(Double) Weekly Roundup: Goodbye, Mister Hill Edition

“I contain multitudes,” boasted Whitman in his Song Of Myself. Charles G. Hill, ur-blogger and proprietor of Dustbury.com, contained multitudes as well, perhaps more so than Whitman. He was a frequent commenter here, leaving about 160 different notes and linking to here from Dustbury a dozen or so times. His own blog offered perspectives on NBA basketball, women’s fashion, My Little Pony fanfic, the music of Rebecca “Friday” Black, and other topics seemingly without political, or moral, limit. He had an adult son, and he had once had a family, but in his seventh decade he conceived a tremendous fondness for TTAC’s (and, occasionally, Hagerty’s) transgender contributor Cameron Aubernon.

On September 3, 2019, Hill was involved in an auto accident which paralyzed him from the neck down. He died a few days later. In recent years he had been laid low — by financial troubles, by advanced spinal stenosis, by power outages and other freak occurrences. His output on Twitter and in his own blog more and more frequently referenced the debilitating pain in which he found himself. We’d had a conversation a few years back in which he expressed a lack of conviction that things could possibly improve. He wasn’t self-pitying; rather, he simply understood the facts of the matter well enough not to delude himself with further hope.

It shames me that I didn’t notice Hill’s absence from the Web for a few months. Truthfully speaking, I figured he had a long way left to go. It wasn’t until the past week that I thought to check in at Dustbury, only to see that the site hadn’t been updated since what I now know to be the day before the crash. Many people have written eulogies for him in the months since. This is perhaps the most comprehensive of them and it would reward a few minutes of your attention, the same way that Dustbury.com itself would keep almost any intelligent fellow occupied for quite some time.

Of all the things that Charles wrote, what sticks with me is a casual comment he made on this very site six years before his death, with regards to the song “All The Things You Are”

I know the song; I learned it from Sinatra, who waxed it before I was born. It’s a cynical age, though: no one even wants to try to sell wistful. And if I ever felt that way about anyone — well, it hardly matters now.

Godspeed, Charles G. Hill. To your perception, your pain, your loneliness, your sorrow. To the multitudes contained in you.

* * *

For Hagerty in the past two weeks, I’ve written about stability control, an odd sort of foam-related luxury tire failure, and the 2012 Impala.

19 Replies to “(Double) Weekly Roundup: Goodbye, Mister Hill Edition”

  1. AvatarGuns and Coffee

    My company ride is a 2015 Impala which I am told is pulled around by Camaro V6. As a devout Ford guy I’m kinda shamed by how much I like the large hefty feel of the car that is more than adequately powered in a straight line. It is rather light in the rear however, that gives me an unsettled feeling if I enter a tight on-ramp a little fast. Possible Fixes? Stiffer rear suspension? RWD to put a little weight in the ass? The interior would then need leather and possibly some Mustang dash design to round out what could be a truly satisfying “performance sleeper sedan” experience.

    Reply
  2. AvatarJohn C.

    On the 2012 Impala, the w body was basically designed for the then 125 hp 2.8 V6. I was never a huge fan of the w because I thought it was overweight and was weighing again what the RWD A body of 1978 weighed but now with the front drive restrictions on engine choice. This extra built in beef perhaps paid off when the standard engine went to 300 horsepower V6 with it’s power at high rpm to less disturb the chassis by not really being useable in normal driving. Chevy builds a Maxima and import lovers swoon but of course don’t buy, even under $20,000. No reward for me too.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Just for the record, the 3.6 LFX makes 250 lb-ft at the front wheels at 1600rpm.

      A chevrolet performance 330hp crate 350 makes 280 lb-ft on a chassis dyno at that same rev.

      The LFX has the performance numbers of a 1975 Olds 403 with another 2000rpm of headroom. Its not a Maxima engine. Not close.

      Reply
        • AvatarJohn C.

          You are confused CJ, it is our next incarnation when we get to play comfort girl for Asians. You probably got a preview of Christmas future when you were on that yacht with the rich guy in French Somaliland.

          Reply
      • AvatarJohn C.

        When the 3.4 liter DOHC failed in the Z34, try again, When the Shortstar fails in the Intrigue, try again. When the 3800 V6 is added to Regals and Montes and even Camaros and is a smashing success, how could that be, it must be a fluke. It can’t be that a traditional American engine that has received proper development can succeed and even thrive. We must have engines like our Japanese friends with all the extra parts to run like that great success the MR2. In a family car, isn’t that a bit silly and wasteful, the power is not where it can be used and it will only use more gas. The proof that the 3.6 is ideal is all those new design 3.6 High Feature V6 Impalas that are churned out every day here in 2020.

        I know, Shut up, we can’t be thought of by the Japanese as fools, they are our betters, it is wiser to go ahead and realize that. They did us such a favor by destroying all those jobs and taking from us cars we could actually identify with.

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          The 3800 had a lot of virtues, particularly in its last few years. Meeting modern emissions standards was not one of them. Thus the “High Value” series which did.

          Reply
          • AvatarJohn C.

            Ah, the High Value V6, those were so great. What ever happened to them…. Oh yea, they were pirated away to……. it will come to me….

    • AvatarEric L.

      There must be another kind of Maxima. I’m thinking Nissan Maxima, but you just compared the Impala to a Nissan Maxima..? I’ve driven loads of the early 00s and the 211HP 3.5L V6’d mid-00s Impala. I spent a glorious 3 days driving a fairly-loaded 2018 Impala LT rental around Charlotte–man that *WAS* a surprisingly powerful engine! But the insane body roll combined with the torque steer was unsettling. As in kick on stability control on the interstate once, unsettling.

      But I’ve also driven all the 1990+ Maxima generations and, uh, the Impala’s nothing like a Maxima.

      I’ll hand it to Chevy that they built a slightly-torquier engine than Nissan’s venerable VQ35 (264 lb-ft @ 5200RPM vs 261 @ 4400), but the sheer size of the Impala, as well as its soft suspension, makes it a completely different animal. Even comparing the Impala to the CVT’d Maxima, it’s… not anything close.

      If the modern Maxima’s sportiness is a 6/10, the Impala’s is a 4/10–graciously rounding up. I have no doubt a 2019 Impala can out accelerate my aging 298HP G35 (as Jack helpfully pointed out in one of his rental reviews, ugh), but that doesn’t compensate for the yawning gulf between them that is the fun-factor.

      Reply
      • AvatarJohn C.

        I read this commentary from 2009, a new all CVT style for Maxima and the last year you could get a 3800 in a w body, a Lacrosse. BTW, the heavy w Lacrosse was lighter despite being eight inches longer. Buick : “The 3.8 provides brisk takeoffs” it also scored higher on quiet, highway mileage and interior quality. It listed for $5000 less. The Maxima : acceleration lazy from start but gathers when rolling. handling disappointing given sporty pretense, interior disappointing given upscale pretense. So typical pretentious Japan, but fast once JATCO lets the engine get to it.

        So GM had a high relative value car that offered a different experience from Maxima as it should be. Why would then GM, who had so many previous w sporting pretense failures go after a fading Maxima with the 3.6/6sp and another price cut? The only answer I can come up with is import me tooism with the JATCO opening. Jack points to emissions, but the 3.8 V6 was on it’s 7th generation in 2009, surely by now we would be on the 9th or tenth.

        Reply

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