Car Auction Surprise

GRAHAM

A car enthusiast friend of mine sent a link to a car auction that took place last weekend November 3,4,5, 2011. It is the Lee Hartung collection in Glenview, IL. I learned that Lee Hartung collected anything that interested him. Most of it dealt with transportation, i.e. cars, trucks, airplanes, motors, toy cars, bicycles, motor cycles, out board motors.

He lived on a four-acre plot surrounded by upscale subdivisions and accumulated an amazing amount of junk since he started collecting in 1949. There were no upscale subdivisions in Glenview in 1949, so he got there first and did what he pleased with his piece of heaven. I spent an hour watching the videos on u-tube showing the various stuff. Today I thought, why not see if there is anything on the auction results. For fun, Google Results Lee Hartung Auction and look at some of the stuff and the prices it brought.

I had to learn about Lee Hartung. Who was he? What did he do for a living.  There is not much about the man, but I did find one news article that said he dealt in scrap metals and hauling. I guess there is money in junk. His collection is testimony to that.

All of this stimulated my memory to recall a work associate Carl Swanson telling me in 1964 that when he was young there was a car company for every letter of the alphabet. Carl was already sixty-eight when I met him so his youth went back to the nineteen ten through twenty period. I started a spread sheet and began listing American car companies by the letter of the alphabet. I thought I did pretty good listing thirty-eight cars and covering nineteen letters. Then I got the idea to Google American cars A to Z. I got a pretty extensive list, but the one I chose to study was the Wikipedia list of defunct United States automobile manufacturers. WOW! The list put me in shock.

Not only are there manufacturers for every letter of the alphabet there are hundreds of them. I counted seventeen hundred and ninety-four manufacturers. All out of business by bankruptcy or by assimilation into another company.

The early nineteen hundreds was a prolific time for car makers. Everyone had a better idea for how to make a car, but only a few have survived. When you think about it, there are only three manufacturers left in the United States, Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Between them they produce Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Dodge, and Chrysler. Eight out of seventeen hundred and ninety-four is a worse average than I had with my list.

Collectors have a long way to go to find a single item from each company. I think it would be just as hard to find a photo of all the defunct cars listed by Wikipedia.

What happened? Competition. The weak fell or were bought out. Currently the American car companies continue to struggle in the competitive battle against foreign companies to decide who will eventually win.

What is your guess? Will the United States automobile industry fade into oblivion, or will it survive for many more years?

Here is my list:

111107-American Car Companies A

CARS I HAVE KNOWN

The automobile is still a big part of my life.  My dad raised us with a car in the family just as I raised children with cars, and now my grandchildren are growing up cars.  Even though I used streetcars and buses to go everywhere, we always had a car in the family.

The earliest car I can remember was Dad’s 1929 Buick Century.  He also had an earlier Chrysler, and a Huppmobile before that.  He might have had others, too, but it is too late to ask him.

The 1929 Buick served him well for many years. I remember standing on the front seat as a toddler. I could barely see over the seat back. I was a teenager when he got rid of it.  He eventually sold the Buick to the welder who lived at the end of Avalon.  It seemed strange to watch the Buick drive past with someone else driving. Two years later, the welder cut it up for junk metal.

Dad’s  replacement was a 1937 Dodge.  He bought that car used too.  In fact, he didn’t buy a new car until 1959.  The Dodge only lasted a year when Dad sold it to buy a 1939 Buick Century.  I called it the Green Hornet after my favorite radio program.  This is the car I got my driver’s license in.  I was driving it by eighth grade.  The Buick lasted until my junior year in high school.  Two years after Dad bought it the Buick started making some horrible knocking noises. The rear universal joint needed new bearings.  Rather than spend money to fix the car, Dad traded it in on a two-year old 1954 Plymouth.  The Plymouth was beautiful. It had two toned paint with a white top and turquoise blue bottom, and lots of chrome.  The leatherette and cloth seat colors matched the exterior colors.  I moved back and forth to college with the Plymouth.

Finally, in 1959, dad bought a new Ford Fairlane. The Fairlane was also blue and white, with giant round tail lights; the front fenders hung over the top of the headlights. It had an automatic transmission and a radio that worked.  I was at the University of Illinois by this time and used it during the summers to go to work.  Dad walked to the Illinois Central yard on 95th and Cottage Grove so I could drive to International Harvester on 26th and Western.  Even though Dad hated the Ford because of it’s poor reliability, he kept it until another car hit him broadside while driving in a funeral cortege..  In l969 he traded it in for another Ford.

The ‘69 Ford lasted through most of his retirement.  He and Mom used it a lot to go back and forth to the farm in Michigan.  Dad’s final car was a 1983 Chevy Celebrity.  He began to slow down with this car, and eventually gave up driving when he reached his late eighties.  He sold the Celebrity to one of the grandchildren.

In a later episode I’ll tell about my first car, and every other car I have owned after that.  Each one played a role in my life as a transportation appliance.

A New Energy Policy

It is hard to believe that in the sixty-plus days since the BP oilrig blew up that no one has coined the phrase Barack Petroleum. A while back, I posted apiece titled Big Fat Lie in which I postulated that the oil rig blow up was a government sponsored conspiracy. I claimed it was a save-face cover for POTUS to rescind his generous relinquishment of off shore drilling. There was no doubt; my theory was so far out it fell into the category of a Big Fat Lie.

As the oil continues to spew into the Gulf and the politics of it begins to unfold, I am leaning to another big fat lie theory. This one has the Administration sending Navy Seals to blow up the rig, but the rationale is different. This time, it is because POTUS wants to take over BP. Why is that? He wants to add an energy company to his growing stable of government controlled or owned companies: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Goldman Sachs, Student Loan Program, Chrysler, GM, and Health Care Insurance. What else does he want? Perhaps, he will add your soul and mine too.

 POTUS put the gun to BP’s head and extorted twenty billion dollars from them as payment toward the lost wages of the coastal residents. The clean-up costs are extra. A few more payments and he will have another trillion to deposit into a Swiss bank account for retirement. The company will have to give him stock to make a payment like that.

Is it the big fat lie syndrome, or is it I? Is it coincidence? Or, is it Rahm’s theory that every catastrophe becomes an opportunity to build a bigger government? 

Happy Birthday America

The Burmese python has been in the news recently. A pet kept by a Florida man escaped his cage and constricted their two year old daughter to death. Obviously, the creature thought the baby was prey to be taken. Why would anyone want to keep such an animal for a pet? There are many reasons. The snakes are graceful, and colorful. They move about with deliberation in a slithering manner. They eat voraciously and continue to grow larger throughout their lifetime. Their appetite never seems to be satisfied. After reading about them, it occurred to me that we have a very similar creature lurking amongst us. Here is my interpretation of  that creature.

Pythonobama Squeezing America

You Will Suffer Long and Hard

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

The Sunday May 24 edition of the Chicago Tribune ran an article titled, “Adding Up What CEOs Made.”  The piece includes a list of the 100 top companies in Chicago and Northern Indiana, and the total compensation package the CEOs receive. Even though the title says “Adding Up…” it doesn’t really add it up. They only list 100 salaries, but I went to the trouble to input them into a spreadsheet to get the sum. I was curious to see what the flap is about the outrageous salaries being used to demonize Capitalism. The media has been busy barraging us with huge bonuses and salaries being paid. They bark the  need for regulation. This is truly the output of a socialist mindset.

I was surprised by the total of the top 100 salaries,  by the rate at which the salaries drop. Granted there isn’t a poor guy on the list, and the money they make in a year is more than most of us will earn in a lifetime. These CEOs lead companies that are producing and selling billions of dollars in products and services. Why is there such a penis envy of these leaders for their compensation? Are we envious? Do we want to lead the same life style they do? Do we want to work 24/7  to the detriment of our families? Why do we resent high salaries? The left leaning individual resents it because he truly believes the CEO and the company has made that salary off the sweat of his brow. Most employees will work forty hours per week at some incremental position stocking shelves or answering phones, or taking orders, but they are paid commensurate with the requirements of the position. What that employee doesn’t seem to understand is that his job is a commodity. There is a supply and demand for workers. The salary he is paid  is competitive with other companies who need the same level of skill.

The liberal also argues that the wealth paid to  CEO’s must be redistributed to those who are less fortunate. This is the reason for my article today. If we were to take all the money paid to the top CEOs in the country what magnitude of social spending would it  pay for?

Here are some facts and assumptions:

1.) The accumulative  salary paid to the CEOs of the top 100 companies in Illinois, as stated in the Tribune article, is  $559,940,329.00. This is a little more than a half billion dollars.

2.) Assume that every state in the union has a list of 100 top companies whose CEOs are paid the same. For the sake of simplicity let me use round numbers (50 x $600,000,000) = 30 billion dollars.

3.) Assume that I am too low and I am off by a factor of 10, the number becomes $300 billion dollars.

Wow! that is a lot of money, but wait, the TARP cost over two times that much, the stimulus package cost over three times that much,  and the proposed Federal Budget will cost over five times that much.

Here is my argument. We have just taken away all the money made by the top 50,000 executives in the USA and given it to the government to pay for it’s super duper programs, and we have barely paid for 11.4 % of it. Where will the remaining 88.6% come from?

Liberals don’t give up easy. They will argue that the remainder will come from taxing the companies that these CEOs lead. Okay, how many of these CEOs will work their ass off for $1.00? Even a liberal would have to agree that a salary of $1.00 per year would make life hard. Most likely, none of them would. They will quit, or let the company be run by the worker bees who believe it is by the sweat of their balls that the big money is made. (It will be interesting to see if the UAW can run Chrysler and compete in the world market.)

Actually, what will happen, is that none of the above will play out. The CEOs will continue to work for big money because that is the market value of their skills, and the Government will tax the living hell out of everyone to make up the money needed to implement thier utopian schemes. In the end, they will destroy the greatest country on earth and the deny the liberty of each and every one of us.

All of you youngsters out there who voted for “Change We Can Believe In,” have fun. I am near the end of my life cycle, and will not live to see too much grief.  You are going to suffer long and hard for your decision to take the country into this devastating direction.

Turn Off the Bubble Machine

Just how many bubbles can the U.S.A. take before it too blows up?

Turn Off the Bubble Machine

The New GM Dealership

The government doesn’t belong in the car business, but it now owns two major companies. I would much rather we gave Chrysler to Hyundai than to the Italians.  General Motors will be a handful for POTUS to manage, but he will have big time help from the UAW. They know how to manage well. After seventy four years of striking, they finally achieved their goal to put the company out of business rather than give in to management demands. 

Here is the future at a vehicle dealership:

Government Motors Dealership

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