1974 Jaguar XJ12 L: A White Whale, In Mustard Yellow

Continue Reading →

1976 Cadillac Sedan de Ville: Firethorn Fantasy

Okay, you know the drill. I like Broughams. I like Nimitz-class 1970s yachts. I like poofy seats, vibrant colors and power everything. And I like Cadillacs. The bigger, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve written enough about these over the past year that I think we can forgo my usual spiel. Want more?

Then go here,


…and here.

Continue Reading →

1978 Lincoln Continental Town Car: Your Best Bet’s A…Well, You Know…

As a member in good standing of the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club since 2015, I always have an eye out for interesting old Lincolns. That includes when I’m on the way to work, stuck at a red light, or perusing CL and ebay. Just last week I spotted this one on the electronic bay, and the condition was such that I was compelled to share it!

A triple Wedgewood Blue 1978 Lincoln Continental Town Car with the mighty 460 CID V8 and only 50,300 miles on the clock. Yowza.

Continue Reading →

“If she loved us, she would have stayed with us, not copped out. God didn’t do it, Mom did.”

She had to die before I could love her. Eleven years ago, I’d thought of us a little more than — what’s that horrible and oh-so-modern phrase — “friends with benefits”. Or the even-more-modern phrase, “fuck buddies”. She’d been easy to seduce because she was broken inside, although I chose not to see it. I liked her. She was perky and she was quick-witted and most importantly she was twenty-nine years old at a time when I was starting down the barrel of my fortieth birthday. We met where and when we could, from my guest bedroom to the model unit of the rental apartments she managed. On a risky whim, we went to see Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour in 2010, standing near the back and listening to the old man warble his incomprehensibilities, both of us suffering from aching knees and light headaches from the vodka. Her hand sought mine in the unlit crowd and while I did not resist, neither did I squeeze back.

In 2012 her husband found out. They always do, you know, the husbands. He called me. Asked me to lay off. Told me that I was standing between them and happiness. I suggested that his OxyContin addiction was probably also an issue. He said he could get help, and that he would sober up. He said he could, and would, look after her. I knew he was a born loser but I also, in my own way, respected the institution of marriage, so I did, in fact, lay off. She and I would occasionally meet for lunch, at the Pizza Hut down the street from the Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio, but we did not touch. “Did you ever love me?” she asked.

“Of course,” I lied.

Five years later, in May of 2017, she and her husband had a big fight. She threatened to kill herself. He’d been sober for a while, and he was filled with the self-righteousness that comes so easily to people who have beaten a percentage, however minor, of their own addictions. “Go ahead and do it, you won’t be missed,” he yelled, and he let the door slam on his way out. She cried for a while — I don’t know how long. Then she took their trio of children across the street to her neighbor’s house. “I need you to look after them until my husband comes home,” she said, and smiled.

Then she opened the faucets on the old plastic tub in the back bathroom of their tired old duplex, and she stripped down just to her underwear, for the sake of decency, and she stepped in. When the water was warm enough, she opened both her wrists, and she died. Shortly afterwards, the neighbor ran into the house, her subconscious having assembled the clues in front of her into their only logical conclusion. The water was still warm, stained with paisley swirls and ethereal tendrils of slowly clotting blood.

Continue Reading →

A Car Girl Buys An Automatic Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ever since my childhood, the BMW brand has been part of my life. I vividly remember my dad’s excitement when brought his first BMW home. Owning one of Bavaria’s Motor Werks had been a lifelong dream of his, and his pride in accomplishing it was worn transparently on his face.

I was 12 at the time and naively said, “Daddy, is it a sports car?”

He gently smiled and said, “No, this is a performance car.”

I’ve never forgotten that moment, not even now that he’s on BMW number eight.

When I was 15, Dad took me to the BMW Museum in Munich, and I distinctly remember watching him, a grown-up kid in a candy store. I learned how to drive stick on his second 3-series. He only drives manual BMWs and I always swore I would do the same, just like my dad. And for my 20th birthday, the old man took me to Spartanburg, South Carolina, for some daddy-daughter bonding at the BMW Center Driving School.

What else does BMW mean to me?

  • M power—and the time my dad made one of his employees take me for a ride in the 5th E46 M3 in our area. Imagine my excitement when Mr. Peters pulled over and told me I could drive the rest of the way
  • Straight 6
  • Rear wheel drive
  • Manual transmission
  • Agile
  • 50/50 weight distribution
  • Naturally aspirated
  • A driver’s car

Well, I recently bought my BMW number eight, and it’s not any of these things. It’s a 2014 BMW 320i xDrive in Basic Bitch White with leatherette—a vehicle of circumstance, not passion.

Continue Reading →

Auner Quartet: Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, String Quartet No. 2 in a, Op. 13

The musical form I had the most commercial success in (as a classical-music record producer and label owner), was the string quartet. Granted, my remarkably successful string-quartet recordings consisted of quartet arrangements of sacred and traditional Christmas music. But those recordings are a lot more “classical” in character than “crossover” in character. In other words, no Frosty and no Rudolph. My three original JMR Arturo Delmoni & Friends Rejoice! A String Quartet Christmas CDs have been reissued by Steinway & Sons Recordings as a 3-CD set.

Whatever happens to me from here on out, evidence of my devotion to the string-quartet form will live on. That’s because I am the dedicatee of Morten Lauridsen’s (to-date) sole work in that genre, a transcription for string quartet of his chamber-choir chanson “Contre Qui, Rose.” “Contre Qui, Rose” is one of Lauridsen’s settings of Rainer Maria Rilke’s French-language poems. Lauridsen chose among the Rilke poems that mentioned roses for his 1993 cycle Les Chansons des Roses. The story continues after the jump link.

Continue Reading →

1989 Ford LTD Crown Victoria: Matlock Approved

1979 LTD Landau, spotted by your author in downtown Davenport.

Ford was not nearly as interested in downsizing their biggies as General Motors was in the late 1970s, but CAFE and the unbelievable success of the 1977 B-body GMs meant it had to be done sooner or later.

And so it was that the Panther replaced the Nimitz-class 1978 Ford LTD and Mercury Marquis. The Lincoln Continental and Mark V got a one-year reprieve and were finally downsized along with their Ford and Mercury brethren for model year ’80.

Continue Reading →

Guest Post: Who Is The 35 Year Old Founder Of Rivian Automotive?

This one’s a firecracker! I’ll let the writer claim it in the comments if he likes… otherwise, consider this an anonymous contribution with a lot to say — JB

Do you like trucks and SUVs? Pardon me for reducing you to a statistic, but you probably do. In fact if you are a part of America in 2019, it’s more than ​65 percent​ likely that you do. And with ​1 in 5​ residents admitting they would consider an electric vehicle for their next purchase, the 35 year old founder and CEO of electric truck and SUV startup, Rivian Automotive, must be feeling good.

If that didn’t sink in, let me repeat it: The surprisingly well funded car company you’ve never heard of is headed up ​by a 35 year old named RJ Scaringe. RJ has close to half a ​billion dollars in working capital, and currently employs over​ 600 people in four different cities​. The employees? These are folks with history at companies you probably ​have​ heard of… Mclaren, Lotus, GM, Ford. Given his youth, you may expect for him to struggle in this position, but he really doesn’t suck at it. In fact he’s quite good.

By all accounts, Scaringe is experienced, disciplined, enthusiastic, well spoken – he’s even good looking. This MIT Ph.D toting CEO has enough initials after his name to make you feel like you’ve made some terrible life choices, so how about we look into how one becomes the owner of such esteemed credentials a half decade before being due for a prostate exam?

Continue Reading →

(Last) Weekly Roundup: A Linc To The Past Edition

They did it when I wasn’t looking, when my back was either turned in entirely feigned disinterest or bent to the work of surviving in the so-called gig economy: they changed what it meant to be rich. I don’t mean the numbers, although it is sobering to think that any one of the modern Illuminati can, and often do, spend in a day what a surgeon or senior attorney could make in a lifetime. I’m talking about the actual existence of the rich, the way they live.

My grandfather, the first John Baruth, was rich. Not by today’s standards, mind you. His home in Clearwater was modestly sized and I am certain he went to his grave without ever having flown private. Rather, he was rich in the way that a small-town surgeon or mid-city attorney used to be rich. He retired in his fifties, played tennis, wore and ate whatever suited him. They knew his name at his club and at his church. He was treated with universal respect. Having worked hard for much of his life, he was generous, serene, and cheerful in wealth.

Today’s rich people exhibit little of that serenity or cheerfulness. They sullenly eschew the sartorial and behavorial trappings of traditional American wealth, such as the fine dresses and elegant disposition, for an aesthetic best described as “about to go running in mildly bad weather.” The goal is to mimic the appearance of perpetual exercise, all the better to accompany the Bezos-esque bobblehead-and-pencil-neck marathoner’s build that one apparently cannot avoid picking up somewhere between open-plan-office and C-suite. The primary social message is: I am successful enough to spend my entire life in some sort of aerobic activity. They snipe at the “uniform” of three-piece Brooks Brothers suit even as they all don completely identical light-blue psuedo-exercise vests and fleeces. I suspect, but cannot confirm, that they view the replacement of American tradecraft clothing with sweatshop polyester garbage as a feature, not a bug.

And then, of course, we have their cars.

Continue Reading →

Refurbishing The Ark: 1970 Fleetwood Brougham Update!

Last year, I shared my friend Laurie Kraynick’s relationship with her 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. While the Caddy looked great in the pictures, it needed refurbishment. New top, new headliner, some metalwork and eventually, a repaint in the original factory color of Lucerne Aqua Firemist. Such things take time, but progress took a huge jump forward this winter! If you missed the original Broughamtastic post, you can find the link right here! Read on, in Laurie’s own words. -TK

And now for something really important… The Ark is done with Restoration Phase 1 (vinyl top removal/sheet metal work/vinyl top replacement/NOS script installation/new headliner/restored original visors/painting of trims exterior and interior). Phase 2 is next winter, proper paint color and body work. The receipts have been tallied and the cost for Phase 1 exceeds what some folks make in a year, and it was a bargain at twice the price. The top of the car, in and out, looks like its 1970 again. Blisteringly extraordinary work performed by the best in the auto restoration business, you get what you pay for.

Continue Reading →