The View Through The Windshield - Car Blog

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Friday January 31, 2014

AutoSketch: 1938 Lincoln Zephyr ... With A Grille That Inspired Imitators

the view through the windshield

For 1938, Lincoln did a facelift of the Zephyr. The front end restyle included a low profile, horizontal twin grille which inspired many imitators and set a new styling trend. Just look at the 1940 Chevrolet or 1939 Buick and you'll spot the Zephyr influence. A convertible sedan and convertible coupe were also added to the Zephyr line.

On the inside ... (more >>>)

New Name; Same Old Iron: Fiat revealed a new name for the combined company now that Fiat has acquired all the outstanding shares of Chrysler from a United Auto Workers pension fund.

The new company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (aka - FCA), will be a Dutch-based company with a UK tax domicile, while shares are listed on the NYSE with a secondary listing in Milan. Note that Fiat comes first.

The Trouble With China: In a recent issue of Model Auto Review, a model car manufacturer wrote about the problems with producing diecast models in China.

"China is emerging as a world power and, like most growing economies, its cost structure is rising. China has now ruled that workers must get an annual salary increase of 15% and this is adding to the cost of product. The Chinese government has ruled that major industries such as mobile phones, computers, and iPads get priority for land space and other less-clean industries such as diecasting must move location. This all adds up to increases in price of product and delays in delivery."

Another model vehicle manufacturer ... (more >>>)

Book Review: 'Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him' by David Henry and Joe Henry

On his best days, Richard Pryor was a very funny guy spouting fairly original material. On other days, he was a woeful drug addict who regularly beat his women. Authors and fanboys David and Joe Henry have tried to make sense of it all - probably an impossible task.

Pryor was just ... (more >>>)

Should Be Renamed 'Exploder Of The Seas': Over 700 people became sick with vomiting and diarrhea while on Royal Caribbean's 'Explorer of the Seas' cruise ship.

The ship docked in Bayonne, NJ two days ago and, after a quick clean up, is set to sail with a new group of passengers suckers today.

I think it would be more prudent to take your next cruise on the S.S. Purell.

Quote of the Day is from Thomas Sowell: "It is fascinating to hear teachers say that having to "teach to the test" reduces their ability to engage in good teaching. What they call "good teaching" is the very reason our students do so badly in international comparisons and why colleges have to have large numbers of remedial courses to teach students what they didn't learn in school."

Wednesday January 29, 2014

Short Circuit: The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has upgraded a probe into the rear taillights of 252,867 Mercedes-Benz C-Class models from the 2008 to 2011 model year. The upgrade means the investigation is now an engineering analysis, the results of which will determine if a recall is issued. The probe began in July when NHTSA received 21 complaints alleging a failure of the rear lights.

car blogI remember in the early 1960s being stuck in traffic behind 1959 Fords on several occasions during rainy commutes. In most cases, the big round taillights would fill with water and in stop-and-go traffic, you could watch it slosh around. If it got high enough, it would sometimes short the bulb. No recall though; they didn't do 'recalls' in those days.

Phoning It In: That's apparently the design school cited when categorizing the styling of the 2015 Lincoln Navigator.

Other critics have described it a 'fugly'. Looking under the hood, you'll find a V6 motor. A proper V8 is no longer available to haul this weighty sled. The basic platform on which this mild and lame facelift is based dates back to 2003 or so.

In any case, this is another nail in the coffin of the once-successful luxury marque known as Lincoln. Be sure to see all the 'new' models at your local Lincoln hospice. (permalink)

State Of The Union: Forget Barack Obama's tired pontifications; the speech to watch was the GOP response given by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. It was very well done. Rodgers hails from the little town of Kettle Falls (population - 1,600) in northeastern Washington state near the Canadian border.

She began, "Tonight the President made more promises that sound good, but won't solve the problems actually facing Americans."

On a personal note, she said, "If you had told me as a little girl that one-day I would put my hand on the Bible and be sworn in as the 200th woman to serve in the House of Representatives, I never would have thought it possible. I grew up working at my family's orchard and fruit stand in Kettle Falls, a small town in Eastern Washington – getting up before dawn with my brother to pick apples. My dad drove a school bus and my mom worked as a part-time bookkeeper.

They taught me to work hard, help others, and always, always dream for more. So, when I showed my 4H animals at the county fair, my parents used to say to me, "Cathy, you need to save this money so you can go to college one day!"

So I did – I saved, I worked hard, and I became the first in my family to graduate from college."

No community organizer was she.

"The chance to go from my Washington to this one was unexpected. I came to Congress to help empower people, not politicians; To grow the working middle class, not the government; And to ensure that everyone in this country can find a job."

Summing up the Republican agenda, Cathy said, "Our plan is one that dreams big for everyone and turns its back on no one." Good show, Rep. McMorris Rodgers.

It's Called Dope For A Reason: Marijuana is now legal in Colorado and Washington and I'm not so sure that's a good thing.

When I was in grade school - in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and cars didn't have tailfins yet, one of the subjects we learned was Geography. Much reading and memorization were required. Test questions involved not just physical dimensions: "How large is Ohio?" (Answer: 41,328 square miles) but also what was made there: "What are the chief products of Bolivia?"

As a third-grader, I didn't fully appreciate the nuances of the goods produced but it was obvious that most of the really backward countries listed sisal and hemp as their chief products. I realized much later in life that perhaps these countries were backward because the populace spent too much smoking all that hemp instead of trying to build a stronger, more prosperous nation.

Even to my elementary school brain, it was apparent that ... (more >>>)

In Somewhat-Related News: Last week, Jay Leno quipped, "Doctors warn that pot smoking impairs young people's thinking, which of course makes them much more likely to sign up for Obamacare."

Makes The Nixon Administration Look Like Angels: The Obama Administration (as well as its Democratic pals) seems to have half the population on its Enemies List. Consider the following:

IRS auditor reaffirms that conservatives, not liberals, were targeted for harassment.
Obama FBI closed case on IRS Targeting Scandal before interviewing a single one of 292 targeted groups.
Obama's IRS harassed Sarah Palin's dad six times since 2008.
Director of anti-Obama film '2016: Obama's America' has been indicted by a Federal Court.
New York Governor's Dept. of Labor subpoenas conservative activist James O'Keefe of Project Veritas.
IRS harasses Hollywood conservative group - demands list of members.
Latina actress fired after appearing in ad for Tea Party candidate.
New IRS Rules designed to silence Tea Party.
Chuck Schumer calls on IRS to target Tea Party activities
Obama Blames Fox News, Rush Limbaugh for his failures.
NYC Mayor De Blasio agrees With Governor Cuomo: Conservatives need to get out.

By comparison, ol' Senator Joe McCarthy look like a choir boy, doesn't it?

Quote of the Day is from H.L. Mencken: "The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal."

Monday January 27, 2014

The Italian Mercury: Or maybe Oldsmobile. Speaking with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated that the Lancia brand will be stripped down to one model, and even that will only be sold in Italy itself.

Another legendary brand bites the dust. Sad. Founded in 1906, Lancia has a long tradition of producing fast touring, sports and racing cars. Memorable ones, too - like the Lancia Aurelia luxury touring car of the 1950s and its successor, the Flaminia. Or the Stratos.

I've written about Lancia's troubles before. With little cash left after the Chrysler buyout, Fiat has chosen to spend its remaining money trying to revive the Alfa Romeo marque. (permalink)

Speaking of Lancia ... the firm presented the Bertone-designed Lancia Stratos prototype at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. The Stratos was a small car with a 86-inch wheelbase and overall length of 146 inches. But it looked larger in photos because it was only 44 inches tall.

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The Stratos' flared fenders and tapering greenhouse reminded me of some of the mid-engine sports car designs I used to sketch in the late 1960s.

The Lancia Stratos was a very successful rally car during the '70s and early '80s; it was the first car designed ... (more >>>)

Book Review: 'Cross My Heart' by James Patterson

I read a lot of fiction but rarely write reviews. I'm making an exception for this book .. because you need to be warned.

This author is largely known for his novels about ... (more >>>)

joe sherlock blogFirst Do No Harm: John Cowperthwaite, who oversaw the economic miracle known as Hong Kong in its glory days, became financial secretary of the British colony in 1961. For the next 10 years he had near-total control over the economic laws and regulations governing Hong Kong. By the time he left office in 1971, the "number of Hong Kongers in poverty had dropped by two-thirds, average wages had risen 50%, and Hong Kong had gone from one of the poorest places on earth to one of the richest."

Cowperthwaite believed that, if you tax something you get less of it; as a general rule an individual manages his own affairs better than his neighbor can; it's rude to be bossy; the number of problems that resolve themselves if only you wait long enough is far larger than the number of problems solved by mucking around in them.

He said, "In the long run, the aggregate of the decisions of individual businessmen, exercising individual judgment in a free economy, even if often mistaken, is likely to do less harm than the centralized decisions of a Government; and certainly the harm is likely to be counteracted faster."

Janet Yellen and other fed officials - as well as politicians - could learn a lot from this Mr. Cowperthwaite.

Quote Of The Day is something I overheard recently: "Why should I pay for tire rotation? Every time I drive, they rotate."

Thursday January 23, 2014

A Bit Of Bond: Another of my miniature automotive Christmas gifts was a 1:43 scale model of a 2003 Aston Martin Vanquish. It was a diecast model made by Vitesse in China. Once a producer of scale models in Portugal, Vitesse is now owned by the Sun Star Models Development Ltd. of Macau.

The Aston Martin Vanquish was introduced ... (more >>>)

car blogCan The Oregonian Get Any Smaller? The Portland newspaper's publisher, N. Christian Anderson III, announced this week that, starting in April, the entire daily paper will print on pages 15 inches tall by 11 inches wide, small even by tabloid standards.

Soon it will only be useful for wrapping small fish. (permalink)

Flagship No More: Sears, a firm that was founded in Chicago in 1893, is closing its flagship store at 2 N. State Street in the heart of Chicago's Loop in April. The company has been raising cash by selling stores and leases.

Also on the block are the chain's automotive unit, a chain of more than 700 service centers offering repairs and routine maintenance such as oil changes, and its Land's End upscale mail-order clothing division.

Diehard isn't just a battery brand anymore - it's also a description of Sears financial condition.

Republican Remake: Richard Fernandez has asked, "Why is the Republican Party incapable of putting up a fight? And why is Hillary Clinton 'inevitable'?" Over and over, one observes Republicans shooting themselves in the foot.

Fernandez continued, "But just what is the current Republican business model? It really resembles the business model of the Washington Generals, an exhibition basketball team.

The job of the Generals is to play second fiddle to the Harlem Globetrotters. There is logic in this. The reason why the GOP business model is in crisis is that the audience is beginning to suspect the game is fixed. Nobody can plausibly run on "Republican principles" any more. Pledges to cut the bloated bureaucracy, close the borders to illegal immigration or put a stop to endless expansion have a ring of insincerity. Ticket sales are slumping. And the Trotters aren't even pretending to take the Generals seriously."

"Ted Cruz and the Tea Party represent the recognition that the old way of doing business is fading fast. They represent a counterproposal to exit the current Republican business model and create a new start-up. This is enormously risky for the institutional GOP since there is no guarantee the startup and business model will work."

sherlock auto blog

Maybe, but - as George Constanza learned - when nothing seems to be working, do the opposite.

Book Review: 'Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets' by Jim Rogers

Financial expert Rogers cofounded the Quantum Fund, a hedge fund, and retired at age thirty-seven after making a boatload of money. He now believes that the U.S. is doomed and has relocated with his family to Singapore. While I agree that our national debt is waaaay too high and Bernacke's ultra-low interest rates are unsustainable, I am unconvinced that we're at the 'hoard gold, print militia money' stage.

The demise of America has been predicted by many: when Nixon went off the gold standard, when '70s hyper-inflation became the norm for a while, and in the Carter-era, when the dollar became a battered currency. I've posted some of the past expert bad predictions here. Somehow we've managed to survive and prosper despite setbacks.

Rogers offered some surprising observations ... (more >>>)

Today's Thought is from Miss Piggy, on eating Chinese food: "You don't knit with forks, so I see no reason to eat with knitting needles."

Tuesday January 21, 2014

January Auction Madness: As usual, the various Arizona vehicle auctions were full of aging white dudes with buckets of cash bidding up car prices toward the stratosphere. Ferraris were at the top of the auction food chain this year. A 1958 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Spyder sold for a whopping $8,800,000 at RM Auctions, while a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet gaveled down for $6,160,000 at Gooding & Co.

the view through the windshield

Other automobiles rounding out RM Auctions top-sellers included a 1961 Porsche 718 RS 61 Spyder, which sold for $2,750,000; a '63 Ferrari 250 GT/L 'Lusso' by Scaglietti, which sold for $2,447,500; a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB by Scaglietti, which sold for $1,815,000; a '66 Ferrari 275 GTS by Pininfarina, which sold for $1,485,000; a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster which sold for $1,045,000 and a 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio Cabriolet by Gangloff, which sold for $962,500. A 1930 Duesenberg Model J 'Disappearing Top' Convertible sold for $2,200,000 (including buyer's fees) at RM Auctions.

A black, somewhat rough, unrestored ... (more >>>)

All Aboard: For the last couple of weeks, we've been busy planning a railroad-themed dinner party for some of our friends. It all came together Saturday night. Everyone had a good time.

About That Inequality: President Obama's theme for 2014 is 'Inequality'. Doesn't he realize that upper-income earners continue to pay a hugely disproportionate share of total income taxes, and our tax system remains highly progressive?

The top 1% of US taxpayers paid a greater share of all federal income taxes in 2011 (35.1%) than the entire bottom 90% (31.7%). By number of taxpayers, that means that the 1,366,000 taxpayers in the top 1% group paid more in federal income taxes in 2011 than the 123,000,000 taxpayers in the bottom 90%.

Quote Of The Day is from Thomas Sowell: "Many people take pride in defying the conventions of society. Those conventions of society are also known as civilization. Defying them wholesale means going back to barbarism. Barbarians with electronic devices are still barbarians."

Friday January 17, 2014

2014 Detroit Auto Show: Throughout my life, I have faithfully followed auto show coverage because I wanted to see what the future held by looking at all the wild concept cars on display. Alas, I continue to be disappointed by the lack of far-out machinery, such as bubble-topped flying cars, at this year's Detroit Auto Show.

When I was growing up, magazines like Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated and Popular Science predicted that tires and roads would soon be obsolete and we'll get around in flying cars with Plexiglas roofs.

the view through the windshield

Such stories were profusely illustrated; the renderings often appeared in full color on the cover to help boost newsstand sales. The skies were always clear blue with nary a ... (more >>>)

Realistic Speed Limits: I've always felt that something should be done about speed limits around those 'Danger - Falling Rocks' signs around here.

Either the limit should be 5 mph so that one can see the rocks falling and steer out of the way or 150 mph so that one is exposed to such danger for the shortest time possible.

Who's The Real Money-Grubbing Villain? "In 2012 the CEO of Wal-Mart made $20.7 million. Wal-Mart has about 2 million employees (as far as I can tell, this is only counting the employees in the American stores). So, if you divided the CEO's entire pay among the employees they'd each get $10.35 more per year - that's not quite 20 cents per week; a half a cent per hour for full-time employees." BFD.

Now, look at your pay stub and see how much the various governments steal from every paycheck. Now you know who the real parasite is.

Bad Pun of the Day: Today's commodities report - helium was up, feathers were down. Paper was stationery.

Wednesday January 15, 2014

Vintage Stunner: Since its founding in the 1920s, Jaguar has always offered sporting cars. Yes, saloons were produced for gentlemen who required extra doors or wealthy, portly lads who couldn't fit in a sports car, but the Jag flagship was always a sports car.

When the Jaguar XK 120 burst on the automotive scene at the 1948 London Motor Show, the British sports car stunned the public. Its swoopy lines were quite a contrast with other British two-seaters - as well as older Jags - and made all of them look stodgy and ancient by comparison.

The XK became a big hit in the U.S.; in fact, almost all early XKs were exported to North America. It became the car of movie stars, wealthy enthusiasts and sporting, trust-fund cads.

Introduced in late 1954 ... (more >>>)

The Never-Ending Story: One reason the ObamaCare scandal isn't Hurricane Katrina is that the big storm had a beginning and an end.

Peggy Noonan wrote, "The storm came, the storm left, the cleanup commenced and failed and then continued and succeeded. At some point it was over. ObamaCare will never be over. It's going to poison the rest of the administration. It's the story that won't go away because it will continue to produce disorder."

And painful outcomes. And death. And no FEMA trailers where corpses can be stored.

Book Review: 'Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington' by Terry Teachout

Terry Teachout is a well-known and respected music critic and author. His biography of Louis Armstrong was well-written and informative. The author's latest biography is of musical legend Duke Ellington and it, too, is a worthy work.

Ellington was probably the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century, although he hated to hear his music described as 'jazz'. The Duke was a very talented but enigmatic personality. Teachout wrote that, even to his own band members, Ellington "was a riddle without an answer, an unknowable man who hid behind a high wall of ornate utterances and flowery compliments that grew higher as he grew older."

Pampered by his parents while growing up in Washington, D.C., Ellington began taking piano lessons at age seven from the improbably-named Marietta Clinkscales. He later dropped out of school to pursue his passion of music.

Teachout peeled away the many layers ... (more >>>)

Quote Of The Day is from H.L. Mencken: "A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin."

Monday January 13, 2014

Shapely Italian: Another Christmas gift I received is a model of a 1948 Cisitalia 202 SC coupe with coachwork by Pinin Farina. This 1:43 diecast was produced by Starline Models, a German firm which has its models manufactured in China.

Cisitalia (aka - Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia) produced sports and racing cars from the postwar 1940s to the early 1950s. The Cisitalia 202 debuted at the 1947 Paris Motor Show and was produced through 1952.

The Pinin Farina design was honored ... (more >>>)

Another Reason Not To Go Back: The next generation of London taxis will be modified Nissan NV200 vans. We last visited London during our trip to the UK in 2001.

joe sherlock blogSears Death Watch: Once upon a time, Sears was the largest retailer in the U.S., a title held until the late 1989 when Wal-Mart captured it. Sears has been on a downhill course ever since, something I've written about previously.

Flash forward to 2014 as Sears and K-Mart stores are facing major survivability issues in the wake of dismal sales. Sears Holdings says it expects a loss of as much as $914 million for 2013. The struggling retailer also says its sales from stores open at least a year fell 7.4% for the quarter in the United States.

Business analyst Brian Sozzi of Belus Capital Advisors is not a fan of Sears and has posted photos of messy and dumpy stores online. The last time I actually stepped inside a Sears store was in 2005. In the fading light of the post-K-Mart merger gloom, it looked especially dumpy. At its inside-the-mall entrance, Sears had placed a tire display in center of the doorway. I guess they had given up on making high fashion statements. Or just wanted to inhibit the flow of shoppers.

Sears online retail presence is not ... (more >>>)

Schadenfreude Express: Many in New York's professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama's health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.

It is not lost on many of the professionals that they are exactly the sort of people - liberal, concerned with social justice - who supported the Obama health plan in the first place.

Ms. Barbara Meinwald, a 61 year-old attorney - who is experiencing health care insurance increases of over 50%, said she was a lifelong Democrat who still supported better health care for all, but had she known what was in store for her, she would have voted for Mitt Romney.

It's fun to hear about sanctimonious liberals getting bitten in the ass.

If you like your liberal remorse, you can keep it.

Thought For Today: "Saints are those sinners who keep on trying."

Thursday January 9, 2014

Sharknose Drop-Top: As part of my Christmas bounty, I received several model cars. One was a 1:43 model of a 1939 Graham-Paige convertible. The Graham-Paige has a striking styling. The Model 97, which the company dubbed 'Spirit of Motion', looked like ... (more >>>)

Vegas Techno-Orgy: Fox Business Network's Liz Claman (who possesses possibly the best 50 year-old female body on television) was at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. This year's show consumes 1.9 million square feet of exhibitor space and has over 3,000 companies exhibiting.

I was awestruck by the products which Liz showcased, things which weren't even dreamed about thirty years ago when I visited CES in Vegas. One that comes to mind is the new Audi laser headlight system shown at 2014 CES. It is quite a leap from headliamps of yore, like the non-sealed beam ones on my Plymouth:

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Back in the 1980s at CES, I did get to see the Vector W2 mid-engined supercar, with its twin-turbocharged, 600 horsepower V8 motor. Top speed was claimed to be 242 mph.

auto blog

Justifiable Homicide Defined: A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

Thanks For Less Than Nothing: So far, Obamacare has canceled more insurance plans than it has created.

Book Review: 'Implosion: The End of Russia and What It Means for America' by Ilan Berman

The media has us believe that Russia is on the rebound under the guidance of poses-shirtless-with-tigers Vladimir Putin. Author Berman says that Russia is in fact dying - afflicted by economic stagnation, widespread corruption, a shrinking birthrate, the collapse of the Russian family, widespread alcohol and drug addiction and an escalating AIDS epidemic.

Russia's Slavic population is constricting while its troublesome Muslim population is ... (more >>>)

Quote of the Day is from H.L. Mencken: "Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage."

Tuesday January 7, 2014

Something Red For Christmas: My daughter gave me a 1:43 scale model of a 1936 Mercedes Benz 540K Roadster as a gift. While it's a very nice model, the ... (more >>>)

2013 Auto Sales: Total light vehicle sales for 2013 climbed to 15.6 million units, up 8% from 2012.

Ford Motor Company sold almost 2.5 million vehicles in calendar 2013, up almost 11% from last year. Retail (non-fleet) sales were up 14%. The F-Series now the best-selling truck for 37 years and best-selling vehicle for 32 years, with 2013 calendar sales at 763,402 units - easily outpacing the combined sales of Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, Taurus and Mustang. Lincoln sales for the year were down slightly - less than 1% to 81,694 units.

car blogGeneral Motors produced 2,8 million vehicles in 2013, an increase of 7% over last year. Retail sales increased 11%. Chevrolet sales increased 5% to 1,047,125 units. GMC sales rose 9% with 450,901 trucks sold. Buick sales increased 14% to 205,509 units. Cadillac sales jumped 22% with 182,543 vehicles finding buyers. Sales of the Cadillac XTS full-sized luxury car hit 32,559 sedans while sales of the compact Cadillac ATS were at 38,319 units for 2013.

Chrysler Group reported sales were up 9% for the year, totaling 1,651,787 vehicles. The Jeep brand was up 3% to 474,131 annual units while the Dodge brand sold 524,989 vehicles, and increase of 14%. 300,928 Ram trucks were sold in 2013, a jump of 22%.

Toyota reported annual sales of 2,236,042 vehicles in calendar 2014, up 7% percent versus last year. Camry is best-selling car in America in 2013, with sales of 408,404 sedans, a 1% increase over last year. Sales of the redesigned Avalon soared 140% to 70,990 examples.

Lexus sales were up 12% for the year to 273,847 vehicles. 10,727 examples of the flagship LS sedan found buyers last year.

American Honda reported total 2013 vehicle sales of 1,525,312 units, an increase of 7% over 2012. Accord sales increased 11% (366,678 cars), Civic was up 6% (336,180 cars), 303,904 CR-Vs were sold, an increase of 8%, and Odyessy minivan sales increased 3% to 128,987 units. A total of 165,436 Acuras found buyers in 2013, an increase of 6%.

Hyundai sold 720,783 units in the U.S. last year, a 3% rise from 2012. But Kia sold 4% fewer vehicles in the U.S. last year. Nissan's U.S. sales jumped over 9% in 2013 to nearly 1.25 million units. Infiniti sales for the year were 116,455 units, a decrease of 3%. Volkswagen sales decreased by 7% last year to 407,704 units but Subaru sales soared 26% to 336,441 vehicles. Volvo sales dropped 10% to 61,233 units.

Mercedes-Benz USA reported the highest annual sales volumes in its history with 312,534 units sold in 2013 - a 14% increase over last year. The BMW brand is up 10% in 2013 on sales of 309,280. Audi achieved its fourth-consecutive year of record U.S. demand with full-year sales of 158,061, a 14% increase over last year. 6,300 flagship A8s found U.S. buyers in 2013, while Audi's best-selling vehicle was the Q5 crossover with 40,355 sold. Jaguar sales were up 41% with 16,952 cars sold.

Now that I have 2013 totals for the prestige auto brands, I have updated the data in my article on the luxury car market. Looking at the 2013 sales volume table near the end of the article, it's not surprising to hear almost constant rumors that the Lincoln brand will disappear before long.

joe sherlock blogHarmonious Rock: Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers has died of lung disease at age 74. Phil and Don burst onto the rock and roll scene in 1957 and were known for steel-string guitar playing and singing in harmony. They brought the close harmony singing of traditional country music into the mainstream of American pop music.

The Duo had a number of hit singles, including 'Bye-Bye Love', 'Wake Up, Little Susie', 'All I Have to Do Is Dream' and 'Kathy's Clown', which sold 8 million copies.

The brothers toured with The Crickets; Phil Everly was one of Buddy Holly's pallbearers at his funeral in February 1959. Rest In Peace.

The Rise Of Decadence: Charles Hill of Yale University wrote, "Almost every act regarded in the mid-20th century as a vice was, by the opening of the 21st century, considered a virtue. As gambling, obscenity, pornography, drugs, divorce, homosexuality, abortion and sneering disaffection became The New Virtue, government at all levels began to move in on the action, starting with casinos and currently involving, in several states and the District of Columbia, an officially approved and bureaucratically managed narcotics trade."

Sad but all too true.

Unsuccessful Hack: On Sunday, someone or something attempted to access this site, calling up a WordPress log-in 396 times, according to my server logs. Luckily for me, I have never used WordPress either for hosting or as a publishing platform.

Bad Pun of the Day: They accused her of stealing the broach but they just couldn't pin it on her.

Friday January 3, 2014

A Reflective Gift: My daughter loves Bugattis, so I presented her with a chrome diecast 1:43 scale model of a 1938 Type 57SC Atlantic on Christmas Day. It was ... (more >>>)

"If You Like Your American Car Company, You Can Keep It." U.S. automaker Chrysler will become fully owned by Italy's Fiat under terms of an agreement that also involves the United Auto Workers union.

The agreement comes more than four years after the Obama administration brought Fiat in to keep Chrysler afloat as part of a "packaged bankruptcy proceeding."

Fiat's business in Europe has fallen apart as the EU economy has worsened. Chrysler sales were the only reason the Italian carmaker continued to post profits. (permalink)

Book Review: Wealth And Poverty: A New Edition For The 21st Century' by George Gilder

First published in 1981, this book spread the gospel of supply-side economics to a broad audience. It sold over a million copies. I missed it the first time around but an updated version was released in 2012.

The book has three central premises:

Wealth is created by enterprising individuals, fostered by nations without cumbersome tax/regulatory burdens.

The way out of poverty involves work, family and faith. Poverty is not determined by race. Poverty is enabled and institutionalized by government assistance programs.

Entrepreneurs and smaller companies are the keys to innovation and job-creation.

While the assertions and conclusions are as valid today as they were in 1981, the ... (more >>>)

Art Cast: My son-in-law has his wrist in a cast.

joe sherlock blog

Rather than signing it, I drew a picture of the GM Aerotrain with a Sharpie.

2013 Wile E. Coyote Award Winner: When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

Definition Of The Day: Pokemon (noun) - A Jamaican proctologist.


This blog is about cars, automobiles, vehicles of various sorts and more.

The facts presented in this car blog are based on my best guesses and my substantially faulty geezer memory. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Probably.

Spelling, punctuation and syntax errors are cheerfully repaired when I find them; grudgingly fixed when you do.

If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of trying to change my mind by providing me with vehicles to test drive.

If I have slandered any people, politicians, celebrities or corporations in this blog, either expressly or inadvertently, they should buy me strong drinks (and an expensive meal), while patiently attempting to prove that they're not the jerks I've portrayed them to be. If you're buying, I'm willing to listen.

Don't be shy - try a bribe. It might help.

copyright 2014 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved