Throwback Thursday, Beautiful Highways?

On this day in 1965 President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Highway Beautification Act. The new law called for control of outdoor advertising, including removal of certain types of signs, along the nation’s growing Interstate Highway System and the existing federal-aid primary highway system. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.

LBJ’s wife, Lady Bird, played a major role in the passage of the act. In the movie Good Morning, Vietnam, Robin Williams (as disc jockey Adrian Cronauer) comments about the passage of the bill and says one of its provisions is that Lady Bird will no longer be allowed to drive in a car with the top down. Since most of Williams’ dialogue in the scenes in the radio studio was ad-libbed, I assume that line was also ad-libbed.

I don’t really remember what America’s major highways looked like before passage of the bill, but frankly I think that unless some natural scenery exists, interstate highways project too sterile an appearance. I also think the bill (and its descendants, more on that below) has been ignored on US routes–as opposed to interstate highways–and many of them have long stretches that are nothing but a harsh, dissonant mix of stores, advertising and more stores, a cacophony of sight, if you will.

I’m sure Lady Bird Johnson meant well, but as is the case with most government regulations the Highway Beautification Act has spawned a cottage Congressional “industry” of subsequent committees and more laws. In writing about the George Brett homerun that was nullified because of the placement of pine tar on his bat, Bill James wrote, “Laws that are not enforced are unenforceable.” The “pine tar” rule had been in effect for awhile, but had never been applied until that instance making that enforcement the definition of arbitrary. Despite the myriad of laws that are supposed to govern the appearance of major roads and highways, many of them are either garish or sterile in appearance.

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

– Mark Twain

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In this piece Colin Windell notes that Fords sold in South Africa are available with a USB port in the rear-view mirror to accommodate dash cams. Does anyone know if Ford or any other vehicle manufacturer sells cars so equipped in the US?

My wonderful wife’s 2018 Corvette is equipped with option code UQT (say that out loud), which gives her the ability to record high-def video and audio and save it to a storage device so the A/V can be played on most computers. However, in this instance the ability to record sight and sound is built into the car.

I think dash cams are a great idea and have looked into adding one to my Z06. I think the use of such devices is a prime example of “Better Safe Than Sorry.”

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So, is this car going to be released or not? Does anyone know?

 

See the source image

 

From carmagazine.co.uk (obviously) a picture/rendering of the 2021 Alfa Romeo GTV. Some time last year Alfa announced that all of its 2021 offerings would either have a hybrid or all-electric drivetrain, which most of the automotive world interpreted as the end of the Giulia-based GTV coupe. Other publications say such a car may still be introduced, although perhaps not until model year 2022, and it may or may not have a non-ICE drivetrain.

It would be a sad day if all Alfa Romeo builds are SUVs and four-door sedans, regardless of how they are powered. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (Dylan Thomas, of course…)

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#HighwayBeautificationAct

#MarkTwain

#DashCams

#NewAlfaRomeoGTV?

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday 42

Didn’t I just write a Throwback Thursday a couple of days ago?! Talk about time compression due to aging…

 

On this day in 1965 the following single was #1 on the US Billboard Top 40/Hot 100 chart (picture from eCRATER, an online record sale site):

 

See the source image

 

Of course, the song was written in conjunction with the movie of the same name, which was released the same year. The film premiered in New York, its US premiere, in late August about a month after its British premiere. Does anyone really care about the “plot” of the movie? Me, neither.

“Help!” was the Beatles’ 9th song to reach the top of the charts in the US. Their first Number One tune, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” topped the charts in February-March of 1964. Those nine songs were Number One for a collective 25 weeks, or about 30 percent of the time between “I Want to Hold Your Hand” ascending to the top spot and the last week “Help!” was Number One. One group held the Number One position on the US charts for 30 percent of a period of more than a year and a half. Eventually, the Beatles would have 20 songs reach the top of the Billboard charts.

Lest you think I am a big Beatles fan, I am not. For my demographic, I am almost certainly in the bottom five or ten percent in Beatles’ fandom. However, I fully appreciate their impact on music. I also don’t dislike their music, but I don’t own any nor do I stream any. If a Beatles’ song is played while I/we are listening to the Sirius/XM Sixties Channel I/we don’t change the channel, though.

Are any Beatles fans reading this post?

 

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Throwback Thursday 41

At this time of year more than 40 years ago, I began my senior year of high school. I have been thinking about that academic year since writing this post.

As one would know if they read the comments (and you should!), David Banner (not his real name) and I attended the same high school. More than that, we were in the same class, or section as our school called them, all eight semesters. Anyway, here is a picture of my class in my senior year of high school, when I thought more about cars than about sports, which meant I thought A LOT about cars.

 

 

Trying to be as objective as possible, this was an extraordinary group of high school students. The average SAT score of the entire class was 1300, in the days when the maximum score was 1600.

One person in this class is the COO of a large energy company. At least two people became doctors, “David Banner” being one of them. I don’t know the exact number, but I do know this class produced multiple Ph.D. awardees.

Then, of course, there’s me. Although all of these facts have glanced off the collective skull of the world, I am a pioneer of sports analytics, one of the fathers of “Moneyball.” I wrote a book that The Wall Street Journal called without a doubt the best book of its kind ever written. Of course, that review will get me breakfast at McDonald’s, as long as I also have six dollars.

In these posts I have often looked longingly at my childhood as a time when almost anything seemed possible. That still seemed true to me as I graduated from high school.

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How many of you are aware of BMI? No, I’m not talking about Body Mass Index. I mean Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) They are one of the major performing rights companies in the United States. BMI collects license fees from businesses that use music on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed.

In order to know how much to collect and to distribute, BMI collects data on how often specific songs have been broadcast/performed on TV and radio. According to BMI, what was the most performed song of the 20th century? I have long thought that “Yesterday” by the Beatles was the answer. I was wrong, but not by much. From the linked story, here are the Top Ten and their composers:

 

1. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ Barry Mann, Phil Spector, Cynthia Weil
2. Never My Love Donald & Richard Addrisi
3. Yesterday John Lennon & Paul McCartney
4. Stand By Me Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
5. Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You Bob Crewe & Bob Gaudio
6. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay Steve Cropper & Otis Redding
7. Mrs. Robinson Paul Simon
8. Baby, I Need Your Loving Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland & Eddie Holland
9. Rhythm of the Rain John Gummoe
10. Georgia on My Mind Hoagy Carmichael & Stuart Gorrell

 

In 2009, Phil Spector was convicted of the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson and given a sentence of 19 years to life, but that’s another story. So, according to BMI how many times was “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” performed? More than eight million…

As I have written before, I strongly believe that the phrase “current American music” is an oxymoron. Am I just an old fogy? As time progresses it doesn’t follow that everything progresses. No human being is perfect and no endeavor of human beings is perfect. New paradigms can be, and often are, severely flawed.

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Going back even further in time than my senior year of high school…

 

See the source image

 

From oldparkedcars.com a picture of a 1961 Buick Skylark convertible. The link above is to a Hemmings story about the introduction of General Motors’ first compacts, the Y-Body cars introduced in 1961. These cars were the Pontiac Tempest/LeMans, Buick Special/Skylark and Oldsmobile F85/Cutlass.

Like the hashtag reads, so many cars just one life.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#HighSchool

#BMI

#MostPerformedSongsOfThe20thCentury

#GMY-BodyCars

#1961BuickSkylarkConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday: WKRP Edition

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” That line comes from the hysterical episode of WKRP In Cincinnati called “Turkeys Away.” From a Pinterest page, a picture of Richard Sanders as Les Nessman from that episode:

 

See the source image

WKRP In Cincinnati is one of my favorite TV shows ever. I worked in radio, although not until after the show’s original run ended. Most of the humor seemed organic. Think the “Turkeys Away” episode was contrived? It was inspired by a real promotion conducted by an Atlanta radio station, although in real life the live turkeys were tossed from the back of a truck and not from a helicopter.

Let me back up…feeling left out after new Program Director Andy Travis (played by Gary Sandy) has basically taken control of the station, Station Manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump) has a big idea for an unforgettable Thanksgiving promo–drop live turkeys from a helicopter into a crowd waiting below. He keeps this plan a secret from all but one other station employee, bumbling Sales Director Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner).

The line I quoted at the beginning of this post is the last line of the episode and is said by Carlson.

One of the lines from the opening theme song of WKRP was “up and down the dial.” That played out in real life for the show, to its detriment, as beginning in its second season, CBS moved WKRP’s day/time slot around quite a bit. In those days before easily programmable DVRs people had to watch a show live. If they didn’t know when it was on, then they couldn’t watch it.

Declining ratings caused the show to be cancelled after four seasons. Ironically, the last original episode ranked at number 7 in the Nielsen ratings the week it aired, but the show had already been cancelled. I don’t know if the public knew about the cancellation and that’s why the ratings were good.

I don’t know what possessed me to write about WKRP and “Turkeys Away” today, but I hope those of you who remember the show, and the episode, enjoyed the “throwback.”

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When we decided to put our house on the market in early July so we could move to the desert, my wonderful wife and I made a little bet as to when we would actually move. She said September 18; I said November 18.

With the flurry of showings in the first two weeks after listing the house, it looked as if my wonderful wife was a lock to win. Now, there is no way we will move by the 18th of September, so the clock is ticking. Whoever is closer to the actual move date wins the bet. The stakes? No one’s business but our own, but it is a small bet more for fun than for anything else.

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Is my showing/writing about a car in almost every post necessary? I love cars (duh…), but sometimes I have nothing car-related about which to write for a given post. I have to admit that sometimes I just show a car because I think that’s what the readers expect. Why do you think I write about historical car “events” from sources like 365 Days of Motoring?

Anyway…from My Classic Garage a picture of a car like the one my father bought instead of a 1965 Corvette convertible:

 

See the source image

 

 

This is a 1965 Cadillac Deville convertible. My father’s car was light blue and I am only 95% sure it was a ’65. Cadillac built 19,200 Deville convertibles for that model year.

At the time, I didn’t know he was considering buying a Corvette convertible. He told me much later, perhaps during one of the summers I worked for him. Who knows? If he had bought the Vette, I might still have it today.

His Cadillac was the first car I ever saw with power windows, power locks, etc. Those features made quite an impression on the very young me.

My attraction to Cadillacs comes honestly. Buying a 2000-02 Eldorado after we move is still a distinct possibility. I guess showing a ’65 Deville convertible is a throwback, at least to me.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#TurkeysAway

#WKRPInCincinnati

#SpousalBet

#1965CadillacConvertible

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday, Rowhouse Edition

See the source image

 

From the Maryland Historical Trust a blurry picture of a Baltimore rowhouse block. We didn’t call them townhouses in those days.

From the time I was 2 until I was 25 I lived in a Baltimore rowhouse. It is highly doubtful I will ever call another place my home for as long. Counting from the major road at the “head” of our street, our house was the 37th of 38 houses on our side of the block. The block was “split” in two with about 20 or so houses (24?) in one group and the rest, including our house, in the second group. (As a comparison, our current neighborhood only has 37 homes in total.)

Even now, sometimes when I dream of being home it is this house that appears. Rowhouses still exist in droves in Baltimore and in other eastern cities, but for me rowhouses are a throwback to a different and much simpler time. I suppose that someone in my family might be in possession of photos of our house and that neighborhood, but I don’t seem to have any, hence the appearance of the “borrowed” photo.

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Speaking of Maryland, on this day in 1952 the Chesapeake Bay Bridge opened. The original bridge, at 4.3 miles in length, was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure. A parallel span opened in 1973. From Wikipedia a small picture of the two spans:

 

Chesapeake Bay Bridge viewed from Sandy Point State Park.jpg

 

From the Wikipedia article:

 

“The bridge is officially named the Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge after William Preston Lane Jr. who, as the 52nd Governor of Maryland, initiated its construction in the late 1940s finally after decades of political indecision and public controversy.”

 

Despite being born and raised in Maryland, I have not driven across the bridge that often. The bridge links the “eastern” and “western” shores of the Delmarva Peninsula, with the beach community of Ocean City, Maryland and the Delaware beach communities being on the eastern side. I am not a beach person; Baltimore is west of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is part of US Routes 50 and 301 and has led to the growth of towns on the eastern shore. Queen Anne’s County, Maryland is on the eastern shore (and at the eastern terminus of the bridge), but is now considered part of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area by the Census Bureau. The county population increased from about 15,000 in 1950 to almost 34,000 in 1990 and nearly 48,000 in 2010.

Our future home will not be in a place in close proximity to large bodies of water that require enormous bridges. Maybe my wonderful wife and I should take a drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge before we move.

 

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#BaltimoreRowhouse

#ChesapeakeBayBridge

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Throwback Thursday, Old TV Edition

From The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh a picture of the page showing the TV schedule from the season during which I was born, the 1959-60 season. No, I am not a TV character…

 

 

As you can see, the schedule is dominated by Westerns. There were 30 prime-time Western series on American TV in this season. Four seasons later, that number had dwindled to 8. Of course, the most-watched TV show was Gunsmoke; Wagon Train and Have Gun Will Travel were second and third in the ratings, respectively. From TV Guide a picture from the first season of Gunsmoke:

 

See the source image

 

On the left, of course, is the star of the show: James Arness as Matt Dillon. Gunsmoke was produced and shown on CBS for 20 seasons. That was the longest run by any live-action, primetime series on US television until September, 2019 when the 21st season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit debuted.

I have a confession to make: I have never seen an episode of Gunsmoke. I have another confession to make: the primetime TV schedule shown below (also from the Brooks and Marsh book) is more interesting to me than the one from 1959-60:

 

 

This is the first primetime TV “schedule,” from the 1946-47 “season.” For some reason, the beginning of an endeavor is often far more interesting to me than after that endeavor becomes established. OK, what network is represented by the “D” in the listing? That is the DuMont network that folded in the mid-1950s.

Do you see the show listed at the bottom called Voice of Firestone Televues? I am fascinated by that show because it might very well be the first network series. NBC began feeding its Monday night schedule to TV stations in Philadelphia and Schenectady, New York–in addition to being shown on its New York City station–in April of 1944.

Ironically, my interest in automobiles does not exactly follow the same pattern. While I appreciate the significance of the first cars–Benz, Duryea, etc.–they don’t appeal to me and I have not studied them much. I am, however, far more interested in the automobile business before the consolidation into the few large companies that exist today.

What idiosyncratic interests do you have?

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#OldTV

#Gunsmoke

#VoiceOfFirestoneTelevues

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday, 800 Edition

Eight hundred is not as sexy a number as one thousand, but I’m not a sexy guy. One expression I say often is that it wouldn’t have been fair if I had been made ugly and brain-dead. Needless to say, my wonderful wife is not a fan of that saying.

This is the 800th post on Disaffected Musings. I was going to include a link to the first post, but a) it’s embarrassingly short and awful, and b) the epidemic of broken picture links has claimed that post as another victim. Please use this to let me know if you see any posts where reference is made to a picture, but the picture doesn’t display.

Hey, I might not make it to 1,000 posts for a variety of reasons although I have no intention of ending the blog. Of course, I could easily pad the post total with short supplementary pieces, but that’s not me.

Thanks for making it to 800 posts with me. I think some of you have been reading from almost the very beginning.

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Let’s see…converting 800 into months into years yields 66 years and 8 months. What was happening in October, 1953 besides the New York Yankees winning their fifth consecutive World Series, a feat unmatched in baseball history? On October 7, 1953, St. Louis Browns’ owner Bill Veeck told the team’s stockholders that the team would declare bankruptcy unless they dropped their lawsuit blocking the sale of the Browns and its move to Baltimore. The stockholders acquiesced and the modern Baltimore Orioles were born. That is the account given by On This Day, a historical website. The Wikipedia article about the St. Louis Browns tells this story:

 

“After the [1953] season, Veeck cut a deal with [Baltimore attorney Clarence] Miles to move the Browns to Baltimore. Under the plan, Veeck would have remained as principal owner, but he would have sold half of his 80 percent stake to a group of Baltimore investors headed by Miles. Despite assurances from American League president Will Harridge that approval would be a formality, only four owners voted in favor – two short of passage. Reportedly, Yankees co-owner Del Webb was drumming up support to move the Browns to Los Angeles (where Webb held extensive construction interests). The Los Angeles proposal may have been a bluff – many owners believed that travel and schedule considerations would make moving only one franchise to the West Coast insurmountable for the league.”

“However, Veeck, Miles and [Baltimore mayor Thomas] D’Alesandro realized that the other AL owners were merely looking for a way to push Veeck out. Over the next 48 hours, Miles lined up enough support from his group of investors to buy out Veeck’s entire stake for $2.5 million. Facing threats of having the franchise canceled and having sold his only leverage–the renamed Busch Stadium [formerly called Sportsman’s Park]–Veeck had little choice but to agree. The other owners duly approved the sale. While Baltimore brewer Jerold Hoffberger became the largest shareholder, Miles was named president and chairman of the board. His first act was to request permission to move the team to Baltimore, which was swiftly approved–ending the Browns’ 52-year stay in St. Louis.”

 

I was not alive in October, 1953, but I was alive and present in March, 1984 when the Baltimore Colts sneaked out of town under cover of darkness. Of course, I was alive in November, 1995 when the announcement was made that the Cleveland Browns would move to Baltimore for the 1996 season. By the way, I’m sure this has been noted elsewhere, but both of Baltimore’s current major sports franchises moved there from another city where they were called the Browns.

I, like many Colts’ fans, had been turned off by the antics of Bob The Red-Faced Owner and was not as upset as I might have been when the team moved. I was very happy at the announcement that Baltimore would rejoin the NFL and even though I was living in California at the time, I bought Ravens’ season tickets and would fly back as often as I could to watch their games in person.

When I was still an avid baseball fan and worked in the sport, I bought St. Louis Browns caps and even a uniform top. I no longer remember exactly which years they were–or even know if I still have them–but I thought that one of the Browns’ caps from the late 1940s was one of the best looking caps ever.

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In a much more important event, on October 30, 1953 George Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I am of the very strong opinion that once the award was given to Yasser Arafat (in 1994), one of the world’s worst terrorists and murderers, the award became meaningless, another exercise in political dogma. However, Marshall’s award, given to him for “a plan aimed at the economic recovery of Western Europe after World War II” speaks volumes about the magnitude of Marshall’s plan and its impact.

Whadda ‘ya know? A post with no cars and no pictures, I hope you enjoyed it.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#800Posts

#StLouisBrowns

#GeorgeMarshall

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Throwback Thursday 40

While it is true that on this day in 1895 Charles Duryea was issued the first US patent for a gasoline-powered automobile, I wanted to write something more personal for this edition of Throwback Thursday.

At this time 50 years ago, I was in the last days as a fourth-grade student at Public School #241 in Baltimore. Our teacher was Mrs. S and both Dr. Zal and I had a crush on her. She lived in the same apartment complex as Dr. Zal and one day during the summer between fourth and fifth grade, after screwing up our courage, we decided to pay her a visit. She could not have been more gracious and friendly. I think we spent a half hour in her apartment talking about school.

Could something like that even happen today? (I’m not talking about the virus restrictions getting in the way.) One reason I remember that afternoon fondly is that it seems like a relic from a simpler time. As I have written before, I often pine for my childhood because it was a time when almost anything seemed possible. It also seems, from this distance, as if those were much simpler and more pleasant days.

Of course, my memory could be faulty. In his great book about Vince Lombardi, When Pride Still Mattered, David Maraniss writes about “the fallacy of the innocent past.” I simply could have been unaware of life’s travails at that age.

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As I have previously revealed my birthday is in late March. While my annual physical was originally scheduled for early April, in deference to current circumstances I pushed it out until June 12, which is tomorrow, of course. Yesterday, I received a call from my doctor’s office basically begging me not to have the physical as scheduled, but to reschedule or to have a phone visit, instead. When I reminded the representative that I needed blood work, she said if I had signed up for the “Patient Portal” the doctor could have given me a slip to get the lab work done somewhere else. When I replied that still would require a visit to a lab outside my house and that I might as well see the doctor, after confirming I had a mask and gloves, she relented and confirmed my appointment.

I have to say that, while I realize her intentions were honorable, the call was most disturbing. Yes, the doctor’s office is in a building attached to this area’s primary hospital, but haven’t they established procedures to mitigate risk by now? Her call has also made me question whether or not I want to have the physical exam tomorrow.

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All of the In Or Out? cars have been voted In except for the first one, the Maserati 3200 GT. I have tried to choose cars that are not obviously In or Out for you, the readers. I have also tried to choose cars that are not obviously In or Out for me, but think that almost all of the cars have been candidates, at least, to make my vaguely defined Automobile Top 100.

While this is not an In Or Out? post, I want to show a car that might be a subject for the series at some later date. From Classic Cars, a picture of a 1958 Chevrolet Impala:

 

See the source image

 

I am 95% certain that for this first year, the Impala was actually a sub-model of the Bel Air. In standard catalog of® American Cars, 1946-1975 by John Gunnell the Impala is listed under the Bel Air series for 1958, but then listed separately from 1959 on.

This was a one-year only body style. It’s hard to imagine something like that happening today, even though modern design systems actually make it easier to make changes.

Although now discontinued for the third and almost certainly final time, the Impala is one of the most significant models in US automotive history. At its introduction, one of its most distinctive features was the symmetrical triple taillights. From Fine Art America, a picture showing those lights:

 

See the source image

 

I have seen this taillight treatment on several modified Corvettes, especially C2 models (1963-1967). The 1958 model year was also significant as it marked the introduction of the first version of the Chevrolet big-block engine, the W-Series. Originally displacing “just” 348 cubic inches, this engine family would be produced until 2009. (Please see the comments for clarification. Technically, the W-Block was not the same as the famous 396/427 big block of the 1960s. Still, this began Chevrolet’s production of big-block V8s that continued until 2009.) My sources are not in agreement on the highest output for this engine in its intro year. Using the more conservative source, for 1958 the 348 cubic-inch engine maxed out at 280 HP/355 LB-FT of torque.

Any thoughts on the 1958 Impala?

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#TheFallacyOfTheInnocentPast

#InOrOut?

#1958ChevroletImpala

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday, 1950s Concept Car Edition

I am disappointed (unhappy?) that more concept cars don’t end up in production. I am also disappointed that on those few occasions when those cars are produced, they are often watered down versions of the original.

Although the saying “If you can dream it, then you can do it” is not always literally true–I mean, I can dream of flapping my arms and flying to the moon, but that’s not going to happen–trying to bring dreams to fruition can be among the most noble of human pursuits. In the last two decades or so, Cadillac has created a number of stunning concept vehicles, but except for the Evoq, which became the XLR, none of them have been brought into production and I think that’s a real shame.

The first car I will show is probably my favorite 1950s concept car. From Cars Of The Fabulous ’50s, the 1953 DeSoto Adventurer I:

 

DeSoto Adventurer I Cars Of The Fabulous 50s

 

Supposedly, Chrysler (DeSoto’s parent, in case you didn’t know or even if you did) almost put this car into production. However, the memory of the Airflow of the 1930s still lingered at Chrysler and that, coupled with corporate conservatism, doomed the car to concept-only status. (By the way, on a point only tangentially related to this: If you see a post with a broken link to a picture–in other words, if a reference to a photo exists but the picture isn’t displayed–please let me know here. Thanks.)

The January, 1954 issue of Popular Mechanics shows the Adventurer I and the Dodge Firearrow (to be shown shortly) and mentions that the bodies for both cars were built in Italy by Ghia. Chrysler Corporation had a partnership with Ghia in the 1950s that led to cars like the rare Chrysler Ghia ST Special and the Dual-Ghia. Supposedly, the Adventurer I was Virgil Exner’s favorite car and he lobbied hard for Chrysler to put the car into production. Since it was an early-1950s DeSoto, it was powered by DeSoto’s version of the first Chrysler hemi engine.

From oldconceptcars.com a picture of the 1954 Dodge Firearrow concept car:

 

See the source image

 

This one is the Firearrow III and, as one would suspect given the suffix, was the third in a series of concept cars with that name. So, how many words is a picture worth, anyway? Again, it’s a shame this car was never produced. I don’t know if the car has been sold again, but the Firearrow III was sold by RM Auctions (now RM Sotheby’s) at its Phoenix auction in January, 2009 for $800,000. Remember what was happening in the world at that time.

 

 

This is a picture I took during the Elegance at Hershey in 2019 of the 1951 LeSabre concept car by General Motors. This was the “follow-up” to the first concept car, the famous Buick Y-Job of 1938. Like that car, the LeSabre was fully functional and like the Y-Job Harley Earl used it as his personal car after it was shown around the country.

The LeSabre was the first GM car to have the transmission mounted in the rear and was also the first application of the aluminum small-block V-8 that was later used in Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac cars of the early 1960s and then by Rover group (including Land Rover, Triumph, MG) until the early 1990s. By the way, the LeSabre engine was supercharged and could run on gasoline or methanol. According to Nick Williams of the Historical Vehicle Association, the LeSabre answered the question of what could be built without the restrictions of fuels, costs, or availability of materials.

Before you think I have forgotten the other “Big Three” company:

 

See the source image

 

From topworldauto.com a picture of the 1955 Lincoln Futura show car. It was a success in that role and was later released as a model kit and a toy. In a less extreme form, the headlight and taillight treatments were used on production Lincolns like the Capri and Premiere in 1956 and 1957. Of course, the most famous use of the car was as the basis for the Batmobile in the Batman TV series. George Barris acquired the car for $1 and “other valuable consideration.” Obviously given the timing, the transformation to the Batmobile was not made until years after the Futura was shown. Oh…the original body was assembled by Ghia.

I remember a time when car shows were more about concept cars than about companies trying to show their current lineup in an attempt to get you to buy one. Sadly, I guess we’ll never return to those days.

 

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#1950sConceptCars

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday 39

Reader Michael T is not a fan of Cristy Lee. He sent me a note through the Contact page in which he wrote the following regarding her contributions to the Barrett-Jackson telecasts, “Basically she only recited the obvious with no depth or great knowledge of the classic car hobby. Really just a self-promoter using the pretty face to weave her way through job after job and make appearances based on a really shallow resume. It will run out soon.”

Everyone is entitled to his/her view. I think Cristy Lee is/was a great addition to the telecasts. She has much experience working on vehicles and covering motorsports. Besides, no one should ever forget that TV is a visual medium. Is she an expert on automotive history? That’s why Steve Magnante and Mike Joy are (were) there.

As I have written here before, although I like (liked?) watching the Barrett-Jackson telecasts I enjoy watching the Mecum broadcasts more and that’s not just because I’m friends with Scott Hoke. The Mecum crew respect the cars and the auctions, but they don’t take any of it so seriously that they forget to have some fun. Frankly, the Barrett-Jackson telecasts are, at times, stiff. The Mecum telecasts feature conversations among the crew whereas the B-J broadcasts often consist of Person A saying X and then Person B saying Y with no real interaction.

Anyway, just wanted to make sure I’m not accused of being a shill for Cristy Lee. By the way, since the comments for any post close after 36 days, if you want to add to the conversation after that you can write to me here, like Michael T did.

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How many of you remember this cartoon?

 

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From a Wiki site devoted to the Cartoon Network a fuzzy photo of an image from “The Herculoids.” When I was a kid I LOVED this cartoon. Although I haven’t seen an episode in decades, I have to admit that I still get chills of joy and awe just looking at the picture and thinking about the show.

The show was broadcast on CBS from September, 1967 to September, 1969. In the life of someone whose age is in single digits, two years is a long time. From Wikipedia, “In the show, the space barbarian family Zandor, Tara and son Dorno fight alongside their giant pet Herculoids — dragon Zok, rhinoceros Tundro, rock ape Igoo and the shape-shifting Gloop and Gleep — to keep their planet safe from invading robots, mad scientists and mutants.”

Do I remember specific episodes and plots? No, I just remember the effect the show had on me. Once again, sometimes I long for my childhood, which was a time when almost anything seemed possible.

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I also long for something else that will never happen, the ability to buy and to store cars at will. I look at car listings on Hemmings, Classic Cars, AutoTrader and Bring a Trailer virtually every day. I have never needed a rationale like finding a Corvette companion/grocery car for our life in the desert. Sometimes I think that such a reason is just an excuse to keep ogling at cars, cars like this:

 

 

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From Wallpaper Cave a picture of a Ferrari 458 Spider. (Yes, the first picture I showed here was from Bring A Trailer, but they are getting aggressive at “breaking” picture links from their site.) No, we will not buy a car like this unless we win the lottery. For the nth plus nth time from the movie Diner, if you don’t have dreams you have nightmares.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#CristyLee

#TheHerculoids

#Ferrari458Spider

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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