Throwback Thursday, It’s Cold Edition

I used to be able to tolerate cold weather. In fact, I much preferred it to hot weather. I guess with less “efficient” circulation due to aging and the fact that I have run most of the fat off my body I don’t like the cold, anymore. (My hands are freezing as I type this.) I certainly don’t like the temperature I’m about to show you two weeks before Thanksgiving.

 

 

It was warmer at 6:30 this morning; it was 22 degrees. Yes, a feeble attempt at sarcasm.

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Inspired by photobyjohnbo here is a picture of our Japanese Maple tree almost in full fall color:

 

 

This tree has survived a traumatic injury and annual assault by rats in fur coats, also known as squirrels. We live in a nice neighborhood and we will miss it after we move, but move we will. The desert beckons.

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From stampnewsonline.net a picture of a stamp featuring a very famous person:

 

See the source image

 

This is a picture of the 1983 Babe Ruth stamp. I believe another stamp in honor of Ruth was issued later. Note the cost of first-class postage, 20¢.

To honor Ruth, who was born in Baltimore as was I, and the 1983 Orioles’ World Series championship I mailed myself an empty envelope with this stamp in late 1983. I wrote some notes on the envelope about Ruth and the Orioles. That was a long time ago and qualifies as a genuine throwback. Although I don’t follow baseball I understand the Orioles are going through a rough patch.

Of course, I worked for my home-town team for six years in a full-time capacity and before that as a consultant for about a year and a half. It’s amazing how poor human beings are at predicting the future. For five years before I was hired full-time all I wanted was to work for the Orioles for the rest of my life. It’s a good thing the rest of my life has lasted longer than six years.

Like my change in attitude towards cold weather I never could have predicted that I would be completely divorced from baseball and not miss it. Once again, the only constant in the world is change. Those who cannot or will not deal with change will be unhappy and/or left behind.

 

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Throwback Thursday, Cereal Edition

I ate a lot of breakfast cereal, often not for breakfast, until I was in my late 30s. After a long period of little cereal consumption I have resumed eating a fair amount. I find myself waxing nostalgic for a cereal from my childhood. Does anyone remember these?

 

See the source image

 

A picture from someone’s Flickr account of the front and back of a box of Post Rice Krinkles. They were really just a sweeter version of that more famous crispy rice cereal made by a different cereal company.

Rice Krinkles were my favorite cereal when I was 7 or 8. Apparently, 1969 was the last year they were produced although that doesn’t jibe with my admittedly imperfect memory. If Rice Krinkles are remembered today at all, it’s because their advertising featured an Asian character that would be considered inappropriate today. I don’t remember the mascot, just that I loved the cereal.

For those of you who were/are cereal eaters, what are some of your favorites?

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It’s a sickness, I tell you, a sickness! That big, blue book under the two Corvette books is the classic Packard: A History of the Motor Car and Company edited by the late, great Beverly Rae Kimes. What you can’t see is the collection of automobile books and encyclopediae on the bottom shelf of this table. The book on top, The American Auto, is an updated version of the book that always sits on the desk where I write blog posts. I don’t really know how many automobile books I own, but I still have car books I purchased in the 1960s and 1970s.

Some of my friends and former colleagues don’t understand my disinterest in sports and my obsession with cars. Remember, the cars were first. My paper for History class in my senior year of high school was called The Development of the Automobile and its Effect on 20th-Century American Society. Yes, I attended high school in the 20th century and not in the 19th.

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A recent photo by yours truly of a Factory Five “kit” car. What do you think about cars like this? As I have stated before, I am not a fan of large wings on automobiles, but this car is not ugly.

Factory Five is a well-known company and that might make it easier for me to buy a kit car. I just doubt I have the chops to finish the assembly no matter how minor.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#RiceKrinkles

#AutoMessTable

#LongObsessionWithCars

#FactoryFive

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday

Halloween? My thoughts on the so-called holiday have been expressed before.

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On this day in 1959 a song that had been originally composed in 1928 was the Number One song on the Billboard Hot 100. “Mack the Knife” as recorded by Walden Robert Cassoto, better known as Bobby Darin, reached the top position on the charts in early October and stayed there for a total of nine weeks.

 

See the source image

 

From MusicStack a picture of the “Mack the Knife” recording. Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s I had quite a collection of 45s. “Mack the Knife” was not part of that collection. It did, however, sell more than two million copies and was awarded the Grammy as “Record Of The Year.”

Supposedly, Darin did not want the song released as a single. Darin, sadly, had a short life. Having been afflicted with rheumatic fever as a child he had a severely weakened heart and died in 1973 at age 37. Darin had success not only as a singer, but also as an actor and was even nominated for an Academy Award in 1963.

“Mack the Knife” was actually composed for a musical drama called “The Threepenny Opera.” The song’s lyrics were originally in German, but somehow the song became a favorite for American pop and jazz singers to record. For example, Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars released a version that reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1956.

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Making rich people poorer will not make poor people richer.

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

– Winston Churchill

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No rule says that the Throwback Thursday car has to be from the same year as any other subject of the post. As I do from time to time, here is a chart:

 

Top Ten Selling US Makes, 1950
Chevrolet 1,498,590
Ford 1,208,912
Plymouth 610,954
Buick 588,439
Pontiac 446,429
Oldsmobile 408,060
Dodge 341,797
Studebaker 320,884
Mercury 293,658
Chrysler 179,299

 

Note Studebaker’s position as the only non Big-Three make in the Top Ten. Also note that Studebaker is one of five companies that no longer exists. Although not shown here, the #11, #12, and #13 positions were also held by now-defunct makes. (Nash, DeSoto and Hudson)

 

See the source image

 

From smclassiccars.com a picture of the best-selling vehicle for the best-selling make in 1950. This is a Chevrolet Styleline DeLuxe four-door sedan. By the way, I think the word “Styleline” is awkward to pronounce, but what do I know?

Chevrolet produced more than 316,000 of these in 1950. Note that number would have ranked in the top ten among makes in 1950. Chevrolet produced 14 different offerings across four model lines in 1950. At $1,529 the Styleline DeLuxe four-door was in the middle of the Chevrolet price range.

Chevy offered only two engines in all of those cars: a 216 cubic-inch inline six with an output of 92 HP/176 LB-FT of torque for cars equipped with a manual transmission and a 235 cubic-inch inline six with 105 HP/193 LB-FT for cars equipped with the Powerglide automatic.

This car doesn’t really do anything for me, but for much of the automobile era four-door sedans were the bread and butter for American car companies. Those days are over, probably for good, as SUVs and pickup trucks have become the most popular vehicles.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#MackTheKnife

#BobbyDarin

#WinstonChurchill

#SayNoToSocialism

#1950USAutoMarket

#1950ChevroletStylelineDeLuxe

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday and Power Corrupts

I used to be a member of a union. I made a couple of commercials (one TV and one radio) for a local bank; they and the ad agency liked me enough so that they wanted me to do more. In fact, I continued to make commercials for the bank even after I moved to the other side of the country. Anyway, I was not allowed to make more than two commercials without joining the union. (Even though only one relevant union existed at the time, I will refrain from naming them explicitly.)

If any of the commercials aired even once in any 13-week block of the year, then I received a residual check. The money was good especially considering how little time it took for me to record any of the commercials. However, at least half of the checks I received were not for me, but for someone with whom I shared a last name. Literally dozens of calls to the union local office never corrected the problem. My compensation was controlled by the union local where I had originally lived and not where I was living after I moved. When I stopped making commercials (the bank was purchased by a larger one) and the residuals ended I ceased paying union dues.

This article from Automotive News is titled, “6th ex-UAW official pleads guilty.” Here is the beginning of the article:

 

“A former high-ranking UAW official in the union’s General Motors department pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of conspiracy and fraud.”

“Jeffery Pietrzyk, who was an assistant to former UAW-GM Department Vice President Joe Ashton, is the 10th person to plead guilty as a result of an ongoing federal probe into misuse of union funds. Six of the 10 are former UAW officials.”

“Prosecutors said Pietrzyk conspired with other union officials to take bribes and kickbacks related to vendor contracts for watches, backpacks, jackets and other items. The UAW said it has changed its purchasing procedures since the contracts Pietrzyk was involved with were awarded.”

 

I can’t believe I have to write this, but UAW is the United Auto Workers union. It boggles my mind how anyone has blind and complete faith in any institution of people, be it unions, governments or private companies. Power corrupts.

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See the source image

 

OK, why did I show this portrait of Bonanza from TV Guide? Fifty-five years ago this month (or 1964 for those of you who are bad at math) was the beginning of the 1964-65 TV season. For the first time in over a decade NBC would have the highest-rated show for an entire season and that show was Bonanza. I have never watched an episode, by the way.

Only a numbers nerd like me would find the Nielsen ratings interesting. As I have written before I considered writing a book in which I would reveal the most popular prime-time TV shows in history based on an analysis of the ratings. I would not have been able to simply use an “unadjusted” rating, however. Why? OK…

 

1964-65 Rating
Bonanza 36.3
Bewitched 31.0
Gomer Pyle, USMC 30.7
The Andy Griffith Show 28.3
The Fugitive 27.9
   
   
2004-05 Rating
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 16.5
American Idol-Tuesday 15.7
American Idol-Wednesday 15.3
Desperate Housewives 14.5
CSI: Miami 12.4

 

The average rating that pushed CSI to the top of the Nielsens in 2004-05 would not have made the top 30 in 1964-65. Using methodology I used in my books about the greatest baseball and football teams of all time, I was going to use standard deviations from the mean as a way to be able to compare shows from different eras. No one in the publishing business with whom I spoke thought the book was a good idea so I didn’t pursue it. Courtesy of someone at Nielsen I had collected data on TV ratings from 1960 (when the rating methodology was significantly changed) through about 2005.

I can tell you, as I believe I have before, that for one season the most popular TV show was the last season of Seinfeld, with a rating more than four standard deviations above the average for that year. When NBC executives tried to convince Jerry Seinfeld to do one more season (at a reported $5 million per episode) one of their points was to ask him if he wasn’t curious about how much higher the ratings could go. He answered that the only way to know if you’ve hit the top is when the ratings start to decline.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#PowerCorrupts

#Bonanza

#NielsenRatings

#Seinfeld

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday and A Quarter Of A Million

Somewhere in this post is the 250,000th word I have written on Disaffected Musings. (Maybe it’s this one or this one.) If in the roughly 21 months I have been writing this blog I had half as many views as words then I would be happy, well maybe less unhappy.

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While my wonderful wife and I were at the National Corvette Museum I entered a raffle to win a 2019 ZR-1. Here is the car, picture from the NCM website:

 

 

A maximum of just 1,500 tickets will be sold. Here is a question: if I actually win the car do I keep it and sell my 2016 Z06 (I don’t have room for and don’t want two Corvettes AND I will have to pay taxes on the ZR1) OR do I sell the ZR1—for somewhere north of $100,000—pay the taxes and then upgrade my Z06, etc.? What would you do?

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On this day in 1964 the number one single on the Billboard charts was “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison. By the way, that is the correct title of the song.

Orbison was very popular in Great Britain. From August, 1963 through December, 1964 he was the only American artist to have a number one single in Britain; he actually had two, “It’s Over” and “Oh, Pretty Woman.” He toured the UK in 1963. His opening act, although some times he opened for them, was the Beatles.

Of course, 1964 was the year the Beatles entered the consciousness of the US. I am not a big Beatles fan, but I appreciate their significance and the fact that they changed popular music forever. On the April 4 Billboard Hot 100, the Beatles occupied every position in the Top 5! In the next chart, April 11, they had 14 songs in the Hot 100. Between January 18 and October 24 the Beatles had 28 different titles on the Hot 100.

When the Beatles phenomenon began their former record labels realized they had quite a treasure trove. While their first “big” American label was Capitol Records, “She Loves You” was recorded and released by Swan Records and “Love Me Do” on Tollie Records, a subsidiary of Vee Jay. (By the way, much of this information is from The Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson.)

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Of course, 1964 was the debut model year for the Pontiac GTO, considered by most to be the first modern muscle car. Also of significance in the auto industry (some understatement never hurts) was the debut of the Ford Mustang in April, 1964. However, continuing my obsession with defunct American makes I am going to show this car, instead:

 

See the source image

 

From classicregister.com an obviously recent picture of a 1964 Studebaker Daytona convertible. Apparently, I have shown a picture of and written about a car like this before. I guess after 250,000+ words I can’t remember everything I’ve written.

The Daytona was one model that survived the closing of the main Studebaker plant in South Bend, Indiana in December, 1963. The wonderful Avanti and Gran Turismo Hawk were not as fortunate. I think these cars (the Daytona) have quite an appealing design. Only 702 1964 Daytona convertibles were produced, 647 with a V-8 and 55 with an inline six-cylinder engine.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#250000Words

#CorvetteChoice

#1964

#RoyOrbison

#TheBeatles

#1964StudebakerDaytonaConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday, All Over The Place Edition

See the source image

 

If you follow the NFL at all it is likely you have read that the Miami Dolphins are being accused of “tanking” in order to acquire the highest possible draft pick in 2020. They are so bad (their record is 0-4 and they have been outscored 163-26) that commentators and fans are already talking about a winless season.

Winless seasons are not as rare as they used to be in the NFL. Just two seasons ago the Cleveland Browns finished 0-16 and in 2008 the Detroit Lions did the same. However, one winless season seems to garner the most attention: the 0-14 record compiled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their first season of existence, 1976. The picture above is of that team and is from espn.com.

You may not know that in their first year of existence the Bucs were in the AFC. Their fellow expansion team, the Seattle Seahawks, were in the NFC. The following season they would switch conferences. The Seahawks returned to the NFC in 2002 with the addition of the Houston Texans and the major realignment that followed.

In each of their first two seasons the Bucs and Seahawks played every other team in their conference once and played each other once. The schedule was still 14 games in 1976 and 1977. That schedule and the fact Tampa Bay was in the AFC in 1976 meant they played the Baltimore Colts, who were defending AFC East champions, and that meeting was in Baltimore.

My best friend, Dr. Zal, and I attended the game between the Bucs and the Colts, which was the fourth of the season. We were not amused when Tampa Bay scored first on a field goal although they had led 6-0 the previous week against Buffalo. That field goal seemed to wake up the Colts who proceeded to score the next 42 points. However, Dr. Zal and I were also not amused when Tampa Bay scored their first touchdowns of the season (and in their existence) in the fourth quarter. The Colts outgained the Buccaneers 458 to 89 and made 31 first downs to Tampa Bay’s six.

Tampa Bay was outscored 412-125 in 1976, an almost unfathomable differential. The worst point differential last season was amassed by the Arizona Cardinals who were outscored 425-225 in a 16-game season. Tampa Bay started the next season 0-12, setting the all-time record for an NFL losing streak, before winning their last two games in 1977. However, by 1979 the Buccaneers were a playoff team winning the NFC Central Division. Does that mean hope exists for Miami? Who knows…

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Some car enthusiasts lament the development of what they call “nanny” aids like ABS and traction control. They say those systems have taken away “road feel” and real control of a car. Well, all that may be true, but it is also true that automobiles and other “light” vehicles are safer than ever, for the same level of driving skill and attention. Here’s a relevant passage from the excellent book, Steve Magnante’s 1001 Corvette Facts. If you are a Corvette fan or hope to learn more about them I highly recommend Steve’s book. Anyway, from fact #714:

 

“Without computer-controlled handling systems…there was no way Corvette or Detroit’s other automakers could put such powerful cars in the hands of the general public. Today, every high-performance muscle car has some form of an active-handling system to preserve order and help keep less capable drivers out of harm’s way.”

 

Of course, modern safety systems make all cars safer and not just performance cars. Trying to tie a car to the first year of the Buccaneers existence is not easy as 1976 was not a good year for American cars given the denuding of performance caused by government regulations and insurance companies. From supercars.net a photo of a car that could still scream:

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1976 Lamborghini Countach. The Countach is a legendary car, posters of which were on the bedroom wall of countless teenage boys. No doubt, far more posters were sold than cars. Only about 2,000 of the Countach were produced despite a long production run from 1974 to 1990.

In 1976, the Countach was powered by a 3.9 liter/240 cubic-inch V-12 that produced 370 HP/266 LB-FT of torque. As a comparison, the more powerful of two Corvette engines that year produced just 210 HP although the torque output was close to the Countach’s at 255 LB-FT.

As I and others have written, the golden age of automobiles is now. Enjoy it before the electric automatons take over.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#1976TampaBayBuccaneers

#1976LamborghiniCountach

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday

The 2019-20 prime-time TV “season” began this week. Of course, with streaming, DVRs and the like people watch TV far more on their schedule than the schedule of TV networks.

September, 2019 is the first September since 2006 without a new episode of The Big Bang Theory. I am still having a little difficulty dealing with that.

What was the #1 rated show, based on Nielsen, in the 1969-70 season? Here’s a big hint:

 

See the source image

 

From a Pinterest page a picture of the cast (plus Tiny Tim and John Wayne, not sure from which season but I’m certain it’s later in the series than 1969-70) of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The show could have not have been more different than the one it replaced in NBC’s Monday 8 PM timeslot in January, 1968, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. From The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network And Cable TV Shows by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh:

 

Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was one of TV’s classics, one of those rare programs which was not only an overnight sensation, but was highly innovative, created a raft of new stars and started trends in comedy which other programs would follow.”

 

I remember watching the show, but remember very few details. The Arte Johnson character of the German soldier smoking a cigarette and remarking, “Very interesting, but…” (in a German accent) with a different punchline each time is one of the few bits I do remember. The 1969-70 season was the second of two consecutive seasons in which Laugh-In finished first in the Nielsen ratings.

Not that this really matters to anyone, but I only watch one major network prime-time show, The Good Doctor. Occasionally I have tried to watch some current shows, but have never been able to get through more than a few minutes of any episode. In general, the entertainment apparatus does not care about my demographic and that fact is evident in the programming.

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See the source image

 

From classicmotorcarsonline.com a picture of a 1956 Oldsmobile 88 Holiday hardtop coupe. I have expressed my affinity, largely sentimental in nature, for the 1956 Buick Century. While I don’t think I will end up purchasing such a vehicle anytime soon (if ever), I am fascinated by the concept of owning and driving a car that was built before I was born, such as this Olds. Also, I think this car looks great.

Oldsmobile produced both an 88 and Super 88 series in 1956 in addition to the Ninety-Eight. Olds made about 75,000 88 Holiday hardtop coupes AND 43,000 Super 88 hardtop coupes. The “higher” brand was designated as the DeLuxe Holiday coupe for the Super 88 and 98 in 1955, but according to Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® it was not given the “DeLuxe” name in 1956. The engine for the Super 88 (and Ninety-Eight) was the same displacement as the 88 engine (324 cubic inches), but had ten more HP (240 vs. 230) and ten more LB-FT of torque (350 vs. 340). The 1956 Olds 88 hardtop coupe was priced at $2,599 (less expensive than the sedan) and the Super 88 coupe was priced at $2,808.

Remember that Oldsmobile is the only American car company that produced vehicles in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and was the company that introduced the modern automatic transmission.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#Rowan&MartinsLaughIn

#1956Oldsmobile88HolidayHardtopCoupe

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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0 and 5

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday

Today’s date is, of course, 9/19/19, which is a palindrome. This is the last of ten consecutive days in which the date is the same forwards or backwards.

As far as I know the longest one-word palindrome in the world is saippuakauppias, which is the Finnish word for soap-seller. Don’t ask me how I know because I don’t know.

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I wonder if Apple is in cahoots with my wireless “provider.” Even though we have full Wi-Fi coverage throughout the house for some reason my phone is often in LTE mode without my realizing it. If we exceed our data usage for a month we have to pay an overage fee.

Anyway, that happened (once again) while I tried to send this picture:

 

 

This is a 1942 Buick Roadmaster. All 1942 model year cars are rare. Unless you flunked history many times you should know why, but remembering what can happen if one assumes I will remind everyone that the US entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941. Civilian car production was halted early in 1942 and didn’t resume until the war ended in 1945.

Buick produced about 8,400 Roadmasters for the 1942 model year, of which approximately 5,400 were 4-door sedans. While the legendary Hydra-Matic automatic transmission was already available on Oldsmobile and Cadillac vehicles, automatics were not available for Buick until the introduction of the Dynaflow transmission in model year 1948. In this era, while General Motors had many makes under its umbrella the individual “companies” retained much autonomy until the late 1950s. Many point to the homogenization of GM makes as a key reason why the company lost market share. Many consumers with loyalties to specific GM makes were not fooled by the increasing amount of badge-engineering that occurred later.

As I have written many times before [so one more time won’t hurt, :)] I have an affinity for Buicks as the first car I remember in my family and the first car I ever drove was a 1956 Century. As I have also written before I have developed an appreciation for pre-war cars that I did not have just a few years ago.

What older cars do you like? We would all like to read about them so please feel free to comment.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#Palindromes

#1942BuickRoadmaster

#BooOnBadgeEngineering

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday

First…as I have often written it can be hell to live inside my head. A couple of nights ago I had yet another disturbing dream. A doctor was telling me I had a pancreatic tumor, but that he was 99.9% sure it was benign. However, he kept asking me to spell “benign” and, somehow, I inferred that if I couldn’t then maybe the tumor wasn’t benign. In the dream I couldn’t spell the word.

My mother died of pancreatic cancer.

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Maybe the collector car market is softening because wealthy people are buying…thoroughbred horses. A filly sired by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah sold for $8.2 million at the September yearling sale at Keeneland in Kentucky. That’s the highest price ever for a filly at the September Keeneland sale.

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For 1963 Motor Trend’s Car of the Year was certainly the Corvette, right? I mean that was the first year of the second generation with its beautiful, timeless styling. That was the first year a coupe was offered, the legendary one-year only split window. The 1963 Corvette was also the first American production car with independent rear suspension. Well, that was not Car of the Year.

OK, then Car of the Year was the Buick Riviera. The Riviera, with its great blend of American and British styling, took the personal luxury car to a new level. Try again…

All right…going off the range then Car of the Year must have been the Studebaker Avanti. The Avanti had unmistakable styling and was a good performer, too. 0-for-3…

Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 1963 was actually the entire line of Rambler cars by American Motors Corporation. The Rambler was cited for “engineering excellence and outstanding design achievement.” This was the first Motor Trend Car of the Year award for a non-Big Three company.

Rambler was on a roll during this period in its history. In model year 1961 it was the third-best selling make in the US behind only, of course, Ford and Chevrolet. AMC Chairman and President George Romney had steered the company through the teething pains of its beginning as a merger between Nash and Hudson and had positioned AMC as sort of the “anti-Detroit” selling sensible, efficient cars while the Big Three were selling horsepower, chrome and fins. In 1963 Rambler finished just a few thousand units out of fourth place in the US car sales race.

 

See the source image

 

From AMC via flickr a picture, obviously, of a 1963 Rambler Classic Six 550 2-door sedan. AMC offered quite a few body styles and engines for 1963. The Classic series alone offered ten styles, six sedans and four station wagons. The inline-six came in four different power configurations and AMC offered two different displacement V-8 engines. The smaller 287 cubic-inch variant was available as an option on the Classic line.

 

See the source image

 

From en.wheelsage.org a picture of a 1963 AMC/Rambler Ambassador 990 2-door sedan. The Ambassador was only available with the company’s larger V-8 engine of 327 cubic-inch displacement. The lower output version of this motor produced 250 HP/340 LB-FT of torque.

I can understand Rambler receiving the prestigious award although I prefer the three cars I mentioned at the beginning. These Ramblers are cleanly styled and had engineering developments such as one-piece “Uniside” door structures, a US first, that saved weight, increased rigidity and reduced squeaks and rattles. Everyone together now…fewer companies manufacturing cars means fewer potential sources of innovation in styling and in engineering.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#YouDontWantToBeInsideMyHead

#RecordKeenelandSale

#1963MotorTrendCarOfTheYear

#1963Rambler

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday/Happy Birthday, Mel Kiper/Hodgepodge

 

This picture is full of throwbacks. Although the instruments have been acquired in the last five years they really speak to a time long ago when I had musical aspirations. The Flying A gasoline sign is a throwback to when my father ran a Flying A station in the early 1960s. The painting of the car that is obviously a C2 Corvette (with a 1967 big block stinger hood), even though the word Corvette doesn’t appear anywhere, is just as obviously a throwback to that car and to that era.

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Happy Birthday to my friend, Mel Kiper! He has appeared on ESPN’s NFL draft coverage since 1984. As I have written before, the first round of the NFL Draft has better TV ratings than most MLB and NBA playoff games. From ftw.usatoday.com a picture of Mel:

 

Image result for mel kiper

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I believe that if these ten Senators were replaced by people with more moderate views, then the Federal government would function more smoothly almost regardless of what is going on in the House:

 

Jim Inhofe

Michael Enzi

Tom Cotton

Mike Rounds

John Cornyn

Kamala Harris

Bernie Sanders

Jeff Merkley

Kirsten Gillibrand

Elizabeth Warren

 

I shouldn’t have to write this, but these are the five most conservative and five most liberal members of the US Senate based on Govtrack.us. Note that four of the five most liberal Senators are running for President. BOTH parties have moved away from the traditional majority in American politics, the center. Whether they are in tune with what is happening in the American populace or just pandering for campaign contributions, I can’t say.

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See the source image

 

From corvetteforum.com a picture of GM President Mark Reuss and, of course, the new C8 Corvette. I had read in multiple places that, eventually, the C8 would offer a manual transmission. However, just like the reports were wrong that the C7 and C8 would be produced simultaneously for awhile, so were the reports about a manual transmission. When Corvette lead engineer Tadge Juechter was recently asked if there is any chance the manual will come back, he replied simply: “No.”

Here is more of what Juechter said, courtesy of this article:

 

Juechter said a manual-equipped Corvette wouldn’t sell well enough to make it worth a supplier’s effort to develop. ‘We couldn’t find anybody honestly who’d be willing to do it.’ Just like the dual-clutch automatic transmission that will be in the car, a manual for the C8 would have had to be a bespoke production. ‘It’s low volume, very expensive,’ Juechter said. ‘The reason is it’s a low-volume industry. That industry is dying — building manual transmissions. [emphasis mine]

Even for the Corvette, the take rate for manual transmissions has dropped to 15 percent. ‘Every year it goes down, down, down, down,’ Juechter added. Porsche experimented with dropping the manual from its track-focused 911 GT3 but found that upset buyers, who have since bought the manual in that car in large volumes. In fact, according to Porsche North America chief executive Klaus Zellmer, two-thirds of GT3 buyers opt for the manual. Juechter said the same wouldn’t hold for the Corvette. ‘It’s 15 percent on cars like the Z06, which historically have been only a manual. And as soon as we offer the automatic, everybody buys the automatic,’ Juechter said.

The future doesn’t look bright for the manual in the ‘Vette or the industry, Juechter said. ‘It’s a dying business. The people who make a living building manual transmissions, they see that it’s not a bright future for them,’ he explained.

Juechter also said (in another interview, I believe), “DCT [Dual-Clutch Transmission] shifts faster and better than any human can.”

 

People can lament change, but change always happens; it’s the only constant in the world. Besides, tradition aside and as Juechter said, no human being can shift as quickly or as optimally as a modern automatic. That’s not just a technicality as those transmissions help cars get better gas mileage in EPA testing. Why do you think Ford and Lexus offer a 10-speed automatic? It’s primarily for EPA testing.

 

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