Throwback Thursday: Summer In The City

On this day in 1966 the single “Summer In The City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful was atop the Billboard Hot 100/Top 40 chart. A couple of relevant photos:

 

Image result for summer in the city lovin spoonful

 

Group member John Sebastian left The Lovin’ Spoonful for a solo career in 1968 and returned to the top of the charts in 1976 with the theme to “Welcome Back, Kotter.” “Summer In The City” was originally a poem written by Sebastian’s brother, Mark. Lovin’ Spoonful bassist Steve Boone had written a piece for piano that hadn’t seemed to fit any other song, but seemed to fit here. Voilà! and the rest is history.

I have always thought that “Summer In The City” had a unique sound and not just for its era.

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Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time–I did not begin following sports for another two years–the summer of 1966 saw the Baltimore Orioles bring the city its first major league baseball championship since the 19th century. Newly acquired Frank Robinson won the Triple Crown (leading the league in batting average, homeruns and RBI) and was named American League Most Valuable Player (MVP), which made him the only player to earn the honor in both leagues. (He was National League MVP in 1961.)

 

See the source image

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Although not in the summer, 1966 marked the end of Studebaker automobile production and the end of the company’s 114-year history as a producer of vehicles of any kind. From Classic Register a picture of a 1966 Studebaker Daytona 2-door sedan:

 

See the source image

 

Model year 1966 Studebaker production was just 8,947 units and calendar year production just 2,045 as manufacture ended in March of 1966. Of course, all Studebaker production had taken place at its Hamilton, Ontario plant since January, 1964.

The company was the next-to-last major American “independent” car company to fold. American Motors lasted until its purchase by Chrysler Corporation in 1987. Of course, I suppose one can consider Tesla to be an American independent automobile manufacturer. Everything old is new again; Studebaker’s first automobiles were powered by an electric motor and were produced from 1902 to 1911.

The 1966 model year saw the launch of two significant American cars: the Oldsmobile Toronado and the Dodge Charger. The Charger nameplate is still used today, of course. The Toronado was the first American car with front-wheel drive since the Cord 812 of 1937. The Toronado presaged the move to front-wheel drive in the 1980s. OK, I’ll show pictures:

 

See the source image

See the source image

(Both pictures are from Classic Cars.) Although I prefer the exterior design of its GM cousin, the Cadillac Eldorado introduced in 1967, I do think the Toronado has a good look and, of course, its engineering was quite significant.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#SummerInTheCity

#FrankRobinson

#Studebaker

#somanycarsjustonelife

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I Couldn’t Stay Away Throwback Thursday

Those of you who picked two days off in the pool can collect your money. Yes, I had originally written that I would take three (maybe four) days off, but I simply had to write today.

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From Jake Novak, formerly of CNBC:

 

“If you call Israel an “occupier,” you are either a liar or an ignoramus…although these days, most people saying this are both.”

 

Novak is not one who often uses pejoratives. It is frightening to me that so many people side with a terrorist/criminal organization like Hamas and spurn the only democracy in the Middle East. I think that simply reveals anti-Semitism has always been prevalent, but sometimes less visible. Like the people who voted for Tonald Drump in 2016 or were pro-Brexit, but didn’t admit that to pollsters before those elections, people who are really anti-Semites sometimes hide their views. They’re still wrong, whether their views are overt or covert.

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I have been receiving an increasing number of links in my email to articles about the C4 Corvette. It seems as though interest in the newest generation Corvette, the C8, has increased interest in all Corvettes. First, some C4 photos and then proof that I have spent too much time with The Genuine Corvette Black Book and have way too much time on my hands.

 

See the source image

 

Courtesy of Corvette Blogger a picture of a 1984 Corvette, the first year of the C4. The ’84 Vette used the same “Cross-Fire” fuel injection used in the last year of the C3, 1982. No, there was no 1983 model year Corvette. Get over it…

 

See the source image

 

Sorry for the different picture size…from an unsecured site a picture of a 1990 Corvette convertible with the auxiliary hardtop. Thirty-one percent of ’90 Vette convertibles were sold with the auxiliary hardtop. In the same way, I guess, that I love the look of the C2 convertible with the hardtop in place, I feel the same way about the C4.

 

See the source image

 

From FastLaneCars.com a picture of a 1996 Corvette, the last year of the C4. Here is that proof I mentioned earlier:

 

YEAR NUMBER PRODUCED CONV COUPE BASE CONV BASE BASE HP TOP HP PCT AUTO
1984 51,547 0 $21,800 N/A 205 205 87.5%
1985 39,729 0 $24,403 N/A 230 230 75.9%
1986 35,109 7,315 $27,027 $32,032 230 235 80.5%
1987 30,632 10,625 $27,999 $33,172 240 240 86.0%
1988 22,789 7,407 $29,489 $34,820 240 245 81.2%
1989 26,412 9,749 $31,545 $36,785 245 245 84.4%
1990 23,646 7,630 $31,979 $37,264 250 375 65.7%
1991 20,639 5,672 $32,455 $38,770 245 375 71.5%
1992 20,479 5,875 $33,635 $40,145 300 375 73.2%
1993 21,590 5,692 $34,595 $41,195 300 405 75.3%
1994 23,330 5,346 $36,185 $42,960 300 405 74.2%
1995 21,590 5,692 $36,785 $43,665 300 405 75.3%
1996 21,536 4,369 $37,225 $45,060 300 330 70.5%
TOTAL 359,028 75,372          

 

For the Top HP I did not show the Callaway Twin-Turbo cars that were available from 1987 to 1991, inclusive, because that was not a factory-installed option. It was a potent engine, though; for example, the 1988 Callaway Twin-Turbo was rated at 382 HP and 562 LB-FT of torque. The top factory engine was 245 HP/340 LB-FT.

For the nth plus nth time I will write that I was not a fan of C4 Corvettes for a long time, until I was. I think if you can buy one, especially one from 1992 or later, or even better, from 1995 or 1996, then you probably should.

All of this data comes from a spreadsheet I made years ago using information from The Genuine Corvette Black Book. Like I wrote, too much time…

I used to frequent the message boards of a certain car “publication,” in large part as a way to drive traffic to my blog. When it was announced that the C8 would not be offered with a traditional manual transmission, many readers commented that was the death knell of the Corvette, that Vette drivers preferred a manual. When I commented that more Corvettes have been sold with automatics every model year since 1972, the silence was deafening. Yes, never let the facts get in the way of your opinions…sounds like anti-Semites. You can see that automatics accounted for more than 70 percent of C4 production every year except 1990.

Hemmings currently has 84 1992-96 Corvettes listed for non-auction sale. Twenty-three of these cars have an asking price of less than $15,000. I suspect prices for C4 Corvettes have increased along with the price of virtually all used cars, in the wake of the damn virus and chip shortage that have choked production of new cars, and the renewed interest in all Corvettes.

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments.

 

#ICouldn’tStayAway

#ThrowbackThursday

#JakeNovak

#Anti-SemiticLies

#IStandWithIsrael

#C4Corvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday: 1946

Of course, 1946 was the first full calendar year after the end of World War II. It was also 75 years ago for those of you who are mathematically challenged.

On January 10, 1946, the scientists of Project Diana bounced radar signals off the Moon. The exact distance between the Earth and the Moon was measured and, in essence, the project marked the beginning of the Space Age.

On March 5, 1946, in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill used the phrase “Iron Curtain.” Here is the part of the speech where Churchill used the phrase, with some accompanying words for context:

 

“It is my duty however, for I am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.”

 

On October 16, 1946, the last remaining ten Nazi war criminals sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials were executed by hanging. Never Forget! Never Again!

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While US auto production actually resumed in calendar year 1945 after the end of the war, only about 83,000 cars were built. While the auto industry struggled with labor unrest and supply shortages, automobile production soared in 1946 as a population that had suffered for more than 15 years with an economic depression and world war was eager to buy any new car it could. I have been unable to find figures for calendar year 1946 production, but for the 1946 model year, production reached about 2.25 million units. That figure was still well below the 1941 number of about 3.7 million cars, however, perhaps testimony to the effects of the labor and supply difficulties.

General Motors, in particular, was hit hard by a strike that lasted 113 days from November, 1945 to March, 1946. The strike helped Ford lead in model year production at approximately 468,000 cars. Chevrolet built 398,000, but Plymouth and Dodge were third and fourth, respectively.

Ford’s most popular 1946 car was the Super DeLuxe Tudor sedan. I hope this picture (from Classic.com) is one of those:

 

See the source image

 

Yes, a “Tudor” sedan. While today we classify almost all four-door cars as sedans and almost all two-door cars as coupes, I think the original definition of those terms had to do with total interior space and not with the number of doors.

Of course, 1946 model year cars looked like prewar cars. Studebaker introduced an all-new car in late spring 1946, and new company Kaiser-Fraser began production about the same time, but these were, technically, 1947 model year cars. Is this a 1942 Chevrolet or a 1946? (Picture from Pinterest…)

 

See the source image

 

This is actually a 1942 Master DeLuxe town sedan, Chevy’s most popular car in the truncated 1942 model year. For 1946, its most popular offering was the Stylemaster sport sedan, which accounted for 19 percent of Chevrolet sales. Stylemaster was simply the new name for the Master DeLuxe line, which was the entry-level Chevrolet.

Of course, this post could not capture the entirety of world and automobile events for 1946. I encourage you to do some research on your own.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#1946

#WinstonChurchill

#NeverForget!NeverAgain!

#1946FordSuperDeLuxeTudorSedan

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday: NFL Draft Edition

Most of you probably neither know nor care, but tonight is the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. If I am to be honest, I have followed the draft less this year than in any other year in a long time. If it weren’t for the fact that ESPN’s “draft guru,” Mel Kiper, and I have been friends for almost 30 years, I probably would have stopped watching the draft years ago.

The American Football League (AFL) began play in 1960 and was successful enough, particularly in signing college players, to get the National Football League (NFL) to agree to a merger. Beginning with the 1967 draft–the two leagues would not actually merge into one until the 1970 season–the two leagues had a single draft of college players.

By virtue of their being an expansion team, the New Orleans Saints had the first pick in the 1967 draft. However, a week before the draft they traded the pick to the Baltimore Colts as part of a package for Baltimore backup quarterback Gary Cuozzo and guard Butch Allison. Cuozzo wasn’t even the Saints starting QB for the entire 1967 season, losing his job to Billy Kilmer.

The Colts selected Michigan State All-American defensive end Charles Aaron “Bubba” Smith with the first pick. He was one of four Spartans selected among the first eight picks. Smith was a good, not great, NFL player and probably became more famous in his post-football career as an actor. Of course, Smith’s football career was derailed by a serious injury in a pre-season game in 1972 and he filed suit against the NFL, two game officials and the Tampa Sports Authority (the game was held in Tampa) seeking damages. Eventually, Smith lost the suit. He played a total of nine seasons in the NFL, but was never the same after the injury.

I wanted to show a quality picture of Smith in a Baltimore Colts uniform, but it seems as though the rights to all of them are owned by Getty Images. I wish I still had the collection of large black and white photos of each Colts player my father gave me in 1969 or 1970. I could have taken a picture of Smith’s picture. As it is, here is a picture of Smith from Pinterest:

 

See the source image

 

Bubba Smith is #78 on the right. I am fairly certain that the player to the left, #74, is another Smith: Billy Ray Smith, Sr. who played for the Colts for ten seasons, 1961-1970.

The first round of the NFL Draft has better television ratings than most MLB or NBA playoff games. An average of almost 16 million viewers watched the first round of last year’s draft. Over 4 million watched the third day of the draft, rounds 4-7. By comparison, Game 2 of the 2020 American League Championship Series, the competition that determined the AL participant in the World Series, had fewer than 2 million viewers. Some games in the NBA conference championship series, which determined the participants in the NBA championship, had fewer than 4 million viewers. Yes, last year’s numbers were distorted by the damn virus, but 16 million viewers vs. 2 million or 4 million is quite a stark contrast.

Back to the 1967 draft…four eventual Hall of Famers were selected in the first round: Bob Griese, Floyd Little, Alan Page and Gene Upshaw. In all, 10 Hall of Famers were picked in the 1967 draft. A total tangent: one of those players, Willie Lanier, selected by Kansas City in the second round from Morgan State in Baltimore, was friends with my 7th-grade homeroom and music teacher, Mrs. Dorsey.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Throwback Thursday edition, even if you’re not much of a football fan.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#NFLDraft

#MelKiper

#1967NFLDraft

#BubbaSmith

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Throwback Thursday: Wide Track Pontiac

At least I didn’t wake up from another bad dream. I did wake up with the “Wide Trackin’ Pontiac” commercial jingle in my head, though. An admittedly brief search of the Minion of the Evil Empire (AKA YouTube) did not unearth a commercial with the exact jingle that is still playing in my head, but this will have to do.

The “Wide Track” Pontiacs came into existence with the 1959 model year. From this article by Hemmings:

 

“At that time, although the body styling was very appealing with the normal tread, the new Pontiac looked like a football player in ballet shoes,” [Pontiac General Manager Bunkie] Knudsen recalled. “Pete [Estes, Chief Engineer] and I moved the wheels out as a styling measure and it looked fantastic. We checked it out and found that the cost to make the change was minimal, so we went ahead and it was well worth it.”

 

The front track (the distance between the wheels along one axle) was 5 inches wider on the ’59 models than on the ’58s and the rear track was 4 1/2 inches wider. Other changes were adopted in steering, suspension and braking.

Pontiac sales increased by 76 percent in 1959 compared to 1958. The momentum continued until Pontiac became the third-best selling make in the US, behind only Chevrolet and Ford, in 1962 and stayed there all the way through 1969.

Of course, the Pontiac make has now been defunct for a decade. Maybe that’s for the best as the company that made the GTO, the Trans Am and the Wide Track cars might be out of place as an electric vehicle.

Anyway, back to 1959…from Motorious a picture of the top of the line Pontiac model, a Bonneville in Sport Coupe trim:

 

See the source image

 

All 1959 Pontiacs came with the well-known 389 cubic-inch V-8. Apparently, the famous Tri-Power (for three carburetors) setup was available on all models that year. The highest output for this motor was 345 HP/425 LB-FT of torque. I don’t have access to info on how many of the top engine were sold, but I can tell you that 27,769 Bonneville Sport Coupes were produced in 1959 (at a base price of $3,257), which was only about 7 percent of total Pontiac production. The Catalina 4-door sedan was the most popular model with 72,377 units or 19 percent of Pontiac output.

Regular readers know of my affinity for Pontiac and of the significant place it occupies in my automotive history. The only constant in the world is change and virtually nothing is all good or all bad. The changes that ended Pontiac and are pushing us to a future of autonomous electric vehicles are not all good, that’s for sure. By the way, how will the already inadequate US electrical grid handle millions of electric vehicles being charged every day? In the mad rush to EVs no one really seems to be addressing that issue.

I still very much want to own a car from a defunct American make. While I think and write about the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk often, a Pontiac from the early 1960s is a strong contender. If only I were in a position to make this happen. In actuality, the biggest obstacle is sheer lack of space for another car. Oh well, who knows what the future holds?

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#WideTrackPontiac

#1959PontiacBonnevilleSportCoupe

#NothingIsAllGoodOrAllBad

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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PS, please wish my wonderful wife and me good luck for tomorrow as I embark on getting vaccinated against the damn virus while fervently hoping that she will be vaccinated as well.

Throwback Thursday 44

On this day 60 years ago, this was the Number One song on the Billboard chart:

 

See the source image

 

The Shirelles were the first all-female group to have the top song on the Billboard chart. The song was written by the husband and wife duo of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The two were married from 1959 to 1969 and were a prolific song-writing pair.

King, born Carol Joan Klein, later made 25 solo albums including the hugely successful Tapestry which topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971 and remained on the charts for more than six years. As I have written here before, Dr. Zal and I were obsessed with the Billboard Top 40 charts in the early 1970s. Being of that era, and not being wealthy, we focused on 45s and not albums as the former were less expensive. We never would have, or could have, made our own Top 40 album charts as we did for 45s.

After much success on the Scepter label from 1960 to 1963, with songs like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Mama Said,” “Baby It’s You” (one of my favorites from that era) and “Soldier Boy,” the Shirelles never had another Top 40 single. The “British invasion” as well as “competition” from other all-female groups like the Supremes are often cited as reasons why their popularity declined.

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I have been “playing hurt” for a few days. In all honesty, my well of ideas has also run dry at the moment. My posting may be more sporadic than usual for some time. Once again, if anyone has a particular topic about which they would like me to write, please feel free to let me know. Thanks.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#TheShirelles

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Throwback Thursday, TV Commercials

First…I must admit I am disappointed at the lack of votes for yesterday’s A Or B feature. Enough said…

 

These days, it is easy to avoid TV commercials and based on those I do see, almost all of them should be avoided. I have written of my extreme disdain for the Limu Emu and Doug commercials. I can happily report that we no longer do business with that company, in large part due to those commercials.

Some commercials, though, are still clever, but certain commercials from the past seem to continue to resonate. How many of you know who Jack Somack was? If I show you a picture you might recognize him:

 

Alka-Seltzer’s “Spicy Meatball” Grows Better With Age

 

The picture is from Ace Metrix, which is, apparently, a company that tests the effectiveness of commercials. This is a still from the famous Alka-Seltzer “Spicy Meatball” commercial. Reluctantly, I will publish a link to the commercial from a Minion of The Evil Empire. Jack Somack is the man in the commercial suffering through ruined take after ruined take. By the way, political correctness is not that new. According to Somack’s biography on imdb.com, despite its success the commercial was pulled from the air after protests from Italian-American anti-defamation groups that the commercial promoted unflattering stereotypes of Italians. By the way, according to imdb, Somack did not begin acting professionally until he was in his 50s. Maybe it’s not too late for me… 🙂

What commercials from the past do you remember fondly?

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Speaking of TV, 50 years ago was the middle of the 1970-71 TV season in the US. What was the #1 rated show for that season? Marcus Welby, M.D. That was significant as it was the first show aired on ABC to finish #1 in the Nielsen ratings for an entire season.

Robert Young came out of a seven-year retirement to play the lead role. I could swear I have read that thousands of people wrote letters to “Marcus Welby, M.D.” every year asking for medical advice, but I cannot find corroboration. From Nostalgia Central, a picture of the cast of the show:

 

See the source image

 

On the left, of course, is Robert Young. Elena Verdugo, who played nurse Consuelo Lopez, is in the center and James Brolin, Dr. Steven Kiley, is on the right. The show ran for seven seasons. As regular readers know, I am a fan of many TV medical dramas. My favorite show ever is House, M.D. My favorite show currently airing on US television is Transplant, a Canadian show airing on NBC about a Syrian refugee doctor working in a Toronto hospital.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#TVCommercials

#MarcusWelbyM.D.

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Throwback Thursday, Throwback To Where

Originally, I was going to call this post Throwback Thursday, A Tale Of Two Cities. I was going to write about the city in which I was born and the city in which I currently live.

The former has experienced a 37 percent decline in its population in my lifetime, while the population of the latter has increased by 2,474 percent. No, that is not a typo. People vote with their feet, remember.

In the end, however, I just didn’t think I could write a post about the topic that would appeal to me or to my readers. Still, here’s a photo that has some relevance today:

 

 

I believe this picture of a December, 1960 snowfall is from The Baltimore Sun. Of course, the Northeast has just seen its first major snow event in 2-3 years although I think Baltimore was mostly spared. No, I’m not sorry we missed the storm because we moved and no, we were not living in the Baltimore area.

The only constant in the world is change. For most of my life I have loved snow, probably in large part due to the fact that a significant snowfall would get me out of school. I also do not remember ever having to make up any snow days.

Then, seemingly in the space between one winter and the next in my mid-50s, I lost my affinity for winter and its weather. It was sunny and 63° here yesterday. I have seen more cloudless skies here in the six weeks or so since we left the mid-Atlantic for good than I would see there in a year.

Yes, I know it will be very hot here next summer. That’s a price I gladly pay for the weather the rest of the year. My wonderful wife says the summers never bothered her when she lived here from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s. Still, I’m very glad we just spent a significant amount getting our HVAC system up to snuff. (Does that phrase show my age?)

I would like to read about any major changes in your preferences during your lives, whether or not it’s related to weather or the seasons.

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Do you think you would want to own a car that could reach 300 MPH? According to this article, renowned car builder Hennessey (headquartered in Texas) will build (is building?) a car called the Venom F5 that can reach 500 KM/hour or 311 MPH. From the article, a picture of the car:

 

 

The Venom F5 is powered by an original Hennessey engine, the “Fury” V-8, which is a 6.6 liter, twin-turbo motor that can produce over 1,800 HP and about 1,200 LB-FT of torque. Only 24 of these will be made at a price of $2.1 million each. Here is a remark by John Hennessey:

 

“This car goes against the grain of modern hypercars, many of which have become soft and docile. The F5 resets the balance, having been designed from the ground up to be the antithesis of the ‘everyday hypercar’ – it will always be an occasion to drive.”

 

I find that comment to be very interesting. In my opinion, a car that can reach 225+ MPH, like some cars that have been produced in the last 10-20 years, cannot be described as docile, even if they are smooth to drive at normal speeds.

I am reluctant to ask if you would be interested in buying a Venom F5 assuming you could afford it because I really believe that people don’t know what they would do in an “out-of-context” situation until they are experiencing it. Still, it’s an interesting question to ponder, at least as sort of a cerebral exercise.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#ATaleOfTwoCities

#HennesseyVenomF5

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday 43

First…yesterday I criticized those who think taxes have no impact on behavior. Yes, there really are people who think taxes don’t affect how people act. This story from CNBC is about yet another of the countless examples of how taxes profoundly influence behavior.

Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir and founder of a venture firm named 8VC, is moving his company headquarters from San Francisco to Austin, Texas. In an interview, Lonsdale specifically cited California’s high taxes as a key reason why the company was moving to Texas. Peter Thiel, co-founder and Chairman of Palantir, recently announced that his company headquarters were also leaving California and moving to Denver, Colorado.

If they can, people vote with their feet. Making rich people poorer will not make poor people richer, at least not in the developed world. The politics of envy are a road to nowhere.

Second…Hallelujah! Fack Fucebook is likely to be the subject of two antitrust lawsuits, including one that could be filed as early as next week. State attorneys general are preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook as soon as next week and at least 20 to 30 states could join in. Many sources are reporting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also likely to file an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook.

Facebook has a de facto monopoly on “social media” especially when one considers that they own Instagram. I have tremendous respect for Jim Cramer of CNBC, but disagree with him on this issue. The possibility that the cost of digital advertising will increase if Facebook is broken up is a poor reason for not doing so. The power the company has is dangerous and time and time again they have shown disrespect for the data of their customers.

Delete Facebook! Fack Fucebook!

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What was the best-selling car in the US fifty years ago, or 1970 for those of you who are mathematically challenged? It was a model that sold over a million units for model year 1965 and even though by 1970 that figure had diminished by more than half, it was still at the top of the heap. Here is a picture (from Classic Car Database):

 

See the source image

 

This is a 1970 Chevrolet Impala. For that year about 496,000 Impalas were produced. Based on my admittedly less than thorough research, I believe the #2 car model was the Ford LTD at about 374,000.

For a model that was so successful for so many years, it is quite sad to me that the Impala is no longer being produced and probably never will be again. From the first year that the Impala was a completely separate model, 1959, through 1968–ten model years–more than seven million Impalas were produced.

As I have recounted before in this blog, I have a sentimental attachment to the Impala. When my ’67 GTO was wrecked in an accident two weeks before I was to leave for college for the first time, it was my father’s ’61 Impala that got me back and forth between home and college during my first semester. My aunt and uncle owned a ’64 that they would let me pretend to drive.

Car enthusiasts, particularly American car enthusiasts, should acknowledge the significance of the Chevrolet Impala.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#SayNoToThePoliticsOfEnvy

#TaxesMatter

#FackFucebook

#JimCramer

#1970ChevroletImpala

#1970FordLTD

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday, Gettysburg Address Edition

On this day in 1863, as part of the dedication ceremony for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President Abraham Lincoln gave what became one of the most famous speeches in American history. Here it is:

 

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

Sadly, I think the US has strayed very far from Lincoln’s vision. Obviously, I am not the only person who has that view. We have become a nation governed by an unholy alliance of special interest groups and government bureaucrats; the former consumed by naked self-interest, the latter consumed by ideology and a need for power.

I think we are engaged in a Cold Civil War, a war of vastly differing visions for this country, but a war without bullets (mostly). Once again, I think the end result will be the dissolution of the US as we know it as the attempted departure of any state(s) from the union will be welcomed by those in states where the majority of its citizens hold different views.

Nothing lasts forever including nations. Where is Czechoslovakia? Where is Yugoslavia? Going back further in time, where is the Roman Empire? Where is the Austro-Hungarian Empire? (Speaking of Hungary, could anyone have imagined 50 years ago that it would be a NATO member before the end of the 20th century?)

Government is only supposed to exist with the consent of the governed (of the people, by the people, for the people). It is not supposed to be a monolithic, unaccountable entity. However, views on the role of government have become so polarized that I see no resolution other than dissolution.

******************

A more pleasant throwback and not an effort to demean the Gettysburg Address or Abraham Lincoln:

 

See the source image

 

This is a picture (from Motor Authority) of the Pontiac Banshee I concept car, unveiled in 1964, and not a C3 Corvette prototype.

From this article in Corv Sport titled “The Pontiac Banshee: The Most Influential Car That Never Was:”

 

However, in the case of the Pontiac Banshee, a design can fail to receive final approval, due solely to the fact that the car in question would likely become a threat to the sales of a brand’s flagship offering. This is a lesson that John DeLorean, much to his disgust, was forced to come to terms with.

During this same period [the mid-1960s], the GTO, originally offered as an options package for the Pontiac LeMans, had begun to garner a following of its own. However, one of the project’s chief designers, John DeLorean, was not yet content with Pontiac’s footprint in the performance/sports car sector. Instead, he set out to engineer something revolutionary by design, that would yield performance and driveability characteristics of sufficient fortitude to topple the Mustang’s elite status.

It was out of this desire that the XP-883 concept car was born. This particular car was known by the Pontiac design team staff as the Banshee. Ultimately, two original Banshee concept cars were built. Out of these two, one was a soft-topped roadster, and the other featured a removable hardtop.

The Banshee featured sleek body lines, a 90-inch wheelbase, and weighed in at only 2,615 pounds. The car also boasted a 421 H.O. engine that was mated to a Muncie M-21 four-speed transmission. It appeared that there was a bright future ahead for the Banshee, if only it reached production. Unfortunately, it never did.

When DeLorean set out to secure the approval that was needed to send the Banshee into full-fledged production, his requests were met with steadfast rejection. Although the Banshee was poised for potential greatness, there was indeed a stumbling block in DeLorean’s path.

The Banshee, with its comparable horsepower to the Corvette of the day, and its notably lighter curb weight, was seen as a direct threat to the American icon’s elite status. Because of this, rejection was levied against DeLorean’s ambitions for the Banshee. It seemed as if GM executives had taken a hardline stance against the Banshee, for no other reason than the fact that they felt it would become formidable opposition to the Corvette, in both the performance and sales arena.

Even with a revised presentation of an inline 6-cylinder option that yielded a reported output of 165 HP, the Banshee failed to secure the number of signatures required to send it to production. Instead, DeLorean was told to cease all work on the current project and proceed to design duties on a Pontiac branded version of the Camaro, which would ultimately become the Firebird.

However, the story of the Banshee was far from over. On September 10, 1965, a memo was passed down to Bill Mitchell, GM’s Head of Design, that featured a request to modify the Banshee’s clays into a more Chevrolet-esque two-passenger coupe design.

When the C3 Corvette debuted in 1968, it held a striking resemblance to the Banshee that had previously been barred from production. In an ironic turn of events, it seemed as if the Banshee had become the latest inception of the very car that it had been forbidden to stack up against.

 

If you can’t beat ’em, be ’em. As every regular reader knows, I am quite the fan of concept cars and wish more of them could be put into production more or less untouched.

 

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