1973 Buick Electra 225 Coupe: Brougham Whisperer Buick

Note: Today’s Guest Post is by Jason Bagge, AKA The Brougham Whisperer, who most of you may recall from the many ’70s land yachts of his I’ve featured here at RG the past few years. -TK

Well-the ’74 New Yorker sold. Going to a collector in Florida who restores these back to original. Same guy who bought Chris’ 1976 Cadillac Calais in Idaho. So with that-here comes the ’73 455 2 door Buick Deuce and a quarter.

The car, upon arrival.

I’m going to change out the wheels and tires. Back to new whitewalls and hubcaps. I’m going to store the rallyes away with the original tires on them. Planning on going cruising with my Dad next weekend. The whole car is pretty gangster. It just has that vibe. Continue Reading →

Weekly Roundup: Floating Like A Lilo Edition

Arrogant and unpleasant disclaimer: sit this one out, or skip to the end, unless you’re at least 1 SD+. I don’t feel like reading comments from people who will be moving their lips to read the next 2300 words. Sorry about that.

Of all the expensive delicacies out there, from white pearl albino caviar to the “Stingray Burger” at the National Corvette Museum, surely the most indulgent would be the intellectual notion that there is a universal human experience, capable of being accessed by any sufficiently broad-minded person. Our distant ancestors would have scoffed at the notion; virtually all ancient languages make no distinction between “people” and “our people”, the implication being that others are inherently different and probably worse besides. The Romans did not seek to understand the Vandals. Even among the Greek city-states there was always this simmering notion of cultural incompatibility, accompanied by the baggage of equal parts disdain and fear.

Not until the Enlightenment did the intellectual class start to get the notion Amberthat the similarities across races and cultures were greater than the differences. By the middle of the Twentieth Century this had morphed into a sort of outsider worship; I’m thinking in particular of the Western fascination with Indian and Chinese thought and dogma as exemplified by the “guru” fetish and a blossoming interest in Zen. (The late Jeff Cooper, in one of his Commentaries, despaired that young men in the Seventies and Eighties had utterly abandoned the study of Roman and Greek culture in favor of Eastern mysticism and obscurity, thus becoming incompetent at understanding two cultures instead of at least being masters in their own.)

From that outsider worship fifty years ago, we have now degraded to a sort of infantile volunteer tribalism, a perverse figure-ground approach in which power, relevance, and even safety are derived by calculating one’s distance from the untouchable (in the Dalit sense, not the exalted one) state of white Christian American “cis-straight” male. Everything in our society, from hiring decisions to quality of medical care, is now determined via this calculus. The comedian Dave Chappelle just released a comedy special in which he discusses a confrontation he had with a white man at a nightclub. The white man threatened to call the police on Chappelle; the implication here, to anyone sufficiently versed in the identity catechism, is that such a call would be tantamount to attempted murder, since police are killing unarmed Black men at the feverish, breakneck rate of one in 1.3 million annually. This makes the white man a clear villain, and absolutely deserving of some mob justice, real or virtual — until Chappelle notes that the white man was gay. At that point, every person who does any business in modern society finds themselves doing back-of-the-envelope perceived-privilege calculations. Who’s more oppressed here?

In this way, we have leached all meaning from action, which can then only be truly understood in the context of the societal value accorded to each different type of person. If I call the police on you, is that bad? Fifty years ago, we would say “It depends on what you’ve done.” Now, we say that it depends on what you are. Sometimes it is good to burn a Federal building. Sometimes it is treason to walk past one. It all depends on who you are.

This new morality would confuse the living hell out of Pascal or Sartre, but it would have sat perfectly well with any illiterate cave-dweller of prehistoric times. So in a sense it is more authentic, truer, than any outdated notions regarding a “brotherhood of Man” or any of the goofy stuff in our country’s thoroughly irrelevant founding documents. You ignore it at your peril.

All of this is a long-winded way for me to say: I’m not sure I’m allowed to listen to, comment or, or apply critical thinking to the topic at hand, namely: two of the greatest pop records to be released in years, maybe decades. Why? Simple: they are the product of a relationship between two young British lesbians.

Let’s go.

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1974 AMC Matador Oleg Cassini Edition: Klassy Kenoshan

American Motors Corporation, like Studebaker, like Packard, like so many other long-gone automobile companies, breaks your heart. Sometimes I drive myself crazy with what-ifs: What if Roy Abernethy never became president of AMC? What if Packard never got tangled up with Studebaker? What if Studebaker hadn’t rolled over for the union and stockholders EVERY SINGLE TIME? But for this, but for that, could any of these marques have survived? By the same token, if different decisions had been made, would they have disappeared even earlier? If AMC hadn’t purchased Kaiser Jeep in 1970, would they have gone out of business in 1971-72? If Studebaker hadn’t suckered Packard into bailing them out and hidden their book cooking, would they have been toast by 1955? Who knows? But one thing is clear in AMC history: The 1974 Matador coupe was a costly mistake.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: Screenless In DC Edition

I got an email last night, more than two days after the fact, from the nice people (by which I mean overseas-sourced Mechanical Turks) at SPIN scooters, telling me something along the lines of Parking Photo Not Approved. As many of you no doubt know, SPIN is one of the half-dozen providers of urban rental scooters, following in the footsteps of BIRD. What makes SPIN different: they have some sort of backing from Ford, and the scooters are slightly but usably faster than the competition from Lime and elsewhere. (As I noted while leaving a Lime in the dust along the reflecting pool near the Washington Monument: “Lime? More like lame, am I right?”) Beyond that, you are also required to take a photo of your scooter when you park it, so they know you didn’t vandalize the scooter or park it on top of a homeless person.

Which I had done, Saturday at 1:07PM. Now, late in Monday’s evening, SPIN was indicating their dissatisfaction. What was I supposed to do? Find the same scooter, two-plus days after the fact, and photograph it again? Why wait this long to tell me the photo wasn’t good enough? I was reminded of Samuel Johnson’s famous letter to Lord Chesterfield, who had declined to be a patron to Johnson’s Dictionary until Johnson had effectively finished the work: “The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind: but it has been delayed till I am indifferent and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary and cannot impart it; till I am known and do not want it.”

What didn’t SPIN like about the photo? Hard to tell. I thought it was pretty well done, particularly since at the time of photography my Samsung S21 Ultra looked as it does in the image opening this column. Yup, that’s what you call “a thoroughly destroyed $1,799 phone” — and on just the fifth day of ownership? Sucks to be me. But that’s not all.

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Made In Detroit: Shinola Bronze Monster and Detrola I Voted

As our relationship with Shinola continues here at RG, I wanted to take some time to highlight two of my most recent arm candy acquisitions from our friends in Detroit: The Bronze Monster and the Detrola I Voted. They live at opposite ends of the pricing spectrum, but both are equally comfortable at home in my collection, and I think they’d make solid additions to yours, as well.

I’ll start with the Monster.

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Guest Post: The Ark On Parade In Hyannis

Note: Today’s guest post is by my friend Laurie Kraynick, whose excellent 1970 Fleetwood Brougham has previously been discussed here and here. Enjoy. -TK

On a scale of 1-10 the weather was a 12, just a GORGEOUS, warm, sunny, breezy day at the beach
for a classic car parade and show. All sponsored by the Greater Hyannis Chamber of Commerce, the
folks who SHOULD HAVE HAD the annual Father’s Day Car Show this year but wilted to the wishes of all the restaurant and other common retailers on Main Street Hyannis because they lost so much
money last year and this year due to the Hyannis Puritans crushing the local economy with flu
mandates – but I digress….

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Weekly Roundup: Time Out For Bad Behavior And The Gentle Sci-Fi Of Donald Fagen Edition

It could have been a lot worse than it was. Six to eight weeks off the bike, won’t be playing much guitar for a while, can still operate an airsoft rifle and a race car (sorta). Still don’t like it. And it would have been better, somehow, if I hadn’t led most of the race. Easier to go from DFL to a broken wrist than from P1 to same. I’m not permitted to lift any weights with my left hand/arm, which will make it a bit more difficult to hold onto the nearly twenty-pound weight loss I managed in August and September. Oh, and then I managed to completely break my rather fancy, and in no way completely paid for, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra phone. Just to make sure I entered the month of October flat broke, earlier today my freelance/personal IdeaPad suffered death-of-the-keyboard after just four and a half years of use. (That’s sarcasm; not since my mighty 600X have I actually gotten this much use out of a laptop.) None of this qualifies as tragedy but it also doesn’t qualify for any of the sympathy I would receive were I subject to an actual tragedy.

On the other hand, those of us who live in a permanent Seventies of the soul have some good news to celebrate, so let’s get to that.

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1986 Cadillac Cimarron: Or, How I Learned To Trigger 86% Without Really Trying

I’m sure a few remember this car. No, not the Cimarron in general. This exact car. I wrote it up earlier this year. At the time it was offered on Craigslist and in Middletown, CT. For a mere three grand. Well it’s back, now in New York, and the current bid is $7300.

Yes, so many expend so much vitriol on these. But I always liked them. Chalk it up to seeing one up close in 1988 at the Chicago Auto Show. In particular, the later ones like this ’86, with the composite headlamps, cladding, nice alloys and 2.8L V6. Was it still clearly a J-body GM product? Sure. But all the little refinements, especially to the nose and tail, made for a much more cohesive and upscale look, at least in your author’s opinion. Continue Reading →

Made In The USA: Bison

This one comes from a reader who has been very happy with several Bison belts. Most of them are “infinite adjust”, like the USA-made GRIP6 belts, and they can be had in a staggering variety of widths, colors, and designs. Note that some of the belts use the Austria Alpine COBRA buckle, like my old (and no longer available new, but still working perfectly) Waterfield bag. Those buckles are NOT made in the USA, but they ARE made entirely in Austria.

Find them at Bison Designs.

(Last) Weekly Roundup: It’s not inEVitable edition

Last week, commenter Ken asked why I get so militant on the subject of electric vehicles, both here and in the digital pages of Hagerty. Yesterday, one of our most time-honored and respected commenters suggested, in his own kind way, that this blog had become “anti-science”.

If nobody minds, I’d like to respond to this pair of comments together, because there’s a strong common thread running through both of them. Trigger warning: this post is likely to contain Master of Orion content.

Continue Reading →