Another Lincoln? You bet! I spied this ’70s executive yacht last week on FB. As you know I’m interested in everything Brougham, so had to save the pictures. This particular ’76 looks especially nice in triple blue. And the interior has more square footage than some ‘efficiency’ apartments in the bigger cities… Continue Reading →
Last night my friend Dave Smith posted this vintage ad on his FB group, the American Brougham Society. It was apparently a one-of-one 1980 Olds Ninety-Eight convertible. Pretty cool. And it made me think of the possibilities if GM had made ’80 Electra and Coupe de Ville convertibles back then.
But that was all later. My juvenile brain picked out the name of the dealer before processing anything else.
Earlier this month, there was an “amazing article” at The Drive about the current semiconductor shortage, written by some “tech-writer” chump who’s never set foot inside a dealership. I know it was amazing because all of the usual suspect idiots on Twitter told me so. It’s a wonderful example of the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, except in this case I absolutely remember that everything else written at The Drive is also complete and utter garbage, not just this particular piece of writing that falls within my expertise.
Outside of the technical content that anybody with an internet connection could verify, all of the conclusions that this author drew are completely false, some of them harmfully so. I really don’t want to do this, as my heart rate doesn’t need the additional stress, but I feel an obligation to you to point out how incredibly stupid everything in this article was.
Over the years, we’ve been reluctant to take any money from you, our readers, despite your many generous requests to offer it. This website has never been anything but a vanity project. It doesn’t serve as a portfolio, nor does it help us curry any favor with OEMs—quite the opposite, as the virtual army of people who comb every word of this blog for ammo to use against us with our employers, family, and friends continually demonstrates.
We tried Google ads for a while. They didn’t even cover our hosting costs, and they were distasteful. So no more of that.
Some of you have suggested Patreon. That feels even dirtier than Google Ads to me. Transparently, both Jack and I earn well above the national median income, and there’s no reason why anybody should pay us money directly in these times when so many people are unemployed and in greater need than we are.
However, I was recently offered the opportunity to help promote one of the brands that both Jack and I have written about at length, and a brand that I have personally spent more money supporting than any other (with the exception of Ford and Genesis) in the last 8 years. That brand is Shinola.
We’ve talked about Shinola here, here, and here. I bought my first Shinola watch, a blue 41mm Runwell, in January of 2016 and I bought my most recent one a few weeks ago. In between those purchases, I have bought 14 other watches, multiple wallets, business card holders, belts, and even hats. I constantly scan eBay for deals. I have my own personal contact at the Grand Rapids store who shoots me off any photos of interesting models. When Shinola launched their first automatic version of the Runwell watch, I immediately ordered serial number 5, in honor of my father’s number at Notre Dame, my number in high school sports, and my son’s number on his club soccer team, and it has become my everyday watch. I have everything from that top of the line $1100 automatic Runwell to a $395 resin body Detrola, as well as a Guardian, a Bedrock, a Canfield, 2 Canfield Bolts, a Black Blizzard, 2 Brakeman, and 6 Runwells. You can see much of my personal collection in the very poor photo at the top of the page.
So, yeah, I believe in the brand. Which is why I am completely comfortable offering my endorsement of it to you, our readers.
Back in the late summer of 2015, I had agreed to trade in my 2006 Volvo V50 wagon for a 53,000 mile 2004 Town Car Ultimate at Strieter Lincoln. As they were holding the car for me, I still was driving the V50 for a few more days. So I decided to go up to the lake, go to the Mt. Carroll downtown car cruise that Saturday, maybe do some swimming, and then head north into Wisconsin to see House on the Rock.
All in all, it was a nice weekend and cool to see House on the Rock since the last time I’d been there was on a family vacation in 1990. But on the way home I passed this motel and had to stop and check out this plane, sitting out front of the Don Q Inn, a themed motel in nearby Dodgeville, WI. You couldn’t miss it.
We don’t say Happy Holidays here at Riverside Green; it’s Merry Christmas, the holiday to celebrate the birth of our risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Before you fedora-tippers say anything, we’re perfectly aware that Christmas and Easter were both time-shifted to replace existing pagan celebrations. Celebrating Christmas around the winter solstice is no more illogical than espousing an evolutionary origin for pressurized organs. So there. (Yes, I read Stephen Jay Gould’s arguments for that, too.)
As we celebrate Christmas, the nice people at Honda are celebrating Civics. The Twin Ring Motegi track is currently hosting a Civic heritage display; some photos and a video are below, with various comments.
I’ve been writing car buying advice columns for years, and for good reason—most people have absolutely zero idea about how to buy a car. When I say that, I mean that they are completely uninformed about the entire process, starting with the selection of the car, whether to buy new or used, how to negotiate, whether or not to get an extended warranty, etc. Sure, your Uncle Bark can help, and I’m always happy to do so, but more often than not, even people who reach out to me for advice end up missing out on one key piece of the journey, and that one piece can often cause serious financial and time-oriented headaches.
This is why CarMax is so incredibly successful. For reasons that we will absolutely address later in this blog post, CarMax appears to be the only dealership chain in the country that truly understands how much most people loathe everything about buying a car.
Pricing transparency? Got it. Everybody pays the same price. Financing transparency? Also got it. Not sure what car you want? No worries—they’ll find it for you. Worried that your car will break? They’ll give you a free limited warranty and sell you one that covers anything else.
So, yes, CarMax is successful, but if you are one of the few automotive consumers who really does know what he’s doing, dealing with them comes at a somewhat terrible price—namely, you’ll likely pay too much for your car. After all, the reason we do all of that silly negotiating and backslashinforth in the first place is because we want to save money, not because we particularly enjoy it. Having a fixed price relieves the anxiety for most customers because everybody walks away feeling like they got the same deal anybody else in their shoes would have gotten.
It’s a well known fact in the car biz that the customers who get the best deals walk away the angriest. It’s the customers who get absolutely cracked who write great Google reviews and refer all of their friends from church. So it’s no wonder that people love CarMax—everybody gets cracked.
Or do they? I was determined to find out. Why, you may ask?
I was saddened to learn this past Monday that a friend of mine, Kevin Campbell, passed away last week. He was one of my online Brougham compadres. We could comment or message back and forth about Cadillacs, Lincolns and Buicks easily-and frequently.
Kevin was someone I met through Facebook, on the various Cadillac and Lincoln groups, like the American Brougham Society headed by Dave Smith, and the 1970’s Great American Land Yacht group. Over the years he’d owned many different U.S. luxury cars. But he was a major Buick fan, and daily drove a 1995 Buick Roadmaster.
Like everything else in the modern United States, hand and shop tools have been split into an upper class and a lower class. The upper class is the Made In USA stuff like Snap-On and SK; the lower class is Harbor Freight and the various Chinese tool brands you find in Lowe’s and AutoZone. We used to have a middle class, the USA-made Craftsman tools that kept the Sears brand alive a solid decade past its sell-by date, but as of late Craftsman has mostly decamped to the Chinese side of things. (They’re trying to come back, now that Trump The Great Satan has leveled the playing field with China a little bit, and I hope they succeed in this.)
Over the past thirty-five years I’ve made it a habit to buy the best tools I could afford, even when I didn’t have any money. That’s why I had (and still have!) Park spoke wrenches that cost eight bucks a pop when I was making two dollars an hour after taxes, and it’s why I have SK ratcheting box wrenches nowadays. One thing I never had was any kind of rolling shop stool, even though it would have improved my quality of life quite a bit over the past decade as my back has increasingly complained about leaning over to change wheels on cars and adjust derailleurs on bikes. This was partly due to the fact that I didn’t expect any $30 Harbor Freight stool to hold up for any length of time, but it was really a matter of snobbishness. How could I feel good about rolling a crooked Chinese stool back and forth between my Herman Miller benches and tables? Better to just pull out a Miller wire base table out and sit on it.
Doing that sucks, by the way.
So now I have something new: the USA-made, painstakingly-machined, no-expense-spared Vyper Chair, complete with custom embroidery. And it’s already proving to be indispensable, admittedly for a quite depressing reason.