First Day Of The Last Month

I hope our reality is not as ominous as the post title might sound. All I mean is that IF everything goes according to plan, then by the end of this month my wonderful wife and I will be living in the desert.

She is very excited. I am excited to a degree, but mindful of all that remains to be done.

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My one-week hiatus from blogging probably “cost” me the second best month for views/visitors among the 33 (now 34) calendar months Disaffected Musings has existed. For the first half of September, the average number of views/visitors per day was easily the second highest, exceeded only by May of this year.

I find it odd that the two most read posts for September were written in January (Where Is Cristy Lee?) and February (Throwback Thursday 36). The “old” Throwback Thursday post had twice as many views as the Cristy Lee post and I still have no idea why so many people read it. Yes, I just can’t resist poking the world in the eye with a stick.

I guess it is a good thing that people can find older posts and will read them. If some of those people begin to read the blog on a regular basis, that is also a good thing.

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On this day in 1954 the Studebaker-Packard corporation officially came into being. After years of stop-start and often surreptitious talks among most or all of the American independent car manufacturers, the “mergers” began with Kaiser and Willys in 1953 and the Nash-Hudson amalgamation in early 1954 that became American Motors. George Mason, Chairman/CEO of Nash-Kelvinator, was the leading advocate for a “mega” merger of at least Hudson, Nash, Packard and Studebaker into one large company that could have competed with The Big Three. Sorry, Patrick Foster, but this idea of a grand merger did not only exist in the mind of Packard CEO James Nance.

Of course, we all know Studebaker-Packard failed quite rapidly. “Real” Packard production ended in 1956, with the company’s de facto acquisition–a de jure management contract–by Curtiss-Wright. Studebaker closed its long-time South Bend, Indiana plant in 1963 and got out of the automobile business completely in 1966.

People far more qualified than I should and have given their opinions on what went wrong. James A. Ward’s The Fall Of The Packard Motor Car Company and More Than They Promised: The Studebaker Story by Thomas E. Bonsall are two excellent books on the companies, the merger and their ultimate failure.

As I have written here so many times before, fewer automobile companies means fewer sources of innovation for engineering and for styling. In this context, Packard had long been an innovator and even up to the end was generating new ideas. Its Torsion-Level Ride was introduced for model year 1955 but only used through 1956, and the basis of such a suspension system was basically copied by Chrysler beginning in 1957 and was used all the way until 1989.

For me, I lament the loss of new styling cues or even variations on old ones that might have arisen in a car built by an American Motors (or United Motors) company formed from a large merger. As it is, some of the last Packards of the 1950s and the last Studebakers of the 1960s remain quite stylish, in my opinion.

 

See the source image

 

This 1956 Packard Four Hundred (note “400” is spelled out behind the front wheels) was a lot offered for sale at the Mecum auction in Indianpolis in 2016. To me, that looks as good or better than anything offered by The Big Three during the same period.

 

See the source image

 

The number of photos of the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk that have appeared in this blog is way into double digits. Speaking of digits, if our net worth had at least one more, we would have a house with a garage of sufficient size that would probably have examples of one or both of these cars.

With the departure of 56PackardMan from the blogging world, this blog receives many fewer comments on Packard and defunct American car companies. Given that fact, I am writing about those topics less often. Today gives me a good reason to write about the subject again.

Please feel free to share your favorites (if any) among the American car companies that are no more.

 

#FirstDayOfTheLastMonth

#Studebaker-Packard

#DefunctAmericanCarMakes

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday 36?

No, I haven’t lost track of what day it is. This post from February, Throwback Thursday 36, about the 1920 US Presidential Election has been receiving a fair number of views the past 2-3 days. The reason I’m mentioning that is I have no idea why.

The number of views for the post exceeds the number of all blog views referred from all search engines during this period. I guess I should just be grateful for the post “revival,” but I am a curious person.

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More blog minutia…

I started writing Disaffected Musings in January, 2018. The number of views/visitors made a quantum leap forward in October, 2018 and continued at about the same level through March, 2020. With a big “boost” from people being at home, the number of views/visitors took another leap in April, 2020.

The last five months, April through August of 2020, have been the five months with the highest number of views and visitors. Numbers nerd/OCD “sufferer” that I am, I had to quantify the leap.

With the number 100 representing the average number of monthly views from October, 2018 through March, 2020, here are the “adjusted” number of views for the last five months (the actual average of monthly views is in the thousands; 100 is a number often used as a baseline):

April 177
May 231
June 199
July 168
August 176

The 177 figure for April means the number of blog views for that month was 77 percent higher than the average from October, 2018 through March, 2020. Yes, I could have used +77% instead of 177.

Almost one-third of all blog views have happened in just the last five months. Once again, I am grateful for the increase in readership, not oblivious as to the main reason why, and I will continue to ask for “the sale.” Please feel free to tell your friends about the blog and to pass along the URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com), please feel free to click on any (or all) of the related posts at the bottom of each post, please feel free to “Like” any post and to submit thoughtful comments.

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Although the National Corvette Museum opened on this day in 1994, I think I have been writing too much about Corvettes in general and the C8 in particular as of late. According to 365 Days of Motoring, it was on this day in 1955 that the first meeting of the Studebaker-Packard Dealer-Factory Planning Committee occurred. (On a tangent…it is incredible to me that with all of the times I have written about these two companies, this post marks the first that the tag “Studebaker-Packard” is used.)

Although characterized as a merger, technically Packard acquired Studebaker with the transaction becoming official in October, 1954. If 365 Days of Motoring is correct, then this “important” committee’s first meeting was awfully late.

Many people are far more qualified than I to discuss the reasons for the eventual demise of both makes. Remember that even before World War II, the “Big Three” of American car companies had taken control of the market, due in no small way to the Great Depression. For example, the eight best-selling makes for model year 1941 were all made by the Big Three and accounted for 74% of all vehicle production for that year.

My “obsession” with defunct American makes has waned somewhat in recent months, but I still read parts of James Ward’s The Fall Of The Packard Motor Car Company and Richard Langworth’s Studebaker 1946-1966: The Classic Postwar Years almost every week. I still dream of owning a car made by one or both of those companies. Maybe something like these:

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

From the Consumer Guide Auto blog the top picture is a 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk and from Hemmings the bottom is a 1956 Packard 400. Shops that work on older cars, defunct makes or not, must exist where we’re headed, given the huge car culture there. Yet again, what is life without dreams?

#ThrowbackThursday36?

#ReaderBoost

#Studebaker-Packard

#1963StudebakerGranTurismoHawk

#1956Packard400

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

If you like this blog please tell your friends and share the blog URL (https://disaffectedmusings.com). Thanks.