Weekly Roundup: The Children In The Playpen Edition

There’s been a lot of buzz in the media world this week about “The Adults In The Room”, a vicious, often irrational, and tiresomely bloated attack on Deadspin.com’s new ownership and management by Deadspin’s departing editor-in-chief, Megan Greenwell. Ms. Greenwell left the company because she disagreed with the idea that Deadspin, which was originally founded as a sports website, should return to that mission. It’s worth noting that Greenwell waited until she had secured a lucrative new job before writing her farewell, and no wonder; any sane potential employer would be horrified by the idea of a trusted employee using their media platform to lash out like this on their final day.

I’d like to take a minute to consider some of the high (or low) points in Greenwell’s article. Not because I agree or disagree with Deadspin’s new mission — I’ve never read Deadspin and never will, insofar as I have an equal and considerable lack of interest in both left-wing propaganda and sportsball minutiae — but rather because I’m fascinated by the way in which Greenwell rewrites history to suit her (their? I’m not sure on Greenwell’s pronoun of choice) emotions at this particular moment. The piece has a strong whiff of 1984 to it, which concerns me because Greenwell has had, and will continue to have, a position of considerable privilege and power. So let’s start by looking at what she has to say and asking ourselves: Is any of it true?

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Diesel-Electric Submarines: World’s Biggest Hybrids

-NOTE: Today’s post is another one by my friend Lee Wilcox. If you’ve been getting tired of all my ’70s-era luxocruisers, here’s something completely different. And very interesting. -TK

The Chevy Volt has gotten a lot of attention from its ability to run its electric propulsion motor from its internal combustion engine/generator, batteries, or both. Submarines having been doing that since the 1920s or so. I managed to spend some time on subs, and was always interested in what made them go. Apparently that interest is shared by a lot of folks.  Even during the cold war we had something called Visiting Ship Day.  Civilians were allowed to tour a designated boat.  The depth gauges were covered and some areas were off limits but they did tour.  There were three questions we could always count on:

1. Where is the picture window? (thanks to TV)

2. How many engines turn the propellers and how big are they?

3. How long until you start to run out of air to breathe?

Answers to them, and much more follow:

Graveside. Museum at Patriots Point, Charleston SC.

Let’s get those out of the way first:

1. There is no picture window regardless of what you saw on television.

2. There are no engines (directly) turning the screws.

3. It took about 10-12 hours until the guys couldn’t keep their cigarettes lit. Then we had to start managing the air.

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1966 Chrysler Windsor: The Best Bad Decision I Ever Made!

ED: Another post by my friend up north, Mike Batch Kirouac! This car was recently completed. Maybe we can get him to do a new post on it. -TK

In 1966, the Chrysler Windsor was the Canadian-built equivalent of the Newport model in the US. Unsurprisingly, Windsors were built in the Windsor, Ontario plant. Unlike today where vehicles are assembled from components manufactured all over the world, these cars were substantially “Made in Canada” from Canadian-made parts. The ink was still fresh on the Canada-US auto pact, which would soon change that arrangement, and 1966 was the last year for the Windsor model name.

Canadian magazine ad featuring the Windsor 2-door hardtop.

According to the original owner, my Windsor 2-door hardtop was a factory-ordered car, but the deal fell through, and so it wound up on the dealer’s lot. The colour was Saddle Bronze metallic, with matching interior. The drivetrain consisted of the base engine, a big block 383 2-barrel with 9.2:1 compression, rated at 270hp. This was mated to the venerable Torqueflite 727 3-speed automatic, and 2.76:1 “economy” gearing in the differential. Inside was the standard column shifter and bench seats.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Flattest Humans Edition

Are you a Twitter user? Well, that’s a shame. It can be hard to let that bad habit go; I have had trouble walking away myself, even though I should delete the app and never look back. Someone recently described the general tone, and effect, of Twitter as “a hangover without the party that comes first.” It’s a nonstop avalanche of political rage, bad opinions, and unnecessary combativeness. It’s now commonly understood that the net effect of most social media is depressive, but Twitter is the worst of a bad bunch.

With that said, if you’re still on the Twitter train, stop what you’re doing and follow Humans Of Flat immediately. It’s not just another smart-guy-dumps-on-bad-design account. It’s bigger than that.

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1968-69 Skylark Custom: Wouldn’t You Really Rather Have A Buick?

Remember the Skylark? It kind of got lost over the last thirty-odd years of collector- and muscle-car mania, with Chevelle SSs and Pontiac GTOs hogging all the glory. Heck, even Oldsmobile has gotten more press with the 442, and the Vista Cruiser is even today relatively fresh in people’s minds, thanks to That ’70s Show. But what about Buick? I’m glad you asked…

Naturally, Buick was the flashiest and finest of the midsizers, with its premium reputation. And while the GS and later wild GSX are better known, the rest of the Buick bunch seem to be notably absent at shows and cruise nights these days.

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Housekeeping: Still Not Down With The Clown (But There’s A Cost)

Has this website been playing hard to get for you? The answer is simple, albeit annoying: This site isn’t hosted on The Clown. I use a real “bare metal” physical server, hosted off the backbone in one of those rooms filled with endless server racks. My provider decided to close one of their locations and move the server image from the East Coast to Texas. I was told that this would be a short process, and it was. They even promised I could keep the same IP address. I suspected this would be a hassle, and it was. Twenty years ago, when your humble author first put computers on the public Internet, the routing tables were much simpler than they are now, and they were much better-known by the various bits of hardware between Points A and B. Nowadays, getting a single IP moved across the country had some serious FUBAR potential. Much of that was realized. In my case, I could browse my website via T-Mobile’s network before Verizon’s, and Verizon’s before my own fiber connection at home.

As long as we are Housekeeping… a few notes. I was in Asia for two of the past three weeks, and I have plenty of stories to tell. I’m riding, and enjoying, a great new dirt-jumper bike, about which I’ve previously written. The above photo doesn’t look like much but for a mildly crippled and way-past-mildly-overweight 47-year-old it’s quite difficult, which speaks to the excellence of my Ordnance frame and the various USA-made parts in its construction, particularly the Velocity USA rims.

Last but not least, I’d like to congratulate my son for being named the Powerade Rider Of The Week at Camp Woodward. He destroyed a $400 titanium-spoked wheel on Day Two of his experience, courtesy of a risky pass in a practice race, but he borrowed a bike and managed to demonstrate both first-rate skills and exceptional dedication to task. Not bad for a ten-year-old who had never spent a night away from his family before. The great people at Powers Bike Shop had him back on a proper hoop within 48 hours.

Now that the site is up and running again, we will be putting up some great work from our usual suspects. Thank you for your patience, and for your readership.

1969 Lincoln Continental: Pure Class

1969 was the final year for the classic ’60s Continental. Only gradual changes had been made to the car since its 1961 debut, and the center-opening doors lasted nine model years, before giving way to a larger, all-new Continental for 1970. So many cars changed drastically between 1961 and 1969, style-wise, but not the Continental. Even in its last year, it was smooth, elegant and impressive.

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(Double) Weekly Roundup: Where I Belong Edition

It’s the most expensive city in the world, and it can feel a little straitlaced to an American, but if I had the means to live anywhere Singapore would be at, or near, the top of my list. Danger Girl and I spent the last two weeks in Asia taking part in the EVO Enduro from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Phuket Island, Thailand and we took a couple of decompression days at the Marina Bay Sands to wind the whole thing up. It wasn’t super-cheap, and we didn’t have any friendly automakers to foot the bill for it, but I have no regrets.

Singapore is squeaky-clean and completely safe. It’s one of the least corrupt countries in the world, which feels like a breath of fresh air after watching Jeffrey Epstein “commit suicide” in a closely-observed prison cell. Incidentally, the Epstein murder is probably an all-time low point in the history of American governance, regardless of whether you think he was killed by Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Ehud Barak. It is also a damning indictment of the media which tells us that everything is a “conspiracy theory”. This guy had a private pedophile island and somehow he was able to get Bill Clinton to dismiss his Secret Service protection so the two of them could… play Magic:The Gathering? How far-fetched does “PizzaGate” seem right now? What about the Vince Foster and Seth Rich stuff? Is there any “conspiracy theory” out there that is more outrageous than what actually happened in and around Epstein’s circle of friends?

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1967 Dodge Charger: Chrysler’s Marlin!

For Chrysler, just getting up off the canvas after the “plucked chicken” fiasco of 1962 was hard enough without Ford doing something crazy by dropping its Mustang bombshell on the market. What’s more, the personal-luxury coupe market was heating up by the day. So what was a beleaguered Chrysler to do? Fake it, that’s what. And do so with a memorable and venerable name.

The earliest Charger I remember (at least referring to something other than a hay-consuming equine) is this car, which a sporting band of Chrysler engineers campaigned on the drag strip. This car was the “High and Mighty” (actually a ’49 Plymouth). According to Alpar, it existed as seen above into late 1958. The original 354 truck engine, fitted with 392 heads, eventually gave way to an all-392 Hemi. Obviously, the car sacrificed aerodynamics on the altar of weight transfer and traction.

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1978 AMC Matador Sedan: Triple Black Project

Here it is, the last ‘big’ AMC car. The Matador. Technically a midsize when it first appeared in 1971, alongside its slightly flossier, slightly longer Ambassador sibling. Essentially, the ’71 Matador was a facelifted 1967-70 AMC Rebel with a new front clip and name.

It became American Motors’ largest passenger vehicle after the Ambassador (itself a Matador with more chrome, fancier interior, and longer hood and front clip, but with the same interior dimensions) was cancelled after the 1974 model year.

Many, many folks have questioned why the ’74 Matadors got such a Jimmy Durante style facelift to go with its new 5 mph front and rear bumpers, with the pronounced proboscis of the grille jutting away from the front fenders and headlights. I’ve heard they simply wanted the car to look bigger. But for whatever reason, I’ve always liked these. The sedans, the woody station wagons, even the big, blowsy 74-78 Matador coupes. What can I say, I like the offbeat stuff!

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