A Blog About Cars ... And More
Friday October 29, 2021
AutoSketch: 1954 Lincoln Capri Sedan - Sturdy And Solid
Let's begin with the fact that, while there were some pretty cool 1954 cars - including Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs which featured Panoramic wraparound windshields, it was a dismal year for new car sales. The 1953 U.S. recession lingered into '54 and every auto make - except Oldsmobile - experienced a sales drop for the 1954 model year.
Lincoln was no exception; sales fell 9.2% to 36,993 units for 1954. Much of the decline was in sales of the lower-priced Cosmopolitan models. Lincoln sold 7,441 Cosmos and 29,552 Capri models in 1954. The car shown in the sketch is the Capri four-door sedan, which retailed for $3,711. A total of 13,598 were made in 1954. Blue - solid or two-tone - was the most popular color choice for '54 Lincolns. Lincolns of the period were considered a good investment, offering upscale, conservative styling (for those who thought Cadillacs were too flashy), coupled with rugged Ford mechanicals and Lincoln's better build standards and higher-quality materials.
As was the custom in the 1950s ... (more >>>)
Rich Old Guy Data: According to Hagerty, 11% of all Ferraris it insures are owed by Pre-Boomers (people my age), while 53% are owned by Boomers (born between 1946 and '64). 33% are owned by Gen-Xers (born 1965-81).
Lambo Sales Gain: Over the first nine months of 2021, Lamborghini delivered 6,902 cars worldwide - more cars than it ever did over the same period in any previous year, beating 2019 (the final year unencumbered by the China Flu) by 6%. Lambo is on track to outsell its 2020 sales by 23%. The Urus SUV contributed mightily to this years sales boom.
"On the subject of Lamborghini's product portfolio, almost 60% of all Lambos sold in 2021 so far were Uruses, with the 4,085 SUVs delivered representing a model-specific, year-over-year growth of 25%.
The second-place Huracán's 2,136 sales, meanwhile, may look meager but still represented a 28% growth over last year, while the aging and expensive Aventador was "stable" at just 681 units sold."
Zoom: Chevrolet has unveiled the long-awaited Corvette Z06. It hits 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds with its 5.5-liter V-8 producing 670 horsepower - a new benchmark for naturally aspirated engines.
The Z06 will arrive next summer as a 2023 model.
Twenty-Three Years Ago:
I sold my 1956 Continental Mark II ... (more >>>)
Less Government Needed: Since the head of the Department of Transportation, Pete Lightloafers Buttigieg, has been on "maternity" leave for months while our transportation supply chain crashed, Randal O'Toole is floating the idea of completely eliminating DOT which, he says, is useless.
"The biggest problem with having a federal Department of Transportation is that it has become a major source of pork barrel and government waste. As just one example, the DOT received a little more than $106 billion in covid relief funds, which might have been useful if those funds were spent assisting the nation's supply chains.
But they weren't. Instead, $69 billion went to subsidize transit systems that hardly anyone is using while another $20 billion went to airports that few people are using and Amtrak got $1.6 billion to run empty trains. Highways received $10 billion but ports, where the impacts of supply-chain problems are most visible, got nothing. The money was spent to benefit powerful political constituencies, not to provide actual covid relief where it is needed.
Most of DOT's budget that isn't wasted comes from users such as purchasers of airline tickets and motor vehicle fuels. Eliminating the Department of Transportation would cut out the middle man and allow the states to capture this money directly. If the Secretary of Transportation could disappear for two months before anyone noticed, maybe the Department of Transportation could disappear forever and no one would care."
By the way, 'maternity' traditionally refers to a 'mother' and there seems to be no identified mother here - just a couple of gay guys who adopted twins.
My wife and I have a guessing game to determine when the first gay incident occurs on network TV dramas. The winner so far is 'New Amsterdam' which usually hits under a minute but last week had a gay scene seven seconds in.
Only Two: Don Surber wrote, "We have two parties now: The American Party and the Anti-American Party. The latter slanders the country as being founded on slavery and for systemic racism. It promotes taxes, taxes, taxes, and taxes on the taxes.
The former wants to make America great again. History is on their side."
Meanwhile, "Biden wants chaos because Democrats believe chaos gives them power."
Bad Pun of the Day: A man fell into an upholstery machine. Luckily, he's now fully recovered.
Wednesday October 27, 2021
Ever Buy A Car Based On An Ad? I didn't think so. Neither have I. Yes, I like car advertisements and I'll agree that a good one helps build the "brand image" or "buzz" that may pique my interest.
But I don't care how good the ad or television commercial is - if the car is a piece of dreck, I won't be motivated in the least to add it to my shopping list. The best ad agencies have been excellent at developing a compelling message and delivering it to a correctly-targeted, if imperfect audience.
If the product is bad, the best advertising in the world won't save it. Whoever got the 1957 Nash account, for instance, was doomed before a single tag line was set to type. The bulbous, uncompetitive car couldn't match its flashy mid-priced rivals. Modernista's Hummer ads - print and television, especially the Happy Jack spot - were entertaining, clever and engaging but couldn't save the dead-end brand. (And, who knows whether the resurrected electric Hummer will be a long-term success?)
The iconic 'Somewhere West of Laramie' didn't rescue Jordan; the advertising was more intriguing than the car.
When a manufacturer mis-targets ... (more >>>)
Big Deal: Fresh out of bankruptcy, Hertz has placed an order for 100,000 Teslas in the first step of an ambitious plan to electrify its rental-car fleet.
It's the single-largest purchase ever for electric vehicles and represents about $4.2 billion of revenue for Tesla. Hertz is paying close to list price for the Model 3s.
"By locking up so much of Tesla's production - the order is equivalent to about 1/10 of what the automaker can currently produce in a year Hertz may box out rivals from copycatting the strategy. Hertz also is breaking with tradition by paying full price for well-appointed cars rather than the typical base-model, heavily discounted sedans that populate rental lots. … In 2020, General Motors was Hertz's biggest car and truck supplier, followed by Nissan and Ford."
Worst Drivers/Best Drivers: According to a report by the insurance comparison website QuoteWizard, Omaha has more DUIs than any other city nationwide.
But that's not all.
The city also ranks near the top in every dangerous driving category, including speeding and number of citations. It's followed by Riverside, California; Bakersfield, California; Columbus, Ohio; Richmond, Virginia; Fresno, California; Sacramento, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Austin, Texas; and Baltimore.
Best Drivers? Birmingham, AL takes the top spot, followed by St. Louis, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; New Orleans; Memphis; Louisville, Kentucky; Detroit; Atlanta; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
As for speeders, Chicago tops the chart, followed by Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Antonio, Texas.
Zap: In the third quarter, battery electric and plug-in hybrid model sales across the European Union made up just under 19% of all sales.
"Battery electric vehicle sales jumped nearly 57% to more than 212,000 units, while plug-in hybrid models rose nearly 43% to more than 197,000 units."
Continental car makers and consumers have benefited from government subsidies for electric vehicles.
Book Review: 'Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence' by Giles Chapman
Jaguar is one of the world's iconic brands and is still sold worldwide. Unlike Triumph, MG and other British sports cars of yore, it still exists and produces sports cars - the Jaguar F-Type.
Since its launch as a separate marque, 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 from the 1930s onward, Jaguar's flagship was always a sports car. When the Jaguar XK120 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 XK120 became a big hit in the U.S., after the British government reduced ... (more >>>)
The Truth About Diversity, Inclusion, Equity And White Privilege: I just returned my ballot for the November 2nd election. One of the items on the ballot was a proposed amendment for the Clark County Charter, which would establish a Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Voters' Pamphlet contained a four-paragraph Statement In Favor of the amendment but no Statement Against. Too bad. I would have gladly provided one.
Of course, you cant have diversity, inclusion, equity (a word that used to mean 'ownership; now it's means 'equality' and is used by people too lazy to add the extra syllable) without the phrase White Privilege appearing in short order.
My dad was hard-working, with a blue-collar job at the Pennsylvania Railroad. When I was in high school, our ... (more >>>)
Inflation Prediction: Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones believes inflation is here to stay, posing a major threat to the U.S. markets and economy.
"I think to me the No. 1 issue facing Main Street investors is inflation, and it's pretty clear to me that inflation is not transitory,' Jones said. "It's probably the single biggest threat to certainly financial markets and I think to society just in general."
Jones said the trillions of dollars in fiscal and monetary stimulus is the impetus for inflation to run hotter for longer. To rescue the economy from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve has added more than $4 trillion to its balance sheet through its open-ended quantitative easing program, while the U.S. government has unleashed over $5 trillion in fiscal stimulus.
Quantitative easing has turned millionaires into billionaires - and turned Wall Street into a stimulus junkie.
What frightens me is that, if this keeps up, we'll all be billionaires - just like in Venezuela.
In related news, free community college, corporate tax hikes are in peril as Democrats try to win votes for Biden's economic plan. Don Surber quipped that such minor concessions are "like giving Bigfoot a manicure."
Maybe The Grassy Knoll Was A Superspreader Site: Biden is delaying the release of JFK assassination details "due to covid."
"Temporary continued postponement is necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure," Biden wrote. Or somebody wrote for him.
Don't Make Me Take Off My Belt: Greg Gutfeld discussed child rearing: "Research shows that criminals have the highest level of self-esteem - defined as entitlement without achievement. Sound familiar? That's a kid. They want ice cream and ponies - without having to work for either. Is it no surprise that when you stop saying no to kids, what you're left with is Charles Manson in OshKosh B'Gosh."
Quote Of The Day is from Larry the Cable Guy: "Just remember - if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off."
Monday October 25, 2021
Crosswalk Lettering: In this 1939 photo, a street crew is painting a white crosswalk sign using a stencil, probably made of Masonite hardboard. The crew is working in east Portland in Oregon. They are stencil painting on S.E. Hawthorn Blvd. looking east from 49th Avenue.
In the early 1980s ... (more >>>)
Get A Move On: Jeremy Clarkson has advised old people to drive faster, noting, "if we delivered your meals on wheels at the speed you drive, you'd end up with botulism."
Top Hotwires: According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the most boosted vehicles of 2020 were old pickups and 20-plus year-old Honda Accords.
Here is the top 10 list of stolen vehicles in 2020:
New York City wins the most-stolen vehicle prize; however "Chicago saw an insane 134% increase in vehicle thefts last year (vs. 2019) and Washington D.C. jumped up by 50% over the same timeframe."
OK For Me But Not For Thee: Climate change is so bad that several private jets were used to get to the Gates wedding, while we - the peasants - are being told to eat bugs. I doubt that the Gates served insects at their daughter's wedding.
The View From The Back Deck:
Fall colors are at peak but heavy rain and wind over the weekend caused a lot of leaves to end up on the ground.
Build That Wall! The southern border with Mexico is seeing the highest levels of illegal border crossings in 35 years and Trump's wall has been cancelled, but the Department of Homeland Security is spending $455,000 for a fence around President Biden’s 'Summer White House', a $2 million beach house, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Public Service Announcement: Please read - this may save someone's life. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim quickly he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours.
A bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
Question Of The Day: Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?
Thursday October 21, 2021
I Remember These:
And, if you grew up in ... (more >>>)
Roadstermania: A rare dark-green 1931 Duesenberg Model J Roadster known as the Green Hornet topped RM Sotheby's 15th annual Hershey, Pennsylvania, auction, which achieved a total just under $13 million with 98% of the lots sold. The Duesey fetched $1.65 million.
The top three sales at the auction were roadsters. Following the Duesenberg at the Hershey auction was the sale of a black 1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedster, a concours-restored example that went for $891,000, and a 1930 Packard 745 Deluxe Eight Roadster, one of just a few genuine examples extant and sold for $407,000.
Book Review: 'Power Play - Tesla, Elon Musk And The Bet Of The Century' by Tim Higgins
This is the story of Tesla - the best-known electric car in the world. Tesla was founded in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Elon Musk didn't come into the picture until February 2004 when he became an investor. He has served as CEO since 2008. Eberhard was forced out in 2008. In 2009, Eberhard sued Elon Musk for libel, slander, and breach of contract. Tarpenning also left in 2008.
This book details the ongoing soap-opera known as Tesla. There are many sordid stories told as the company bounced from crisis to crisis. Tesla has many critics but it must be acknowledged that of all the automobile start-ups since World War II, Tesla and Kaiser-Fraser Motors are the only ones which actually manufactured and delivered vehicles in volume to customers. And Tesla only produces all-electric vehicles - no hybrids, no internal combustion options.
Tesla claimed it delivered 241,300 vehicles worldwide during the third quarter of 2021 - an impressive number. In the U.S. market ... (more >>>)
October 2021 Virus Update: As of October 14th, there have been a total of 35,704 total cumulative confirmed cases of the Wuhan flu and 412 confirmed cumulative deaths in Clark County, WA. Only 42 (10.2%) of the deceased were vaccinated, according to the Clark County website. This number is far lower than national figures I've seen on television news reports.
This table summarizes data for cases and deaths in Clark County over time, beginning with March 2020. Looking at the data, a very disturbing picture unfolds. In the three-month period (August, September and October) of 2020 - when there was no vaccine - cases and deaths were relatively low. During the same three month period in 2021, cases have almost quadrupled and deaths in Clark County have increased more than five-fold. Looking at these data, one could posit that the vaccine is spreading the virus big time and killing many more people.
A new study ... (more >>>)
Biden's Folly - One Of Many: Ronna McDaniel, GOP chairwoman, tweeted this reminder: "Biden cancelled Keystone XL and stopped oil and gas leases on federal lands. Now, fuel prices are soaring and heating bills could rise as much as 54% this winter."
Quote Of The Day is from Mark Twain: "Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right."
Tuesday October 19, 2021
Candy-Apple EV Reality: Peter De Lorenzo is no EV novice. He owned a Chevy Bolt for over a year. But he is disturbed by "unending platitudes roiling the Internet about the new GT version of the Ford Mach-E crossover." A fully-optioned one costs over $70,000, by the way. Plus the cost of an at-home 240 volt charger.
Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press wrote that "charging time remains a potential issue. Most EV owners do 65%-85% of their charging at home, according to Ford's data. That's a clear win for an electric vehicle - owners start every day with a full battery, based on EPA estimates of 10.1 hours charging time at 240 volts. … The Mach-E's competitiveness on long highway drives remains an open question, though. Independent tests cite 47-52 minutes to charge to 80% at a 150 kW (400v) DC charger. That's slower than the best competitors, leaving room for improvement.”
Peter wrote, "It's about 375 miles between here and Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, the home of Road America, aka 'America's National Park of Speed'. If you make decent time and that's a highly questionable concept due to the never-ending construction along the way it should take between eight and eight-and-one-half hours to make the trip. And it's not all that pleasant of a drive until you get through Chicago, which is always fraught with issues depending on the time of day you pass through. Given that, stopping for more than a quick gas stop and maybe a bathroom break is all you want to do. It's not the kind of drive you want to turn into nine or ten hours in order to charge-up." And "until the charging times drop dramatically, this transition (to electric vehicles) is going to be excruciatingly slow."
"One more thing, Ford operatives had the Mach-E "Performance" painted in a candy apple-like red for the assembled media. I guess this is supposed to make it a certifiable performance/dream machine, or something like that. But there's no amount of candy apple red paint that can make the Mach-E anything more than a glorified crossover with a horsey badge.
Instead, it's a soul-sucking, juice sapping, candy apple nightmare."
No Sunglasses Required: Monday was a cold, raw day as one sometimes gets in October. At 10:30 am, the temperature was only 50 degrees and the skies were overcast and dark. Nevertheless, it was time to add Sta-Bil to the gas tank of my '39 Plymouth coupe and fuel-up before the switchover to winter-mix gasoline. It's mandatory after November 1st, but you can be sure some stations get their first load well before than.
So I fired up the coupe and headed to the Battle Ground Chevron to fill the tank with Supreme. Afterwards, I went for a back roads drive in northern Clark County. The traffic was fairly light but those vinyl tuck-and-roll seats were cold enough to drain all the heat from any buttocks within a 200-foot radius of the Plymouth. I left the windows rolled up and waited for the little box heater to start warming the car. As is usual in colder weather, it kicks in only after many miles. In my case just as I turned on my street on the way home.
Nevertheless, I had a good drive. The Fall colors were rich and gorgeous and are getting close to peak. 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 Cabernet in late afternoon. It would be wearing a heavy 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 will soon arrive.
More Money: New vehicle sales declined in September but prices keep going up. "A new study from Kelly Blue Book found that the average price paid for a vehicle in September hit an all-time record of $45,031 as discounts dwindle and buyers in the market gravitate toward high-end models."
"Midsize SUV sales jumped in September compared to August and full-size pickup share moved up as well. Sales of lower-priced compact and midsize cars, which had been commanding more share during the summer, faded in September. As long as new-vehicle inventory remains tight, we believe prices will remain elevated."
It was the sixth-straight record month, according to KBB's data. Cadillac has been leading the way on the back of its redesigned Escalade SUV which has helped drive the brand's average sale price up 51.2% compared to September 2020.
Childhood Mosquito Memories: In Philadelphia, trucks came around fairly often to spray big clouds of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) to control the mosquito population.
In Brigantine, NJ, where my parents had a summer home, a Jeep fitted with large tanks came by every evening spraying DDT. Brigantine also used ... (more >>>)
Short Days Ahead: I took a photo from the back deck, while cooking filets mignon on the grill Sunday. It was only 6:00 pm but the sun was already below the horizon and the moon was well on the rise.
There was a chill in the air and I was wearing a sweater and a hoodie. But I drove away the cold with some Cabernet Sauvignon. By 7:00 pm, it was completely dark.
Seeking Nostalgia: Holiday catalogs are beginning to arrive in the mail. Many of them contain items designed to evoke nostalgia in a prospective customer: Coca Cola-branded dreck, fake-weathered tin signs, reproduction concert posters and the like. In fact, the manufacture of 'replicas' - many inaccurately rendered and/or done cheaply in Asia and/or exorbitantly overpriced - has become a major industry.
For hundreds of years, doctors thought nostalgia was a disease ... (more >>>)
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.
Heart Update: Last Wednesday (10/13/21), I had an angiogram and subsequent angioplasty, to relieve some recently developed angina symptoms. I got home the same day but was under the weather for a few days afterward. I'm feeling fine now.
The covid protocols at the hospital were illogical and annoying. I had a scheduled covid test on Monday, but I had to deal with four separate minor functionaries, including one ignorant and useless martinet, before I could see the technician who did the actual test. When I arrived at the hospital alone - no family members allowed - I had to go through the same useless procedure. I had been told to bring nothing but photo ID but one of the clerks wanted me to present a credit card for payment. "Too bad. As instructed, I have no money. Send me a bill in the mail."
I hope this Wuhan flu nonsense ends at some point. (permalink)
Where We Are Now: Posted at an online forum on 'Instapundit': "Black people are allowed to call each other (and anyone else, really) the N word. Gay people are allowed to call each other the Q word. Hetero white people are to keep their damn mouths shut."
Little Known Fact: Line dancing was started by women waiting to use the bathroom.
Friday October 15, 2021
Happy Car: This period picture of 1939 Willys Overland makes me smile. It seems like such a happy car.
It was restyled for 1939 (with a sharknose-type prow with the undercut hood and headlight pods mounted on the front fenders) and given the designation 'Overland'. It was ... (more >>>)
Auction Results: A silver 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing coupe, with its original engine and body panels and standing on its factory Rudge knockoff wheels, sold for a resounding $1,556,000.
A bright red, early-production 1963 Shelby Cobra 260, which went under the hammer at $728,250, is the 47th Shelby Cobra produced and powered by its original 260cid V8 from before Ford introduced its iconic 289.
Just 41 cars were offered during Bonham's Audrain Concours Auction in Newport, Rhode Island, with 34 of them finding new owners for a sell-through rate of 83%.
Mostly American: The car built with the most American/Canadian parts content is the 2021 Ford Mustang GT with the manual transmission, specifically, no less giving Ford a second consecutive year atop the list, with 88.5% of its components coming from U.S. or Canadian sources.
The automatic version dropped to 10th place.
The Chevrolet Corvette ranked second, followed by all three variants of Tesla's Model 3 electric car. Honda also made several appearances thanks to its rather significant U.S. manufacturing footprint. As did Tesla.
School Days, Perv Days: According to the 'Daily Wire', Scott Smith was arrested at a Loudoun County, Virginia school board meeting, a meeting that was ultimately deemed an "unlawful assembly" after many attendees vocally opposed a policy on transgender students.
What people did not know is that, weeks prior, a boy, allegedly wearing a skirt, entered a girls' bathroom at nearby Stone Bridge High School, where he sexually assaulted Smith's ninth-grade daughter.
"Juvenile records are sealed, but Scott's attorney, Elizabeth Lancaster told the Daily Wire that a boy was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of anal sodomy, and one count of forcible fellatio, related to an incident that day at that school."
As a result of the viral video showing his arrest, Smith became the poster child for what the National School Boards Association has since suggested could be a form of domestic terrorism: a white blue-collar male who showed up to harangue obscure public servants on his local school board.
"If someone would have sat and listened for thirty seconds to what Scott had to say, they would have been mortified and heartbroken," Lancaster said.
Public Service Announcement: Please read - this may save someone's life. A neurologist said that if he can get to a stroke victim quickly he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours.
A bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately.
Headline Of The Week is from 'The People's Cube': 'Facebook permanently bans Facebook from Facebook for violating Facebook community standards.'
"Plunk Your Magic Twanger, Froggie!" I was watching an old 'The Addams Family' TV episode from the 1960s. Suddenly, a familiar face appeared on screen, playing a scientist, Professor Altshuler, on the 1965 episode, 'The Addams Family and the Spacemen'.
"Holy cow!" I thought, "It's the French pastry chef from 'The Buster Brown Show' (aka - 'Andy's Gang') from 1955 or so." I watched the credits roll and caught the man's name - Vito Scotti.
It turns out that he was a versatile character actor whose career began ... (more >>>)
Thought For Today: A cold seat in a public restroom is unpleasant. A warm seat in a public restroom is worse.
Wednesday October 13, 2021
Step-Down Design - Hudson's Last Triumph: For the 1948 model year, independent automaker Hudson - a company founded in 1909 - introduced cars with the 'step-down' look. Floorboards were lower than the doorsills and you stepped down to enter the car. This change produced a low and sleek car without sacrificing headroom. The low center of gravity and a stiff unibody structure made the step-down Hudson the best-handling American car of its time. The heft and a relatively long wheelbase insured a comfortable ride.
Mechanix Illustrated's Tom McCahill wrote, "Hudsons are ripping the feathers out of the other brands on one simple, but oh so vital, point. They are America's finest road cars from the very important standpoint of roadability, cornering, and steering. … To stay with the Hudsons on a race course, these other cars must literally pull themselves apart in the corners, while the Hudsons sail around with effortless ease."
The new Hudson was priced ... (more >>>)
Slowpoke: Of all the new cars Motor Trend tested in 2020, the one with the slowest 0-60 time is the 2020 Nissan Kicks SR, a compact crossover, with a 0 to 60 time of 10.5 seconds.
On the other end of the scale, the "new Tesla Model S Plaid can go from 0 to 60 in 1.98 seconds, which arguably makes it the fastest car for sale in the United States."
Thirty years ago, 10.5 seconds was a very respectable 0-60 time. When new, my 1963 VW Beetle took over 21 seconds to get from a standing start to a calibrated 60 mph.
The original Mini of the 1960s was a peppy little car, the 850 cc-engined Mini was actually quite slow with a 0-60 time of 33 seconds.
Feeling Old: Sixty-two years ago, I passed my driving test and was issued a driver's license.
That fact makes me feel unbelievably ancient. (permalink)
Hostile California Versus Low-Tax Texas: Tesla plans to relocate its headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas, though the electric car maker will keep expanding its manufacturing capacity in the Golden State.
Elon Musk, who last year said he was moving to Texas from California, gave no timeline for the move when he addressed shareholders at Tesla's annual meeting. In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Musk clashed with San Francisco Bay Area health authorities trying to enforce shelter-in-place orders. At the time, he threatened to relocate Tesla's operations to Texas or Nevada. Musk cited the cost of housing in the Bay Area that has made it tough for many people to become homeowners, translating into long commutes.
Last year, Elon Musk moved from Los Angeles to Austin while calling Governor Newsom's Covid mandates "Fascist" in a Tesla earnings call.
This month, a San Francisco jury just awarded a black Tesla employee (an elevator operator) $157 million dollars for "emotional harm" he suffered when other Tesla workers at the Fremont plant drew swastikas and such. This is ridiculous - $157MM for hurt feelings. What's more ridiculous is that Tesla has a human operating its elevators. You would think that a Tesla factory would have robot elevator operators, maybe solar-powered ones.
Oracle Corporation moved from California to Texas last year. "One of Silicon Valley's founding companies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, has also said it will move to the Houston area."
Book Review: 'Zero Fail - The Rise And Fall Of The Secret Service' by Carol Leonnig
This book recounts the highs and lows of the Secret Service over the years. It covers the Kennedy assassination and aftermath in minute detail. This story has already been told so many times, that I found it boring. Same for the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981. The book plods along with a lot of undocumented stories of internal Secret Service politics.
In covering the Clinton presidency and his many affairs ... (more >>>)
Put Yer John Hancock Right Here: Having determined "that continuation of the fund is not in the best interests of the fund or its shareholders as a result of factors or events adversely affecting the fund's ability to conduct its business and operations in an economically viable manner," John Hancock Absolute Return Opportunities Fund will cease to be, on or about October 29, 2021.
Do You Think China, Japan, India And Israel Do This? New York City will phase out its programs for gifted and talented primary-grade students in the name of "equality." The group of kindergarten students currently enrolled in the special programs will be the last to be offered the accelerated learning courses.
"Not enough black and Hispanic students are able to qualify for the program. So rather than offer accelerated learning to anyone who can qualify, the city is catering to the lowest common denominator." So, instead, the school district is punishing excellence. This is nuts.
"The whole point of 'accelerated learning' is to give gifted students an advantage. It is, by definition, 'unequal'. De Blasio and the radicals on the school board would rather not give that advantage to anyone."
Don Surber wrote, "This is a hate crime because they changed the policy because too many Asian kids were doing well."
Where's The Beef? Greg Gutfeld is like me in at least one way - he doesn't like fish: "I don't eat seafood. Never have. Never will. I have my reasons. First, people say fish is good if it doesn't smell "fishy." I don't say that about steak. "Hey, at least it doesn't smell steaky."
Fish stink because they come from the sea - which is a giant toilet. People pee in it. No one pees on cows, unless the cow has requested as much in a Craigslist ad. And shellfish are oversized insects. If they were smaller, they would be roaches. However, a tiny cow is basically a meat ball. And meat balls are delicious, because they're essentially meat, in ball form."
As for me, I'm on a Seefood Diet. I see food; I eat it.
Quote Of The Day is from Tom McMahon: "When Pope John Paul died I think the Roman Catholic church missed a golden opportunity by not naming the next Pope George Ringo."
Monday October 11, 2021
Far East Crosley: Robert D. Cunningham posted an interesting story in The Old Motor about an early post-war Datsun that looked remarkably like a post-war Crosley small car.
To the casual observer ... (more >>>)
Timing Is Everything: Last Thursday, the day dawned with lots of fog, which didn't clear until noontime. By 1:00 pm, it was sunny with a deep blue sky sprinkled with puffy clouds. Temperature was a brisk 52 degrees.
Facing a grim weather forecast for the next week - overcast, heavy clouds, colder temperatures, wind and rain, it was time to get my old car on the road pronto. So, I fired up my '39 Plymouth business coupe and went for a drive.
Traffic was moderate and there were no school buses on the road. Trees are showing some more color but are nowhere near peak. I got a crystal-clear view of Mt. St. Helens to the north; it looked like a giant, slightly-flattened Hostess Sno-Ball.
All in all, I had a very pleasant drive in my old Plymouth.
Car Quote From The Past ... is from Edgar F. Kaiser, President of Kaiser Frazer Motors (March, 1952): "We are in the auto business to stay." The last Kaiser rolled off the Toledo, Ohio assembly line in June, 1955.
Expensive Hot Wheel Model: Italian fashion house Gucci is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a Hot Wheels partnership, making a very special die-cast version of the 1982 Gucci Cadillac Seville. The 1:64 scale vehicle is encased ... (more >>>)
Flu Season: Is there one this year? Or are flu shots irrelevant because the Wuhan Flu is eternal?
Are we getting flu shots? Or more covid shots? Or both?
Shortages & Inflation: Maz Woolley of the British publication Model Auto Review wrote that "model makers importing from China have been struggling with hugely increased shipping costs and even having to wait for weeks to find a ship to take their container. The inevitable price rises are now coming through, with others now following Hornby's lead. It is clear from wholesalers' trade price lists that most goods expected to arrive from October onwards will be around 10% more expensive." I think it will be much higher.
Crazy Money: David Snowball wrote in the Mutual Fund Observer, a monthly online newsletter, "The U.S. Federal Reserve is the most powerful and influential financial institution on the planet. Period. Full stop. Its interventions have shaped the post-2008 financial landscape like no institution in history. Those interventions have underwritten a stock market whose valuations have more than doubled, from a Schiller PE ratio of 15 in 2009 to 38 today. Depending on which manager you speak with, the Fed has either been providing steroids … or opioids."
The Fed is printing money at an ever-increasing rate. And you wonder why everything costs so much more this year?
James Lileks wrote that "everything is more expensive - you have baseline prices in your head, and everything is 15 - 20% more. Everyone's used to it. But everyone knows. The only people who don't think it's important are the people who have other people do these things for them."
My question ... (more >>>)
Pithy And True: All the stages of life summarized by Tom McMahon:
Quote Of The Day is from Groucho Marx: "I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury."
Thursday October 7, 2021
Imitation Is The Sincerest From Of Flattery: To people my age, the brand Bentley conjures up badge-engineered Rolls Royces with different grilles, which was the case from 1962 to the early 1980s. It's no longer true since both brands now have different owners - Volkswagen for Bentley and BMW for Rolls.
Both British stalwarts are now owned ... by the Germans.
Rolls Royce took over Bentley in 1931 but, even by the late 1930s, there was still an effort to differentiate Bentley from RR. Even if it meant creating something a bit Lincolnesque, perhaps as a tribute to Edsel Ford.
Consider the Bentley Corniche prototype, constructed in ... (more >>>)
Metal Car Action Fleet: This late 1940s or early 1950s advertisement was excerpted from a larger ad for a firm named Novelty Mart, located at ... (more >>>)
September Vehicle Sales: Wards Auto estimated sales of 12.18 million SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) for September 2021, down 6.7% from the August sales rate, and down 25.2% from September 2020. This substantial decrease in sales is due to supply chain issues, specially microchips. A wave of delta-variant cases in Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines is causing production delays at factories that cut and package semiconductors, creating new bottlenecks on top of those caused by soaring demand for chips.
General Motors reported its sales fell by a third during the third quarter, while companies such as Toyota and Honda reported double digit drops in sales during September. Toyota Motor North America, which benefited from stockpiling semiconductors earlier this year, also reported U.S. September sales dropped 22% versus September 2020. Honda also reported a 25% drop in sales for September, while Acura sales dropped 27% last month.
Buick sales declined 39% in September, Cadillac fell 37% to 7,599 vehicles, Chevrolet dropped 36% while GMC fell 27%.
For the third quarter, Honda's sales dropped 11% while Acura's fell 3%. "The enduring nature of the microchip shortage and port congestion issues continue to constrain the entire industry, but we are encouraged by the record sales of Honda models where we have adequate inventory," said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of National Operations at American Honda. Hyundai Motor America reported only a minimal drop in sales during September as sales declined by 2% for the month. Kia reported a 5% decline in sales for September.
Stellantis reported a 19% drop in third quarter sales. Sales of Ram trucks fell 17% in September while Dodge sales declined 32%. Jeep sales dropped by 16%; Chrysler sales fell a whopping 51% last month. Fiat sales imploded by 4% to 135 vehicles in total.
Ford Motor Company's 3rd quarter sales dropped 27% to 400,843 vehicles. F-Series sales in the third quarter totaled 172,799 pickups, down 22% from the same period a year ago.
Ford sold 156,614 vehicles in September, leading its competitors in monthly sales. By contrast, GM sold just 111,491 vehicles; Stellantis sold 135,145 vehicles, and Toyota sold 152,916 vehicles.
Ford Motor Company's September sales dropped 18% compared with a year ago. Ford's electric vehicle sales for the month were 9,150 units. Lincoln sales declined 21% to 7,647 units. By comparison, Toyota's September sales dropped 22%. Lexus sales declined 6% to 22,687 vehicles.
Tesla claimed it delivered 241,300 vehicles worldwide during the third quarter - up 72% over the same period one year ago. In the third quarter, the smaller Model 3 sedan and Y SUV led the way with 232,025 sales, followed by the larger Models S and X at 9,275.
Now That's Inflation: In the past 18 months, prices of used vehicles have almost doubled.
Book Review: 'American Station Wagons - The Golden Era 1950-1975' by Norm Mort
Station wagons have evolved from their early use as specialized vehicles to carry people and luggage to and from train stations to use as a family vehicle. The first station wagons were built in around 1910, by independent manufacturers producing custom wood bodies for Ford Model Ts.
Eventually, car manufacturers began producing their own station wagon designs beginning in the mid-1920s. The first postwar mass-produced steel-bodied station wagon was the 1946 Willys Station Wagon. By 1951, most station wagons were being produced with all-steel bodies although some models had wood trim - either genuine or fake. Wagons followed the design trends as their sedan brethren - fins, hardtop styling, compact versions, etc.
In the U.S., the heyday of station wagons was in the late 1950s to early 1960s. In 1950, station wagons accounted for only 2.2% of overall Ford sales. By 1955, the share had grown to 14.4%. By 1960, 17.1% of all Fords produced were wagons. By 1965, the figure dropped to 11.6%, falling to 7.3% by 1970. Author Norm Mort provides similar figures for the industry: "In 1951, American station wagon sales totaled 174,500 - 3.3% of the car market in the United State; by 1960, this figure had leapt to 932,000 units, or 15.4% of the American car market."
In the 1970s ... (more >>>)
Moral Equivalency Is Often The Logic Of Fools: Kevin Birnbaum, editor/associate publisher of Northwest Catholic magazine, is shocked that the 'My Body, My Choice' slogan of pro-abortionists is being used by those who resist vaccination.
"This pandemic has highlighted how unavoidably interconnected we are. In a world where an airborne virus is killing millions, where hospital beds are scarce and herd immunity is urgent, our choices have consequences far beyond our own bodies.
So if you're a Catholic who finds yourself aligned with those using a pro-abortion slogan to drown out the pleas of the Vicar of Christ to love your neighbor by getting vaccinated, perhaps Respect Life Month is a good time for some serious prayer and self-examination."
Baloney! Abortion is ... (more >>>)
Headline Of The Week is from The Babylon Bee: 'Bill Nye To Dress Up As Real Scientist For Halloween'.
Global Warming Alert: The South Pole posted the most severe cold season on record.
"The average temperature at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station between April and September, a frigid minus-78 degrees (minus 61 Celsius), was the coldest on record, dating back to 1957. This was 4.5 degrees lower than the most recent 30-year average."
And in the Arctic, the polar bear population is exploding. And they look well-fed, too.
Quote Of The Day is from Mark Twain: "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."
Tuesday October 5, 2021
Leaves Turning: It was cold overnight - the temperature dropped into the 40s and I awoke to heavy fog. We were socked in most of the morning but, by noon, most of the fog was gone although it still could be seen in the east turning the hills and mountains into mere silhouettes.
At 12:30 pm Saturday, the sun was shining the temperature was 57 degrees and the skies were Fall pale blue - that odd color for which there's no Crayola match.
So, I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe and went for my first October drive. I noticed that some leaves are starting to turn - particularly some maples which now sport fiery red leaves. Others are still green but losing their glossy luster. I got a good look at a freshly snow-capped Mt. St. Helens which was brilliant white near its rounded peak - whiter than Pat Boone making a mayonnaise sandwich with Wonder bread in a Minnesota snowstorm.
The Plymouth ran great, the traffic was fairly light and I had a very good drive. Darkness falls a bit earlier each day. If I forget to get the mail before dinner, I have to bring a flashlight to locate the mailbox's keyhole.
Rivian RT1 Test Drive: Autoblog has tested the all-electric 2022 Rivian pickup truck. Each wheel is propelled by its own motor. "The front pair of motors make a combined 415 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, while the rear pair team up for another 420 hp and 495 lb-ft. Peak power was definitely not entering the equation at this point, but the Rivian's immense torque potential was looming large."
There's "no need for a low-range transfer case, let alone a transmission. The presence of four traction-managed electric motors makes the idea of driver-selectable front, center and rear differential lockers completely unnecessary, too."
The R1T "rides on a four-wheel independent suspension, with double wishbones up front and a unique multilink setup in back. Both ends employ air springs that offer a full 6.5 inches of height adjustment served up in six increments from the lowest kneeling position (only in Park) to the highest “Max” off-road setting. The latter translates into 14.9 inches of ground clearance."
Autoblog declared the Rivian to be a "revolutionary and highly capable electric pickup." Will it be successful? Only time will tell.
In the 1950s, most leather luggage was ... (more >>>)
Jay Inslee Has A God Complex: The Washington State governor said recently that only he has the ability to save the lives of Washingtonians, and that should terrify anyone living there. Regarding the Wuhan Flu restrictions, Inslee said, "There's only one person in the state of Washington who has the capability to save those lives right now and it happens to be the governor of the state of Washington."
J.D. Rucker wrote, "Inslee has taken it on himself to drive Pandemic Panic Theater as far as he can ride it. Covid-19 has given him an opportunity to fully flex his authoritarianism and the people of Washington have suffered as a result. From draconian mandates to anti-science edicts, not to mention corrupt choices to fight the pandemic for his state, Inslee has been arguably the most disastrous governor in the nation when it comes to handling Covid … disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo notwithstanding."
Inslee is not a doctor. He's a former ambulance chaser from central Washington.
And The Horse He Rode In On: Dr. Fauci said on CBS's 'Face the Nation' that "it is just too soon to tell" if Christmas gatherings will be advised in light of the never-ending coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci added, "There comes a time when you do have to give up what you consider your individual right of making your own decision for the greater good of society."
I Voted For Boaty McBoatface: Washington State asked residents to suggest names for a new Puget Sound ferry boat.
The new ferry, to be built in 2022 and slated to sail in 2024, is called a hybrid electric ferry. It would mostly run on electric power and use the diesel engines for backup and to recharge the batteries.
Entries included Sir Floats-A-Lot, Kraken Kruiser, Always Late and Money Pit.
The Ferry Commission is not happy and has extended the closing date for submissions, hoping to get better suggestions. The same problem happened five years ago in Great Britain.
So Much For Equality: In California, Christian children aren't allowed to pray in schools and the Ten Commandments can't be posted either. But Muslim refugees are given halal food and provided exclusive prayer rooms.
Most of these are Afghan refugee students; their parents are neither citizens nor taxpayers. "The San Juan Unified School District where more than half the population is Afghan, hired a team (with the help of state grants) to help with the influx of refugees." The Fremont Unified School District "is planning to hire more translators."
California school districts with Afghan student populations are offering wraparound services for refugee families, including dedicated staff to enroll students in school, language classes for parents and students, and translators to help explain schoolwork or make medical appointments. Districts also refer families to community resources that provide food, housing and medical care, among other services.
Not What You'd Expect: Doesn't it seem odd that a singer named Jackson Browne is a white dude?
Bad Pun Of The Day: He was engaged to a woman with a wooden leg but soon broke it off. Sounds like a Paul McCartney tale.
Friday October 1, 2021
Why Put A Jag Badge On This Thing? Jaguar's big, flagship XJ sedan has been discontinued. And the entry-level XE sedan has been dropped as well. If you want a Jaguar sedan, your only choice is now that Jaguar XF P300 AWD.
Sales of the XF sedan, which carries the bones of the 2000 S-Type, have slumped 88% in five years. In a last ditch effort to stay in the sedan market, the British automaker slashed the XF's base price by $7,105 from 2020. It now starts at $43,995 plus destination fees.
"All XFs are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. It's rated at 246 horsepower in P250 trim, and 296 horsepower in P300 models. All-wheel drive is optional."
A four-cylinder Jag doesn't sound very appealing to me. I would miss the growl of the old big six. And my 1996 Jag's straight six made 245 horsepower- that was 25 years ago, for Pete's sake. The XF's interior lacks wood trim. And the steering wheel looks ordinary. It doesn't seem like a real Jaguar to me.
Waiting For The Ferry: At the St. Ignace Michigan ferry dock, as shown in this postcard ... (more >>>)
Coconut With Techron? A man in the Vanuatu Islands of the South Pacific (about 500 miles west of Fiji) has adapted his fleet of rental cars to run on coconut oil, a plentiful local commodity.
He runs most of his vehicles on a mixture of 85% coconut oil and 15% kerosene but has demonstrated that modified diesel engines run filtered coconut oil quite happily.
What Ever Happened To Equality? Christian children in California aren't allowed to pray in schools, but Muslim refugees are given halal food and provided prayer rooms. Shouldn't children of all faiths be given such special consideration?
I guess some religions are more equal than others.
Fairly Swift Justice: Reading about the parole of Sirhan Sirhan, who killed Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, I was reminded that we now live in an age where murderers on death row avoid the death penalty for decades. Some actually die of old age before their execution is carried out. It didn't used to be this way.
On December 28, 1959, 16 year-old Maryann Mitchell from the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia went missing. Three days later, her body was found in the Montgomery County suburb of Lafayette Hill, PA.
Maryann, a junior at ... (more >>>)
A Great Leap: Thirty years ago, Stags' Leap Cabernet was a premium pour at many high-end restaurants. It's nice to see things haven't changed. This week, I cooked a fillet mignon on the grill, accompanied by a bottle of 2017 Stags' Leap Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a wonderful pairing.
This Napa Valley wine is described as "is expressive and inviting, with a bouquet of wild blackberry and fresh black currant fruit alongside delicate floral notes of geranium and violet, with warmer notes of caramel, sweet cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper spice coming through from the oak integration. On the palate, the berry fruit profile continues with juicy blackberry, cassis and strawberry, but there are also hints of sweet tobacco, brown spice and bittersweet chocolate, giving this Cabernet a rich charm and fullness. Seamlessly integrated oak and cocoa-powdery tannins provide a plush mouthfeel and add layers of complexity, all wrapping up with a lengthy textured finish." It is aged in French oak barrels.
I enjoyed every drop.
Headline Of The Week is from The People's Cube: 'New remake of the 1950's horror movie 'Them' to be titled 'Them/They'.
Cyber Stats: There are over five billion internet users worldwide. There are almost 2 billion websites. Over two billion blog post have been written so far this year. Over 223 billion tweets have been made so far this year.
More than 73 trillion e-mails have been sent this year so far. I bet 70% of them involve "hot Asian babes," "meet Russian women," "cheap Rolex watches," "enhance your manhood," "make $90K/mo. working from home," or "weird simple hack reverses diabetes."
Quote Of The Day is from Kermit the Frog: "Time's fun when you're having flies."
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