Category Archives: Car show

Chevy Cranks Up for SEMA

At the world’s largest convention of automotive aftermarket parts and accessories, the SEMA Show –Specialty Equipment Market Association – one of the highlights is the Chevrolet display; and the chance for a sneak preview at the Media Party held on Monday night before SEMA opens.

Besides catching up with various executives and seeing some great cars, Chevrolet brings in a few celebrities to spice up the night.  Fortunately these celebrities have straight connections to the cars featured at this press event.

This year NASCAR racers Ricky Carmichael (and AMA racer and X Games champ) and Jeff Gordon were there to delight the crowds. Some of the featured cars were:

Ricky Carmichael’s Chevy All-Activity Sonic concept

The All-Activity Sonic concept was introduced by Carmichael and had a cold air induction, a lowered suspension and enhanced braking.Spark EV Tech Performance concept

Sonic Chevy
Ricky Carmichael’s Sonic

Chevy Spark EV Tech Performance concept

Chevy “powered up” this all-electric tire smoking mini-car, the Spark, with an instant on 400 lb-ft of torque – more than the classic 1969 Camaro SS muscle car with a 350 V-8 – for exhilarating acceleration. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in only 7.5 seconds.

Electric car
Amped up Chevy Spark

2014 Chevy COPO

It seems that Chevrolet always has a new version of the legendary COPO drag cars for SEMA, and they didn’t disappoint this year with a light blue version.  Very well designed and ready for the drag strip as is.  This year will feature new front and rear fascia and be limited to the fabled 69 cars.

Light Blue drag car
2014 COPO Camaro

Gran Turismo C7 Corvette Stingray

A flat blue Corvette that will be featured in the latest version of Playstation’s Gran Turismo was promoted.  All week at the Chevy display show goers will be able to play an advanced version of the game.

blue Corvette
Corvette Stingray from Gran Turismo

Restored 1978 pick up

This truck was a restored beauty and featured a new crate engine package from Chevy.  The E ROD 5.3 L package is a plug and play emissions compliant powertrain.

Black truck
Restored Chevy Pickup with E ROD power

Jeff Gordon’s SS

His SS came with a red satin (flat) finish was an awesome car with subtle power touches.  A LS3 engine and a 6 speed automatic transmission were the power plant for the SS.

Red SS
Red Satin SS from Jeff Gordon

2014 Camaro Z28

The road worthy Z/28 in all black was released at this event.  Featuring Brembo brakes, less weight and a LS7 engine helps make this track car a worthy competitor and lives up to its namesake.

Black camaro
Black Z/28

Transformers 4

Three cars from the 2014 Transformer movie were on hand to be admired; a new Bumble Bee Camaro, a Sonic and bright Green Corvette Stingray


Green Corvette
Green Transformer Staingray
Yellow Camaro
Transformer 4 Bumble Bee Camaro
white Sonic
Chevy Sonic from Transformer 4

Good times, good cars, good people.  SEMA cranks up in full power mode in a few hour son Tuesday November 5th.  More details at Chevy Performance.



Predictions for SEMA Show 2013

SEMA Signage

SEMA – the Specialty Equipment Market Association – show starts officially on Tuesday November 5, 2013 in Las Vegas.  Car Nirvana is spread over 2 million square feet of interior space and even more cars are positioned outside.  I figured if Hot Rod Magazine can prediction what the SEMA 2013 will highlight, I can predict too.

Predictions for SEMA

I’ll be more modest and only give you five trends to be spotted at SEMA this year.

Prediction #1

Car of the Year – Has to be the Corvette Stingray.  This is the after-market convention after all and there has been no more pent-up demand, than seeing the Corvette C7 hit the streets.

prediction corvette is SEMA's car of the year
Corvette Stingray

Prediction #2

Flat is back.  We’ve seen variations of flat paint jobs in the past, and that trend is going to explode.  Both from the mainstream manufacturers but also the specialty shops.  And contrary to some opinions, it takes as much prep work on a car body to spray it flat as it does for the shiny clear coats.

Prediction #3

Step up the transmissions.  Used to be standard to row through four speeds, but not that Detroit is issuing out sheet metal with 7 speed transmissions to help up the EPA gas mileage, so will the aftermarket.

Silver truck
Sweet Trucker

Prediction #4

Truck of the year?  Got to be the Chevrolet Silverado.  Demand is back up for trucks, that’s where the money is and that’s where General Motors has hit a home run.  It might be apolitical to have two winners from the same manufacturer, but the Silverado deserves it!

Prediction #5

Retro is back with a passion.  Clothing, accessories, and cars will all be showing an old fashioned look.  Woodies, rat rods, salt wagons will all be highly visible.???????????????????????????????

Stayed tuned and we’ll see how many of these predictions you might agree with after Friday and the show wraps up.



Harley Earl’s 1963 Corvette Sold Again

The Mecum Auction concluded their Chicago area auction last week, with the big seller being a 1963 Corvette originally gifted by General Motors to their famed car stylist Harley Earl.

Harley Earl

Portrait of Harley Earl
Harley J. Earl

Harley J. Earl spent thirty years with General Motors and retired as the Vice President of Design.  He left a lasting mark during this iconic era, including working on the special Motorama era cars, concept cars, stylish sports coupes (hardtops) and two toned paint jobs with outrageous fins.  His 1938 Buick Y Job is actually considered the first “concept” car produced from Detroit.

1938 Buick concept car
1938 Buick Y-Job concept car

A little known fact is that the Daytona 500 NASCAR trophy is named the Harley J. Earl Trophy; showing the impact this designer had in automotive circles.

1963 Corvette

While titled as a 1963, it has several touches from the 1965, like 4 wheel disc brakes,  and many one-off designs including a set of custom gauges in the passenger pod.  The exhaust pipes coming out the side cove is also a unique touch.  It has a 327 power plant and the requisite four speed. It generally is suspected to be a mule (or test car) and hence even rarer and more valuable.  The car was originally destined for the Chicago Car Show. but then re-deployed as well deserved thanks to an automotive icon.Harley Earl Interior

Past Sales

This Corvette doesn’t seem to stay in one collection for long.  Mecum sold it in 2010 for $925,000, and previously  in 2009 for $985,000 and it was also sold by Barrett-Jackson in 1999 for $145,000 (all prices are listed without buyer’s premium).

Mecum Auction results for Chicago

During the three days of car selling frenzy, covered by Velocity TV, 965 cars were offered up for sale with 615 hammered sold (that is nearly a 65% selling rate) with over $18 million in sales.  Like most auctions many cars are offered on “reserve” meaning if the bid doesn’t reach a certain set amount, the car is not sold.

So what do you think?  Did the buyer get a deal?


Photos courtesy of Mecum Auctions and Barrett-Jackson Auction

Harley J. Earl photos © General Motors

Flipping Lambrecht’s Classic Chevrolets

At last count four cars from the Lambrecht Chevrolet Auction held last week, have surfaced on the Internet for resale.  You had to figure some local shops would take advantage of their location and opportunity to flip a car.  Of course all these cars are now prominently featuring their connection to the Lambrecht Chevrolet dealership, and sold through VanDerBrink Auctions.

Chevy’s Now for Sale

One seller found out that his 1969 Kingswood Station Wagon had too much rust in the frame to be unsalvageable.  I’m guessing if the car had flat tires and laid down on the dirt, rust would be inevitable.  Now is the time to see if someone needs just the parts and cut your losses.

1969 Chevy Station Wagon
1969 Chevy Kingswood Station Wagon went for $900

A 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air is being offered with a $25,000 asking price.  Good profit if it sells, since it was bought at auction for $18,000.  It’s a cute car but when the seller/dealer advertises it as a 150/210 AND a Bel Air Hardtop I guess you’d have to do some more research.

59 Chevrolet 2 door post
1959 Chevrolet sold for $18,000

A 1957 Chevy suffers the same identity problem, advertised as a 150/210 and Bel Air.  So unless Johnny Cash had a hand in it, I’m guessing it is only one of those three models – and based on the VIN I’d wager it is the 210 sedan version with four doors, which is two doors too many for my taste.

Post 4 door 57 Chevy
4 door 1957 Chevrolet sold for $7,000

Olds too!

And not just Chevy’s are being flipped.  One seller is offering a 1964 Oldsmobile Jet Star 88 two door hardtop for sale.  This seller cleared off some if the dirt and dust, but you can’t deny it is rough.

Black 1964 Olds 88
1964 Olds Jet Star 88 hammered sold for $5,300

Lots of people have looked at these cars and the prices paid and scratched their head.  The mileage is relatively low for fifty + year old cars, but they are in rough shape; even the “flippers” haven’t generally tried to start or verify the running condition.  In this shape, you can try to get them in running condition and then enjoy the look and notoriety.  But if you were planning on a full out restoration you better open that checkbook wide and start adding some zero’s, because lots of parts are missing and torn up.

Flipping Cars

I have mixed feeling on flippers.  They serve a purpose and I’m all for making a buck.  For someone who didn’t want to bid on line and couldn’t make it out to Pierce, Nebraska, they can still buy a rusty Chevy.  I just think that these flippers needlessly raised the prices up and now need even more of a price increase in order to make a profit.

What do you think, are flipper’s a miracle or menace?


Photos courtesy of VanDerBrink Auctions


Lambrecht Chevrolet’s 1955 Models Reviewed

The VanDerBrink Auction of the Lambrecht Collection of classic Chevrolet’s is a week old and reality is crashing through the buying fever.  The crowds have departed Pierce, Nebraska and we can now look more analytically at the cars and prices paid.

VanDerBrink Workmanship

The auctioneers at VanDerBrink did a great job in organizing these cars and gave fairly valid descriptions of the cars.  Some were mislabeled as Bel Air models but all auction houses note that descriptions are guides and not to be relied on.  With this many cars, some minor issues are bound to occur and VanDerBrink did a great job keeping the crowd orderly and advancing.  Plus the sellers, the Lambrecht’s, must be happy with the outcome and know their name will be now known in collector circles for years to come.

1955 Chevrolets sold at the Lambrecht Auction

Let’s look at the 1955 Chevrolet’s in detail this time.  The 1955 was the beginning of the “tri-five” series from 1955-1957. There were ten Chevrolet cars sold during the two days of the auctions for this model year.  The cars come in three variations, the bare bones 150, a slightly sexier 210 and the fully duded out Bel Air.  The VIN’s shown by VanDerBrink helped decipher which model was which and with what engine.  All these cars were high mileage survivors and presumably trade-ins to Lambrecht Chevrolet.  All ten cars are in rough condition and will need some extensive body and mechanical work, or kept in

a survivor mode.  Remember they can only be original once!

All prices will have a buyer’s premium of 5-10% added to the listed price, based on whether the bidder was on site or not.


For the 1955 model year, six sold cars were four doors and four were the more in demand 2 doors; both a hardtop and a sedan.  While perhaps more practical if you are planning on using the rear seat often, the reality is the 2 doors are always more in demand in the collector market and generally higher priced when restored.  The 2 door sedan (post) went for $5,750 and the hardtop went for $9,000.  There were no high dollar sales for this year with the range being from $12,000 to $1,800.  The ten cars sold for an average of under $5,200   Plus none of these cars were the low or no  mileage; sold on MSO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin) paperwork instead of state title; which indicates that Lambrecht Chevrolet didn’t have any trouble selling those models when new!

At least at these prices, the cars are going to loving homes and not being chopped up for their body parts.  Or are they…check out a future blog article.

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Photos Courtesy of VanDerBrink Auctions


Lambrecht Auction of Chevrolet’s Analysis of 1956 Year

The VanDerBrink Auction of the Lambrecht Collection of classic Chevrolet’s is nearly a week old and the buying fever has subsided.  The crowds have departed Pierce, Nebraska and we can now look more analytically at the cars and prices paid.

Crowd at Lambrecht Auction
Aerial view of Lambrecht Auction site

1956 Chevrolet

Let’s look at the 1956 Chevrolet’s in detail this time.  The 1956 was in the middle of the three years of the oft referred “tri-five” series from 1955-1957. There were seven Chevrolet cars sold during the two days of the auctions for this model year.  The cars come in three variations, the bare bones 150, a slightly sexier 210 and the fully duded out Bel Air.  The VIN’s shown by VanDerBrink helped decipher which model was which and with what engine.  One unit was a 210 station wagon.  All these cars were high mileage and presumably trade-ins to Lambrecht Chevrolet.  All seven cars are in rough condition and will need some extensive body and mechanical work, or kept in a survivor mode.  Remember they can only be original once!

1956 Chevy 4 door sedan
Lambrecht Chevrolet 1956 2 door sedan

All prices will have a buyer’s premium of 5-10% added to the listed price based on whether the bidder was on site or not.

Lambrecht Sales

For the 1956 model year, five were four doors, with the above mentioned station wagon and a 2 door sedan also selling.  While perhaps more practical if you are planning on using the rear seat often, the reality is the 2 doors are presently more in demand in the collector market and generally higher priced when restored.  The 2 door sedan (post) went for $14,500.  On Saturday, when more of the high value cars sold from the Lambrecht Collection a 4 door hardtop went for $30,000.

1956 Chevy 4 door sedan
$30,000 selling price for 4 door 1956 hard top

The fact that the auction didn’t have any of the more popular versions of the 1956 model year, suggests that if Lambrecht had accepted those models as trade in they were sold long ago.  Plus none of these were the low or no  mileage; sold on MSO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin) instead of state title; which indicates that Lambrecht Chevrolet didn’t have any trouble selling those models when new!  The average price for the seven cars was just over $7,900 and only three cars went for over $5,000.

Interior view of 1956 station wagon
Lambrecht’s 1956 station wagon interior


At least at these prices, the cars are going to loving homes and not being chopped up for their body parts.  Or are they…check out a future blog article.

Photos – Courtesy of VanDerBrink Auctions

Lambrecht Chevrolet Classic Car Auction

This past weekend the Lambrecht Chevrolet auction was held in Pierce Nebraska by VanDerBrink Auctions.  If you hadn’t heard about this nearly 500 car auction in advance, you missed out on a surely once in our lifetime event.  It seems the mom and pop owners of Lambrecht Chevrolet had a history of keeping both new cars that just didn’t seem to move off their lot; or some cars that they took in as trade ins.

Some of these cars were kept in fields, some were stored in warehouses until literally the roof fell in and some were kept at the Lambrecht dealership showroom.    Well the cars weathered and finally the surrounding trees were chopped down and the cars were offered up for sale this past weekend (September 28-29, 2013).  Even the History Channel got in the act and offered coverage from the farm fields.

Lambrecht Chevrolet

These Lambrecht Chevrolet vehicles were generally what I would call rough, survivor cars.  They were stored outside, after all, and exposed to Mother Nature.  Even the better vehicles were bound to need some work.  You can’t ignore a vehicle for fifty plus years and expect the radiator, belts, brakes and even engine to be road worthy.

VanDerBrink Auctions

VanDerBrink auctions seemed to have a good handle on this auction. Bearing in mind that they are not a usual purveyor of high-end collector cars, they had things well in hand.  This wasn’t their first rodeo!  Parking was available nearby and while probably high by Pierce, Nebraska local standards, $20 seems a fair deal given the circumstances.  Their website stayed up and had generally accurate descriptions and pictures of the cars.  They had plans for temporary storage of the cars, since most had no functional tires!


Most of the low mileage “new” cars were offered with Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO), meaning that the cars never were sold and titled in the state.  A few cars were noted as being issued a Nebraska title, which I took to mean the MSO wasn’t located.  And the balance of the nearly 500 cars were used vehicles, generally with 50,000+ miles on the odometers.  It indicates the organizational skills maintained by a small dealership like Lambrecht had, to locate MSO’s from sixty years ago!  I know some owners with one classic car that can’t find their titles!

The value in these cars was the low mileage status of them.  They are survivors and few and far between.  To quote the pundits, “they are only original once.”  But many buyers  were quoted as indicating they had plans of fixing up the cars and driving them.  But once you start putting miles on these cars, their provenance drops.

1978 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe – Anniversary Edition

1978 Corvette Pace car sold from Lambrecht Collection by VanDerBrink Auctions
1978 Corvette Pace car Edition

As an example a 1978 Corvette was sold with only 4 miles on the odometer and sold for $80,000.  This was the 25th anniversary model and is a pretty eye-catching model.  Being a Corvette, you would expect a few well-heeled buyers and sure enough it was sold for $80,000.  VanDerBrink charged a 5% buyers premium on site and a web buyers premium of 8-10%

As a comparison, the Barrett-Jackson auction has sold three low mileage similar Corvettes.  In 2011, they sold a 1978 with only 48 miles for $45,100.  More recently in January 2013 Barrett-Jackson sold one with 158 miles for $44,000 and in Spring, 2013 at Palm Beach a coupe with 928 miles sold for $33,000.  So the Lambrecht version had probably a $40,000 premium for those four miles.

The best news is that nearly 500 cars have found new homes and were saved from the metal shredders.  And for that we all should be grateful!

Photo © GM

Tom Fritz Car Art at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

While cars are the major attraction at a car show – (duh), organizers always seem to find other ways to spend your time and money.  One of the best side attractions at the Pebble Beach Concours  d’Elegance is the art work shown by the Automotive Fine Art Society (AFAS) artists.


These auto artists have two major shows a year, here at Pebble Beach and at Amelia Island in March.  They have been displaying their wares since 1986 at Pebble Beach.   This is their chance to show off their newest designs to discerning car nuts and art buyers in a juried show.  AFAS consists of 25 members devoted to interpreting cars through art.  At this show Tom Fritz won the inaugural “Art Fitzpatrick Award” from AFAS.

Tom Fritz’s Newest Pieces

This year Tom Fritz, a member of AFAS, was able to preview five new pieces.  His  “Like Dogs Was After ‘Em” shows a 32 Ford hi-boy alongside a 1940 Ford Deluxe coupe on a back road.  “Long, Lazy Wait” depicts a sprint car on a small dirt track.   “Ain’t Bashful No How” is a terrific front engine dragster painting.  The “Woodshed Session” is a scene from a race track, focused on two spirited competitors.    “Ending The Rumors”   shows a race car leaving a plume of dust and smoke behind the car.   While many may not be able to afford a Fritz original, I’m guessing we all could buy one of his reproductions.  In fact I’m guessing you probably already bought or used one!

USPS Muscle Cars

You see Tom was selected to do the artwork for the third series of classic “muscle” cars for the United States Postal Service.  So for the price of five stamps, you can own some Tom Fritz art!

As you check out his latest pieces, you’ll see he has a great eye for detail and has some tremendous designs.  More information on Tom Fritz and his artwork can be found here.  Tom will be showing in two months at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Illustrations courtesy of Tom Fritz


Porsche 911 Celebrates 50th Anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911.  For perspective the Corvette is celebrating 60 years with their seventh generation of the American sports car.  This is presently the fifth incarnation of the 911 and is treasured for both its sleek design and focused engineering.  The first model was labeled a “901” but due to trademark issues had to change it to the now iconic 911.

911 Porsche
911 comparisons

Porsche 911’s Humble Beginnings

It is rare for a model to stay in constant use for half a century, but even the original first generation was known for setting the industry standards for superior engineering.  Imagine that in 1963, the first 911 came with such advanced features as overhead cams, dry-sump oiling, seven-main-bearing bottom end, 5-speed transaxle, 4-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, and advanced independent suspension. There are even cars being manufactured today that can’t hold a candle to that design.

Porsche always had a high level of engineering design but ironically, the fir

st generation Porsche 911’s were blinding fast but treacherous to drive, but over time the handling was improved.  The exterior lines of the 911 seem timeless and stately.

Porsche 911 Celebrations

Across the globe various venues are hosting events to celebrate the 50th Anniversary epoch.  The Silverstone Classic in July had a great event.  Originally hoping for 911

Porsche’s to roar along the circuit, they couldn’t stop the demand and ended up with over 1200 cars hitting the race track. Here’s the details on the event.

You just had to know the Frankfurt Auto show in Porsche’s backyard would do the 911 proud and the factory pulled no punches with a knockout event. Porsche had a driving party at their test track at Weissach,Germany.  And their museum is having a special exhibition as well

Daily Driver Capable

Thanks to its own 50-year racing history, today’s Teutonic 911 is one of the highest-performance cars, but still is tame enough to be a daily driver.  Few cars can claim to be favored by three generations of drivers.


Photo courtesy of Porsche

Snake and Mongoo$e with screenwriter Alan Paradise

If you are an avid drag race fan or into the historical vintage racing stuff, you’ll enjoy watching the upcoming movie, Snake and Mongoo$e.  It will be coming to theaters in limited release after the NHRA’s US Nationals being held this Labor Day Weekend.  In a clever marketing ploy, it is first being released in markets where the NHRA hosts drag racing.  It even had some special preview showings during Hot August Nights and the Woodward Cruise, according to screenwriter and co-producer Alan Paradise.  We had first covered this movie this month.

Snake and Mongoo$e Movie Poster
Snake and Mongoo$e Movie Poster

Drag Racing with Mattel’s Hot Wheel Sponsorship

Some of you may recall when Don “the Snake” Prudhome and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen barnstormed the country with their drag racing grudge matches.  Their profiles blossomed when Mattel’s Hot Wheels sponsored the racers, crafting a set of drag racing themed models.  This is generally regarded as the first non-automotive related sponsorship of an automobile racing event.  Guess you can trace the naming of stadiums, sponsorship of pro team press conferences and ads at courtside of basketball games, all to Mattel and this duo.

The movie offers a trip back to 1970 when these two raced their cars; Prudhome drove a yellow Plymouth ‘Cuda  while McEwen piloted the red Dodge Duster.  They used color matching car haulers that kept the cars exposed and visible as they crisscrossed the highways.  Now these restored race cars are again barnstorming the country to promote the movie before they are scheduled to be sold in January, 2014 at the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Alan Paradise – Screen writer of Snake and Mongoo$e

We had the chance for an interview with the screenwriter Alan Paradise recently, who offered some behind the scenes insights to this movie.  Turns out that Paradise is a prolific writer and has authored a variety of car themed books and worked on numerous car magazines over the years.  You’ve probably read his words while working for Buckaroo Publications, Truckin’ and Sport Compact Car. As a filmmaker, he developed over 100 video profiles of NASCAR racers and tracks.

The inspiration for the movie

Paradise was first approached by Mattel in 2005 seeking his help in producing a documentary on the then 35th anniversary of the drag racing partnership.  The documentary “Once Upon A Wheel” was the result and was used initially for Mattel functions and eventually Tom McEwen acquired the rights to the film and even still sells it today.

While collaborating on the documentary, McEwen suggested that Paradise could make the story of Snake and Mongoose into a book.  That started Paradise off on a trek involving hundreds of hours of research and interviews with some of drag racing’s legends including John Force, Tommy Ivo and Roland DeLong.

The more Paradise worked on the project, the more he was convinced that the story needed to be told on the big screen as a movie; and encouraged by his wife, that was the route he pursued.  He linked up with Stephen Nemeth of Rhino Films and he started working on a script.  It took Paradise seven months to write his first draft and then another 3 months for a re-write, plus another 2 months on final tweaks and changes.

Paradise submitted his script to the Hollywood powers late on a Friday, thinking that he could relax over the weekend before hearing back from the producers at the earliest on Monday.  Instead on Sunday, he was in deep discussions with the movie folks who had loved the script and read it right away.

As they sought out financial backing for the film, some distributors were concerned that the story would not have much attraction in the foreign markets.  This seems ironic since drag racing is truly an international sport with strong interest across the globe.  So the movie folks opted to go the independent route.

Archival Footage

During the movie making process, the producers had access to some archival footage from NHRA and were even offered scenes from private collectors.  Several vintage racers can also be seen in the movie including the Greer Black Prudhome dragster.  The movie was able to use numerous scenes after colorizing and cleaning up these films.  So when you see races, you know they are the real deal.

Drag racing scenes

And for the real deal during the race scenes, obviously the movie actors couldn’t be behind the wheel.  Taking the place of Richard Blake who portrayed Tom McEwen was Trevor Larkin, the son of famed drag racer Tommy Larkin.  And guess who drove for Don Prudhome’s character?  Yep, Don Prudhome piloted the drag car himself instead of actor Jesse Williams.

The actual filming of this epic took seven weeks and then came months of post-production work.  A short snippet was shown at the 2012 SEMA show in Las Vegas and it looked terrific.  Can’t wait to finally see the full length feature.  Once you see it, leave us a note.