not just gobbledygook. They are designations for different GM/Chevrolet engines.

If my restomod C2 Corvette is to become a reality, and I do not short-circuit the process by buying a car that’s already built, then probably the most important decision I have to make is what engine to use.

From summitracing.com a picture, I think, of an LS7 engine. (I couldn’t capture pictures of this engine from the Chevrolet website.) Despite the power increase from forced induction like supercharging or turbocharging, I am 99% sure I am going to use a naturally aspirated engine like the LS7. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Hey, I always call myself Simple. 🙂

Despite its hefty displacement, about 428 cubic inches, the LS7 is considered a small block engine. Displacement and the physical size of an engine block are correlated, but not perfectly. The engine output is officially 505 HP/470 LB-FT of torque, but many believe that Chevrolet has understated the output, at least by five percent. In any event a bigger throttle body than stock and a freer flowing exhaust system will boost power without having to resort to adding a supercharger and/or changing the cam, both of which would add to the cost of the build and to the complexity of the engine.

If you haven’t figured it out by now I have decided that the engine for my restomod will almost certainly be an LS7. This engine has titanium connecting rods and titanium intake valves, two items that are on my master wish list for the build. The LS7 has been installed in thousands of vehicles and is well known and well understood by builders and mechanics. It will be installed in something like this for me:

https://i2.wp.com/www.corvetteblogger.com/images/content/2015/050715_3.jpg

From corvetteblogger.com a picture of a 1967 Corvette restomod convertible. I believe this is the third time I have shown this particular image on the blog.

I have been thinking about this build for years and despite the giant size of my wish list I have narrowed my choices down quite a bit. Barring unforeseen circumstances this is not a no-holds-barred, unlimited budget project. As I have written before, in an ideal world with an unlimited budget I might have had a 1,000+ HP engine installed, an engine that could cost $50,000+ on its own. The LS7 engine should cost $12,000-$15,000.

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I want to thank all of those from the Studebaker Drivers Club who read this post after finding a link for it on the SDC forum. (Thanks again to 56packardman for posting the link there.) Two of the most read posts on Disaffected Musings are about Studebaker (this is the other one) and most of those views are from SDC members.

Any regular reader of this blog knows about my obsession with defunct American makes and that my two favorite Studebakers are the Avanti and the Gran Turismo Hawk. I apologize to those Studebaker fanatics who think my two favorites are too recent and too short-lived to be liked so much.

https://i2.wp.com/momentcar.com/images/studebaker-56-1933-1.jpg

From momentcar.com a picture of a 1933 Studebaker 56. That was a very rough year for the company, the year Studebaker went into bankruptcy and its president, Albert Erskine, committed suicide. Some automobile historians believe those events were the beginning of the end for Studebaker even though the company manufactured cars until 1966. I don’t know enough to offer such an opinion, but it is certainly true that many people were alive in the 1950s and 1960s who remembered Studebaker’s difficulties in the 1930s.

 

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#somanycarsjustonelife

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