Knox Stanhope Runabout

Engine Compartment of a 1902 Knox Model B Stanhope Runabout

For Easter we attended the Forest Park car show, Concours d’Elegance, back after a two-year hiatus. It was not as big an affair as many of the pre-pandemic ones were. Concours d’Elegance specializes in stock historical vehicles. Before the pandemic it had been paired with another show that featured modified vehicles, but that show has departed to St. Charles. Still, this show was special, because our neighbor, Art was displaying his classic car, a 1948 Ford that had been his father’s first car. Art’s dad was also at the show. The featured Knox seems to have been the oldest vehicle in this Easter show.

The Knox Automobile Company was established at the beginning of the 20th-century. This 1902 Knox runabout model could seat two passengers upfront, with a backseat driver above the engine. This model has a one-cylinder five horsepower engine. This flat-mounted single-cylinder engine was air-cooled. Rather than flanges to improve the efficiency of cooling, 1,750 threaded 5mm diameter rods were screwed into the cylinder casing as projecting studs, which led to the engine sometimes being referred to as “Old Porcupine”. A two-speed planetary transmission was fitted. This engine was placed in the center of the car.

Economy Appreciated

RAV4 Hybrid Limited

Today, the national average gasoline price is $4.32 a gallon, which is down from its high earlier this year, but still higher than it has been. High gas prices combined with covid caused supply chain issues make hybrid vehicles, with high gas milage much sought after, but harder to find. We experienced this situation ourselves back in 2011. Then too gas prices were also high, and the Fukushima disaster played havoc with Toyota’s supply chain. We were looking to buy a Prius at the time, but every dealer that we went to, gave us the same story, “No, we don’t have any now, but we are expecting to get some more in a few weeks.” That was the story we kept hearing until one day, after hearing the same line again, we literally bought one off the truck. We were just leaving the dealership, when the car carrier passed us and then the salesman whom we had been speaking with came running over to us. The Prius that was to become ours, had been sold, but that buyer’s financing had fallen through. Naturally, we paid full price for that car. I estimated that the hybrid feature of the Prius costed about five grand and even at fifty miles to the gallon, it would take quite a bit of driving to recoup that surcharge. Plus, within a year of buying the car, the bottom dropped out of the price of gasoline. Still, it was an excellent car, and I never did regret buying that car.

Fast forward to 2020. We still had the Prius, which was still running fine, but we had promised it to our son, which meant that we needed to get a new car to replace it. We ended up buying a 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited at a slight discount. It only gets 40 MPG, but unlike with the Prius, its hybrid system only costed $800. Now that gas prices are sky high again, this car seems like a good investment. Yesterday, on NPR I heard an article that led me to believe that it might have been an even better investment than I had thought. Today, I went on Edmunds and entered in the car’s data, and they calculated that our RAV4 is now worth more than 15% more than what we paid for it. I’m feeling pretty savvy.

My Life Flashed Before My Eyes

Me at the Wheel of a Tesla Model S

Yesterday, I was waiting on the curb to cross Big Bend at Clayton, when a white Tesla turning left nearly ran into me. It was turning left and had misjudged on simply didn’t see the oncoming traffic that had the right of way. In order to avoid a collision, it served towards me, only to veer away at the last moment. This intersection is one of the ten most accident prone in Saint Louis. Earlier this year it was the scene of a double fatality when after midnight a couple traveling at over a hundred miles per hour literally flew through the intersection and then launched themselves into the second story of a medical building, kitty corner to where I was standing. I wish that I could count how many times that drivers in the east bound right turn only lane head straight and then try to squeeze into my lane as if it were their lane. Anyway, I lived.

I was losing my soul to YouTube the other day, when I encountered Dr. Eleanor Janega, a British medieval history professor. I watched a couple of her videos where she was rating various contemporary movies that featured medieval warfare. She was rating them on their historical accuracy. Turns out that she also has a blog, Going Medieval. It also turns out that she is more interested in the personal habits and sexual practices during the Middle Ages than any fighting. I’m following her now on Twitter.