Throwback Thursday: A Horse With No Name

America’s “A Horse With No Name” has been the subject of previous posts, such as this one from May of 2021. Along with Al Green’s “Look What You’ve Done For Me” it brought me back to music after I had basically stopped listening to the radio for reasons long forgotten.

Although my birthday is in March I wanted to point out something I just realized: “A Horse With No Name” was the number one song on the Billboard Top 40/Hot 100 on my birthday 50 years ago, 1972. Could that be a reason I am fond of the song? I doubt it, although I have wondered if my affinity for instrumental music could in any way be related to the fact that “Theme From A Summer Place” topped the Billboard charts the day I was born. This is how my mind works or doesn’t.

 

See the source image

 

“🎼 On the first part of the journey

I was looking at all the life. 🎼”

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A link to a post from Why Evolution Is True on the topic of how too many US universities have turned into bastions of wokeness losing all semblance of fairness and respect for expression of diverse opinions. The piece shows an excerpt from the Kalven Report of 1967, a document that still guides policy at some American colleges, but not enough of them, in my opinion.

 

“The instrument of dissent and criticism is the individual faculty member or the individual student. The university is the home and sponsor of critics; it is not itself the critic. It is, to go back once again to the classic phrase, a community of scholars. To perform its mission in the society, a university must sustain an extraordinary environment of freedom of inquiry and maintain an independence from political fashions, passions, and pressures. A university, if it is to be true to its faith in intellectual inquiry, must embrace, be hospitable to, and encourage the widest diversity of views within its own community. It is a community but only for the limited, albeit great, purposes of teaching and research. It is not a club, it is not a trade association, it is not a lobby.”

 

Apparently, Princeton University is having a crisis of sorts started, somewhat ironically, by two undergraduate students who called out the school for repeated violations of “institutional neutrality.” Jerry Coyne, the author of Why Evolution Is True, included the thoughts of a distinguished Princeton professor, Robert P. George. Here is part of what George wrote:

 

“I have made clear that my own preference would be for the University and its units to respect institutional neutrality. I think that such a policy best serves the mission of universities such as ours by fostering for our students as well as our faculty the conditions of robust, civil debate. Where institutional neutrality is respected, no one is a heretic for deviating from an official party line. What the university and its units provide is a forum for the presentation of reasons, evidence, and arguments by people representing different views—a forum in which there is a genuine engagement among equals with no institutional thumb placed on the scales.

To my mind, the best policy is the one set forth in the University of Chicago’s Kalven Report, which was issued in 1967 and whose principles have guided that distinguished institution ever since…”

 

I love the phrase “with no institutional thumb placed on the scales.” Individuals at universities have the right to free speech; the institutions themselves should adopt no official positions. That position makes sense to me, but common sense is not common enough.

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Without revealing too many details, the additional delay of the repairs to the Z06 has ramifications far beyond the return of the car. When/if everything is sorted out, I’ll fill in the facts.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#AHorseWithNoName

#somanyCARSjustonelife

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Throwback Thursday: Billboard 50 Years Ago

First…while I don’t have an orange Corvette–Daytona Sunrise Orange was my first choice when I decided to look for a 2016 Z06 in earnest, but they are quite scarce so I didn’t want to wait for one–my wonderful wife just bought me a nice substitute:

 

 

Yes, it would have been easier to photograph the hat while it was on a table or something, but I liked the challenge of a selfie without a face. Sorry for all of the ceiling in the pic. I am really getting gray…

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As I have chronicled before, I used to create my own weekly Top 40 song list. This practice began about this time of year, perhaps a little earlier, in 1972 or 50 years ago. It ended about a year after it started, probably because I discovered jazz and stopped listening to Top 40 radio. It began, in part, because a couple of songs rekindled my interest in music early in 1972.

The major impetus, though, was Dr. Zal beginning to do something similar earlier, in 1971 I think, but he would rearrange the given Top 40 according to his preference. I decided I wouldn’t be constrained at all by the preferences of the American record-buying public. At this time, I was listening to a lot of R&B or as we called it then, Soul Music. Yes, I regularly watched Soul Train for about a year. Many of the songs I listened to and liked would never appear on the Billboard Top 40 chart.

An amazing site, top40weekly.com, lists every Billboard Top 40 (and more) going back to 1955, the first “full” year of the Rock and Roll Revolution. (I had no idea Billboard is still compiling this list every week. How do you measure popularity in the era of streaming music?) For the first Throwback Thursday post in three months, I decided to show the Billboard top ten singles on this date 50 years ago. How many do you remember?

 

1 3 THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE –•– Roberta Flack (Atlantic)-7 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 1 A HORSE WITH NO NAME –•– America (Warner Brothers)-9 (1)
3 4 I GOTCHA –•– Joe Tex (Dial)-13 (3)
4 5 ROCKIN’ ROBIN –•– Michael Jackson (Motown)-6 (4)
5 2 HEART OF GOLD –•– Neil Young (Reprise)-11 (1)
6 9 IN THE RAIN –•– The Dramatics (Volt)-8 (6)
7 6 PUPPY LOVE –•– Donny Osmond (MGM)-8 (3)
8 11 BETCHA BY GOLLY, WOW –•– The Stylistics Featuring Russell Thompkins, Jr. (Avco)-8 (8)
9 12 DAY DREAMING –•– Aretha Franklin (Atlantic)-5 (9)
10 13 A COWBOY’S WORK IS NEVER DONE –•– Sonny and Cher (Kapp)-8 (10)

 

OK, an explanation: using the number one song of the week as a guide, the first number (1) is the current chart position, the second (3) is last week’s chart position, then the song title, artist and label, the next number (7) is the number of weeks on the chart and the last number (1) is the song’s current peak.

The previous week’s number one song, A Horse With No Name by America, was one of the two songs that brought me back to music. As it turned out, the number one song at this time in 1972 would turn out to be the number one song for the entire year. Back to America…I waited too long to buy A Horse With No Name so I wound up having to buy the album on which the song appeared.

 

See the source image

 

My album cover does not show “Includes: A Horse With No Name” although it is the same in every other respect. Yes, I still have the album even though I have no way to play vinyl right now. Besides, I also have no idea where the album is.

I remember every song except #10. I am fairly sure I own three of these 45s, which does not include A Horse With No Name. Besides the America album, though, I also have the song in digital form.

You have no idea how much I wish I still had my Top 40 charts. Sadly, they were lost a long time ago. “My salad days, when I was green in judgment.”  – Shakespeare

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#BillboardTop40

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Throwback Thursday

“Wild man’s world is crying in pain,

What you gonna do when everybody’s insane?”

 

That lyric from a “classic” rock tune from the 1970s seems appropriate today. Does anyone know what song it is? It is only very recently that I have realized how much I like it. No, its identity is not revealed here or here.

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By this time in 1971, which was already the 1972 model year for automobiles, cars had begun to be de-tuned. Horsepower was given as a net and not gross figure, which exacerbated the perception that cars were becoming less powerful, although that perception was truth, unlike many other instances. Of course, emissions standards and the dictates of insurance companies were the drivers (no pun intended) for these changes.

For example, the most powerful big-block Corvette engine was rated at 425 HP for model year 1971. The next year, that figure dropped to 270 HP. Again, much of the difference was simply a change in the way horsepower was reported, but not all of it.

The 1972 Corvette was also the last of the C3 generation with chrome bumpers front and rear. Less well known is that it was also the last C3 to feature a removable rear window. The picture below is (I hope) a 1972 Corvette convertible:

 

See the source image

 

In 1981, the only engine available in the Corvette was rated at 190 HP/280 LB-FT of torque. That was the last year in which every Corvette sold was rated at under 200 HP. I doubt anyone could have foreseen a day when Corvettes would be available with 600+ HP off the showroom floor that also made much better gas mileage and had fewer emissions than their ancestors. For the nth time, history is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.

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This passage about 1970 from The Genuine Corvette Black Book has long intrigued me:

 

“An LS7 rated at 460 HP (or 465 HP) was planned and appeared in order guides. It was the big-block version of the LT1, including aluminum heads. A ZR2 package with the LS7 was also planned…The LS7 and ZR2 were cancelled and it is thought none were delivered to retail customers.”

 

The LS6 option in the 1970 Chevelle was a 454 cubic-inch engine rated at 450 HP, the highest “official” HP rating from any American manufacturer during the original muscle car era (1964-1971). Does anyone know anything else about the LS7? This brief piece discusses the engine, but doesn’t provide too much information.

These automotive “almosts” are very interesting to me. Once again, whatever actually happens is not the only thing that could have happened.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#1972ChevroletCorvette

#1970LS7

#LifeIsAMonteCarloSimulation

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday: When Anything Was Possible

I have shown this picture before; it is my “section” my senior year of high school:

 

 

These 30+ high school students were an extraordinary group. David Banner (not his real name) and Dr. Mavro became physicians. One classmate became the CFO of a large energy company before moving to the same role at a large and well-known charity. At least three earned their Ph.D. and that number could be higher as I have lost touch with virtually everyone in the class. I believe that at least two became attorneys; oh well, no group is perfect.

In the second row, third from the right, is someone who stood out even among this august company. He graduated from high school at age 16. He finished the first semester senior year Calculus curriculum by October; the teacher was wise enough to create a new curriculum only for him.

The best math students were given a chance to take part in the US Mathematical Olympiad. Just to be asked to take the test was an honor (I was); the person to whom I have just referred made the second highest score in the US. That feat earned him an invitation to the World Olympiad; he made the second highest score in the world.

When it came to Physics, though, I could hang right with him, although that class was not in our senior year. I had more than a 100 average in the class as I could, and would, do test problems in more than one way for extra credit. In our school, grades were your numerical average and not a letter. However, the teacher was not allowed to actually give me a grade of 105 or whatever, so my Physics grade for the semester was a 100.

I hate to admit that I have forgotten the names of at least ten of my classmates. Nothing like that seemed possible then. Everything great seemed possible. I could start my own car company or get involved with professional sports, the only two interests I really had. Of course, I did forge a 20+ year career in major league baseball and wrote a football book that The Wall Street Journal called without a doubt the best book of its kind ever written. None of that seems to matter anymore, though.

I have written many times about the dissonance in my life comparing earlier days when anything was possible to now when almost nothing seems possible. I don’t think I will ever fully accept that change.

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

I graduated from high school in 1978. That year marked the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the Corvette. (By my senior year, I was not a big Vette fan although when I was in elementary school I loved the C3 as well as the C2.) Chevrolet/GM made significant changes to the car. From The Genuine Corvette Black Book (I decided to photograph the relevant page instead of try to transcribe it. Work smart, not hard):

 

 

Here is a picture of a 1978 Corvette, but without the pace car decals:

 

See the source image

 

I remember that I liked the change to the fastback rear window; I guess I still had remnants of my obsession with fastbacks from my even younger days.

Although I like the C3 design, I don’t love it and think it is a little dated. Maybe if we win a nine-figure sum in a lottery I’ll buy a Corvette from each generation, except a C7, of course, as I already have one.

Were you interested in cars in high school or earlier? How have you managed the transition from youth to not youth?

Youth is wasted on the young…

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#YouthIsWastedOnTheYoung

#LifeDissonance

#1978ChevroletCorvette

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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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

#disaffectedmusings

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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

#disaffectedmusings

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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

#disaffectedmusings

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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

#disaffectedmusings

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