The View Through The Windshield - Car Blog by Joe Sherlock

A Blog About Cars ... And More

Tuesday October 22, 2019

Slow Casting: The Old Motor has posted photos of a transparent Plexiglas Plymouth chassis exhibited at the 1952 Chicago Motor Show.

It appears that it was a complete chassis setup with some type of electric motor and speed-reduction gear, to rotate the internal engine parts slowly to dazzle show attendees ... (more >>>)

For That Special Someone On Your Christmas List: The annual Neiman Marcus holiday gift catalog is out and it's got the perfect choice for the wealthy car lover and James Bond fan on your list - all for just $700,007.

Aston Martin will produce only seven of these very special DBS Superleggeras "and the man himself, well, the current 'man', Daniel Craig has provided his input into how they should be equipped. Bond has always displayed exquisite taste and Craig is living up to the role with these vehicles.

They feature a gray-blue paint – described as inky blue – and matching leather interior, and are powered by the standard 5.2-liter V12 putting out 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. While the dashboard isn't signed by Craig, there is more to the gift that ties it to everyone's favorite international spy.

It should be noted that it's not just a supercar you're getting, but a superexperience. You'll be whisked away to London, courtesy of American Airlines, to see the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera come off the assembly line at its Gaydon, England, production facility.

With each car, Neiman Marcus includes a special Omega Seamaster Diver 300M watch, with dials that have the trademark 007 gun barrel rifling design. Like the car, just seven of these watches are being produced."

Celebration Of A Life Well-Led: Steve D’Ambrosia’s funeral was held last Saturday in Portland, OR. The Mass was said by a priest who was a childhood friend and who flew in from Baltimore. He gave a nice homily filled with personal stories from Steve's life. Steve's daughters later gave a heartfelt and oft-humorous eulogy.

The church was fairly full; Steve had a lot of friends. People traveled from as far away as Texas. Streve's large Elliston H. Bell Founder's Cup (awarded to the most-outstanding Senior Lincoln or Continental by the Lincolln & Continental Owner's Club - Steve won it for his 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible) was used as a recepticle for sympathu and Mass cards.

There was a significant firefighter presence in the congregation and, at the conclusion of Mass, a Portland Fire Department bagpiper performed 'Amazing Grace'. All in all, it was a worthy send-off for a great guy.

I’ve written more about Steve here.

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, due to the weekend's heavy rain, the leaves are rapidly turning brown and falling to the ground. Peak color was late last week. Winter will soon be upon us. Sigh.

Why I Don't Go To Portland Anymore: A homeless man named Brian Ray Lankford who threatened a woman and her son with a large tree branch in 2017 was given a break this week. Instead of putting Lankford in jail, the Portland, Oregon prosecutors cut a deal which gave him probation and mandatory drug treatment.

"Lankford has been arrested more than 220 times in the past decade and convicted 68 times for crimes including misdemeanor theft, trespassing, harassment, disorderly conduct and interfering with public transportation, according to his court file. He often has been sentenced to fines, short stints in jail or probation in which he was not actively supervised."

The boy's mother, Tiffany Hammer, told the Portland City Council in May that Lankford was a repeat criminal who was among a homeless population that commits a wide array of crimes around their neighborhood. On that particular day, Hammer said, she thinks he was trying to steal from her home.

In an attempt to discourage ... (more >>>)

Heh: Ryan Fournier, founder and co-chairman of Turning Point Action, recently tweeted, "Elizabeth Warren says the government is the only one who can be trusted with guns.

Being an Indian and all you'd think she would know better than that."

Quote Of The Day is from Cabot Phillips: "A college degree costs 297% more than it did in 1979. A Happy Meal costs 40% less. One of these industries is subsidized by the government. The other isn't."


Friday October 18, 2019

No Bull: It is rumored that Volkswagen AG is weighing options for its Lamborghini supercar brand (with its raging bull emblem), as the German manufacturer moves ahead with an overhaul aimed at more than doubling its market value and getting ahead of an industry shakeout. The company has started preparations to fold Lamborghini into a separate legal entity and the process might conclude toward the end of next year.

Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess wants to focus future expansion on the group's main global brands - VW, Porsche and Audi - in a push to channel resources more efficiently and avoid duplicated efforts. VW is drafting a revamp of its sprawling stable of 12 automotive brands.

Analysts have urged VW to consider deep changes including an initial public offering of Porsche to unlock value. The sports-car unit is VW group's most profitable division while Audi contributes the biggest share of earnings.

It is difficult for me to comment on this without knowing how profitable Lambo is and how much it contributes to VW's corporate earnings.

Suicide Mission: Lincoln is offering its Continental Coach Door Edition which now sells for more than $115,000 for a 2020 model. Only 150 will be made - at a roughly $60K premium over a regular Connie. Which is why Lincoln has come up with the posh euphemism 'coach door' instead of 'suicide door'.

Stretched by 6 inches "by Boston-area coachbuilder Cabot, the Coach Door Edition comes fully loaded, offering backseat occupants a full-length console with table, wireless charging pads, and numerous plug-in points.

Beneath this Lincoln's stretched skin is the Continental's top-flight powertrain: a twin-turbo 3.0-liter making 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque, mated to an all-wheel drive system with a similarly lengthened propshaft."

As for me, I'm waiting for the 'guillotine door' edition.

Remember The '70s? Pierre Cardin stitched his name on ties and charged high prices for them. Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren rose from anonymity more or less simultaneously to tackle the question of designing clothes for the men and women of the 'me' decade. For them, the 'me' meant 'them', since it was their names stitched on your clothes, not yours.

Back in those days, when asked why I didn't wear designer ties, I told business colleagues that I'd gladly pay the extra bucks for a Cardin tie if Pierre would send me a photo of himself wearing a tie with 'Joe Sherlock' stitched on it. As you mosey around the various areas of this website, you'll find photos of me here-and-there wearing knit shirts, usually in vacation photos. There are initials embroidered on the pockets - mine. Not someone else's.

In the early 1980s, I picked up a nice yellow Jimmy Connors sweater super cheap at a Meier & Frank markdown table in Portland. It had a discrete navy 'JC' embroidered on the front. When people asked about that, I told them that I bought it at the Vatican gift shop and that it was a Jesus Christ designer sweater. (I hope He has a sense of humor.)

In the '70s and even '80s, everything was designer this-and-that. I once bought a exceptional off-white Pierre Cardin three-piece suit from a store with no name in a run down strip mall near Burlington, NJ. $49 - no tax. Cash only. I think it had "fallen off the truck."

In those days, many designers also lent their names to special editions of cars. Gucci was one of the first ... (more >>>)

When Low Income Housing Is Forced On Your Neighborhood: Recently, Jack Baruth wrote about the disruption of stable neighborhoods by the introduction of low-income, high-density housing. "I also have to suspect that, in some cases at least, the suffering of those homeowners is the primary goal rather than a happy consequence. We're seeing something similar in the gleeful deconstruction of everything from major-league sports to Star Wars by a new generation of culture warriors who fully understand the power to be gained by taking the things your enemy loves and twisting them beyond recognition. They are no more likely to believe in "live and let live" than the commissars of the Khmer Rouge were to permit the unrestricted wearing of corrective spectacles.

Part of my day job involves what we call "saving driving" so I've taken a great interest of late in the actions and beliefs of the people who want to restrict or eliminate the ownership of gasoline-powered automobiles. A surprising number of them will admit that they don't really care if there's a net climatological benefit to banning the Challenger Hellcat Widebody; they find the existence of such things repugnant on moral grounds and therefore: hey hey, ho ho, the 6.2 has got to go."

I already experienced ghettoization when ... (more >>>)

Irony Alert: The Ban All Plastics lefties have created an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez action figure - made out of plastic.

"Ocasio-Cortez's smiling, pint-sized doppelgänger sports a white suit similar to the one the House freshman wore to her swearing-in ceremony in January. She's also seen with her signature red lips, gold hoop earrings and pulled-back hair."

You May Not Remember His Name … but you'll remember his face. Actor Bill Macy has died at age 97. He made more than 70 appearances on film and television. Macy played Bea Arthurs's long-suffering husband in the 1970s TV sitcom 'Maude'. He appeared as the Jury foreman in the 1967 'The Producers' flick. He played Stan Fox, co-inventor of the 'Opti-grab' in the Steve Martin's 1979 comedy film, 'The Jerk'.

Macy was Sy Benson, the mercurial head television writer, in the under-appreciated comedy, 'My Favorite Year' in 1982. RIP.

Tis The Season: We're beginning to receive holiday catalogs in our mailbox. Some catalogs I receive are automotive-related because, over the years, I've bought a lot of auto accessories, model cars and automobilia from catalogs. This has gained me the Dubious Privilege of having my good name added to hundreds of mailing lists which sellers gleefully exchange with each other or sell to list brokers.

There are many catalogs crammed with old-timey items, usually inaccurate knockoffs of memorabilia from the 1950s-60s. These are targeted at retired geezers like me, hoping that I'll order something to remind me of my youth. The Vermont Country Store - with a plethora of Ye-Old-Yime items within - seems to mail a catalog weekly.

Nostalgia is a generally-harmless ... (more >>>)

Thought For Today: The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.


Wednesday October 16, 2019

Sta-Bil Time: At 10:30 am Monday, it was cold (46 degrees) but sunny, so I fired up my '39 Plymouth coupe, drove to town and fueled-up (before the gas stations around here switch to the dreaded winter mix). I brought my handy jug of Sta-Bil fuel preservative with me and added it to the tank. As I was fueling up, I got compliments from a couple of fellow gas station patrons.

Then I went for a drive. Skies are still blue but it is a more intense and anxious hue than the carefree bright blue of summer. Nevertheless, it was sunny, which really lit up the foliage. Fall is my favorite season, though. I have many good memories of this season from years past. Fall 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 pullover hoodie and appear to be 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.

It is now raining; in fact, rain is forecast through the weekend.

Not A Keeper: The Detroit Bureau has listed the most unloved new vehicles - ones which are frequently traded in within the first year. The list includes these top five losers:

1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The original 'Baby Benz' has grown larger and more lavish over the years, but it is still resold during the first year by 12.4% of owners – 3.7 times the industry average.

2. BMW 3-Series. The compact BMW sedan has long been the segment's benchmark model but not every owner seems happy. 11.8% traded in during the first year.

3. Land Rover Discovery Sport. High maintenance and poor reliability numbers may explain why both Land Rovers are quickly resold, including 11.8% of Disco Sport models.

4. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. The British SUV marque's most popular model is also the one most likely to be re-sold or traded in, at 10.9%, the first year.

5. Mini Clubman. The Mini brand has been suffering from slumping sales and the fact that owners quickly trade in the Clubman – 10.7% in year one – may explain why.

Other frequent first-year trades included the BMW X1 small SUV, BMW X3 compact crossover, Nissan Versa Note hatchback, Jaguar XF sedan and the Nissan Versa compact sedan.

Your Mileage May Vary: With all the brouhaha about the triple-digit "gas" mileage attained by electric or mostly-electric vehicles, I would like to point out that my old 1984 Lincoln Mark VII coupe used to regularly hit over 100 mpg on hills, according to its dashboard computer.

The record: 156 mpg on a long, steep stretch of Interstate 5 south of the Oregon-California border.

Unfortunately, on the uphill side of the same slope, the Lincoln's instant mileage display would read between three and five mpg. (permalink)

The Hardware & Fastener Museum: Like many other guys my age, I have enough assorted screws, bolts, nuts, washers, etc. in various jars, cans and Zip-Loc bags to last me for the rest of my life. And my children's lives too.

Last week, I bent a small wood screw. I went to my museum in the garage, grabbed a couple of appropriate jars, brought 'em inside and dumped the contents on newspaper. Rooted around until I found a match. Then I veed-up the paper and poured everything back into the jars.

It took me about 20 minutes - less time that it would take to drive to town and back. No gas, nothing to buy and no sales tax to be paid. Recycle, reuse - why I'm greener than a dead Al Gore floating face down in an algae farm. And my museum still … (more >>>)

Mutual Fund Failures: David Snowball of the Mutual Fund Observer recently reported:

The Chadwick & D'Amato Fund (CDFFX) will cease operations on October 28, 2019. It's a $33 million tactical allocation fund whose tactics have earned it about 3% a year over the past decade. During the same period, the S&P 500 (with dividends reinvested) returned 13.5%/year.

AdvisorShares New Tech and Media ETF (FNG) will be liquidated on October 11, 2019. The fund managed to lose 27% last year and 34% so far this year, turning a $10,000 initial investment into $5,123. Ouch.

Book Review: 'My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son's Search For Home' by Michael Brendan Dougherty

This is a small hardcover book (5 x 7.5 inches, 217 pages plus acknowledgements) and not just in size but in many other ways. I'm still trying to figure out how such a short book can seem so prolix. The author, born ... (more >>>)

Pope Frank's Punishment. Or Chaput Kaput: A Twitter poster named Mark noted, "For the last 100 years every Archbishop of Philadelphia was made a Cardinal. Except Chaput." That's kind of sad because Archbishop Chaput was instrumental in cleaning up the remnants of the clergy sex scandal in Philadelphia.

Mark pointed out that this is a message in itself. And for the Pope to meet with ... (more >>>)

The Truth About Impeachment: Dilbert creator Scott Adams wrote recently, "If you strip out the parts of the Ukraine story we can't yet know to be true, you still know enough to have a responsible opinion. Vice President Biden was handling the Ukraine portfolio while his son had a financial interest in Ukraine, and that is enough of a conflict to merit an investigation. We all agree that the sitting president is responsible for protecting the integrity of American elections and generally keeping foreign interference in U.S. politics to a minimum.

That's what Mr. Trump was doing on the Ukraine phone call. (For those of you who say such matters should be handled at lower levels of government, my experience in corporate America tells me nothing much gets done until the bosses talk and agree. I assume government is similar.)"

"What we all agree to be true about Joe and Hunter Biden is that they had the types of interactions with Ukraine that raise eyebrows and invite a closer look. We also all agree that protecting the integrity of American elections should be a top priority for a president."

The Democrats have been trying to impeach Donald J. Trump since the day he took office.

There's A Draft Coming Through The Overton Window: Carmine Sabia asked, "If Democrats are against fossil fuels why do all of their kids work for Ukrainian gas and oil companies?"

Definition Of The Day is for 'Wrinkles': Something other people have. You (and I) have character lines.


Monday October 14, 2019

"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 just a few days. Fall is definitely here. 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 - 30 degrees the other night - and that brings more color to the trees.

At 11:30 am on Friday, the temperature was a cool 52 degrees; the sun was out and there were clear skies above but around part of the horizon there was a ring of white clouds reminding me of Ed Asner's head. I fired up my old '39 Plymouth business coupe and went for a drive.

There was some traffic but no school buses or big trucks on my back road driving loop. I had a pleasant drive and, as I pulled my old coupe back into the driveway, the Spaniels were warbling 'Goodnight Sweetheart' through the speakers. That 1954 doo-wop ballad remained a popular closing number at Philadelphia-area teen dances in the late 1950s and early '60s.

I'm taking these old car drives whenever the Fall weather is favorable.

Uh-Oh: After a tough set of sales results for automakers last month, zero-percent financing appears to be coming back with a vengeance in October.

U.S. News & World Report released its 'Best Deals' for the Columbus Day holiday and while just a few months ago, it was nearly impossible to find zero percent deals, some automakers must be ready to make a deal.

"September car sales were slow, and shoppers are in the driver's seat for the remainder of 2019," said Jamie Page Deaton, executive editor of U.S. News Best Cars.

The new vehicle market is definitely softening.

American Graffiti, Philadelphia-Style: I always enjoy watching the 1973 movie, 'American Graffiti'. Set in 1962, it's about a couple of high schools grads who spend one night hanging out, cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college. I can identify with it because of the time frame - I graduated from high school in '61 - but have trouble relating to the California setting and the coolness of the cars in the film.

In the 1950s and early '60s, my East Coast adolescent reality was much different than the 'American Graffiti' kids.

California was (and still is) much more car-centric than Philadelphia. Most of my friends in high school didn't have cool rides. My school buddies who were car guys couldn't do much work on vehicles because of the heavy academic load at our prep school, a lack of funds, too little free time and nowhere to carry out automotive work. Most of us had crappy minimum-wage summer jobs but had no after-school employment to fund car projects. The intense academic pace kept us plenty busy.

No one at St. Joe's Prep had neat cars like those in 'American Graffiti'. No Suzanne Somers in a white T-Bird. (Of course not. It was an all-boys school.) No mint-condition, desirable hot rods, either. (No hot rods of any kind, that I can recall.) No one owned a chopped and channeled 1932 Ford. Or a '55 Crown Vicky.

My school friends were mostly ... (more >>>)

Don't Forget To Get Your Flu Shot ...

I got mine a couple of weeks ago.

It's Not Your Fault; Some Chinese Sailor Did It: Most of the plastic bottles washing up on the rocky shores of Inaccessible Island, aptly named for its sheer cliffs rising from the middle of the South Atlantic, probably come from Chinese merchant ships. A study offered "fresh evidence that the vast garbage patches floating in the middle of oceans, which have sparked much consumer hand-wringing in recent years, are less the product of people dumping single-use plastics in waterways or on land, than they are the result of merchant marine vessels tossing their waste overboard by the ton."

Quote Of The Day is from Ernest Hemingway: "What is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."


Thursday October 10, 2019

Caught In A Lie … many lies actually: The Securities and Exchange Commission will collect a $40 million settlement from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and its U.S. unit after the agency determined the automaker falsified its monthly sales reports for the better part of five years, misleading investors.

"From 2012 through 2016, Fiat Chrysler's U.S. unit falsely reported its new vehicle sales results each month, bulking up the results through a variety of fraudulent methods to make it look like the company had a 75-month streak of year-over-year monthly sales increases. The company's run of increased sales ended in 2013; however, it continued to maintain it was on the impressive sales run until 2016. In July 2016, it revised five years of monthly sales reports. The move was done to reflect a new reporting method."

During that time, the SEC, U.S. Justice Department and other federal authorities were already investigating the possibility the automaker had fraudulently kept the streak alive.

The investigation found that FCA pressured parts of the company's business "to increase sales, maintain the year-over-year sales streak, and hit internal sales targets, particularly on the last sales day of the month" and as a result some employees at most of the Business Centers engaged in fake sales reporting. "The company paid dealers to report non-existent sales to made-up customers and transactions that never happened. FCA disguised the payments to the dealers, calling them 'cooperative marketing funds'."

Sixty Years Ago ... on Columbus Day 1959, I got my driver's license.

That fact makes me feel unbelievably ancient.

More Masers: Maserati has been a brand in need of a renaissance for some time, with slipping sales and an increasing struggle to find buyers for its aging lineup. Now the Italian brand has released new details that pretty much lay out its product strategy for the next three years.

A new sports car is coming and it will be available in both coupe and roadster forms, and also that it will have the option of an electric powertrain with three-motor all-wheel drive and an 800-volt battery system. It is expected to go into production in Modena next year, initially with internal-combustion power (most likely a version of the Alfa twin-turbo V-6) but also with the option of an electric powertrain.

Car and Driver wrote, "Next up will be a second SUV to understudy the Levante, set to be built on a new production line at the Cassino plant south of Rome, which builds the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio. Production will start "by 2021" according to the official release and insiders suggest this will also be offered with both conventional power and some form of electric drivetrain."

No word on any reliability improvements, which probably means that the overall quality will probably be appalling - a real boîte de merde. I'm sure that Consumer Reports is looking forward to examining these new Maseratis for defects in the same manner that a tiger looks forward to eating Siegfried and Roy.

Another Icon Of My Childhood Gone: Karen Pendleton, one of the original Mouseketeers, has died at age 73 of a heart attack.

Karen was one of only nine Mouseketeers who were on the Mickey Mouse Club television show during its entire original run. RIP.

Book Review: 'The Real Deal: My Decade Fighting Battles and Winning Wars with Trump' by George A. Sorial and Damian Bates

Over the past few years, I've posted reviews on several books on the subject of Donald J. Trump. This one is quite different than the rest. Co-author George Sorial is a longtime employee of the Trump Organization and offered a unique insider's look at the man, the company and the family.

The portrait painted ... (more >>>)

Hey Big Government - Mind Your Own Damn Business: CBD at Ace recently wrote, "Try fixing the potholes and the porous borders and try to get a handle on your out-of-control spending and the obscene lawlessness among your law enforcement agencies. When you are done with that there is a long list of other significant issues that need to be addressed. And then maybe you get to worry about what private citizens do to themselves.

But what is most frustrating about the current brouhaha about vaping and e-cigarettes is the focus of the discussion on whether they are harmful or beneficial. That's not the point! The issue is clear; does the government get to control our private activities and behavior?

I think cigarette smoking is dumb, so I don't do it. I have no interest in vaping, so I don't do it. But if you want to do it? Have at it! As long as you are responsible for the consequences of your behavior, why is it my or the government's business?

The fact that these behaviors are far less destructive than cigarette smoking and can assist people in quitting smoking is nice ... really nice! But once again, as long as there is no deleterious effect on society, why should we care? The hysteria over vaping and the rush by governments to ban all forms of it, absent facts, make no sense."

Vaping may be dangerous, but until more data are developed, it is stupid to arbitrarily ban it. The Left is maniacal about controlling of every aspect of our lives, except when it comes to killing babies. Then it's all about "women's health."

Quote Of The Day is from Dave Burge: "Let's face it, sarcasm is the rhetorical equivalent of gluing a Pep Boys plastic spoiler on your Honda Civic."


Tuesday October 8, 2019

Seasons: There's a Fall chill in the air. The days are still fine but temperature really drops at night. I have to turn on lights in the morning when I get up. Darkness falls a little earlier each day.

On Saturday, it was 56 degrees at 12:30 pm, so - even though it was partly to mostly cloudy with the sun disappearing behind thick clouds from time to time - I decided to fire up my '39 Plymouth coupe and go for a drive.

I did have a good back roads excursion remembering that, as a 16 year-old, I drove my other '39 Plymouth coupe on lots of cloudy days. And played the same rock and roll music while driving along.

There is much more Fall color than I saw a mere four days ago. We're nowhere near peak yet and there's still plenty of green but there's less of it with each passing day. Traffic was light and I had a pleasant drive.

Nine Months Of Vehicle Sales: Automakers' U.S. sales in the third quarter were down compared to sales in the same period a year ago. With one exception, the declines were small. September's seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales rang in at 17.2 million units, according to Econoday, exceeding the consensus estimate of 16.9 million.

For the nine months ending September 30th, Ford brand sales declined 5% compared to the same period in 2018, while Lincoln brand sales were up by 5% overall. Ford Motor Co. reported third-quarter truck sales jumped 8.8% to 309,920 units and year-to-date truck sales are up 7% at 854,220 units. Ford reported its best pick-up trucks sales in 14 years and its transaction pricing improved during the quarter as a result.

Sport utility vehicle sales tumbled 11% compared to the third quarter of last year, based on a drop of 13% in Ford-brand SUV sales and an increase of 19% in Lincoln-brand SUVs. Part of the problem is a bungled launch - with multiple quality issues - of the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator models. For the year to date, Ford-brand SUV sales are down 7% while Lincoln-brand sales are up 12%. Lincoln Nautilus sales jumped 24% in the third quarter, accelerating from the second-quarter gain of 15%.

Fiat-Chrysler reported third-quarter sales flat year over year at 565,034 vehicles, including a 15% jump in Ram truck sales to 179,200 units and a year-over-year boost of 23% to 512,368 units. Quarterly U.S. sales of the company's Alfa Romeo and Fiat brands dropped to 4,310 (down 27%) and 2,360 (down 38%), respectively. Jeep sales slipped 2% year-over-year in the third quarter and are down 6% for the year through September. The best news for FCA was a quarterly jump of 46% in sales of the aging Dodge Charger.

Ram sales increased 23% YTD to 512,368 trucks. Chrysler sales declined 26% to 83,966 units. Dodge sales dropped 8% to 332,245 vehicles. YTD Alfa Romeo sales fell 27% to 13,347 units, while Fiat sales fell a whipping 38% to only 7,464 vehicles in calendar 2019 so far. Alfa and Fiat are offering special deals and hot leases but that's like a pinkie Band-Aid on a massive sucking chest wound.

Compared with last year, General Motors' sales declined just under 1% during the first nine months of 2019. GM reported third-quarter sales of 738,638 vehicles, an increase of 6% year over year. Sales through September totaled 2.15 million, a decline of 1% compared to the first nine months of 2018. Third-quarter Silverado sales were up 18% year over year for the company's LD models and up 7% for the HD models. For the year to date, HD sales are down 12% and LD sales are down 1%. GMC Sierra HD sales were up 10% for the quarter and down 5% for the year. Sierra LD sales jumped 38.2% in the quarter and rose 13% for the year to date.

Year-to-date sales of GM's brands were as follows: Buick rose 2% over last year, Cadillac increased 3%, Chevrolet declined 3%, and GMC increased 6%.

In the muscle car market, the Dodge Challenger outsold Mustang and Camaro in the third quarter. Challenger: 18,031 (+21%), Mustang: 16,923 (-12%), Camaro: 12,275 (-15%). Mustang won the year-to-date race with 55,365 sales, followed by the Challenger at 46,699, and the Camaro at 36,791.

Toyota Motor Corp. reported sales of 1.78 million units year-to-date, down 7% year-over-year. Toyota brand sales declined 6% year-over-year (1,569,751 units), while Lexus sales declined 2% to 209,551 vehicles so far in 2019. American Honda sales were flat at 1.21 million units in the first nine months of 2019. Nissan brand sales tumbled 6% to 956,456 units. Subaru sales rose 4.4% to 525,329 vehicles. Volkswagen brand sales increased 4% to 278,155 units. Mercedes-Benz brand sales ticked down fractionally to 253,833 units, while BMW sales rose 3% to 232,487 units.

Hyundai and Kia reported YTD sales increases of 3% over last year. Mazda sales were down 12% year-to-date.

Tesla's nine month sales rose 15% to 135,600 electric vehicles, although sales fell 20% in the third quarter versus last year. Tesla's deliveries rose less than 2% in the third quarter, missing Wall Street estimates. Total deliveries came in at a record 97,000 units for the quarter - a growth rate of just under 2%, but it was below analysts' estimates of 97,477 vehicles. 79,600 Model 3 sedans found buyers.

Acura's nine-month sales totaled 112,813 vehicles - a drop of 3% from last year. Infiniti sales dropped 17% so far in 2019, totaling 87,934 units. Infiniti's sales took a big tumble in September, dropping 44% compared to September 2018.

Jaguar sales totaled 22,432 vehicles so far this year, an increase of 6%. Volvo sales were up 5% to 77,432 units, while Audi sales declined 5% to 158,471 vehicles.

Maserati has sold 8,325 vehicles year-to-date, down 1% from 2018 but still handily outselling its much-less-costly stablemate Fiat. 2,088 Lamborghinis found homes in the U.S. in 2019 so far; that's a whopping 68% increase. 1,746 McLaren supercars found buyers over the past nine months, an increase of 72% over the same period last year. Bentley sold 1,521 vehicles so far in 2019 - an increase of 3%. Rolls Royce sold 990 vehicles so far this year, a gain of 2% over last year. Who says the rich aren't spending money these days?

Crazy Fast: Koenigsegg announced that the carmaker has broken its own 0-400-0 kph (248.54 mph) record with a time of 31.49 seconds in the Regera 1,500-hp hybrid hypercar.

The Regera "is powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine working in concert with three electric motors. These motors are what allow the Regera not to have to bother with a transmission, therefore no shifting."

Short Days Ahead: 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 well on the rise. By 7:00 pm, it was dark.

Break Out The Confetti! Known for his exuberance and flamboyant personality, actor and comedian Rip Taylor has died at age 84.

Rip was famous for his wild moustache, toupee, and his habit of showering himself (and others) with confetti. Throughout the 1970s, Taylor was a frequent celebrity guest panelist on TV game shows such as 'Hollywood Squares', 'To Tell the Truth', and 'The Gong Show', and substituted for Charles Nelson Reilly on 'The Match Game'. Rip was a close personal best friend of late entertainer Lee Liberace. Taylor cut the ribbon at the Las Vegas estate auction of Liberace's belongings and personal effects in 1988.

In 2010, he appeared in the one-man show 'It Ain't All Confetti' in North Hollywood, where he shared personal stories about his life and career.

Rest in Peace, Rip. Or RIP, Rip.

Quote Of The Day is from Dennis Prager: "I acknowledge that students who are entering STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields must attend college. But for most of the rest, sending your child to college is playing Russian roulette with their values, character and even joy of life."


Friday October 4, 2019

The Million-Mile Lexus: Recently, Matt Farah wrote in Road & Track about the original Lexus LS. He bought a used one and still owned it when the odometer crossed the 1,000,000 mile mark.

Excerpt: "Peter Egan, when he reviewed the Lexus for this magazine, recounted sitting in the passenger seat, flipping through a CD binder, completely unaware that the driver was doing 130 mph. He later wrote, "I had never before made a casual music selection while going more than two miles per minute. A near absence of wind noise and mechanical commotion, along with excellent directional stability, made the new LS 400 the calmest, quietest car I've driven at high speed. The Lexus V-8 and its nearly vibration-free driveline simply set a new standard for combining horsepower with civility.""

I saw my first Lexus - a dark green one - in a Corvallis, Oregon parking lot in the Fall of 1989. It looked like a Mercedes and I was very impressed with its paint quality, shut-lines and overall fit and finish. Eighteen years later, I finally bought a Lexus LS 460. I still own it and I love it. It still looks like new. It will probably be my last car.

Frankfurt Fail: Things were grim at September's Frankfurt Auto Show. The absence of brands including Toyota, Renault, Peugeot, Nissan, Fiat and Ferrari was a serious blow for the organizers. On top of that, thousands of climate activists protested outside the entrance, highlighting the simmering tensions between the German car industry and the country's environmentalists.

This year's show had 560,000 visitors, compared with 810,000 when the biennial event was last held in 2017. Visitor numbers had fallen from 931,700 in 2015, the highest attendance in eight years.

"Auto shows from Detroit to Paris are suffering declining interest as car companies focus their marketing efforts on livestreamed, standalone product debuts but Frankfurt was also unlucky this year because the global climate strike led by Sweden's young activist Greta Thunberg fell on the final Friday of the show."

I predict that angry little Miss Thunberg - who has the personality of a low-flush toilet - will have the same shelf-life and creeer arc as Sinéad O'Connor.

Sleeper Buses: I had never heard of them before but road vehicles with Pullman-style accommodations were cruising the nation's highways and byways in the 1930s.

Recently, I watched the 1939 movie 'Babes In Arms', starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. In one scene, Judy boards a double-decker sleeper bus to travel from ... (more >>>)

"Bring Out Yer Dead!" Monty Python reference aside, seventy-eight year-old Bernie Sanders had a heart attack Tuesday evening, which his PR aides spun as 'chest discomfort'. They would probably describe 'rigor mortis' as 'joint stiffness'. All Bernie campaign events have been canceled "until further notice."

I would like to point out that Senator Sanders is the same age as Chubby Checker, who is still twisting the night away. Mr Checker's 78th birthday was yesterday (10/3). Maybe Bernie should have kept doing The Twist.

As someone who has had three coronary artery stent procedures - and I was a lot younger than Bernie at the time, I can attest that the time for full recovery - walking fast, washing cars, no taking afternoon naps, etc. - is about a month. Doctors who claim that "the recovery time for a coronary stent is one week," refer to the ability to stand upright, shuffle along and drive a car somewhere as long as you can park near the entrance of wherever you're going. Walking any distance feels like you're pushing a steel dumpster through a magnet factory. It takes a while to get your energy back.

While I wish Bernie a full recovery, I think his campaign is probably toast. Hillary thinks so too, which is why she's sending all those flower baskets to his hospital room. And sneaking Chelsea in there to blow an air horn near Bernie's ear. Oh yes, Chelsea would do it if her mom asked. She's so dumb, she thinks the French Maginot Line is a cruise ship company.

Meanwhile Pocahontas is whooping it up with a ceremonial happy dance.

Not Enough: President Trump recently tweeted, "Now the press is trying to sell the fact that I wanted a Moat stuffed with alligators and snakes, with an electrified fence and sharp spikes on top, at our Southern Border. I may be tough on Border Security, but not that tough. The press has gone Crazy. Fake News!"

Personally, I have no problem with an alligator moat, as long as the gators are wearing helmets with laser guns on top. Or rocket launchers. Black Mambas on motorcycles - or Jet Skis - are also OK with me.

Just Like In The Movies: SpaceX has completed its Mars starship prototype and it looks righteous in an olde-timey Flash Grodon kinda way. I wish Buster Crabbe was still around to pilot it.

Thought For Today: The government sent more troops and armament to arrest Roger Stone than they sent to defend Benghazi.


Wednesday October 2, 2019

Nice Rack: Sometimes the titles just write themselves ...

Driving Past Summer: Fall is definitely here. The days are still warm but last night, temperatures dipped into the mid-30s. Typically, the heater kicks on and starts rumbling about 10:00 pm.

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.

When I drove my '39 Plymouth business coupe along my favorite rural route Monday, 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. At 1:15 pm, the temperature was a mere 53 degrees and the pale blue skies the color of a faded oxford shirt.

I went for another drive Tuesday when the weather was even better. At 11:30 am, it was quite sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky. The temperature was 51 degrees but seemed warmer, and 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. Good thing, too - clouds rolled in overnight and rain is forecast for the foreseeable future.

Truckin' With Juice: Upstart electric truck maker Rivian has landed an order with Amazon to supply the e-commerce giant with 100,000 delivery vans by 2024.

In 2017, Rivian announced it was building an electric sport utility vehicle and pickup truck on a platform that executives claim can be modified for future vehicles or adapted by other companies, with both vehicles semi-autonomous and designed for on-road and off-road driving. The company plans to build its trucks, SUVs and vans at a former Mitsubishi assembly plant in Illinois.

Rivian's first offerings were unveiled at the 2018 LA auto show. Production is expected to commence in 2020. Amazon, Cox Automotive and Ford Motor Company have made substantial investments in the firm.

I would expect substantial electric commercial vehicle orders from delivery companies in big cities, as well as state and government agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service.

While in college, I delivered appliances in the Philadelphia area. Typically, we only put 50-100 miles per day on a truck - an easy task for an electric vehicle these days.

Book Review: 'The Complete Book Of Jaguar: Every Model Since 1935' by Nigel Thorley

At 10 inches by 14 inches, this book is almost large enough to be a coffee table book. It is an exceptional-quality work, is printed on heavy glossy stock, is full of facts and contains 350 gorgeous color and b/w photos.

Author Nigel Thorley is a true Jaguar expert - he has owned multiple examples and is cofounder of the Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club, so this is much more than just a pretty book. The information in it is quite accurate, something often lacking in coffee-table books.

There is some discussion of product development but ... (more >>>)

So Far, So Good: Despite all the worries about the trade war, tariffs and reports of a slowing economy, the S&P 500 Index with dividends reinvested is up 20.54% for the first nine months of 2019.

Cranking Out Horror: In his spare time, my son makes horror films. His hometown newspaper recently did a nice article featuring his film work.

"His first real effort, "when I tried to actually make a real movie," came in 1995, with a film called 'Dimension of Blood'. Since then, he's churned them out on a regular basis, fast and cheap (his production company at first was called F&C Films, for, well, fast and cheap, although he joked that "Nothing was ever fast.") And the films have gained an audience, playing at places such as Salem's Northern Lights theater pub and at horror conventions in Seattle."

Four locally-produced horror films by Joe Sherlock will be shown at the Darkside Cinema in Corvallis, Oregon on four successive Tuesday nights in October.

Question Of The Day is from Tom McMahon: "Does Keebler.com use cookies?"


Car Blog Disclaimer

This blog, The View Through The Windshield, is about cars, automobiles, vehicles of various sorts and more.

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

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

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

copyright 2019 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved


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