About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Friday, September 22, 2017

September 22: Cars & Coffee (and jerks)

Cars & Coffee. Not sure how this whole thing got started, but I have a niggling memory, that I read something once about a few people in California (where else?), who would bring out their interesting rides and get together for coffee Saturday mornings. Nothing formal, just a few car enthused folks out for caffeine and a chat. Now this idea has spread around the world and even Jerry Seinfeld has a TV show called Cars & Coffee. I guess Cars & Coffee sounds cooler than Stanley's Speed Shop Cruze In. Or whatever. Nice idea. A get together of like minded people with cool cars of no particular year, make or model. Just good folks.

One more thing these get togethers have in common.......


Yes, dear reader, there should be a section specifically for jerks. I subscribe to several car sites and every other day amongst all the new car info, there will be a video, showing the heroics of some jerk, who while exiting their local Cars & Coffee event decides to put on a bit of a show. And why not, I ask you? You have a great car, a captive audience and the inability to show what your ride can do.

The result?


Ouch, that has got to hurt (the pocket book). Only multiple thousands of dollars damage, in front of only hundreds (if you are lucky) people. And to top it off, one gets to go viral. Does it get any better? Hard to imagine.

Cold tires. Cold pavement. Lots of power. Mucho ego. Bad combo, folks. And there always seems to be a median stripe or a tree nearby to end the drivers' good times, as they spin helplessly out of control to the thrill of the crowd......


Price major repairs to a Viper lately?

And it ain't just American muscle hitting that immovable object.........


I'm not an expert in body repairs or damage, but I'd guess that anytime a car's rear wheels point in another direction, one could be looking at a little more than a weekend repair. And being a Porsche, that costly vacation may just have to be put on hold.


And the classic "just before and during" pics.........





A bit of damage. A bit of terror. And hopefully no injuries, although spectators have not been immune to damage, when good things go bad.

 And what montage would be complete without a Camaro in the mix.......


Jerks. Why not leave your local Cars & Coffee gathering with a substantial amount of over revving, but (and here's a novel idea) back off the gas before heading onto the street and into "What an idiot!" territory? Along, of course, with viral proof in perpetuity.

Cars & Coffee........


What better way to celebrate your local car culture than with an opportunity to bite the hand that feeds you? Think there might be some restrictions to jerk like behavior at next week's get together? Count on it.

Keep watching for those exciting Cars & Coffee exit videos, since as long as there are cars and people, I can guarantee there will be someone who didn't get the message.

Until next time.......

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 19: Another brave move?


This is the newest arrival from a South Korean company, that is trying really hard to break into the luxury car market. Anyone who has read my blogs before or who professes to be any kind of a car person, knows that I'm referring to Hyundai. Tough road ahead guys, as only thirty years ago, things didn't look any too rosy for this company. A lot can happen in thirty years, just look at a few of the big car happenings....

1) GM declared bankruptcy
2) Oldsmobile and Pontiac close
3) Taurus was the best selling sedan in North America

And the list goes on and on. Hyundai has become a strong competitor with great quality and designs. Next step, a move into the luxury car market. Success? Possible? Probable? Everything is possible. Many things are improbable.

A history lesson, my friends. Remember this.......


Honda, the company everyone loved, introduces its entry into the luxury car market. Sold in separate showrooms, the Acura looked like a reasonable bet to succeed. Now back thirty years ago, no one had gone from humble beginnings to luxury car status or maybe even had aspired to to so. Where are they now? Struggling to find their place in the market for cars, but successful with two well respected suv's.

Another lesson from Toyota.........


Lexus has become the darling of those who like the idea of a luxury car as a sofa, an image they are working hard to change. Lexus has become the business school case study as a way to do things right, since they are the most successful of the "economy" brands to make the leap to sought after luxury name plate.

And then there is Nissan's Infiniti.......


Infiniti tried to sell to our heart strings. The initial ads showed rocks and streams and buds, but no cars. What did they think they were selling? A concept? An idea? Well folks, it sure wasn't a car, as the early sales showed. Infiniti has never really made the leap with anything but the G37, which after being established for many years in people's minds became the Q50. I'm in the car business, deal with these brands everyday and I'm still confused about which Infiniti is which.

And now with these other companies' successes and failures to emulate, Hyundai is making the leap to luxury status with the Genesis brand. Separate showrooms and very good cars. Some might say great cars. Next up, the camo'ed model shown above, the G70.......


 Just introduced at last week's Frankfurt show and enroute to North America next Spring as a 2019 model. Ready to take a run at BMW's 3 Series, Audi's A4 and Mercedes' C Class. For the time being, I'd hate to lead the lonely existence of a Genesis salesperson. Waiting expectantly for the next open minded client to come hesitantly thru the showroom's doors. Standing in line at the food bank, until sales ramp up enough to pay those never ending bills.

The big question.......can Genesis make the leap to luxury brand status for Hyundai? It's a rocky road, but they have plenty to history to follow. Whose sales will suffer due to the Genesis's success? With a strong corporate car face, good looks and great reviews (so far), this struggle will be fun to watch.

My advice? Get your Genesis, but lease it. Don't you dare take the risk of buying one. As always, time will tell.


Until next time......


Friday, September 15, 2017

September 15: Merry Old England, part 2

Question of the day......you have a palace, which has been your family home for years and you want to have a few folks over on the weekend. Now, keep in mind that you won't know most of these folks and they'll be roaming the grounds and the inside of your humble pile. What would be an excellent way to attract these commoners to your palatial digs? Great idea, hold an exotic car show. Those pricey rolling supercars will fit right in with your home's excessive early 18th century vibe.


So, here we were on the day after, just a week ago Monday, checking out the Churchill family's Blenheim Palace on the way to Oxford with our very long time British friends from Windsor (relax, it's not who you think). I love those old English estates, but this car guy's eyes lit up when we came across the remnants of the annual Salon Prive' (Google it) and what remnants. If I thought that chrome Lambo, shown in my last blog was something.......well, be still my heart.

To start, here was what I came across in the parking lot........



Just the car for the tree huggers amongst you, as this Porsche 918 is a plug-in hybrid. Save on your gas bill, even as you deplete your bank account to the tune of over a million bucks. Being a conservationist has its benefits.

Or how about a gem like this Jaguar concept........



Subtle in a "Hey, look at me!" way. How many of you even knew that this car existed?

Sick and tired of the traffic around around your local burg? Why not saddle up this track only Aston Martin Vulcan? By the way, this wild child has a Toronto connection, as some of the work on it was done by Multimatic, who also built the limited edition One-77.



Get away from the car, kid. That scratch will cost your folks your college education.

Favour a more streetable Aston and with a common place Ferrari thrown in?


Back to those, what I think are strange, European supercars, that go like a North Korean rocket, but have looks that are questionable at best and super ugly at worse. And who cares that Lewis Hamilton drives one?Expensive? Goes without saying, old chap.

 

















And for those observant ones, you'll notice a couple of garden variety Ferrari F40's lulling in the background.

Koenigsegg? Rolls off the tongue like phegm on a "day after" morning, but high powered and high priced.........


Rare, of course, and just the car for those who live in a Ferrari infested 'hood.

What a treat for this car guy. Seeing cars that I'd never seen before and thought I never would. And, I also got to tour a very British estate. A nice compact 2000 acre spread in the English countryside. Who says this little island is over crowded?

All you Zagato lovers start drooling........



Another of those, "I didn't know it even existed." cars for many of you. Did I? Good question, but like the Jag concept, I think I've seen this one in one of my numerous strolls thru the inter web. Beautiful, beautiful car.

All I can say, is thank goodness, that I wasn't at the Blenheim Palace on Sunday. Keep those defibrillators handy, as supercar overload might well have stopped "this ol' heart of mine" (with thanks to the Isley Brothers). And special thanks to my loving wife and my good friends, who stood patiently by while I hyperventilated.

Merry old England! There's nothing like it.

Until next time........





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

August 12: Merry Old England

 One guess. Just one guess where this pic was taken, while I was away the past couple of weeks. Who said, New York? Well, friendo, you are dead wrong. Is there anyone else, anywhere, who wouldn't ID this as a London taxi, taken of course, in London, England? Iconic and for some reason they seem to have found favour in this one great city. Another blog for another time, perhaps. I love England. The sights, the sounds, the history and for moi, your car guy blogger, the cars. Why else would you take a trans Atlantic trip? There are brands and models that we ain't ever going to see on our shores, so sit back and see what got my attention in London town........


My constant rant is that we in Canada and the US are stuck on suvs, while our friends in most other places know the allure of a station wagon. This police car Ford was typical of most of the police cars, in that they were practical and great looking station wagons (along with BMW X5 suvs!). But normal folk also know about the goodness of wagons, like this VW Passat.........


 How about an Audi Allroad type of version for us, like what VW has done with the Golf wagon?

Other good lookers in descending order, the Mazda6 (Mazda initially teased us with this model but got cold feet), a Kia Optima and a Hyundai Sonata.......





Is there a bad line on any of these?

Enough already with the wagons, Barry, so let's move on. Seen on one of London's upscale streets, this is an uncommon Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale, sold from 1959 until 1966.........



Rare? Well, for that info you'd have to speak to an Alfa aficionado and God knows that's not me, but I've never seen one before.

Walking thru the embassy area was a visual treat, both in the lovely old buildings and the lovely new cars. When was the last time you saw a Lamborghini Aventador roadster? When was the last time you saw two in a five minute period? Ok, so you get my point? These cars stand out in a big way, but if they are that common in this area, what can one do to differentiate yours from your neighbour's? Here's an idea.......


Chrome wrap it, like this one parked on Mayfair. Hard on the eyes on those sunny London days (yes, there are a few), but a pair of ultra costly shades should do the trick. One more thing that made this particular Lambo stand out........


Spot that detail? Yep, this chrome dream ride was packing a Kuwaiti licence plate. No surprise there, folks. Nice to know, that all the profits from the money you are spending on gasoline for your humble ride is being spent wisely.

 Merry old England and especially London town. Cars are but a small part of the appeal and a very small part of the hundreds of pics that came back with me. Memories in full colour. Now stay tuned for the really good stuff coming in my next epistle.

Until next time......




Friday, August 25, 2017

August 25: What the heck is a Great Wall?

Jeep, the iconic brand that earned its reputation during the torturous days of WW2. That funny looking little ground pounder, that could do just about anything that was asked of it. Rugged and rudimentary, the jeep earned a soft spot in the hearts of our fighting men, so much so that after the war, Willys-Overland saw a future for this little gem in civilan life. Farmers and contractors were the target market for this tough little war vet. And, of course, unless the cave you've been living in doesn't have the internet, you know how this story turned out. But the ride hasn't always been smooth. Over the years Willys-Overland became American Motors, which eventually closed and Jeep joined Chrysler, which eventually was bought by Fiat to become FCA. Got it?

So, now that brings us to 2017 and the Jeep brand is known world wide. No longer the basic go everywhere, simplistic 4x4, the Jeep, the first suv, has expanded its line up to cover almost all bases, even to the point of being about to introduce a 707 HP Hellcat powered Trackhawk.

The rest, as they always, say is history. Jeep supported Chrysler and now does a pretty fair job of supporting FCA, or at the very least doing a better job than the problematic, but well reviewed Alfa.

So what is a Great Wall? This is a Chinese company that by 2020 wants to become the world's largest seller of suvs (or something like that). There they are again, the Chinese. Only a handful of years ago being laughed at by many (not by me) for their aspirations. Now, they are being regarded as a respected powerhouse of car manufacturing and development (see Volvo, folks). And what better way to achieve that than to have the Jeep brand in their arsenal.

Currently Great Wall has a few nothing special sedans, that you'd lose in a empty parking lot, they are so boring. Also, and this is where they sell volumes (after all this is China), some nothing special suvs, which they sell under the Havel name..........


And another little guy, that looks suspiciously like a Fiat 500......


No surprise here, as Chinese manufacturers have been cloning other companies' products for more than a few years. Chinese knock-offs often find themselves in other countries' courts, who actually have copyright laws. Growing pains, since this will change, as China's manufacturers take on the world.

Great Wall also has introduced a luxury suv, being marketed under the Wey nameplate. This is its just introduced suv.......


Attractive and a touch derivative, but hey, aren't many cars and suvs like that these days?

And of course, any self respecting company also has to have a pick-up in the line up.......
Speaking of pick-ups, Mercedes has just introduced one and Hyundai's will be here in the next year or so. But I digress.

So Great Wall has big dreams and apparently, more to the point, big pockets, if they think they have any chance of wrestling Jeep away from FCA. Who would think that FCA would even entertain an offer for this steady and big profit maker? But obviously Great Wall knows something we don't. Or, just maybe they are dreaming. FCA could use the coin, but lose out in the long run?

A story whose ending has yet to be written, but don't think it's impossible to read this ad in the not so distant future......Your Great Wall dealer cordially invites you....."Come in and drive a Jeep yourself."

Hope springs eternal.

Until next time..........and since I'll be heading to England for a couple of weeks holiday, next time will be September 12th. As always, my car camera will be at the ready.




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 22: 2017 Mopar Fest


Ah, those good old days, when every car wore some sort of indication of what was under the hood. Sure, in this case, the Plymouth in question would have to be about to run you over for you to know what was throbbing under that '60's era hood. The good news is that there was also an engine call out on the front fender, so you could live to tell your friends what you had just seen. Assuming you had friends that cared.

And this brings me to today's blog. The car above was at the annual and huge Mopar Fest, held each August in New Hamburg, about 120 kms west of Toronto. Great show of eveything Chrysler and of course, the expected were on display........




But how about the unexpected? How about the strange stuff, that ended up on the show grounds? How about this throw back van from those days, when if this van is rockin', don't come knockin' type of vans ruled the custom car shows.


Scary or clever? I went to one car show back in the 70's and just about all they had were vans like this. It's my firm belief that these custom vans lead to the worldwide shortage of shag carpet.

Or, who hasn't wished for a more creative exhaust system for their car?


I couldn't agree more. Put a set of these on your new Bentley or Mercedes S Class and you'll rule the street. Terrorize the local youngsters. Cause old ladies to faint in shock. Got a set on order for the Maxima.

There is a subset of the old car hobby, that likes completely original vehicles, ones with patina.......


No question this old Dodge qualifies. And to think that only a few years ago, it would have also qualified as junk. Attracting a crowd? A few picture takers anyway.

And speaking of trucks or in this case, trucklettes, the one version of the PT Cruiser that Dodge neglected to build was the pick-up. Of course, at Mopar Fest, one enterprising soul showed them boys what they had missed out on.........


Built to answer a question that absolutely no one asked.

Thinking that creativity might have died out long ago? Oh, but you are so wrong........


Need I say more?

And on the subject of creativity.........


Two motors, two instrument panels, two steering wheels, two drive systems, two sets of brake lights, two sets of headlights. One very mixed up idea of how one should spend their leisure time. Obviously this Plymouth Horizon's creator didn't have TV or a library card.

Now back to one more shot showing that amid all this strangeness, some sanity ruled......


My biggest disappointment? Here we had thousands of folks treking around the little burg of New Hamburg. Lots of folks looking in the shops and restaurants and you know what decided to close for the weekend because of all the people? The famous local cheese factory, known throughout southern Ontario for its various goudas. Now that was just plain stupid. On a par with the double ended Plymouth? You decide.

Until next time.......