Well! I started off this morning planning on writing up a friend’s simply fantastic 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. But then, I logged onto The American Brougham Society today at lunch and saw that the proprietor of the Broughamiest FB group around had posted pictures of this simply sensational 1978 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham. I love these cars, a lot. Wrote one up on the old site some years back, and fully intend to do a full writeup here on RG eventually. But just look at the color combination! Holy moly! I had to share this immediately! Continue Reading →
Starting with the November issue, I’ll be writing about luxury automotive for Indulge Magazine. It’s a lifestyle-oriented magazine that has a subscription circulation of about 60,000 in the Miami-Dade market, with readership of about 280,000. It’s specifically targeted at higher income/net worth individuals, so my first piece is going to be about some of the exotic hybrid sports cars on the market, and driving them around Miami and taking pictures at iconic locations. Neat, right? Also, this will probably be the first time that I’m just plain ol’ “Mark Baruth” in the byline.
Unless you live in Miami, you won’t ever see the articles in print, but I’ll link to them when they’re online.
In 1978, the Pontiac Grand Prix was downsized, along with its corporate cousins, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. And the Buick Regal, of course, which I covered previously here at RG.
Phase II of General Motors’ downsizing had begun. The Colonnade midsizers of 1973-77 were but a memory, and Bill Mitchell’s Sheer Look, pioneered by the 1976 Cadillac Seville, was applied to all A-bodies, including the A-special GP and Monte.
I genuinely try my best not to live in an echo chamber, as much as anybody really can in the year 2018. What I actually mean by this is that I don’t typically “unfollow” or “unfriend” over political beliefs. It’s no secret to anybody who’s ever read a single word that I’ve written that I am generally to the right of Ronald Reagan on most issues, although I like the think that when it comes to social issues, I’m fairly Libertarian, and I wish that more Republicans would be, too. Marry whomever you like. Smoke whatever you like. But please don’t force me to pay for failing social programs, your healthcare, or your “right to housing” or whatever that lady from Westchester is talking about in between her hilariously incorrect takes on global politics.
There’s one guy whom I follow on Twitter (and if you’re not following me…well, that’s actually pretty smart of you) who hits retweet on every single possible liberal social issue. He’s a basic white dude, but of course he’s an advocate for LBGTQ, for womyn, for minorities, for poor people, for immigrants…you name it, this dude is on it. He’s childless, but he’s all about Marching For Our Lives. He tweets about toxic masculinity at least once a day. Drives me crazy.
In the real world, he and I get along smashingly, mostly because we don’t talk about any of that silly shit in person. I even coached him around a racetrack once. Genuinely nice guy.
Unfortunately, I can’t agree with him on most of what he says, or really any of it, because I don’t get to have the “luxury” (note the sarcasm here) of living childless in a three-floor walkup in a trendy neighborhood. I’m raising kids.
I promised you guys a mommyblogger — the closest I could come was an autocrosser and track rat who happens to be a mother. Sorry about that. We will keep looking. In the meantime, please give Ryan a warm welcome — jb
The 2018 Michelin Tire School. Well, at least, that’s what it said on the Michelin-Man-emblazoned itinerary in my Greenville, South Carolina, hotel room. The evening’s reception and dinner were filled with cheers of meetings and reunions, car chatter, and occasional outbursts of laughter. In attendance were recognizable faces and names from within the female automotive world. We were a hodgepodge mix of professional racers, stunt drivers, club drivers, high end auto brokers, automotive photographers, automotive media & journalists, leaders from within large car clubs, with many of the women owning businesses in one form or another. That’s about the time this event became more commonly known as Michelin’s Women in Drive.
This past Friday, I attended the monthly Classy Chassy car club’s cruise night out at Coral Ridge Mall. I enjoy this show very much. It is held the last Friday of the month from May through September, and I’ve seen some pretty cool cars there.
The best part is the variety. Sure, some cars I see frequently, but there are cars I will see once, and never again. You really never know what will be on hand! I like that. Especially since many of our local shows are attended by the usual suspects. When you’ve seen the same red 2002 Mustang V6 with Cobra badges, belly-button me-too Resale Red hot rods and various and sundry brand-spanking-new muscle cars, variety is a most welcome antidote!
I was talking to a friend recently about addictive behaviors and he introduced me to the phrase “catfish bottom”. It’s well-known within the twelve-step programs that an addict needs to hit “rock bottom” before he can truly have the desire to change. (Not everyone agrees with that; here’s an alternate perspective.) What my friend told me about was “catfish bottom”, where you get about as low as you can go but you’re still functioning, albeit imperfectly. A lot of people can spend years at catfish bottom.
Those of you who knew me circa 2011-2012 would have seen the “catfish bottom” me, particularly with respect to both drinking and relationships. I never missed a deadline or lost a job because of it but I was certainly exhibiting some remarkably addictive behaviors. I can distinctly remember a night when I was in my 911, trying to make it from one “hotel date” to another one, doing maybe 110 on a mostly but not entirely empty freeway, and screaming at the windshield because I’d underestimated my travel time and I was about to be caught out in a lie by Date Number Two. Right as I was executing some 6,900-rpm outrageous six-lane swerve pass on a bunch of tractor-trailers, I had this moment of clarity: “I’m not even having any fun doing this. It’s like a job. It’s like working fast food, except I can’t be sullen when I’m serving the customer.”
Luckily for me, my date was running even later than I was… well, either I was lucky or she was being just as bad. I think she blamed it on her husband at the time, which is the Cheating Wife’s Adamantium Excuse and usually just means she had an extra drink before leaving the house. But that’s a discussion for another time.
Anyway 2018 feels like “catfish bottom” for racing addiction here at Casa Baruth. Between endurance racing, SCCA, NASA, PWC, and vintage, I’m on the hook for 24 days under green. Add Time Trials and noncompetitive stuff; that’s maybe another 14 days on track. A whole month in pit lane. As with alcohol, heroin, or sex, the obsessive pursuit of auto racing can force you into some bizarre behaviors and some even more bizarre justifications. The difference is that if you’re doing it right you wind up surrounding yourself with good people and making memories that fill you with satisfaction instead of unsteadiness. But I’d be surprised if we did this much next year.
After the jump I’ll have some photos of those good people, taken at the recent AER event, plus a link to what Bark and I wrote this week.
Thanks for your patience while the site was down. It might happen again; we are currently being intermittently targeted by a lightweight denial-of-service attack. If it continues, I’ll have to put the site behind Cloudflare or something similar. It’s not uncommon for us to receive 150,000 fraudulent login attempts in the space of ten minutes, all launched simultaneously from sites across China and Eastern Europe.
In other words, somebody is paying good money for a botnet to knock the site down as often as possible. This is the sincerest form of flattery but it’s also sincerely annoying. Look at it this way: At least we’re managing to serve the current version of the site to non-logged-in users, something with which the poor fellows at TTAC are currently struggling!
Let’s just get this out of the way: If you like the idea of an American-made aluminum bottle with WWII graphics on it, then you can get it here. It’s built like a P-47 and it will just barely fit in a bicycle waterbottle cage, assuming that said cage is as flexible as the titanium King Cages I use on my bikes.
If you want to read a little bit about morality and empathy and food safety and whatnot, click the jump and let’s go for a ride.
Most of you fine folks probably know me for my ever-present, ever-consistent positive posts on various and sundry 1950s to 1980s Cadillacs, Lincolns, Oldsmobile Ninety-Eights, Buick Electras and Mercury Marquis Broughams. It is indeed true that I have a serious soft spot for those land yachts, with their Broughamtastic power options, Sierra grained leather or crushed cranberry red velour, landau tops, opera lamps, opera windows and heraldic crests, but believe it or not, I do like other cars. Really!
I’m not going to delve too deeply into VW’s history in the ’50s, or in the Beetle in particular. You all know the story. In the early 1950s VW sent Ben Pon to the US to get some import sales moving. It was a pretty dismal failure. Even that import dealer genius, Max Hoffman, gave it a shot, sold about 2,000 VWs and was dumped by VW. But then magic happened.