Weekly Roundup: Clocking Lots Of Dollars Edition

“While the overall appearance of the clock was the result of careful consideration by our in-house design team, one of the most exciting details we have to share about the HODINKEE Eight-Day Travel Clock has to do with its typeface.” Better buckle up, kids.

Robert Farago detailed the evisceration of HODINKEE’s latest cash grab on his site, but I feel it’s worth taking a moment to properly appreciate the absurdity of the thing: HODINKEE decided to charge $5,900 for a wind-up travel clock with a movement that can be found in thrift shops for fifteen bucks. The most exciting thing about this $5,900 wind up alarm clock is… the font used on the face of the thing. It should also be pointed out that a travel alarm clock is not exactly the most, ahem, woke thing to be selling in July of 2020, when most people are not in a position to seriously consider travel of any sort, much less the sort of travel which requires a $5,900 wind up alarm clock.

I think the mechanical watch fad is entering its fifteenth minute of fame here. Which is not to say that people will stop owning, enjoying, and appreciating good mechanical watches — but the rather bizarre and incestuous world of “WIS” (Watch Idiot Savant) collectors is due for a big market correction any moment now. If you want something “authentic”, I’d recommend looking at Vortic. I cannot in good conscience recommend the $5,900 HODINKEE wind-up travel watch to my readers. Even if the font is really great. Which, frankly, it does not appear to be.

* * *

At Hagerty this week, I met a real Fox.

67 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Clocking Lots Of Dollars Edition”

  1. Pete D.Pete D.

    The blue-chip watch market isn’t going poof anytime soon even if the middle market is surely doomed (but that’s true of the middle of anything/everything for the next few decades). For the anointed pieces, there are simply too many “dollars” out there chasing anything that doesn’t degrade by a factor of twenty whenever money printer go brrrr.

    Blue-chip watches (obviously not Clymer’s abortion) are actually half-decent stores of value, and probably the next best thing to a pocketful of diamonds, or (whisper it) a bitcoin paper wallet.

    Reply
    • AvatarCJinSD

      You might want to look at the retail/wholesale/pawn value spreads on diamonds before using them as as store of value. Without marketing, we’d be using them to make our kitchen drawers slide more gracefully. The syndicates’ biggest cost is probably warehousing diamonds to keep their vendors from drowning in inventory.

      Reply
      • Avatarsnorlax

        Yes, the dirty little secret is that diamonds are actually pretty common, and would be virtually worthless if the de Beers company didn’t artificially limit supply.

        Both diamonds and Rolexes also suffer from the fact that fakes are now indistinguishable from the real thing.

        Reply
      • Pete D.Pete D.

        Since living in a world without marketing is like living in a world without religion (ie. some kinda Marxist dream), just for fun, let’s do the rough (diamond) math:

        A five (5) carat round cut diamond is call it 11mm in width and call it 7mm in depth. Its shape obviously isn’t rectangular (thanks to Tolkowsky) but when a bunch of them are in your pocket, there will be dead space between the rocks, so for simplicity’s sake we’ll still assume that we’re dealing with 11mm x 11mm x 7mm blocks. Now, the pockets of the Uniqlo shorts I happen to be wearing currently are 16cm x 13cm x 5cm, meaning that I could fit one thousand two hundred twenty-seven (1227) five carat rocks, which even if they’re only IF grade (not FL), will have a market price of USD$337,231 each, for a grand total of USD$413,782,437.

        Even with a wholesale/pawn discount, we’re talking about A COUPLE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS in your pocket. I dunno about you, but I think that’s a pretty compelling proposition for borderless wealth transfer. Even better than Rolex.

        Reply
        • Avatarsnorlax

          It’s very easy to convert $400mm in diamonds into cash, and doing so does not attract any government attention…

          Reply
          • Pete D.Pete D.

            @snorlax Trolololol convert one at a time. Jeez what’s wrong with the internet that there’s no nuance possible? Besides, you seriously think that there aren’t dozens of perfectly wonderful places to live in the world where no one gives a fuck where your money came from? Have you, like, ever been outside the states?

            @hank chinaski Don’t like being jimmied? Do the jimmying! If you’re too old for those kinds of games, have kids who can take on the mantle 🙂

        • Avatarhank chinaski

          re. ‘in your pocket’ made me think of this ‘gem’:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q5nnL595jY

          Diamonds, Rolexes, barbaric relic, stocks and bonds are all jimmied one way or the other. The usual suspects get caught and summarily wrist slapped time and time again.
          Money printer go ‘brrrr’ crushes cash.
          The sure thing is often land, but property taxes in a superzip can beat that one with a stick, and the state will confiscate and auction if in arrears.

          Reply
          • Pete D.Pete D.

            Don’t like being jimmied? Do the jimmying! If you’re too old for those kinds of games, have kids who can take on the mantle 🙂

        • AvatarCJinSD

          Pete, you referred to them as a store of value. Ask anyone who has had to hock an engagement ring just what percentage of the value was stored.

          Reply
          • Pete D.Pete D.

            I’m not asking deadbeats who hock strip mall specials anything. Let’s not mix apples and oranges. Rolex is not Baume & Mercier. Likewise, 5 carat D-IF rocks are not ON SALE NOW ONLY $999 next to the food court.

  2. AvatarJohn C.

    Jack makes a good point about how good the Brazil Fox still was almost 20 years after the Audi. Yet the import buyer rushed over to the indifferently designed and tuned products offered by our Japanese and then Korean friends. It is almost as if doing things well in terms of handling and intelligent design wasn’t the priority that the import buyers claimed. Choosing for example a Japanese Sirocco over a VW one. Such sophistication….

    Reply
    • AvatarCJinSD

      Handling and intelligent design are important to you today? Does this mean that you have accepted that the people who bailed on Detroit after a decade of PLCs and broughams were fully justified?

      Reply
      • AvatarJohn C.

        As you say, the import buyer bailed on Detroit, so what Detroit built afterward is irrelevant to them. The question remains, when faced with the choice of an Excel or a Tercel EZ, why did they keep away in droves from the Fox. What does that say about their much alleged sophistication?

        Reply
        • Avatarsnorlax

          When faced with a choice of an Excel, Tercel EZ or Fox, buyers went with a Civic.

          Subcompact car buyers couldn’t care less about handling (although I suspect the Civic was either best or second best of the foursome on that front). What they care about is 1a) when you turn the key, the car starts, 1b) no expensive trips to the mechanic, 2) attractive financing offers, 3) practicality.

          Reply
          • AvatarJohn C.

            The only buyers that went for a Civic instead of the Fox did so because they had a lot more money in their pocket. When they got to the Honda dealer, will they notice that the closest in price CX has 22 less horsepower than the regular one, 11 less than a Fox. Nah, that requires sophistication.

          • Avatarsnorlax

            > “The only buyers that went for a Civic instead of the Fox”

            The only? Pretty sure Civic outsold Fox at least 10 to 1.

            > “did so because they had a lot more money in their pocket”

            Someone snarkier than I might say they had a lot more money in their pocket because they didn’t have to deal with VW reliability. (In fairness, I have not personally experienced the horror stories with the VW Group cars I have owned).

            But aside from that, the fact that Honda was able to command a significantly higher price for the Civic than VW for the Fox is evidence *for* the point I’m making.

            > “When they got to the Honda dealer, will they notice that the closest in price CX has 22 less horsepower than the regular one, 11 less than a Fox.”

            I suspect low-miles used regular-trim Civic buyers were happier with their purchase than new Fox buyers.

        • AvatarCJinSD

          A Tercel was like a Leajet compared to a Fox. What does sophistication mean to you? People didn’t stay away from the VW Fox until they saw the early-adopters struggling with serious quality and reliability issues. For the first two years of production, Foxes were carrying all sorts of add-ons in my market. Introductory price was $5,690 for the two-door sedan, maybe around $6,600 for the four-door GL. Early demand was such that the cars with A/C wore $8,800 ADM stickers and a comedic level of trim glued on by the dealers. I’m sure demand evaporated by 1990, but by then they couldn’t advertise a price to compete with Hyundai and Yugo. Besides, the tens of thousands of maroon Foxes sold in 1987 all looked haggard after two years in the sun.

          I usually see a correlation between what Jack writes about cars and what I’ve observed myself, but the Fox really was a crude third world hatchet job in spite of the praise he showered it with. Other subcompacts were better packaged, more efficient, MUCH better assembled, and didn’t have tiny orifices in the exhaust gaskets between their downpipes and their catalytic converters to limit power and make them slower than their more expensive and heavier siblings.

          They also didn’t have heavy engines sticking out in front of their front axles on a platform shorn of five inches of wheelbase. My friends and I generally drove the wheels off of whatever we got our hands on during the time when there would be three or four new Foxes at every get together, but the Foxes were not keeping pace with the other cars and trucks people were driving. I do recall one friend trying to outrun the police in his 1989 four-door Fox GL Wolfsburg Edition. He lost control, went off the road, hit an embankment, and bounced back onto the shoulder with the right side of his Fox demolished. Then he got out and sat on the driver side front fender and waited for the police. He explained to the officer that he pulled over when he realized the lights were for him. The police officer wrote him a ticket and left, never knowing he’d wrecked the car. I don’t recall if this accident coincided with one of the times the steering wheels fell off a few of the Foxes. Then he walked a few miles to use a phone to call a tow truck. A beautiful Spanish girl I knew took shrooms and drove her year old Fox around in a plowed field until it was dead. Other than that, most of my memories of VW Foxes from the ’80s involve loaner vehicles and recalls.

          The problem with a Tercel EZ or a Civic DX was that they only seemed to exist in the advertising. The Tercel EZ was a decade or more newer design from a company that was already synonymous with quality by the mid-’80s. The Civic DX had all that plus better controls and ergonomics than the Germans. Unfortunately for bargain hunters, supply and demand meant that no dealers were accepting loss-leaders in their allocations, and the cars that dealers stocked started much higher in the price range. I worked at a Honda dealer in 1989. We had acres of Civics, almost every one of them being a white four-door LX with A/C for about $11,800. There was still a 75 horsepower, 4-speed hatchback in the catalogue with one mirror and black bumpers for less than seven grand, but I never saw one on the lot.

          Reply
          • AvatarJohn C.

            90 Fox 81hp. 90 Tercel 78 hp. Torque differential downright dramatic. Learjet say you. Maybe so…. Have Pink Floyd rewrite the money song.

            I admit there were better more practical entry level offerings, but why bother explaining to those in their import only sophistication bubble. what putting a bigger torquier engine in a car meant for a tiny Simca pushrod. Hint, it will make it go like heck. Lido thoughtfully avoided the problem by appending America to the Omni’s name to only seduce the Escort/Chevette buyer. Let the import buyers wait till the friendlier Neon says hi offering the same trick.

            As a Southerner, it was fun to hear of your sophisticated friend’s wolfsburg falling apart while being chased by Deputy Enos. Most people thought Hazard County was in Georgia. We don’t really have a Hazard County, but thinking back I do remember the season Sonny Shroyer moved to California. He is still around in Valdosta and keeps an old Matador painted up as a Hazard cruiser for Enos appearances.

            Gee an engine stuck out in front of the axle. Where would they get a sophisticated idea like that. Oh yea, Audi

          • AvatarCJinSD

            I’ve had four Audis ranging from a 1984 4000S quattro to a 2012 Audi A7 3.0T. They don’t handle as well as any other imported cars I’ve owned, and the two 2012s had less communicative steering than the Plymouth Horizon I took my driver’s test in.

            There was definitely an acceptance factor that the Fox had in 1987 Albemarle County that the far superior Omni America was lacking. I knew people that had Omnis and Horizons in 1980. Buying a new one fiver years later would have carried an entirely different social connotation. Carter’s malaise was behind us, and it was time to start living well again. Somehow the Fox could be sold to prospering parents for their teenage kids while the econoboxes of our brush with stagflation were consigned to the ash-heap of bad voting choices. It is ironic considering the poor old Horizon was a first world design that was voted European Car of the Year in 1979 while the Gol(Fox in its home third-world-market) was a cobbled together parts-bin special that was further compromised by having VW’s cheapest US-certified engine crammed into a bay meant for a Type-1 horizontally-opposed four with its short crank. The engine was big for the class, but the technology was a decade old at a time when the Japanese were making revolutionary engine advances every four years. Then VW stuck a cork in it to protect the Jetta that was the franchise.

            The Horizon was better than the Fox, in the same way that a Mazda 3 is better than a Ford Ecosport. But CUVs are accepted, and econoboxes are not. That doesn’t mean the Omnirizon was better than the small cars that have survived on the market for the intervening thirty years.

          • AvatarTrucky McTruckface

            “Sophistication” to John C. means “designed by white people.” Doesn’t matter if it’s a ’70s Detroit bloatmobile, or a hair shirt Euro econobox, as long as the designer looks like him. He doesn’t seem to mind if his white people car is built by the proles (hence his Chinese Volvo), so an old Audi B2 platform “improved” by the Brazilians is superior by default.

            What’s funny about the base 4-speed Civic hatchbacks you mention is that they’re the only ones I still see in the wild. The DX hatch with the 5-speed (my old man had an ’88, and with our family budget at the time, he was pretty proud of that extra gear, rear wiper, and cloth interior, but annoyed that the later versions got color-keyed bumpers and wheel covers) was more common when new, but appears to have gotten used up faster by subsequent owners.

            Here in flyover country, the Fox was invisible. Economy buyers either could still buy an Omnirizon, Chevette, or captive import without fear of getting socially shamed, or went straight to the Japanese if they had gotten burned by the Big Three too many times. VWs were for weirdos until the Mk4 cars turned off a whole new generation of buyers.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            Sophistication is for uppity white people and assorted weirdos, so says trucky. Who am I to argue? Indeed the Fox would have been better with German construction. America of the time managed to union build at home entry level, older, fully depreciated designs in Atlanta and Illinois but Germany took the lazy exit to Brazil. Proving completely that at least in industrial engineering and management, we were topping the Germans. Imagine such heights being reached while so many ignorant young people pine for 4sp Civics and Excels. Cue up one of Stingray’s monographs on youth indoctrination.

  3. AvatarTyler

    I will wager real money that every single purchaser of this item has watched and enjoyed Fight Club. Pondering the number of times I myself have pulled out the MasterCard for a purchase that would impress only my imaginary internet friends, I resolve to watch the duvet / “it’s a *blanket*” scene on repeat until that never happens again. I’d like to think that a four-figure price tag would prompt me to ask the difference between “ostensibly useless thing that I like to look at” and “cynical hideous shelf bauble with a 1000% markup” but if it weren’t for my mortgage / wife / child and a little good luck in my influences it’s absolutely conceivable to me that I could have gone down a mechanical watch rabbit hole and woken up to this garbage in my life.

    Reply
  4. AvatarMike

    I think there’s parallels between this watch and that Fox (that Olivia likely paid less than this watch for the privilege of acquiring from its previous owners). The buyer of a $5900 clock and the buyer of a 30+ year old used car? What could these people possibly be seeking?

    Exclusivity.

    The difference is, one person aims for exclusivity by dropping the equivalent of 4 mortgage payments on a standard middle-class home on a slickly marketed piece of mechanical garbage, while the other reaches back into a time when people built stuff, flawed though it may have been, that evoked emotion and appeal in its customers.

    Reply
  5. AvatarDirt Roads

    My wife and I look at our Apple watches and all their functionality and wonder why people would ever buy anything else. That said, when the rapture comes, we won’t really care what time it is will we? 🙂

    Reply
    • AvatarBlueovalDave

      There is no rapture in the Bible, that nonsense was created by British funded Scolfield study bible. When you go to the clouds to meet Yeshua the SHTF has already happened and it’s already pretty awful as in if He hadn’t come at that time there would be no humanity left. But not caring about time is accurate.

      Reply
    • AvatarMrGreenMan

      The constant tap-tap-get-up-and-use-the-bathroom from the Apple watch bothered me. The health focus at the start was a little aggressive – like I was livestock, or half of a silicon valley marriage that needs to schedule my psychotropics and the fifteen minutes of partner intimacy per week. Perhaps it was because I got the first generation of it – I didn’t see the value it added beyond carrying a phone. I had worn Seikos all my life, but the one thing the Apple watch did was it broke my love for the metal bands, so I eventually landed on an Egard automatic with a leather strap, mostly because I liked what their CEO said about father’s day in response to Gillette, and the watch keeps up well even after I wear it night and day for weeks at a time.

      Reply
    • Avatarjc

      I look at my 30 year old $30 Timex and all its functionality and wonder why people would ever buy anything else.

      Reply
  6. Avatarbluebarchetta

    I was about to make fun of some of you for spending more money on a watch or clock than I spent on an old Miata that has given me ten years of weekend fun. But then I remember I’m about to spend ~$100,000 to buy my kid a License to Work from a college or university, so I’d better not throw stones.

    Speaking of which – are there still any colleges or universities in the State of Ohio that you could consider to be politically centrist? Pissing away ~$100K is insulting enough without adding the injury of my son being told that all of the world’s problems are his fault because his skin is lighter than a paper lunch sack.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Almost certainly not. Miami University would be the closest thing but it’s still to the left of Trotsky.

      Reply
      • Avatarbluebarchetta

        There are some conservative colleges/universities (Cedarville in OH, Hillsdale in MI, Ave Maria in FL), but I’m afraid some wokester HR gatekeeper will throw my son’s resume in the trash if he’s been educated there.

        I wonder how bad Bowling Green is from a political standpoint?

        Back on topic, my M-I-L just gave me a recent issue of Hagerty’s magazine – the issue with 25 Mustangs on the cover. Excellent stuff. Time to join the Driver’s Club.

        Reply
  7. AvatarCJinSD

    In 1987, you could buy a new 2-door base VW Fox for $5,690. At least hypothetically. They caught on pretty fast and my local dealer plastered them with upper and lower rub strips, pinstripes, mud-flaps, and sealants that brought the price of a 4-door GL with A/C to $8,800. I’ve got to say that I don’t agree with some of Jack’s observations on the Fox. A good survivor probably seems like a nice analog mechanical device today, so I won’t rehash how the four new ones that my friends had went to pieces in a year or two. The steering wheels falling off was what really set them apart from Excels and Yugos.

    I really don’t understand how you can say the Fox is spacious front and rear. I plainly remember adjusting the front seat of a four-door Fox for reach and rake, then opening the rear door and seeing that the seat back was almost in contact with the rear seat cushion. And no, I was never someone to drive around laying on my back. I’m 6’2″+ and have always adjusted seatbacks only as much as I need to keep my head from skimming the headliner. I was very close to making the jump to buying a four-door Fox to get A/C and immediate delivery that day, but changed my mind when I saw that the four-door was a two-seater.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      You should see how cramped today’s compact cars are thanks to thick doors and major window curve.

      Reply
  8. Tom KlockauTom Klockau

    Circa 1990-91, a friend’s dad, a college professor, had a steel blue Fox sedan, the fancy model, with full wheel covers and blue plush seats. His wife had a late model Jetta, same color. I remember seeing those Fox wagons maybe once a year, until about 2000, when they all seemingly disappeared.

    Reply
  9. Avatarsnorlax

    > “I feel it’s worth taking a moment to properly appreciate the absurdity of the thing: HODINKEE decided to charge $5,900 for a wind-up travel clock with a movement that can be found in thrift shops for fifteen bucks”

    This is an especially egregious example, but isn’t the same more or less true for luxury watches in general? You can buy a $250 fake Chinese Rolex which is identical (without opening it up and looking through a microscope) to a $6,000 real Rolex (prices increasing yearly at 4x the rate of inflation). I’d estimate the Chinese one costs at most $50 to make and the Swiss one costs at most $150 to make.

    Reply
      • Avatarsnorlax

        That, or they also do an equally convincing Submariner.

        I’m not pro-counterfeiting, btw, just using it to illustrate how much higher Rolex and other luxury watchmakers’ prices are than their costs.

        Rolex also sells another brand of watches, “Tudor,” which are exactly the same as Rolexes except they say “Tudor” instead of “Rolex” and only come in ugly color combinations. Tudors are sold for 1/3rd the price of the equivalent Rolex.

        Reply
        • AvatarJohn C.

          I know the deflation loving Asian friends find ways to do things cheaply and in some cases they function fine. Why anyone would want to trade the Swiss tradition of fine watch making for it is beyond me.

          My local jewler that sold me my plain stainless Rolex in 1997 tells me it is worth now twice the list price I paid for it. I am not really ahead because of high maintenance and obviously his appraisal is not what a mugger of me would get. The nice thing though is that a plain stainless can be enjoyed in private without attracting the attention of the fake Mariner crowd.

          Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      It takes a lot of bench time to assemble a Rolex. Maybe 15 hours of work by professionals earning living wages. There’s $150 of material in one, yeah. Maybe $4000 of material in a gold one.

      Reply
      • Avatarsnorlax

        I just looked this up, and it seems the general consensus is that Rolex takes 3-4 man-hours to make a watch. For cheaper/simpler/popular models like the convincingly-counterfeited Oyster Perpetual and Submariner, I’m guessing it’s about 3 hours. I doubt the materials (stainless steel, brass, synthetic rubies, ceramic, sapphire glass) would come to more than $10.

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          I haven’t seen any convincing estimate, to be honest. You have people who say “divide a million watches by 3500 people” and then you have people who say it takes 90 minutes to build a Valjoux 7750 from spare parts which isn’t necessarily all that relevant.

          There is consensus that much of Rolex manufacturing is done with very sophisticated and relatively unique machines, like the one that makes their hairsprings. I imagine that cost eight figures to make.

          My guess is that the true cost of making a Rolex is somewhere around one quarter the street price of the equivalent Tudor. So five hundred bucks for a Submariner.

          Reply
      • AvatarJMcG

        There’s a guy called Cody on YT, I think he’s a chemistry student. He decomposed a gold Rolex; I think he ended up with less than 200.00 in materials.

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          Just watched it. $465 of gold in a two-tone ladies’ Datejust. On two tone watches of that era its gold filling on the links and bezel rather than solid gold. So this would equate to a modern Tudor S&G which also uses the same technique.

          A new gold Submariner would have about 110 grams of 18k gold which would be worth $5200 melted down. Compared to the retail price of $28000 its not that much.

          Reply
          • AvatarKeith

            And a car brings about $150-200 depending on scrap steel prices.

            What’s the point of this silly observation?

            I like to contemplate what the things are that make a great car, vs a shitty car. When both cars are composed of roughly the same amount of the same materials.

            It’s like the difference between Rhapsody in Blue and playing a 100Hz sine wave through your speakers.

  10. Avatarscotten

    Memories… I remember my dad has a travel alarm clock like that – maybe vintage 60’s or 70’s – when he traveled when I was real young. I remember playing around with it because to a a kid in the 70’s: this was cool stuff.

    I hadn’t thought about this in a VERY long time. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Reply
  11. Avatar-Nate

    Wow ;

    My old Timex keeps on ticking even though the crystal is cracked straight across .

    I can’t imagine paying more than a few hundred for any watch , used or new .

    I *do* like the looks of older watches but my $5 CVS drugstore “Waltham” wrist watch seems to fit both the looks and working bills fine .

    A buddy of mine who also foolishly (? stupidly ?) loves old air cooled VW’s bought a brandy new VW Fox station wagon in ?1987? and was so unimpressed by it’s random failures (in Sunny So. Cal. no less) that he junked it after about one year of failure to keep running .

    -Nate

    Reply
    • AvatarJohn C.

      My memory is that the VW repair operations worked pretty hard to learn the ins and outs of water cooled VWs when they came out. Are you really saying that more than a decade in, a watercooled VW, despite ir’s electrical, injection, and aluminum radiator issues, couldn’t be maintained for a long life?

      Reply
      • Avatar-Nate

        No, not really .

        I was just another air cooled die hard, my partner at the shop flat refused to let me drag in a junked one to learn & practice on, every time VW came out with some thing new (Typ 3 fuel injectio0n for example) we’d go buy some wreck for $75 and I’d take it apart with a workshop manual and take notes….

        I could fix the M5 auto sticks better than the local VW dealer could because I actually READ THE MANUAL and it was pretty clear about how to adjust it .

        Same deal with the new tin port engines in 1971 ~ they had terrible idling , stalling and flat spot problems the dealer wasn’t allowed to properly address because of the new smog laws .

        I’d hand massage the idle and main jets then tweak the timing a little bit and Lo ! they’d run like scalded cats and idle smoothly, pass smog testes easily too .

        Unlike the average Dealer Mechanic who only wanted to flat rate every thing, I cared about my work .

        After my divorce I decided to get a more modern car to ferry the ladies ’round in and bought a thrice wrecked and totalled 1982 Rabbit rag top out of a junkyard, from the cowl on back it was original and pristine .

        The entire front end was bondo and brazing (dangerous) and the cam belt was two teethoff so it ran smoothly but slower than a crippled dog .

        I bought the shop manual and set to work, began driving the wheels off the damned thing, scared a lot of dates but had loads of fun .

        Then my psycho-bitch girlfriend forced me to buy a thrashed & rear ended 1984 Rabbit rag top, she thrashed it worse and eventually killed it dead .

        Since then I’ve known quite a few who owned Rabbits and loved them and got very good service out of them .

        I just never really liked them all that much .

        -Nate

        Reply
          • Avatar-Nate

            I Hope to Christ he never had one like mine ~ the red hot sex was the best I ever had all the time and every where, in my rag top with the top dropped in view of the i5 freeway on the grapevine and other foolishness, she had a rough coming up as I did so I really thought she was the perfect match but in the end I gave up after we made the front page of the local newspaper .

            Sigh .

            She pulled up next to us on Imperial Highway last week, started at me the entire red light cycle then blew me a kiss and she motorvated off…

            Life goes on .

            -Nate

          • AvatarJohn C.

            Interesting that she had the passion for the Rabbit Cabriolets. When new, very much the it car of the young ladies of privilege. I remember in eighth grade riding home from school on the bus, and a red one with a white top and interior over loaded with cheerleaders from our private school pulled up behind at a light. Obviously at that age I am not talking about economics, but the school bus held the losers and the Cabriolet held the winners. Recapturing that from those who didn’t measure up is probably why they had Penny drive one on Big Bang Theory.

            I bet seeing her freaked you out. Hope she wasn’t still driving the car that contained so many of your labors and memories.

          • Avatar-Nate

            She had no passion for it that I could discern, she just wanted a car and thought a rag top would be nice .

            This one was a one owner (your woman) car with not too many miles on it but little care, a crispy top (anyone who’s owned an old convertible knows *exactly* what I mean) and had been rear ended in the L/R and *very* poorly fixed .

            I’d found a nifty and pristine Chryselr K car rag top in the same color with perfect upholstery and cold AC for $800, she demurred and I of course, got stuck .

            She beat that poor old Rabbit to death, I was amazed at how much abuse it took before the head gasket blew .

            Yes, seeing her was quite a shock, I was talking about it over dinner with my son last night ~ who knew she’d still have the hook in me 20 + years later ? .

  12. AvatarJeff

    Upon first reading I thought hodinkee was a generic car placeholder. Also, my phone autocorrects hodinkee to hoodwinked. So there’s that.

    Another terrific article. If your travels take you by Seattle I know some killer trails. And a few people in the restaurant/liquor industry. Hit me up!

    Reply
  13. Avatarshocktastic

    Jack, thanks for this post. I never heard of HoDinkee before but if I had stumbled upon it before your post I would have assumed it to be some sort of parody web site like Duffelblog or The Onion.

    Reply
    • Avatarrambo furum

      Their lavish self-praise was so overindulgent that I felt I was reading an April Fools Day joke article too. Oddly, their memorable one of those, the “Trading Places” Rouchefoucauld World Complication update of many years back, was sly and subtle in comparison to this gutbuster.

      Reply
    • AvatarCJinSD

      A VW Fox wagon showed up last year that was so clean that it qualified for Bring-A-Trailer. It brought $2,800 in the pre-pandemic sanity of 2019, not like the quarter million that was just paid for an ’88 M3 with paint work.

      Reply
  14. Avatarjc

    So, am I reading this correctly, that there are actually some people who have both sufficient funds and sufficient stupidity to pay $5900 for a wind-up travel alarm that’s too big to pack efficiently in your shaving kit? Obviously this “travel alarm” is not intended for actual use by anyone who’s actually – uhhhh, traveling.

    I have a wind-up travel alarm that’s about 2 1/2″ square by 1″ thick (when folded up) and if memory serves I bought it from the Vermont Country Store for under $50. I’m sure the movement is cheap and crappy, but it’s only got to keep good enough time for the 8 hours I’m sleeping to wake me up at 6:00 plus-minus 10 minutes.

    This item is one of the biggest imbalances of money vs. sense I’ve ever seen.

    Reply
  15. AvatarCarl Kokchak

    Jack, you hit 2 points reminding me of my late buddy. He had 2 Foxes, one identical to the picture. Sold the 1st one ( like yours) at approximately 190k, no major issues. 2nd one was his ex girlfriend’s with over 200k. Tough but slow cars. Would love to find a 2 door wagon. He also had Rolexes, Breitlings, Tags, He has weird money not sure where it came from. Keep up the good work

    Reply
  16. Avatarjc

    So I guess I’m the only one posting and reading here who thinks you have to be both an idiot and insane to pay $5900 for a travel alarm?

    The question in my mind is always the same, “How do people sufficiently insane and idiotic to pay $5900 for a travel alarm clock manage to get enough money to pay $5900 for a travel alarm clock?”

    Reply

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