Wandering Wednesday

Shame on the United Nations! Maybe it’s time to defund them.

 

“But of course time after time the UN issues resolutions against Israel while ignoring countries that have much worse human rights and war-crimes records: North Korea, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Belarus, China, and Saudi Arabia, to name a few.”

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How about these photos?!

 

 

I can assure these pictures were not Photoshopped as I don’t even know how to do that. The desert scenery still amazes me.

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In this post I asked why ignition interlock systems designed to prevent drunk people from driving weren’t mandatory. Well, in this Hagerty piece I’ve been meaning to share for awhile, but that has slipped through the cracks, it is reported that “automobile manufacturers will be required, as early as 2026, to equip all new vehicles with monitoring systems designed to keep intoxicated persons from driving. Among the considerations are breathalyzer devices that prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood-alcohol level exceeds the legal limit, and infrared cameras (which GM and others already use for driver monitoring related to driver-assistance features like SuperCruise) that monitor driver behavior and look for signs of inattentiveness.”

You think that’s an unwarranted intrusion into your lives? Well, I think 10,000+ deaths every year in this country due to drunk drivers supersede your “freedom” to drive drunk.

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Look what’s finally come home!

 

 

Almost three months after we took our 2015 Cadillac ATS to the body shop–and more than four months since the accident–we picked up the car yesterday. While we had a slightly unpleasant surprise in the guise of an extra $800 on the bill, for which the at-fault driver’s insurance company has supposedly already sent us a check, it is nice to have the car back. In all honesty, it looks better than when we purchased it almost a year ago (!) and my wonderful wife said it drove well.

Without “before” photos you have no frame of reference, but the repairs seem to be A-Plus. The rear of the car was severely damaged and it is almost impossible to detect any hint of that damage now. Of course, given the amount of the bill (>$18,000) the work should be very good. Actually, given the cost of the repairs I am very surprised the insurance company didn’t just total the car.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#DefundTheUN

#DecemberDesertRainbow

#ATSReturn

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wandering Wednesday

From Why Evolution Is True I refer these two pieces:

 

Cathy Young: What is cancel culture and is it really a problem?

The lies of the Art Institute of Chicago

 

From CNBC I offer this video from an article titled, “Billionaire’s tax is the worst idea ever, says NYU professor Damodaran.”

Being resentful and envious of people who are wealthier than you is not a sound basis for public policy. By the way, I am in favor of getting rid of the provision that allows a step-up in cost basis for inherited assets. However, a tax on unrealized capital gains is just theft of private property by government, no matter how wealthy the taxpayer. If such a tax is established on the very wealthy, the day will come when it’s applied to almost everyone.

I know most of you read this blog for the automobile content. I am also under no illusion that my writing changes the mind of anyone. Still, this is my blog and I feel very strongly about these issues. I just don’t think I can affect any real change.

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Surprisingly, I didn’t receive much feedback about the unveiling of the C8 Z06 despite writing two posts about it yesterday. The posts had a decent number of views, but just a couple of comments. Once again, a picture of the car from Chevrolet:

 

 

Maybe, emphasis on “Maybe,” when the ZR1 or Zora variants are introduced I will re-consider, but right now I have no interest in buying a C8 Corvette. Remember, so many cars just one life.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#ConfiscatoryTaxationIsTheft

#C8Z06

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wandering Wednesday, Full Moon Edition

Talk about bait and switch…I tried to take a picture of the full moon this morning, but just couldn’t line up a good photo. Instead, I offer a couple of other “nature” photos:

 

 

I took this picture on Monday during my exercise walk. I love when the clouds create shadows on the mountains. Some say this landscape is static because the mountains don’t move. Well…first, if they move we’re probably in trouble; second, the changing light during the day makes the landscape dynamic, in my opinion.

I don’t think I’ll be exercising today as I do not feel well the day after I received my flu shot. This is probably the worst I have ever felt the day after receiving my annual dose of flu vaccine.

 

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In Why Evolution Is True, the author once wrote that PSAs trying to get people to get vaccinated against the damn virus should tell or show horror stories about those who did not get vaccinated. This CNBC article reports that a Reddit thread “showing visitors the real-life consequences of being unvaccinated and catching the coronavirus” seems to have the desired effect in that some people who read the thread are “motivated” to get vaccinated.

According to the piece, 22% of Americans identify as anti-vaxxers. I wonder if the percentage is not even higher as some might be reluctant to admit something like that to a pollster. Once again from Louis Armstrong, “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”

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The picture below is from this Hemmings piece:

 

 

This is a Chevrolet crate motor, displacing 632 cubic inches and producing 1,004 HP/876 LB-FT of torque without supercharging or turbocharging AND on pump gas. Here is a chart of the typical dyno run as supplied by Chevrolet:

 

Post Image

 

Speaking of dyno runs…when I picked up my Z06 at the dyno shop in late July, Joe (the shop owner) said something like I needed to add HP/Torque to the figures shown on the chart because of “lock-up” and wheel speed over 200 MPH. Those words sort of went in one ear and out the other, but as is my (bizarre) custom I emailed him to ask what he meant exactly, but not until two days ago.

He wrote that normally dyno runs are in the gear with a 1:1 ratio, but that for a C7 Z06 he has to max out in fifth gear (1.27:1 ratio). I then asked if he meant that if he used sixth gear, the gear with a 1:1 ratio in the 8L90E transmission, wheel speed would exceed 200 MPH and that was not safe, he replied in the affirmative. Therefore, the shown output is less than the actual maximum.

The upshot of all of this is I don’t exactly know what kind of output the engine generates and never will, really. Joe did say I could add a bigger supercharger (and accompanying cam) and the car would have over 800 HP at the rear wheels on 91 Octane pump gas (the highest Octane usually available in Arizona) and “drive smooth as silk.” He also said the stock bottom end can handle power up to 1,000 HP at the rear wheels. Hmm…800 HP at the rear wheels probably translates to 920-940 HP at the crankshaft from “just” 376 cubic inches. As I wrote Joe, I have some things to think about. Hey, we have no kids and you can’t take it with you.

As always, I welcome thoughtful comments.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#DesertViews

#Anti-VaxxersAreClueless!

#1000HPInABox

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wandering Wednesday

What do you get when you mix someone who wants to write with someone who has nothing about which to write? Today’s post…

 

I am having the strongest reaction to any of the three vaccine shots I have received against the damn virus. The injection arm is VERY sore and I even feel a little cruddy. None of that happened with the first two shots.

The good news is that my wonderful wife was able to get an appointment for today to receive her booster. Too many people don’t understand that everything is a trade-off and that compounds that can treat or prevent illness can also have side effects.

My reaction to the Shingrix vaccine was orders of magnitude worse than what I am feeling today AND lasted for two weeks after the first dose. I am still glad I received that vaccine.

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The number of blog views/visitors continues to fall short of previous levels. Maybe my complaining doesn’t help the situation, but it is my blog.

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This Hotcars article from this year is about 10 Underrated American cars. Six of the ten were from Ford Motor Company so I suspect a little bias by the author, but it’s an interesting read. Here is a picture of car number four:

 

 

This is a Pontiac Catalina 2+2. Bill Stephens is a big fan of cars like this and this car in particular. According to the article, the 2+2 trim level was introduced in 1964, the same year as the GTO. Note the famous Pontiac eight-lug wheels on the pictured car.

Pontiac produced 257,768 Catalinas in the 1964 model year, of which 74,793 were the Sport Coupe hardtop. The legendary 421 cubic-inch engine was an option in all full-size Pontiacs, meaning–I think–every model except the Tempest.

Bill James has written that there is really no such thing as “underrated” or “overrated” since no “official” rating exists of almost anything. I have to admit that I don’t see many cars like this even in the amazing car scene here, so one could argue these are underrated, at least in this area.

In an earlier post that I have been unable to find (hey, I’ve written more than 1,200 posts for this blog and even with a search widget I can’t find everything), I wrote of my affinity for American automobiles of the early to mid 1960s. I have also written of my affection for Pontiac on more than one occasion. While a car like this was not included in Ultimate Garage 3.0, a very large financial windfall might encourage me to find a good example.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#LifeIsATrade-Off

#UnderratedAmericanCars

#PontiacCatalina

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wandering Wednesday

Do you pay attention to post titles? Do you think I overdo it with alliterative titles like today’s?

 

I offer some more posts from Why Evolution Is True:

Lessons from a free-speech victory

Ivermectin: still horsewash

ACLU admits it screwed up by changing Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s words

When commitment to diversity far outweighs teaching and research in a biology job

 

A madness has descended upon the developed world.

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This CNBC piece by Ron Insana is about China’s central bank making all cryptocurrency-related activities illegal. Insana thinks other countries will follow. From the article:

 

“Countries do not, and will not, let their institutions, or their currencies, fall by the wayside because an independent group of currency creators decides it must be so…China may be the first to ban bitcoin, and other currencies, but I am sure it won’t be the last.”

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This recent post from Exotic Car List is titled, “The 10 Best Used Sports Cars Under $75,000.” Given the price limit it should be no surprise that many of these cars are from the US. I mean, I can’t buy a used Ferrari 488 for even twice that amount, unless it’s wrecked.

Although the piece lists the C7 Corvette, I wanted to show this car:

 

Nissan GT-R

 

This is a Nissan GT-R and it is possible to find a used one for less than $75,000. I found three nationwide this morning that fit the bill and the highest mileage among them was 40,000-ish. Of course, contrary to the “reporting” in the article, all of these are at least 11 years old. The Exotic Car List piece refers to “2012-2016” as being “the sweet spot.”

The engine in a new 2010 GT-R had 485 HP/435 LB-FT of torque. The car could accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 3.5 seconds. Did I mention it’s all-wheel drive? It even has seating for four, technically.

I have never driven a GT-R of any iteration, but the version that began production in late 2007 sure reads like a great car. Yes, although the car’s been tweaked (the engine now produces 565 HP/465 LB-FT, for example), it’s almost 15 years old. Rumors abound that the next GT-R will be a hybrid and that it will be introduced for the 2023 or 2024 model year. That would put the introduction about the same time as the first Corvette hybrid, the E-Ray.

 

Please feel free to offer your thoughts. Thanks.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#WhyEvolutionIsTrue

#BewareOfBitcoin

#UsedSportsCars

#NissanGT-R

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wandering Wednesday

As I write this, I am a little anxious as I have to have two wisdom teeth extracted this afternoon. Well, I guess I don’t have to have them pulled, but my dentist strongly recommended I have it done. No offense to dentists, but I still dislike dental appointments even though I dutifully go every six months.

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From Why Evolution Is True I share links to three posts. (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3). The first two are about the state of Oregon eliminating all standards in reading, writing and math for getting high school diplomas and the lack of outrage by much of the media. The third is less than flattering about the 44th President. Once again, the author of this blog identifies as a liberal, but would probably have his membership revoked by the radical segment of the Democratic Party.

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I hope I am not reaching the end of marginal utility of photos from Monterey. Perhaps the main attraction of the Mecum auction was this 1936 Delahaye Type 135 Competition Court Teardrop Coupe (I don’t need to capture online photos from Mecum!):

 

 

The pre-auction estimate on this car was listed at between $5 million and $6 million. I love Mecum auctions, but they have incentive to “goose” the pre-auction estimates, at least a little bit.

This 1936 Delahaye was bid to $4 million, but did not sell. Oh, how did I consistently get these close-ups of cars on the block? My wonderful wife and I sat in the front row every day.

It wasn’t that many years ago that I had no interest in pre-war cars (meaning pre-World War II), no matter how valuable they might be. I am now a big fan of many of these cars, like this 1936 Delahaye. That fandom doesn’t necessarily mean I would own one in the unlikely scenario where I could afford to do so.

On what genre of cars has your opinion changed over the years?

 

#WanderingWednesday

#1936DelahayeType135

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wandering Wednesday

This Corvette Blogger article reports that a federal judge has ruled that the “Corvette Cracked Wheels” lawsuit can continue against General Motors. This is relevant to me because C7 Z06 wheels are one of the two sets that have shown a propensity to crack, the other being C7 Grand Sport wheels.

So, why haven’t I yet purchased third-party C7 ZR1 wheels to replace those on my car? Can you say frigus pedes? I think that’s “cold feet” in Latin.

My inability to find a satisfying, fulfilling career after baseball has caused me to second guess almost all major decisions. It’s as if I have spent much effort to compose great photographs and more than half the time they end up blank or blurry. I don’t think it’s the money, honestly, because I can have the bolt-on power upgrade AND the third-party wheels for less than I originally budgeted just for the engine/exhaust work.

Maybe it was the less than stellar performance of the customer service rep of the wheel/tire company that is giving me pause. More likely it’s just that I am not sure of my decision-making process, anymore.

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In the wake of the recent skirmish between Israel and Hamas, heated debates and, sadly, physical assaults were common all over the world. In my opinion, institutions like universities should allow debate but not be part of that debate. In a rare show of common sense, University College London has done just that. This was part of a recent statement made by Provost Michael Spence:

 

“It follows from this conception of the university, which I share, that it is not a participant in public debate, but a forum in which that debate takes place. While our staff and students should loudly argue for their conceptions of truth and value, the university, as an institution, should refrain from doing so lest it chill the exercise of the ethical individualism of its staff and students.”

 

Unfortunately, in the US too many universities practice policies that, indeed, “chill the exercise of the ethical individualism of its staff and students.” What do you think “cancel culture” is all about?

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences, but it does mean that an “unpopular” speaker should almost always be allowed to speak unless their speech explicitly calls for violence. The fact that someone espouses a position with which you disagree does not mean that person is inherently evil, is calling for violence and should not be given a public forum. NO ONE has a monopoly on truth and wisdom and neither does ANY ideology.

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I have a thought experiment. Think how elegantly sober quiets unruly actors’ delinquency.

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Have you ever seen one of these?

 

mgb

 

If you’re reading this anywhere except the UK, then the answer is almost certainly no. From this recent ClassicCars.com article comes a picture of an MGB-GT V8. Yep, a V-8 in an MGB-GT.

The car was introduced in 1973, same year as the Arab Oil Embargo. The car-buying public, in general, became more concerned with MPG and not so much with HP. Only 2,591 of these were sold before production was discontinued in 1976.

The car shown is one of only 16 known to exist in the US. I have always had a thing for the looks of the MGB-GT.

Even though the aluminum V-8, which Rover/British Leyland licensed from Buick, actually weighed less than the original inline 4-cylinder engine found in these cars, I think a modern V-8 would put too much weight on the nose. I wonder if a Ford Ecoboost 4-cylinder would fit? Yes, I have restomod on the brain. So sue me.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#CrackedCorvetteWheels

#BringBackFreedomOfSpeech

#MGBGTV8

#RestomodOnTheBrain

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wandering Wednesday

First, from Wikipedia:

 

Wandering, in people with dementia, is a common behavior that can cause great risk for the person, and is often the major priority (and concern) for caregivers. It is estimated to be the most common form of disruption from people with dementia within institutions. Although it occurs in several types of dementia, wandering is especially common in people with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). This can be due to forgetfulness and also to a frequent need for stimulation.”

 

My post titles are not intended to be disrespectful or to make fun of people with illnesses. As regular readers know, I like alliterative titles and alliteration, in general, and sometimes my posts are not “linear.”

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I found a statement by GM Vice-President Steve Hill, as reported here, to be most interesting. Hill remarked that the median household income of a mid-engine Corvette buyer is $76,000 higher than those who purchased a C7 Corvette. That is not a small difference.

If this difference holds, it is evidence that many people in the market for high-performance cars were, indeed, put off by the front-engine design of previous Corvette generations. Maybe Chevrolet/General Motors knew what they were doing, at least in this context. OK, a couple of photos:

 

See the source image

 

I can’t imagine anyone reading this blog wouldn’t know, but the top photo (credited here) is of a C8 Corvette and the bottom photos are the C7 Corvettes that my wonderful wife and I own. I no longer feel that she will definitely buy a C8 convertible.

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I found this CNBC video to be most interesting as well. It is a 15-minute report on why Japanese automakers are still producing sports cars in the “age of SUVs.” If you’re reading this blog, then I think you would enjoy watching it.

One of the reasons the Japanese auto industry is still making cars like the new Supra is to distinguish themselves from the rest of the industry by giving people the option of buying cars for the fun of driving and not for grocery shopping and schlepping the kids. With rare exceptions like the Corvette, American car companies (at least GM and Ford) have basically abandoned the coupe and sedan markets. In the piece, the narrator also quotes some “experts” who think it is premature to assume that SUVs and pickup trucks will always have at least a 70 percent share of the US market. From autonxt.net a picture of the aforementioned Supra:

 

See the source image

 

Yes, many JDM fans are unhappy with Toyota’s partnership with BMW that created the new Supra, that the car can be considered to be a re-skinned BMW. Hey, I think it’s better that the partnership was used to create this car and the new Z4 than to create another pair of SUVs.

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After the landslide in the 1972 Presidential election, many pundits proclaimed the death of the Democratic party. After Watergate just a couple of years later, many of those same pundits proclaimed the death of the Republican party. History is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.

Today, a new administration takes office. While I am not a fan of either party, I hope that the rancor and vitriol of recent years fade, at least a little. The anger and extreme disrespect prevalent today are, in my opinion, a manifestation of arrogance and ignorance. NO ONE has a monopoly on truth and wisdom and neither does ANY ideology. Oh, the remark about arrogance and ignorance is not an attempt to channel Bull Durham.

 

Stay safe and be well.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#WealthyC8Buyers

#JapaneseSportsCars

#ToyotaSupra

#ArrogantAndIgnorantAmericans

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Wandering Wednesday

First, an apology to WordPress, the platform that hosts this blog. In yesterday’s post, Strange Minds, I asked why the word “dreamt” was underlined in red while composing a post since it is a real word. Well, I asked one of the WordPress engineers that question and they replied that WordPress does not have an active dictionary monitoring posts. The engineer suggested it could be my browser or even operating system.

Second, while I am always grateful for views/comments by markcars2014 and other Canadian readers, I want to note that Disaffected Musings has, seemingly, developed regular readers in Italy, Norway and my ancestral home of Poland. I hope they will continue reading and, hopefully, spread the word.

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How many of you have heard of the site postsecret? It was created by Frank Warren in 2004. People anonymously send in their secrets on postcards, which are often homemade, and some are shown on the site.

It is a relic, for lack of a better word, of the days on the Internet before Fack Fucebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. The site has always been ad-free. For a time, so many secrets were sent in that Warren was able to publish several books containing them.

Some of the secrets are shocking and/or sad. I have always suspected that some proportion, say 20%, are not real. I don’t mean that Warren sends them in himself or via proxies, but that the “secrets” on some postcards are simply made up, perhaps as some sort of wish fulfillment.

Anyway…the picture above is captured from postsecret. I love Fack Fucebook being on the list of apps that don’t bring joy to the user. Here are two results from a study by Stanford University:

 

Facebook deactivation reduced political polarization

One of the biggest issues supposedly affecting the US voting base at the moment is political polarization — this is the idea that Democrats and Republicans are unwilling to compromise on issues that affect the entire country.

The study found that deactivating Facebook pulls former users more into line with the average position in their respective political parties. Essentially, this means that Facebook deactivation brings users closer to the political center. But, has social media actively led to the increase in polarization, or have the parties and voters drifted further apart of their own volition? According to the study:

“The figure shows that deactivation moves both Democrats and Republicans visibly towards the center. In the control group, the issue opinions of the average Democrat and the average Republican differ by 1.47 standard deviations. In the treatment group, this difference is 1.35 standard deviations — about eight percent less.

“Are these polarization effects large or small? As one benchmark, we can compare these effects to the increase in political polarization in the US since 1996, well before the advent of social media. Using data from the American National Election Studies… [another academic] calculates that the change in a different index of polarization… increased by 0.38 standard deviations between 1996 and 2016. The 0.16 standard deviation effect of Facebook deactivation on political polarization in our sample is about 42 percent as large as this increase.”

 

Facebook deactivation marginally improves subjective wellbeing

Perhaps the most interesting revelation from the study is that Facebook “does indeed have adverse effects on subjective well being.”

 

I know that my anti-Facebook rantings will not get anyone to stop using it. I suspect a larger proportion of readers of this blog don’t use Fack Fucebook than the proportion of the general public. I will make a strong statement: I think Mark Zuckerberg is the chief criminal of his criminal company and I think that Facebook should be forced to divest itself of Instagram and What’s App. The possibility that such a divestiture may raise the unit cost of digital advertising is a very small price to pay for stripping Fack Fucebook of its de facto monopoly of social media and for reducing the dangerous amount of power it has. Oh, here’s a remark made by Zuckerberg:

 

“You can be unethical and still be legal; that’s the way I live my life.”

 

For me, someone who admits to unethical behavior has no real constraints against using illegal behavior. That’s a trade-off almost no one can negotiate successfully. Fack Fucebook! Delete Facebook!

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Given the dramatic slowdown in the number of showings we’ve had for our house between weeks one and two on the market, I must admit to having some doubt that the move to the desert will take place as quickly as I would like. Of course, that means that the quest for a Corvette Companion/Grocery Car has been pushed to the back burner.

Still, I look on car sales websites almost every day although the “journeys” are much shorter than before. I have to admit that despite the change to looking for more modern cars, every now and then I look at something like this:

 

 

From this Hemmings ad a picture of a 1963 Buick Wildcat with an admittedly less than desirable 87,000+ miles on the clock and an asking price of $19,900. Throw in the black interior, a no-go in the desert, and this becomes an impractical purchase. Nevertheless, I am really drawn to this car. The heart wants what it wants.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#Postsecret

#FackFucebook

#CorvetteCompanion/GroceryCar

#1963BuickWildcat

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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