A Blog About Cars ... And More
Thursday October 29, 2020
AutoSketch: 1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV - Cadillac Eldorado Slayer
The Continental Mark IV was all new for 1972. Longer and wider than the Mark III which it replaced, it was also 211 pounds lighter. The 1972 model was the only Mark IV which had an oversized front radiator grille which dipped into the bumper. The 1973 and later models had the massive, federally mandated 5 miles per hour impact bumpers and the dipping bumper design was lost.
The '72 Mark IV had horizontal taillights mounted in the rear bumper. This was the first Mark Lincoln to have opera windows in the rear quarter of the roof. A Cartier clock was standard as were ... (more >>>)
Six-Figure Lincoln: Recently, MotorWeek tested a 2020 Lincoln Navigator Black Label edition. This Expedition-based monster was over 17 feet long and was powered by a 450 horsepower, turbocharged V6. (You can't get a V8 engine in a Lincoln anymore.) Nevertheless, the 6,000 pound SUV careened its way form 0 to 60 mph in only 5.9 seconds.
Most surprising was the base starting price for the Navi: $98,430. It wouldn't take much optioning to cross the $100,000 mark. To be fair, The 2021 Cadillac Escalade can also easily run into six-figures. But it has a 420-hp 6.2L V8 with 10-speed automatic transmission.
Truckin': The Ford F-150 has been the bestselling vehicle in America for 38 years, and it is regarded as a huge profit machine for the second-largest automaker.
It has also been the bestselling truck in America for 43 years. "The latest version of the F-150 comes with some much-anticipated updates, such as a hybrid powertrain option that provides better fuel economy, a 12,000-pound tow rating and on-board power outlets for tools or electronics. The truck is also the first pickup to offer over-the-air software updates, allowing Ford to make changes to the vehicle remotely."
The Ford F-series pickup, has now become the nation's most frequently stolen vehicle as well, with nearly 39,000 thefts in 2019.
Lessons From The Car Wash: Long ago, when I was in college, I worked Saturdays at a local car wash. To give you an idea of how long ago it was, the price of a full-service, exterior and interior cleaning was only two dollars.
I worked with the exterior finish-up crew, doing the final touch-up cleaning and drying by hand. As a grand finale, we would open the driver's side door for the customer to get in and cruise off. Most did with a smile on their face - happy to leave with a shiny car (and, hopefully, a tip for us workers).
Some paused to check our work before getting in. Most of these inspectors were very satisfied since we had a good finish-up crew. A few would complain loudly that the car wasn't really clean. Most of these people were driving beat-up cars which hadn't seen soap and water in months. Or years. They were expecting and demanding a miracle.
Book Review: 'The Plus: Self-Help For People Who Hate Self-Help' by Greg Gutfeld
Greg Gutfeld is a brilliantly funny social commentator. His weekly 'Greg Gutfeld Show' is fast-paced and interesting. Greg is also a regular on 'The Five', another Fox News show. This is his fifth book that I've read and reviewed. These reviews include ... (more >>>)
Ave Atque Vale: It is with sadness that I announce the passing of Dr. Henry J. Gambino. He died in Doylestown, PA a few months ago after a long battle with Parkinson's and the effects of a stroke he suffered five year ago. His wife, Maureen, preceded him in death a couple of months earlier. She was 77.
Dr. Gambino was a good friend and a brilliant guy. Harry (as his friends called him) was the author of several books, including 'Argomania: A Look At Argus Cameras And The Company That Made Them' and 'Waters of the World'.
Born in 1939 ... (more >>>)
The Virus Has Made Him Superman: On Tuesday, over 29,000 patriots showed up for President Trump's evening Omaha, NE rally in 27 degree windchill "climate change" … the last of three huge rallies for the day.
Random Comment … from a guy named Richard Daniels on an Instapundit Open Thread: "With the BS President Trump has had to endure, it makes me wonder what the deep state threatened Ross Perot with to encourage him to drop out of the race against former Director of Central Intelligence George H. W. Bush."
Question Of The Day: How much damage did the motivational industry cause by motivating incompetent people to go out and do stuff?
Tuesday October 27, 2020
"Oh, The Days Dwindle Down ..." Albert Camus wrote, "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." Well, there certainly is much Fall flowering these days; I couldn't get over how much color has been added in less than a week.
Fall is definitely present. The sun arrives later; I arise in the dark. The days are still sunny but there has been a change in the light . It now has that Fall look - waning and shadowy. The sky is a pale, anemic blue. There is more autumn color in the trees and bushes. The nights are cold - 31 degrees on Sunday night - and that brings more color to the trees.
At 1:30 pm on Monday, the temperature was a cool 49 degrees; the sun was out and there were clear skies above, so I fired up my old '39 Plymouth coupe and went for a drive.
There was light traffic but no school buses or big trucks on my back road driving loop. For part of my drive, I was behind a lime green Smart car for a while but it was going faster than me, so it didn't hold me back.
The Fall colors were near or at peak but not as brilliant as in prior years. I had a pleasant drive and the Plymouth ran great.
Topping the sale was a 1931 Bentley 8-liter Tourer that brought $885,000.
A 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 cracked the auction's top-five, selling for $346,000, while a 1933 Packard 1004 Super Eight Convertible Victoria fetched $112,000.
Cars That Changed Everything: I have compiled a list of ten automobiles which have had the most impact on the auto industry (and, in many cases, society). These aren't necessarily my favorite cars (they're probably not all your favorites either) and many weren't automotive best sellers.
That's OK, because this isn't a popularity contest; rather, it is a recognition of those cars which had the most profound impact.
And the winners are ... (more >>>)
Never Give Up; Never Surrender: Peter De Lorenzo has penned an obituary for the internal combustion engine.
He wrote, "The automobile industry has arrived at this point in time with a glowing track record of technical achievements, but there's no doubt that with those accomplishments comes a legacy that has its share of negativity and low points.
No, the automobile isn't the only source of pollution on the planet certainly not when the overarching industrial pollution is taken into account but it's the most visible and by far the easiest target of politicians who believe the solution is just a finger-snap away, whether by legislative decree or by eliminating the problem altogether."
"I welcome what's coming, because I believe that technical innovation will transform what has been a transformative industry since its very beginnings and propel it and us to new and unimaginable heights. Will I miss the Internal Combustion Engine era? Oh yes, very much so. But we will celebrate the ingenuity, the technical achievements, the speed and, of course, the breathtaking style for many decades to come." Nah, I don't think so.
I'm not ready to give up on internal combustion. I think ICE will be around for decades. Maybe for another century. Until nuclear power becomes a major source for powerplants, electric vehicles remain - in most parts of the planet - coal-burners on wheels.
The View From The Back Deck: When the Fall colors peak, they are beautiful to behold. I shot this photo from the back deck of our house:
Unfortunately, the leaves are rapidly turning brown and falling to the ground as it has been rainy and windy lately. Winter will be upon us. Sigh.
China Virus Update: As of Friday October 23rd, cumulatively, there have been 66 deaths in Clark County, Washington, a rate of 137 per million, from the China virus. There was one new death in the last week. Of the 66 deaths, 61 were folks ages 60 and up.
The death rate for Washington State is 301/million people, ranking 40th among states in deaths per million people. The U.S. death rate is 692/million.
There have been a total of ... (more >>>)
Important Note: I have now posted a new page listing postings, data, graphs and other information about the virus in reverse chronological order. It is interesting to compare early reports and assumptions with later information.
You'll find it here.
The Countdown Begins: Pope Francis has now endorsed civil unions between gay couples. I'm guessing that within 15 years, we'll have our first Lesbian Bishop. Francis is already appointing Fake Bishops in China.
Traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli wrote, "The most ridiculous thing of the people carrying water for the controversial Francis declaration on homosexual unions is that the Vatican itself, with a huge PR and press office team and media organizations, has said nothing."
Is the Church still Catholic? I've written about that here.
I'll Miss Her Big Smile … and her eye-rolling at idiotic news. And, as a long-suffering resident of NYC, scoffing at All Things de Blasio. Melissa Francis is apparently leaving Fox. I enjoyed her on 'After The Bell' at Fox Business. She had co-hosted that show for many years.
Bristol Stomp: Biden did a drive-in rally in Bristol, Pennsylvania on Saturday (one of two public appearance that day - the other was a few miles away) which also brought out a crowd of Trump supporters - who far outnumbered the Biden crowd. They gathered in a parking lot across from the parking lot for the Biden rally. "The enthusiastic Trump supporters were making some noise, shouting and honking their horns. Grumpy Gramps didn't appreciate the interruption and he lashed out at them." He did so by calling them "chumps," a couple of times during his 15 minute speech. He was visibly angry and rattled, shouting, "I'm getting tired of smart people!"
I thought he might stomp off the stage in the manner of the Bristol Stomp, for Bristol, PA is the home of that 1961 hit song by The Dovells. I know Bristol well, having worked at Rohm and Haas' Plastics Engineering Laboratory in that very town when I was in my 20s.
Bon Jovi was featured as the opening act at Joe Biden's other rally in PA Saturday. He played for 12 people and seven decorative pumpkins. Biden can't draw crowds, even with '80s rock star help. Biden's speeches last no more than 15 minutes and he often fades, mumbles or mangles words or facts toward the end.
Meanwhile, Democrat rock star Barack Obama spoke on behalf of Sleepy Joe to a "crowd" of 47 people in Miami on Saturday.
Compare this with President Trump, who is his own rock star, and gives three or four one-hour-plus speeches per day and never seems to run out of steam. Trump's average draw is 12-15,000 people per rally with thousands lining the roads just to get a glimpse of him.
On Saturday, President Trump did three events in three states: North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. Each was at least an hour long and Trump never lost his high energy or his cool. In Circleville, Ohio, Trump was cheered on by three nuns seated behind him. One of these Children of Mary sisters held up a bible as he walked on the stage. All were wearing MAGA masks.
President Trump campaigned more this weekend than Biden has in a month.
"Biden's campaign strategy consists of doing interviews with local news markets and random podcasts while remaining in his basement as much as possible. There is little interaction with journalists assigned to cover his campaign." Trump made several stops on Sunday, including one in Manchester, NH. Biden stayed home and has no activities scheduled until Tuesday.
Regardless of what polls commissioned by the mainstream media show, there's just no enthusiasm for Joe Biden. There are "some concerns for Biden in PA polling, including in Philly, where he's running 10 points behind Hillary Clinton's support in 2016 and Trump is about 9 points ahead of where he was four years ago."
The More You Know, The Worse It Gets: According a report by Jennifer Van Laar, "A nearly 60-page intelligence report dated October 2 and provided to RedState late Wednesday details the relationship between multiple Chinese State-Owned Entities (SOE's) and companies owned by Hunter Biden, Chris Heinz (stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry), Devon Archer, James Bulger (mob boss Whitey Bulger's nephew), and suspected Chinese intelligence asset Michael Lin."
Hunter Biden served on the board of Heinz and Archer's Rosemont Realty, a large US-based commercial real estate firm that was then sold to a Chinese company. A Chinese company affiliated with Hunter Biden acquired electric vehicle technology and assets from two US companies that were in bankruptcy and which had defaulted on government-backed loans. And finally, suspected Chinese intelligence asset and Hunter Biden business partner and frequent travel partner Michael Lin had official meetings with Joe Biden while he was Vice President.
Don Surber wrote, "The importance of Hunter Biden's laptop is not what is inside it but what it symbolizes. To be sure, the details are a gory mix of child porn, bribery, and money laundering that would have landed the Bidens and their associates in prison in an earlier age." Joe Biden is "an opportunist who spent 44 years in the Senate and White House and did not do a darned thing for the public. He was too busy lining the pockets of his idiot son and sundry other idiot relatives."
Meanwhile, revelations from Hunter's laptop are coming so fast and heavy, that Lawrence Person is having trouble keeping up. But he offers a startling list here. And, just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, they did: "Text messages show VP Biden and his wife colluded to suppress Hunter's actions with a certain minor."
Punk Quote Of The Week … is from Johnny Rotten, formerly of The Sex Pistols: "I never thought I'd see the day when the right wing would become the cool ones giving the middle finger to the establishment, and the left wing become the sniveling, self-righteous twatty ones going around shaming everyone."
He now supports Trump and Brexit.
Comeback: Remember Mumm's champagne? James Lileks provides a backstory on Baron von Mumm. "After the war, von Mumm salvaged little of his fortune, and lost what remained in the 1929 Wall Street crash. Thus, the "champagne king" saw his fortunes wither until he was living in a $10-a-week Manhattan boarding house.
In 1931, he tried to take his own life by shooting himself above the heart in the Long Island home of his old friend William H. von Rath. His suicide note read: "Bury me as I am and keep this out of the newspapers."
But: Von Mumm rallied and recovered. He went on to compete in the Olympics, in bobsledding, and died in 1959.
By the way, it "wasn't his first whiff of gunpowder: Between meeting and marrying Frances Scoville, von Mumm became involved with Marie van Rensimer Barnes, who later shot him in her Paris apartment in 1912."
Thought For Today: Stalking is when two people go for a romantic walk together but only one of them knows about it.
Friday October 23, 2020
Alternate Luxury: Designer Richard Arbib, about whom I've written here, produced a mid-1970s Cadillac Eldorado 'what-if' rendering called the Dorade.
In the license plate spot, he ... (more >>>)
Trans-Something: Like a transgender reveal, the formerly ultra-macho Hummer has come out as an electric vehicle.
I guess it's still macho - in an electrified way. It has butch, squared-off styling, big tires pushed to the edges, and a towering fascia. The first version of the Hummer EV that will be available is the tricked-out Edition 1. It features three electric motors, which allows for torque vectoring. These motors make 1,000 horsepower, though GMC still hasn't given real-world torque numbers. The motors are fed by a 24-module Ultium battery pack. The pack can provide an estimated 350 miles or more of range.
GMC is taking orders for the 2022 Hummer EV Edition 1 right now. Production begins late next year. It starts at $112,595.
Update ... and the first year's production of Edition 1 was sold out within 2 hours. GMC did say that "anyone who wants an Edition 1 can be placed on a waiting list when they reserve their Hummer, and that "thousands" are on the waiting list."
Slow Is Relative: Most passenger vehicles made these days are pretty peppy. Last week, MotorWeek tested a 2020 Volkswagen Passat and described its 8.3 second 0-60 time as slow. And called its quarter-mile performance (16.5 seconds at 88 mph) "poky." Well the Passat does have a rather anemic powertrain by today's standards. Its only offering is a 174 horsepower, two-liter I-4 turbo, coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission. But it's not too expensive; prices are in the $24-33,000 range, depending on model.
Speed is a relative thing. In the 1950s and early-'60s, most automatic V8 cars would do 0-60 mph in 10 seconds or longer. My 1963 Volkswagen Beetle had a quarter-mile track-measured time of 21 seconds with a trap speed of 60 mph.
Now that was poky.
Buh-Bye: U.S. Bank will permanently close 26 branches in the Portland metro area - about 25% of its area locations. The company informed customers earlier this month that it would close 32 locations in Oregon as a whole and another three locations in Southern Washington within the Portland metro area. Twenty-five of the 26 branches that will permanently close in the Portland metro area had already been temporarily closed due to operational changes associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
We once banked with U.S. Bank. They were good until they weren't. We left them for Northwest Bank. A few years later, U.S. bought Northwest and quickly pissed us off again. We easily found another financial institution which was eager for our business. We've been with them for almost 20 years.
The Truth Is Out There: Parody site Babylon Bee assures us that the teachers unions promise school will resume as soon as the teachers are done campaigning for Biden.
"We realized that these prolonged school closures were a perfect opportunity to mobilize our 1.7 million-member union to get out the vote for Joe Biden," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "Plus, the Biden campaign didn't have to pay them since they are already being paid a full salary with taxpayer dollars. It was a win-win for us!"
"So if you're wondering why the schools still aren't open, that's why. We promise we'll start teaching your dumb kids again as soon as the important work of defeating Donald Trump is completed," Weingarten said.
Working Man: Joe Biden is big on reminding people of his blue collar roots and that he's just an ordinary Joe. His tax returns tell a different story. His income in 2016 was $396,456. His 2017-19 income was $15,596,979.
A Big Can Of Worms Has Been Opened: Tony Bobulinski was an institutional investor who was recruited by the Biden family to run Holdings, their joint-venture with now-bankrupt CEFC China Energy Co., a commie energy company run by Chairman Ye.
"I was brought into the company to be the CEO by James Gilliar and Hunter Biden," Bobulinski said. "The reference to "the Big Guy" in the much-publicized May 13, 2017 e-mail is in fact a reference to Joe Biden. The other "JB" referenced in that e-mail is Jim Biden, Joe's brother."
Bobulinski, in a statement to Fox News, said "Hunter Biden called his dad 'the Big Guy' or 'my Chairman', and frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals that we were discussing. I've seen Vice President Biden saying he never talked to Hunter about his business. I've seen firsthand that that's not true, because it wasn't just Hunter's business, they said they were putting the Biden family name and its legacy on the line. I realized the Chinese were not really focused on a healthy financial ROI. They were looking at this as a political or influence investment." The Big Guy got 10% of the deal.
"I just saw behind the Biden curtain and I grew concerned with what I saw," Bobulinski said. "The Biden family aggressively leveraged the Biden family name to make millions of dollars from foreign entities even though some were from communist-controlled China."
A list of "key domestic contacts" for the joint venture involving Jim and Hunter Biden and now-bankrupt CEFC China Energy Co. included former Vice President Joe Biden's current running mate Senator Kamala Harris, as well as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; former Virginia Gov. Terry McCauliffe and others.
Tony Bobulinski has also provided a trove of documents to U.S. Senate investigators from the Senate Homeland Security and Senate Finance Committees and has confirmed the authenticity of many of the e-mails on Hunter's laptop. Other sources have reported that the China firm CEFC gave a $5 million non-secured, forgivable, zero-interest loan to the Biden "family."
This is a very big deal; it verifies and expands on much of the information reported recently about the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop. Tony Bobulinski was President Trump's guest at Thursday night's final debate and, just before the debate, held a press conference where he directly implicated Joe Biden himself in the scandal.
The Final Debate: I don't know if any minds will be changed but Donald Trump won Thursday night's debate. He was assertive but presidential. Joe Biden looked old and tired, even though he rested and practiced for 5 days before this debate. Trump just got over the China virus but he had more energy than Sleepy Joe.
Trump got Biden to say that he wants to kill the oil industry. Goodbye Pennsylvania. His crazy energy policy proposals probably also lost Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, West Virginia and Alaska for Sleepy Joe. The president also forced Biden to admit he'd rejoin the despised Paris Climate Accords. And, Trump got to call China the Biggest Polluter Ever.
And there was Laptop Discussion. Biden had no answers. Advantage Trump.
Biden challenged the president to prove his claims with video and the president responded by doing just that. Biden claimed, "I have never said I oppose fracking." Trump responded, "You said it on tape!" "Show the tape," Biden dared. "Put it on your website. The fact of the matter is he's flat lying." Within a matter of moments, Trump's team tweeted out a video of Biden making 'his "ban all fracking" remarks.
Trump had some great moments and caught Biden in lies. "Why didn't you fix that Joe in the 8 years in the White House?" And: "Who built the cages, Joe?" And: "Joe, I'm looking right at you now. You're the reason I ran for President. You and that other guy did such a terrible job. I had to run and it was because of you." I see many, powerful ads coming soon.
"We're about to go into a Dark Winter," declared Joe Biden during the debate. Nobody wants a Dark Winter. Let Joe Biden have his own version of Dark Winter in his basement. Vote Trump.
Thank Heaven for Little Girls: Chanel Rion, Chief White House Correspondent of One America Network, tweeted, "Multiple OAN reporters have now viewed the e-mails, photos, and videos on the Hunter Biden hard drive. We can confirm: There appear to be not one but several images of a minor that justify immediate attention. We have reason to believe the minor is a US citizen."
According to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Hunter Biden's infamous laptop contained sexually-explicit photographs of underage girls and a text message conversation in which presidential candidate Joe Biden's son is accused of smoking crack and behaving badly around teenage girls. Text messages also suggest that Hunter Biden may have been "sexually inappropriate" with a 14-year-old girl, and had told Joe Biden about it.
As more information leaks out about he contents of Hunter's laptop, it just gets more disgusting.
Between Sleepy Joe's documented inappropriate behavior around young women and now this news about Hunter and kiddie porn, I wouldn't be surprised if a video surfaces of Joe and Hunter singing a duet of Maurice Chevalier's signature song as performed in the 1958 movie 'Gigi'.
Quote Of The Day is from Woody Allen: "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons."
Wednesday October 21, 2020
Fuel Up: On a pleasant, partly-cloudy day with 59 degree temperature at 1:30 pm, I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and drove to Old Town Battle Ground to fill up the car's gas tank. I added some Sta-Bil, because I don't know how many old car drives I'll get in before rain becomes a semi-permanent condition.
Looking up, there were innocuous, wispy clouds and light blue skies the color of a faded oxford shirt - signs that summer is well-past and winter is behind the curtain, working up a cold, wet head of steam.
Afterward, I went for a back roads drive. Traffic wasn't too bad. There's more Fall color than last week but we're far from peak at this point. The weather made me recall of Fall football games of my youth. Sunny and bright, pale blue vault and temperatures which made for sweater weather by day, lined-jacket weather after the sun went down.
The Plymouth ran perfectly. I hope to get some more drives in before the season ends.
For $127,510, You Get ... Unremarkable: AutoiBlog staffers tested the flagship 2020 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 and found it lacking.
Associate Editor Brian Hurd wrote, "As nice as the Quattroporte is, it lacks the sense of occasion that you get from its competitors. Its styling doesn't really excite, nor does it convey that same sense of refined understatement that you often get with cars in this space. Instead, it's just kind of ... there. The drive experience is similarly unremarkable to me. It does its job very well, but in that worker bee sort of way, not the fast-track-to-upper-management variety. It's quick, comfortable, and can do a reasonable approximation of a large sport sedan when you set it up properly, but it's not the sort of car that encourages a spirited approach behind the wheel."
Senior Editor John Snyder commented, "Its design doesn't really scream, well, anything. Under normal driving, the 3.0-liter V6 under the hood doesn't either. In Sport mode, though, the twin-turbocharged Ferrari-sourced engine raises its voice in a sonorous growl. Just make sure you roll the window down, or else that song will be merely for the benefit of bystanders. From the driver's seat, this car is quiet."
Damning with faint praise indeed.
Triple Bats: Bertone's famous 1950s Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 5, 7, 9 dream cars will sell together at auction later this month.
Arguably the most famous Italian dream cars of the decade ... (more >>>)
To Vee Or Not To Vee: Scott Grannis has provided several graphs showing the recovery from the Wuhan flu. Money demand is getting back to normal levels, continuing unemployment claims are trending down and light vehicle sales are showing a true V-shaped recovery ... (more >>>)
Dr. Evil: Lefty billionaire George Soros has funneled nearly $70 million into the 2020 elections, tripling his previous record, in an attempt to get Joe Biden elected.
"The Democracy PAC, a super PAC created by Soros to fund left-wing groups working to defeat Republicans, has poured $68.5 million into electoral efforts this cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission. That sum is $46 million more than Soros' previous high of $22 million, which came during the last presidential cycle."
During a speech to the World Economic Forum earlier this year, Soros said the "fate of the world" is at stake in the 2020 elections. He also referred to Trump as a "con man" and "authoritarian."
Book Review: 'Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink' by Sean Hannity
It seems like everyone who appears on Fox News these days has a new book to hawk. I ignore most because they are covering President Trump and will be obsolete and destined for remainder bins - one way or another - after the election.
Sean Hannity is a big cheerleader for Donald Trump and has been even before 2015 when Trump announced. Sometimes he's as one-dimensional as a bullhorn. But ... (more >>>)
Done: Washington state mailed out ballots last Thursday. Ours arrived in Friday's mail. We spent the weekend studying the various initiatives in the thick voters pamphlet and filled out our ballots. Not trusting the mail, we dropped them in the official ballot drop-box at city hall on Monday morning.
Protect Your Assets: Steve Kalayjian. Chief Market Strategist & Co-Founder of Ticker Tocker and investment guru, said on Varney & Co., "Stock markets will hit new highs if President Trump wins. Tremendous growth like never before. If Biden wins, it's strangulation. Not good."
Protect your investments and assets. Vote Trump.
A Bad Prediction ... was made in 1955 by Alexander Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times: "Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years."
Lewyt, who held patents for scores of inventions and once said he had chronic insomnia from thinking them up, was best known for the Lewyt vacuum cleaner, a compact machine with no dust bag that was designed to operate without distorting television and radio reception. He also invented the clip-on bow tie. Lewyt sold the company in 1958 and became a philanthropist. He died in 1988.
My parents bought a new Lewyt in 1953. I now have it in my garage and use it for cleaning car interiors sometimes. It still works and the canister is still shiny almost 55 years later.
Some other predictions that didn't work out are listed here.
Question Of The Day: If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?
Monday October 19, 2020
Free Publicity: Tonkin Mercury of Portland, OR lined up car-haulers full of fresh 1958 Mercuries to let the public know that the '58s had arrived.
Tonkin gave up ... (more >>>)
Nice: I like the looks of the 2021 Kia K5. It replaces the Optima as Kia's mid-size sedan.
The K5 measures in at 193.1 inches long, 73.2 inches wide and 56.9 inches tall. It also has a wheelbase of 112.2 inches long.
If crossovers are your thing, the restyled 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe has distinctive lines.
Seasons: Last Thursday, at 1:20 pm, the temperature was 53 degrees, the sun was shining brightly and there was not a cloud in sight. So, I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and went for an afternoon drive. Traffic was light.
There's a fall chill in the air. The days are still warm but temperatures are dipping well into the 40s at night. I have to turn on lights in the morning when I get up. Darkness falls a little earlier each day. The leaves are starting to turn; there's more color than last week. I suspect within the next week, the change in color will become much more dramatic.
Skies are still blue but with a more anxious hue than the carefree bright blue of summer. Mt. St. Helens is now covered in snow.
Fall is my favorite season, though. It is nature contemplating the richness of its yearly accomplishments, following a blooming but messy - like a happy, muddy puppy - spring and a glorious summer that it - and we - hoped would never end.
If nature were human, it would now be sitting on the back deck, swirling a balloon glass of Pinot Noir in late afternoon. It would be wearing a light sweater and appear deep in thought.
Fall mixes comforting nostalgia with trepidation, knowing that winter - the season of death - is not far away. The Plymouth seems to know this too. It is running especially well, somehow realizing that the last ride of the year - and the bitter but good-for-ya taste of Sta-Bil - will soon arrive.
Save $34,000 On A New Car: AutoBlog reported that "the average price of a new car in America last year was $35,932." This month, the biggest discount off the retail price of a new car in America is awfully close to that figure at $34,001 - for buyers of a 2020 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. End of model year pricing is reduced to only $273,819.
According to data provided by TrueCar, buyers of the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT are seeing discounts of $23,103 off the car's average sticker price of $159,995. But it's now a two year-old unsold model.
Business Advice - Trade Show In A Box: When my plastics manufacturing business was small and cash-poor, we made lots of errors and missteps but we did one thing which really worked well for us.
It was inexpensive, creative, and it brought us lots more money. We called it ... (more >>>)
Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday: Once a Rolling Stones song from 1967, it's now a news headline. Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday closed 185 restaurants, following its bankruptcy. There are a handful of locations still operating.
Investment advisor Malcolm Berko once wrote, "I'd rather gargle with liquid nitrogen than own Ruby Tuesday." The sole location in Vancouver, WA closed in mid-2011. It was part of the city's Black Hole of Dining. Around here, Ruby Tuesday was famous for overpriced, mediocre food, slow service and screwing up orders.
China Virus Update: As of last Friday, cumulatively, there have been 65 deaths in Clark County, Washington, a rate of 135 per million, from the China virus as of Friday. There were three new deaths last week. Of the 65 deaths, 60 were folks ages 60 and up. 63% of all deaths were male.
The death rate for Washington State is 294/million people, ranking 36th among states in deaths per million people.. The U.S. death rate is 675/million. The U.S. mortality rate is below those of Peru, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador.
There have been a total of 3,956 cases of the Wuhan flu in Clark County, a rate of 8,242 per million people. Based on the number of tests, the cumulative positivity rate is 3%. For the week ending September 13th (the most recent data available), 3.66% of those tested were positive. Currently, there are 24 people hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus.
Battle Ground's zip code has a cumulative case rate of 5,957/million - 28% lower than Clark County as a whole.
Washington State has a total cumulative case rate of 13,092/million - about 2.2 times that of rural Battle Ground, WA. The U.S. coronavirus case rate is rate is 24,994/MM - 91% higher than Washington state's case rate.
It should be noted that 2020's attributed covid-19 deaths are "equivalent to having another 2017-2018 flu and pneumonia season boosted by 13%. The CDC estimated that about 177,000 Americans died during the 2017-2018 flu season, from either the flu itself or by complications of pneumonia."
Enthusiasm: Over the weekend, Trump supporters braved the cold and windy weather to wait hours for Trump rallies.
In Janesville, Wisconsin Saturday, of the 13,850 people signed up for the Trump rally, 47.5% of them were not Republicans and a whopping 24.1% didn’t vote in the 2016 election.
The campaign matched 11,842 voters at the Muskegon, Michigan rally and found that only 48.3% of the attendees were Republicans and a whopping 36% of Trump supporters who attended the rally did not vote in 2016.
There are a lot of new voters showing their support for Trump in critical swing states. It sounds like 2016 all over again ... only more so.
Carrying Water For The Biden Crime Family: On Thursday morning, the online version of the Columbian newspaper (Vancouver, WA) carried nothing on the Hunter Biden e-mail scandal - making it as bad as Twitter and Facebook. Later in the day, the paper posted a headline under its Politics section: 'Trump Seizes On Dubious Biden-Ukrane Story'. It began: "Looking to undermine rival Joe Biden 20 days before the election, President Donald Trump's campaign has seized on a tabloid story offering bizarre twists to …"
The New York Post may be a tabloid in size - convenient for subway riders - but it is hardly a 'tabloid' in the manner of those in supermarket check-out lanes. It is America's oldest continuously operating newspaper and was founded by Federalist and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in 1801. It is the fifth largest U.S. newspaper, measured by circulation.
The Biden Grift Machine is in the tank for anyone who pays up, including Ukraine. What's most worrisome is that one of its biggest customers ins China. The Democratic presidential nominee's son has extensive connections to Chinese businesses and Chinese foreign nationals that are linked to the Communist government. The Biden campaign's evasive responses should be telling for anybody with half a mind.
Rudy Giuliani wrote, "Biden can't stand up to China. They own him. His son, brother and sister-in-law are, and have been, partners with businesses owned by Communist China and high level members of the CCP. Records I have seen show over $30 million paid to the Biden Crime Family and a lot more to go."
Hunter Biden hooked up with the billionaire, Ye Jianming, chairman of the CEFC China Energy Co. conglomerate (a Commie Power Co.), during his father's vice presidency." Hunter demanded $10 million for "introductions alone," according to e-mails.
Regarding the censorship by Twitter and Facebook, Mark Steyn observed, "America is now formally a one-party state, at least as far as fair access to media platforms is concerned. In old-school "people's republics," the dictator keeps the opposition party off the air. In the subtler version operated by social media, woke dictators of a nominally two-party state are now openly keeping one of those two parties off your telephones and tablets. Wanker conservatives of the lemming right wonder if this might be, ooh, a 'campaign-finance violation'."
Many of the Biden family abuses have been reported in Peter Schweizer's book, 'Profiles In Corruption: Abuse of Power by America's Progressive Elite'.
If Hunter Biden had acted alone, attempting to sell access, it would be a newsworthy story, but not a threat. That Joe Biden used his crack-addled son to launder ill-gotten gains by selling our country's interests to the highest bidder, is a huge national security threat.
Biden created one job in 47 years. It was for Hunter.
Flashback: George Burns mused about his wife, Gracie Allen. "Gracie didn't play it dumb, don't you see. Offstage, she was very bright, smarter than me, well educated. She was able to spell. I didn't get past fourth grade. These dumb dames I see today, they all know they're dumb. Gracie didn't. When she said those strange, scatterbrained things and you didn't understand, she felt sorry for you.
She never told a joke. She explained a joke. Like she would say, 'My sister Hazel woke up in the middle of the night, there was a scream and we all ran into her room. And we noticed that her feet had turned black.' I'd say, 'And what did you do?’ ‘We sent for the doctor.' I'd say, 'What did the doctor do?' She'd say, 'He took off her stockings and we all went back to sleep.'
She was the talent, I wasn't. I smoked a cigar. When we were on stage together, my lines were 'You don't say?' ‘Your brother?’ 'Oh, is that so?' Gracie taught me how to listen."
Thought For Today: With great power comes great electricity bill.
Thursday October 15, 2020
Most American Vehicle: According to a study published by American University's Kogod School of Business, the Ford Ranger has 70% of its parts made in the United States or Canada. Second place went to the Chevrolet Corvette with automatic transmission - 64% of its parts come from the U.S. or Canada. (The manual-transmission for the Corvette comes from Europe.) The Corvette tied with the gasoline-powered variants of the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon.
"You'll find the Ford Mustang in eighth place, regardless of whether it's powered by the 2.3-liter four-cylinder or the 5.0-liter V8. The most American F-150 is the 5.0-liter V8-powered model, which placed in ninth position."
Worse Than Me: In an article on my education, I stated that "when I arrived at Villanova's Engineering School, I found that most of my classmates already had courses in mechanical drafting, model making, wood shop and metalworking under their belts. The Prep's classical program offered no pre-Engineering courses. But my brain told me that I'd been in this situation before and I charged right through, even though I remained the worst welder in metal shop through the end of the term."
Book Review: 'Volkswagen Beetles & Buses: Smaller & Smarter' by Russell Hayes
This a wonderful book, released just in time to celebrate the 75th and 70th anniversaries of the Beetle and VW Bus, both significant vehicles. The large-format (9.25" x 10") hardback book is 176 pages long, including index and bibliography, and contains lots of photos, 200 of them in color. Surprisingly many are historic photos that I've never seen before - and I've read quite a few VW books, including 'Small Wonder' - the granddaddy of all Volkswagen histories, issued in 1970.
That said, let's all acknowledge that the Volkswagen Beetle story is so ... (more >>>)
Don't Forget - Flu Season Is Coming:
I'm hoping to get my flu shot soon. (And, I did on October 28th.)
Another Closure: St. Basil Academy, originally a convent boarding school for girls, now an 89-year-old private all-girls high school in Jenkintown, PA (near Philadelphia), will close at the end of the academic year. Run by the Ukranian Catholic Sisters of St. Basil the Great, the school faced declining enrollment and an inability to make ends meet. Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski, the provincial superior of the order, said in a letter to the St. Basil community, calling it a "painful, but necessary decision."
I remember going to mixers there in ... (more >>>)
Hidin' Biden Says Don't Vote For Him. The other day, Joe Biden got angry and lashed out at a reporter who asked him about a recent Gallup poll that found 56% of Americans find their lives better today than four years ago under Joe Biden and Barack Obama.
Biden's answer was incredibly stupid and telling:
Bonchie at Red State wrote, "This is a pattern for Biden, though. Whenever anyone suggests he justify himself to voters, his defense mechanism is to get angry and say those people shouldn't vote for him. We've also seen shades of this in his "you ain't black" comments. Biden's default is to insult the very people he claims to want to win over in this election cycle. That's politically idiotic, which is why it's so obvious that he simply can't control himself. An inability to process and respond rationally is yet more evidence of his clear mental decline. No candidate in their right mind would tell 56% of the country to not vote for them, but Biden just did that because he can't control himself, and we all know why.
Biden is not well. Period."
One of the first rules of sales is: Ask For The Order. Sleepy Joe seems to be doing the opposite.
Another October Surprise: There's a story in the New York Post about how Hunter Biden introduced a Ukrainian businessman to his then-VP dad, Joe Biden - a claim that Sleepy Joe has repeatedly and vehemently denied over the past year or so.
The story itself is shocking and it has now been published by a mainstream, established news organization. The New York Post is one of the nation's largest newspapers by circulation. The story is posted here.
I've posted the link because both Facebook and Twitter have banned all references to, mentions of, or links to this news article. That sounds un-American to me. In fact, it sounds like something the Chinese Communist Party would do. NYP editor Sohrab Ahmari wrote, "This is a Big Tech information coup. This is digital civil war."
From the article: "The blockbuster correspondence - which flies in the face of Joe Biden's claim that he's "never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings" - is contained in a massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer."
And: "Other material extracted from the computer includes a raunchy, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter, who's admitted struggling with addiction problems, smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman, as well as numerous other sexually explicit images."
Dominic Green of The Spectator wrote, "Anyone with a brain can see what is going on in plain sight. The only reason Burisma would want to employ Hunter Biden is to buy influence with his father. So there are reasonable questions to be asked of Joe Biden, a presidential candidate. He is doing his utmost to avoid them. He is succeeding in this shameful evasion because the pro-Democratic media, which is most of the American media, are actively helping him. They refuse to ask him serious questions and promulgate his talking points as their editorial lines."
In an interview with Newsmax Wednesday, President Trump called the Bidens "crooks and grifters."
Blonde Joke: A blonde got sick and tired of all the blonde jokes.
One evening, she went home and memorized all the state capitals. Back in the office the next day, some guy started telling a dumb blonde joke. She interrupted him with a shrill announcement, "I've had it up to here with these blonde jokes. I want you to know that this blonde went home last night and did something probably none of you could do. I memorized all the state capitals."
One of the guys said, "I don't believe you. What is the capital of Nevada?"
"N," she answered.
Quote Of The Day is from Ben Franklin: "Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech."
Tuesday October 13, 2020
Faint Praise, But Will It Save This Beleaguered Brand? Dave Vandenwerp of Car and Driver wrote that the 2021 Acura TLX "shows signs of greatness."
"The price is up $4500, but the TLX's $38,525 entry point is still $3720 less than a 3-series. Add $2000 if you want all-wheel drive. At launch, the TLX gets a transversely mounted 272-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four from the RDX and Honda's 10-speed automatic. It's a satisfying powertrain, and the electronically enhanced engine noises are natural-sounding and pleasing, which isn't the norm."
As the review points out, it's not quite there. It's too bad. Acura was once quite the tech brand - very popular with engineers in the 1990s. These days, it struggles to find an identity.
Timing Is Everything: Last Friday's forecast called for clouds and rain but, at 10:15 am, the temperature was a comfortable 62 degrees and there were sunny blue skies overhead. Naturally, I fired up my '39 Plymouth business coupe and went for a morning drive. Traffic was light.
The Fall colors haven't really kicked in yet. Nighttime temperatures have been in the 50s, so there's been no cold snap to accelerate things. Overnight temperatures are expected to dip into the 40s late next week.
The forecast is for rain for the foreseeable future, so I was glad that I got a chance to take an old car drive while the weather was favorable. The rain began Friday night and it really poured over the weekend. Later in the week, night time temperatures are expected to dip into the low 40s. I suspect that I'll see a lot more Fall color during my next old car drive.
Milestone: Sixty-one years ago, on Columbus Day 1959, I got my driver's license.
That fact makes me feel unbelievably ancient. (permalink)
Poverty Decline: Economist Mark Perry tweeted, "The amazing 80% reduction in world poverty from 42.3% in 1981 to 8.6% in 2018. It probably took 1,000 years to cut the poverty rate in half from to 84% to 42% in 1981; then 24 years to get to 21% in 2005 and then only 10 years to cut it in half again to 10% in 2015."
How did it happen? Capitalism. And technology developed by capitalists.
Despite these data, I get more snail-mail solicitations to help the poor (by giving money) than ever.
China Virus Update: Cumulatively, there have been 62 deaths in Clark County, Washington, a rate of 129 per million, from the China virus as of Friday. There were two new deaths last week. Of the 62 deaths, 57 were folks ages 60 and up. 63% of all deaths were male.
The death rate for Washington State is 287/million people. The U.S. death rate is 659/million. The U.S. mortality rate is below those of Peru, Belgium, Spain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador.
There have been a total of 3,799 cases of the Wuhan flu in Clark County, a rate of 7,914 per million people. Based on the number of tests, the positivity rate is 3%. Currently, there are 23 people hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus, representing only 3.6% of hospital capacity.
Battle Ground's zip code has a case rate of 5,574/million - 30% lower than Clark County as a whole. Battle Ground's case rate has consistently been significantly lower than the county, probably because it's a more rural area. The county's heat map shows the greatest number of cases in the most densely-populated areas.
Washington State has a total cumulative case rate of 12,479/million - over 2.2 times that of rural Battle Ground, WA. The U.S. coronavirus case rate is rate is 23,755/MM - over 90% higher than Washington state's case rate.
As more data has become available, it is becoming obvious that the chances of dying from coronavirus are now quite low because of advances in treatment. All of us watched as President Trump was hospitalized and, with the latest treatments now available, quickly recovered. For individuals below 65 years-old, the death risk is below 0.1%. For individuals age 65 and older, the mortality rate averages 0.64%.
Yes, if you're elderly and have comorbidities, you should be very careful. But, there is too much panic-hype and too much lockdown, in my opinion. It is hurting our economy and the continued closure of schools is inhibiting education.
Scott Atlas, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, tweeted support for the Great Barrington Declaration: "Top scientists all over the world line up with the Covid-19 policy of Donald Trump. Protect the vulnerable and open schools and society. That is the science." Sounds good to me.
Nearly 175,000 people have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, which calls for a "focused protection" strategy instead of lockdowns.
But … You Already Know What He Means: Joe Biden has said, "You'll know my opinion on court packing when the election is over."
What else is Hidin' Biden Joe keeping from us?
In related news, traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli tweeted six reasons not to vote for Joe Biden:
Lawrence Person wrote, "Biden refuses to reveal his position on court-packing, but he still wants to take your guns and hike your taxes until your eyeballs bleed, plus more on the enthusiasm gap, fracking flip-flops, and we're all going to be millionaires (the Weimer Republic kind)."
Ave Aqua Vale: Road & Track's John Lamm, who helped define the look and tone of the magazine, has died at age 76 from complications of lymphoma. For 37 years, since joining the magazine in 1976 - following a stint at Motor Trend, John Lamm contributed much to the appearance and content of R&T. As a photographer and writer, he helped craft the magazine that so many of us enjoyed.
Lamm's storytelling earned him the International Motor Press Guild's Dean Batchelor Award as well as the Ken Purdy Award. RIP.
Quote Of The Day is from Yogi Berra: "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."
Friday October 9, 2020
Future Vision: Born in 1933, Syd Mead was an American industrial designer and futurist. He graduated from the Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, CA. From 1960 to 1961, Mead worked in Ford Motor Company Styling in Detroit. Mead left Ford after two years to illustrate books and catalogues for companies including U.S. Steel. He is widely known for his designs for science-fiction films such as 'Blade Runner', 'Aliens' and 'Tron'. He has been described as the Vizualizer of the American Dream.
His dramatic illustration of a future limousine was ... (more >>>)
Working From Home, Staying Home: According to data from the Energy Information Administration, demand for gasoline in the United States is down 8 to 10% over the similar period last year.
"As most Americans are forced to remain at home moving into fall, this summer's steady rebound in gasoline demand has stalled out with the end of the driving season. Road trips have tapered off and the number of students and workers commuting on a daily basis is a fraction of what it normally is as the covid-19 pandemic continues to ricochet around the country, forcing people to stay at home."
Get A Move On: Jeremy Clarkson advised old people to drive faster, noting that "if we delivered your meals on wheels at the speed you drive, you'd end up with botulism."
Two Reasons Not To Celebrate John Lennon's 80th Birthday:
Meanwhile, George is dead, Paul got raked over the coals by his one-legged second wife and, somewhere out there, 80 year-old Ringo Starr is laughing his liver-spotted ass off.
The Case For Reelecting Donald J. Trump: I've been paying attention to politics for over 60 years. I have never seen a president who has accomplished so much in such a short time. As Donald Trump himself likes to say, "I've done more in 47 months than Joe Biden has done in 47 years."
Here are some examples of his accomplishments ... (more >>>)
Thought For Today: Eckankar is the only religion that sounds like a multi-level marketed nutritional supplement.
Wednesday October 7, 2020
Take My Picture! This middle-aged fellow posed proudly behind the wheel of his new 1953 Mercury Monterey wagon.
This eight-passenger wagon cost $2,591 and ... (more >>>)
Real Or Photoshopped? Recently, a Lucid Air prototype electric sedan was pictured running the quarter mile in 9.245 seconds with a trap speed of 157.26 mph.
Driving Past Summer: Fall is definitely here. The days are still warm but darkness falls a bit earlier each day.
When I drove my '39 Plymouth coupe along my favorite rural route Monday, I noticed that some leaves are starting to turn. Others are still green but losing their glossy luster.
At 1:00 pm, it was a pleasant 65 degrees outdoors with bright blue, cloud-free skies and bright sun. I had a pleasant drive except for some jerk in a dull lime-green '70s-era MG beater who didn't use his turn signals and wanted to putter along at 10-15 mph below the speed limit. Until I passed him ... then he wanted to race. But, too bad for him, I slowed down and turned at my street just as he belatedly came roaring up the hill behind me.
The Plymouth ran great, as usual. Traffic was generally light for a weekday.
Made In China: Buick unveiled a designed-in-China concept car called Electra. It has nothing in common with any past Buick Electras.
The futuristic, battery-powered concept car was created by a Shanghai-based design studio and unveiled at Auto China 2020. "Butterfly doors provide access to the cabin, where the space capsule theme continues. Buick packed the Electra with cutting-edge technology features, but it concealed them rather well to avoid a tech overload. The driver faces a rectangular steering wheel that retracts when it's not needed, behind which is a wide, curved screen that replaces all of the buttons, knobs, and switches normally found in a car's interior."
"It's inspired by a space capsule, according to Buick, so its greenhouse was drawn to resemble a glass pod. Its surfaces are sculpted but not chiseled, and its front fascia wears LED lights with a three-dimensional effect." No thanks. I like the 1960 Buick Electra better:
Third Quarter Auto Sales: New-vehicle sales for the July-September period were down 10% from last year, but up from this year's previous quarter, hinting at a potentially rapid recovery for the U.S. market.
FCA, Toyota, and General Motors are all showing sales declines of around 10% for the third quarter, but that's a dramatic improvement from declines of over 30% last quarter. Sales from January through March fell 13% from the year prior, and quarter two saw sales fall 24%, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Regarding last month, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated September light vehicle sales at 16.34 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) in September 2020, up 7.6% from the August sales rate, and down 4.3% from September 2019. In 2019, there were 12.70 million light vehicle sales through September. In 2020, there have been 10.31 million sales.
North American auto plants that typically churn out more than a million cars a month produced fewer than 5,000 in April. Things are much better now. More than 16% of the new vehicles sold in the United States in the third quarter of 2020 were full-size pickup trucks. Ford was number one, selling 221,847 F-Series pick-em-ups. Ram was a distant #2 with sales of 156,157. Chevy Silverado came in third with 148,574 units sold. GMC's Sierra was in fourth place, selling 67,812 vehicles.
The Toyota RAV4 was the best-selling SUV in the third Quarter, with 119,214 units sold. The Honda CR-V came in second with 98,436 units finding buyers.
The Toyota Camry was the top-selling sedan (79,046 in Q3) besting the Hinda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Honda Accord.
Toyota's sales fell 11% in the third quarter year-over-year.
FCA saw a similar recovery, with sales falling just over 10% in the third quarter, as opposed to a decline of 39% in the second quarter.
Sales increases for both the Chrysler Pacifica and the Jeep Gladiator helped cushion FCA's decline, along with only a slight decline for Ram pickups. Dodge brand sales dropped 31%, Ram sales were down 2% and Chrysler sales were up 8% for the quarter. Jeep sales dropped 10% during the period. Alfa Romeo sales grew 17% year-over-year for the third quarter to 5,056 vehicles.
General Motors reported such headwinds this past quarter, declining 10% in sales - a marked improvement from a 34% fall last quarter. GM's trucks, notably the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra, saw sales increase this past quarter, along with several of the automaker's crossovers, including the Chevy Blazer and the Buick Envision. Overall, Buick sales declined 3%, Chevrolet sales fell 11% and GMC dropped 6% y-o-y in the third quarter. "While the economy has made a substantial rebound in the third quarter, retail auto sales have been even more resilient," Elaine Buckberg, GM's chief economist, said. "Super-low auto loan interest rates have boosted retail auto sales, yet more strength comes from pandemic-induced demand."
Ford sales declined by 5% last quarter, a solid recovery after sales fell 33% in the second quarter of this year. Trucks and SUVs were a bright spot for Ford in the third quarter, as sales grew fractionally. Ranger sales jumped 8%.
Honda's sales fell sales fell 13% during the quarter. Sales for Volkswagen fell by 10% in the third quarter, a decline that was cushioned by good numbers for the new Atlas Cross Sport and the Tiguan. Last quarter, VW's sales tumbled 29%. Hyundai reported a 2% decline in sales in the third quarter. Sales increases were led by the Palisade, Sonata and Kona as well as the new Venue. Nissan saw a better third quarter than second, but sales still fell 27%. Although most of Nissan's models suffered sales declines, both the Versa and the Kicks saw sales increase this past quarter. Subaru sales declined by 9% in the third quarter.
In the luxury field, quarterly Lexus sales rose 2% year-over-year to 75,285 units. BMW sales fell 10% for the quarter to 68,439 vehicles. Audi sales declined 16% for the quarter to 47,896 units. Acura sales for the third quarter increased 2% to 39,664 vehicles. Cadillac sales fell 18% to 32,966 vehicles for the quarter. Lincoln sales dropped 1% to 27,555 for the quarter. Infiniti sales declined 30% for the quarter to 17,368. Genesis sales were off 24% for the quarter; only 3,745 vehicles found buyers.
Porsche's quarterly sales rose 5% for the quarter to 15,548 units. The Taycan, the brand's first electric car, outsold every other Porsche sedan and coupe in the U.S. market and is now #3 after the Cayenne and Macan SUVs. 1,858 Taycan sedans found buyers in the third quarter. During the same period, the company sold 1,567 911s, 1,064 Panameras, 4,609 Cayennes and 5,466 Macans.
Tesla said it delivered 139,300 vehicles worldwide in the third quarter. Tesla does not report U.S.-only sales figures. The Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover SUV comprised about 89% of the third quarter deliveries at 124,100 units. The Model S and X, Tesla's older and more expensive vehicles, comprised the remaining 11% with deliveries of 15,200.
Fiat sales were the worst-performing of any brand during the third quarter. Year-over-year sales dropped by a whopping 53% to only 1,102 vehicles - fewer than 85 Fiats per week.
Book Review: 'Don't Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason' by Dave Rubin
The author is apparently a podcaster with a fairly large following. I've never watched his podcasts and know nothing about them. I've watched Mr. Rubin a couple of times on 'The Greg Gutfeld Show'. He seemed impressive so I decided to give his book a try.
Early in the book, Rubin wrote that the purpose of his book was "to make you think. And to set you on the path to learn more for yourself. There are dozens if not hundreds of books written about each of these topics, and if you're interested, you should explore some of them. Perhaps even find some that go against what I've laid out here, and see what you think."
He makes numerous references to ... (more >>>)
This Has Been My Experience As Well: The Wrath of Gnon tweeted: "I'll never forget the time I spent with a young Down syndrome woman and her nomadic family in Mongolia. She pulled her load as much as anyone else, but constantly cheerful, always happily busy with household chores. To hell with modern civilization if it can't be made to fit them." Every Downs person I've met has been cheerful and kind.
Jonathon Van Maren wrote, "Nearly 99% of people with Down syndrome report being happy with their lives; 96% like how they look; 97% like who they are. So, when abortion activists say that abortion is an act of mercy, they don't mean for these happy people. They mean for themselves." Amen.
Disincentivizing Retirement Plans: Joe Biden's proposed platform would impose a tax "that could force some employers to abandon offering retirement options to workers, the industry is warning.
The plan would dramatically change the incentive to save for retirement by replacing the current deferral system with a tax credit."
Employers who make contributions to a 401(k) must offer that same benefit to their employees. However, some of those bosses might not want to continue offering a 401(k) if their tax benefit is greatly reduced. "If it's not worth it to the owner, why bother with it anymore?" said Brian Graff, chief executive officer at the American Retirement Association.
The tax-deferral retirement plans that are now in place work just fine. Stop meddling, Democrats.
Delitude: That is my word for the 'attitude' you get at certain supermarket delis. "Sliced very thin" means different things to different people. Therefore, it would make sense for a deli clerk to show an approval sample before merrily slicing away creating pounds of unwanted product. "But noooooo ..." in the immortal words of the late John Belushi.
We all know that slicing to weight is an inexact process but, when a customer requests a half-pound of white cheese, trying to foist .93 pounds of curd on him/her represents a ridiculously high overage of 86%. And giving 'the look', a deep sigh and remarking "whatever" does not resolve the problem. Or satisfy the customer.
Question Of The Day: Does Alyssa Milano have a cousin named Mint who lives at Pepperidge Farm?
Monday October 5, 2020
State With No Electricity Orders Everyone To Drive Cars That Run On Electricity: California governor Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order that will ban the sale of new cars that are gasoline-powered, beginning in 2035.
"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change," Newsom said. "For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. You deserve to have a car that doesn't give your kids asthma … Cars shouldn't melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines." This is another example of 'climate change' hysteria which is not backed up with facts.
California is the largest market for cars and trucks in the U.S., accounting for 11% of sales. "The board is further expected to require that medium and heavy-duty vehicle emissions will also be zero, where feasible, by 2045. California residents would not be prevented from owning gas-powered cars (yet) under the order, nor would they be prevented from selling such vehicles on the used-car market."
Worldview: During the first eight months of 2020, worldwide sales of Volkswagen fell 21.5%, while retaining the title of world's largest automaker.
Toyota sales fell 24.4% during the same period. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi conglomerate experienced a sales drop of 34.2% worldwide.
Plane Truth: Boeing will consolidate production of its two-aisle 787 jetliner in South Carolina and shut down the original Everett, WA assembly line for the big aircraft. This will cost Washington at least 1,000 jobs, not including subcontractor losses.
Fuselages have always been built in North Charleston, South Carolina. They used to be shipped cross-country and assembled in Everett shipped across the country for assembly. This crazy assembly procedure happened because Washington state granted Boeing massive tax breaks - amounting to about $100 million a year - to assemble the plane in the state. The subsidies were revoked earlier this year after the World Trade Organization found them illegal.
In 2011, Boeing opened a 787 final assembly line in South Carolina, picking South Carolina largely for its non-union culture (it's a Right-To-Work state), following strikes by unionized Seattle-area machinists in 2005 and 2008.
China Virus Update: Cumulatively, there have been 60 deaths in Clark County, Washington, a rate of 125 per million, from the China virus as of Friday. There were five new deaths last week. Of the 60 deaths, 55 were folks ages 60 and up.
The death rate for Washington State is 280/million people. The U.S. death rate is 645/million. The U.S. mortality rate is below those of Peru, Belgium, Spain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador.
There have been a total of 3,548 cases of the Wuhan flu in Clark County, a rate of 7,392 per million people. Based on the number of tests, the positivity rate is 3%. Currently, there are 29 people hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus.
Battle Ground's zip code has a case rate of 5,139/million - 30% lower than Clark County as a whole.
Washington State has a total cumulative case rate of 11,955/million - over 2.3 times that of rural Battle Ground, WA. The U.S. coronavirus case rate is rate is 22,766/MM - over 90% higher than Washington state's case rate.
This table shows the progression of cases and deaths in Clark County:
As the table indicates, reported cases really jumped in July as testing became more widespread. The mortality rate declined beginning in June, as improved treatments for those with coronavirus were developed and implemented. It seems to have leveled out and substantial improvements in case rate or death rate will probably not occur until a vaccine is developed.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania have tested positive of coronavirus. Presidential aide Hope Hicks has also tested positive as has former campaign manager and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway. Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniels has tested positive as well. President Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, has tested positive for the coronavirus; Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Tom Tillis (R-NC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) as well as former N.J. Gov. Chris Christie have also tested positive for covid-19. The President's feisty press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, has tested positive as well. At least three White House reporters tested positive for Wuhan flu last week. I wish all a speedy and full recovery.
In September, 76 famous people died of covid-19, according to Wikipedia. Only five were Americans.
Despite the virus and the subsequent shutdown, the U.S. economy added 660,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell to 7.9%, indicating that the economy continued to add jobs even as coronavirus infections rose across many states.
Short Days Ahead: Over the weekend, I took a photo from the back deck, while cooking filets mignon on the grill:
It was only 6:10 pm but the sun was already below the horizon and the moon was on the rise.
As Seen On TV: Finding an actual black person at a Black Lives Matter demonstration is the 2020 version of 'Where's Waldo?'.
Quote Of The Day is from Steven Wright: "I stayed up all night playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died."
Friday October 2, 2020
Two Beauties: A gorgeous blonde poses with a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Seville two-door hardtop ... (more >>>)
More Investment Demanded: Cadillac has told its 880 dealers they will each need to invest at least $200,000 on electric vehicle chargers and staff training to continue selling the brand's products after 2022. The message was communicated to dealerships "via video messages from Rory Harvey, the luxury brand's vice president of sales, service and marketing. Cadillac is moving on electrification (seriously this time) and plans to launch the Lyriq EV within the next two years, with more battery-driven models to follow."
GMC Division has acknowledged that only about half of its 1,700 dealers have decided to sell the upcoming Hummer EV. And, the question remains - what will happen if/when these EV Cadillacs fail to find customers? Cadillac's last semi-EV - the Chevy Volt-based ELR coupe - was discontinued in 2016. Cadillac only sold 1,024 ELRs in 2015.
Four years ago ... (more >>>)
Washington State Screws Motorists: Bicyclists can now treat a stop sign as a yield sign and roll through the intersection during light traffic, under a new Washington law. As a motorist, I demand equal rights to blow through stop signs at bike-like speeds (10-15 mph) where there is light traffic.
Why not? To do otherwise is prejudicial.
A Big Tire Fire Of Not Good: Les Schwab Tire Centers is being sold to a hedge fund in California, ending local family ownership of one of the Pacific Northwest's best-known businesses. The Meritage Group's founder, Nat Simons, is a billionaire investor and climate change activist.
I fear that Meritage will probably value-engineer all of the customer service excellence out of Les Schwab within a year.
I wrote about Les Schwab here.
Small Business Destruction: Yelp recently released its latest Economic Impact Report, revealing that business closures across the U.S. are increasing as a result of the coronavirus. As of August 31st, 163,735 businesses have reported that they have closed, a 23% increase since mid-July.
According to Yelp data, permanent closures have reached 97,966, representing 60% of closed businesses that won't be reopening. Throughout the past six months, restaurants, bars and nightlife venues have been hit the hardest by the restrictions brought by the pandemic. 32,109 restaurants have closed as of the end of August.
Looking at closures per 1,000 population, Hawaii has been hit the hardest, followed by California, Nevada, Arizona and Washington state. All of these states, except Arizona, have Democratic governors. Democrat-run cities, especially Los Angeles and New York, report the highest number of closures.
Remember, the public officials and ... (more >>>)
CINO Meetup: The Biden campaign hosted a Catholics for Biden town hall featuring Father Greg Boyle - a Jesuit activist, Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley (ambassador to Portugal during the Clinton administration), and Joan Neal, former Executive Vice President of Catholic Relief Services.
Bagley is a major political donor and fundraiser who has raised millions of dollars for Democratic candidates. Her late husband, Smith W. Bagley was an heir to the R. J. Reynolds tobacco fortune and a Finance Chair for the Democratic National Committee, and the Bagleys were regarded as two of the heaviest financial hitters in the Democratic party. She has been a big donor to the Clinton Foundation.
Catholics for Biden is an oxymoron. Joe Biden is the one of the most pro-abortion candidates in American history. You can't be Catholic and be for Biden, because you can't be Catholic and be pro-abortion. It's equivalent to Jews for Hitler, although - if such an organization existed - George Soros would probably be in it.
Double RIP: Two singers from the 1970s died this week at age 78. Mac Davis was a singer and songwriter known for writing such hits as 'In The Ghetto', 'Memories' and 'Don't Cry Daddy' - recorded by Elvis Presley. Davis was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000. Mac Davis also wrote the 1971 hit, 'Watching Scotty Grow'. His 'I Believe in Music' was recorded by several artists, including Helen Reddy. Davis died of complications from heart surgery.
Ms. Reddy was an Australian singer, actress, and activist who held dual Australian and American citizenship. She found fame singing Mary Magdalene's 'I Don't Know How To Love Him' for the album 'Jesus Christ Superstar'. During the 1970s, she enjoyed international success, especially in the United States where she placed 15 singles in the top 40 of the Billboard Top 100, including 'I Am Woman', 'Delta Dawn' and 'You and Me Against The World'. Helen Reddy later became a practicing clinical hypnotherapist in Australia. She died after several years of dementia.
Mac Davis and Helen Reddy each had their own television shows in the 1970s.
When Geography Meets Phonetics: How come people who live in Belgium are called Belgians, rather than Belgiumians?
Thought For Today: We are always being told that Social Security is running out of money. How come we never hear about Welfare running out of money?
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