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, February 23, 2018

February 23: Time for a new car?

Time for a new car and you just can't decide? The thought of "go big or go home" has crossed your mind, but you are left wondering is that the best way to spend your millions? Let's stop right here.......if you are not of the ultra rich persuasion and aren't thinking of spending about half a mil Canadian on your new ride, then please move along, as there is nothing in today's blog for you. Now we've got that clear, those remaining can move in a little closer.

Recognize this iconic symbol and that famous hood ornament? Yes sir, that is the famous flying lady, the Spirit of Ecstasy, that adorns the leading edge of each and every Rolls Royce. No mistaking it. A symbol, so valued that Rolls has devised an ingenious system that at the touch of a button (one doesn't push a button on a Rolls), it drops out of sight, when you are away from your pride and joy. No souvenir hunting scoundrel is going to make off with your lady.

For 2018 Rolls Royce has taken the rare step of designing a completely new Phantom, their top of the line "if you got it flaunt" ride. For their more than merely wealthy clientele this is a BIG event. For the rest of us, it is simply an event. You see the Phantom has a very specific roll to play, so a new and improved version must know its place without obsoleting its predecessor. Let's take a look at the new standard bearer.......


......and let's take a look at the one it replaced.......


Subtle baby, oh so subtle, but if you are a cheque writer for this car, you'll definitely see those differences. While checking out the new one, please keep in mind that this is all new. Got that?

Ah, the Phantom. Long looked up to as the penultimate Roller, but even a Phantom can be upgraded to differentiate it from the one down the street and if you live in that kind of neighbourhood, there will be one down the street. Maybe an interior custom done to your high style standards........


......or some exterior modes to make entry a tad easier.......


Keep in mind, that Rolls Royce will do anything for you, since almost every Phantom is made exclusively for the client. None of that calling up a salesperson and asking what they have on the lot in the way of a nicely equipped Phantom? And in what colour? Even that famous lady on the hood (bonnet?) can be made specifically for you. Lalique crystal? Glad you asked........


Over the years, the rich and famous have used a Phantom to tell the world and themselves, that they have arrived and in grand style.......


From that late opinionated Beatle, to The Donald (of course) and to the royal family (another, of course). All have shown their power and prestige with a Phantom, although with any nouveau riche, not always tastefully.

So, the advent of a new Rolls Royce Phantom is discussed among the rich and famous in hushed and respectful tones. For over one hundred years, the brand has made that model the epitome of class in the car world. From the very distinctive radiator and hood ornament, this automobile signifies your arrival in more ways than one. This Rolls lead the way back at its beginning........


......and still leads the way today.........


Lottery winners need not apply, since there are all sorts of Mercedes to fulfill your needs. But the rest of you who have stayed around thru this blog, those of you with enviably fat wallets and taste, know that now is the time to ease on down to your Rolls dealer and check out the new 2018 Phantom. Subtle changes, but someone like you will know the difference. If you don't Mercedes is right next door.

Until next time........



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February 20: A Model Life, part 1085

 Hard at it again for the umpteenth time, is the darling little Car Modeling Cat, aka, the CMC. Using those paws in the best way she knows how, to help me craft a memory from my not so misspent youth. When girls were something that the other guys were involved in, I had my plastic model kits to provide the erotic excitement, I otherwise so lacked from the opposite sex. But hey, this isn't a pity party, since as the saying goes, "Car modeling has been very good to me.", and of course, an understanding wife. And a CMC.

Which after those thoughts, brings me to our latest build, one of my favorite cars of all time, the 1960 Ford. A car, which my misguided, style-wise, friend GN dislikes (hates?) with a passion. Not to worry, as this is our show, not his. After the very square '59, Ford dropped the '60 model on a very surprised and disappointed public. Swoopy in a way, a Ford hadn't been to that point in time. A purrfect (my apologies) model for the CMC and me to fuss over to get it absolutely right.


Typical sixties colour, that for some reason these days, would not look good on a Mercedes. But, hey, times change and the CMC and me have replicated a favorite car down to the very last chrome laden detail......


Don't remember this old Ford? Need a real life comparison?


Pretty close, minus of course, that jet pilot, which tells us, who Ford thought drove this swoopier Starliner. Question........the convertible was called the Sunliner, which made sense, so why was the hardtop called the Starliner? Please don't lose any sleep over this.

As usual our model is as accurate as we can make it, right down to the gold Starliner script on the front fenders and trunk lid.........



A slight variation in our model from one side to the other (I'll let you figure it out, if you really care). This was an expensive build, since when we had almost finished our masterpiece, I (don't blame the cat) broke off one of those tiny fender ornaments, so I had to buy a second kit for this part. Oh, well, if this is all we have to worry about......

So back to the company's misjudgement of the Ford buying public. As they ran from the showrooms in droves, the redesign for 1961 went back to the traditional upright models, that Ford seemed to be known for in the recent past. The CMC and I have also built this one..........



.......so you can see the change in direction back to the way they came or the way the public expected them to come.

A model life once again brings to you a great model and a bit of automotive history. And after all this work, even the intrepid little CMC needed a break, which in cat lingo, means a nap.........


Until next time.......



Friday, February 16, 2018

February 16: Happy Birthday UAZ 452!

Here's one vehicle that the Chinese won't copy........



These are pics of an old Russian van that came out in 1958. Special? Depends on how you look at it. It was a true 4x4, but that's not its claim to fame. Actually it's not bad looking for a van way back sixty years ago. Just your standard van design that looks like a loaf of bread. So much so, that the slang name for it in Russian is bukhanka, the "loaf".

Interesting in that this van is still made in Russia. Want to see the new one?


Surprise, surprise. Basically the same as the one from '58 and therein lies its claim to fame. The good old "loaf" is now sixty years old with the same design and underpinnings for all those many years. With all the positive changes in Russian vehicles since the early '90's, the old UAZ 452 is still trucking (vanning?) right along with its tough as nails, go anywhere reputation.

A few GAZ 452's in working guise........



The military and the local police services love these tough little vehicles. When I was in Russia in 2015, old Communist era cars were scarce, but of course, the place was crawling with loaves. And not just as vans, as these trucks are made in a variety of configurations......



Why opt for a modern family van when you can indulge in pre-glasnost nostalgia with a family oriented loaf at your disposal........


Ah, this is the life, away from the prying eyes of Putin's thugs in your go anywhere UAZ 452. And with this being a true 4x4, I do mean go anywhere, but there are always exceptions. Such as when Dmitri fails to comprehend the word "limitations", but maybe that open bottle of Russia's finest explains it.......


So let's celebrate the 60th birthday of the intrepid little UAZ 452. Maybe take that exciting cross country trip you've been planning and share this little suv's longevity with the world...........

"We don't need no stinkin' highways, comrade!"
Until next time.......



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

February 13: What's in a number? The Eagle EG633OK.

We've been here before, haven't we? You know, when we look at a new Chinese vehicle design and have a sense of deja vu. My theory is that somebody is pulled in off the street and told to design a new vehicle before lunch and then they are fired. What other reason would there be to explain why vehicles like the Land Wind are 100% knock offs of something else, in this case the Land Rover Evoque?


Recently this happened and the new temporary hire must have found an old car magazine lying around. A really old car magazine and before they were given the boot, they presented their design for a new car, the Eagle EG633OK.........


Yes, I know you are wondering about that catchy name. Who wouldn't envy people, who can come up with those great names, that folks will remember for minutes to come. But back to that design. Got a few years under your hat or belt or whatever and think that this design kinda rings a bell? Would it be too much of a stretch to think it looks vaguely like something from the past? Take a better look........


Now let's change the colour and add whitewalls and look at the original version.......
Look similar? Well, it should and you can see its an almost perfect knock off of that old BMW from the 1950's, the Isetta. The strange little car that helped BMW get back on its feet in the aftermath of WW II. How strange? Glad you asked......


 Nowadays we have gullwng and scissor doors, but no one for some reason has tried to duplicate the front door system of the old Isetta, which had the steering wheel attached. Maybe it has something to do with good sense? Even this new Chinese knock off went the conventional route for some unknown reason.

Oh, did I mention that this new Eagle EG633OK (there's that catchy name again) is cutting edge, since it's all electric? Well, it is. A few stats........range in perfect conditions is about 140k, but will last all day, since the top speed is only about 60 kms/hour. But who needs to speed when you have a ride like this? 

But what about that design? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but really, coping an old microcar? I've seen some of the new Chinese designs and they are beautiful, so what's up here and when are they going to stop copying?



Maybe they are starting a new trend and if that's the case, better not let them see this picture..........

Until next time.......



Friday, February 9, 2018

February 9: Rezvani dreamin'

Beast
Beast Alpha
Beast X
Beast Alpha X
Beast Alpha X "Black Bird"

Amazing the number of models one ultra tiny car company can pull off of one body and chassis. Yes, sir, all of these cars are based on one model, the Beast. Time for a few pictures.......



Enrolled in the brutalist school of automotive design, this new mid-engined supercar stands out and certainly holds its own looks wise against some of those other boutique sportscar manufacturers.

A few other details. Rezvani Automotive Designs is based in that hotbed of automotive design, Irvine, California. Has been around since way back in 2015. Employs six people (according to the web). If you were wondering whether this is a volume manufacturer, there is your answer. Their mission is to create and sell a fast and unique supercar for cheap money. Fast, since even the "base" Beast has a 400 HP Cosworth engine and the power goes up from there thru the various Beast models.

Unique?


A picture is worth.......well, you know that old adage. No mundane scissor type door for this company. Don't like them? As you can imagine with only six workers each car is handmade to the buyer specs.

Did I mention they also do a cabrio? Glad you asked........


Not all drop tops are an improvement on a car's looks (Porsche 911, I'm talking to you), but this one is a stunner.

Fast. Unique. But affordable? This is the third part of Rezvani's raison d'etre. The Beast series starts at a mere $179,000 US and tops out at $225,500, of course options and client requests are extra. For anyone considering a hand built supercar, this is fantastically cheap coin. Where would our world be without dreamers and Rezvani appears to be on that list.

But they are not dummies, as everyone knows that these days, every single car manufacturer has to have some sort of suv in their portfolio. Rezvani is no exception. For those urban warriors among you, for those of you who consider going to the mall to be an off road adventure, here is Rezvani's answer, the appropriately named Tank.......



Remember my brutalist design school comment? Well, add ugly to it. What soccer mom wouldn't want to drop her budding athletes off in this thing. Watch the other moms and kids run away in fear. No messing with this dame, as she makes her way to the nearest Louis Vuitton outlet. Price? Of course, this is also very affordable (as least for those of you with fat wallets), starting at a comfortable $155,000 US.

Look for big things from this company. Things like doubling the workforce to meet demand. Things like hiring a good designer to revamp the Tank. Things like tripling their prices, so they can stay in business.

As I said, where would we be without dreamers. Rezvani Automotive Designs. Remember the name.

Until next time......

Friday, February 2, 2018

February 2: Self driving cars - a rant


Is this you? A picture of confidence and contentment behind the wheel of the ride of which you are so proud? Yes sir, it's shiny and well maintained, but nothing beats the feel of sitting in that driver's seat and taking control as you cruise the highways and byways of your world.

Or does this pic better describe how you would like to be in your vehicle of choice?


If you are a reader of car mags or even this blog, you are probably the cat in picture #1. You, like me, are seeing a future rapidly rushing towards us, where pic #2 is the upcoming new reality. Dreading the moment, where your machine drives you, not the other way around. Check out that Lexus ad showing a future where the driver is nostalgic for the recent past.

Engineers laud the self driving car as a great achievement and one that will save thousands of lives around the world, saved because there is not a nut behind the wheel. But folks, we are now travelling in a grey zone, between some cars that are almost to the self driving stage and almost all that still require a cool cat in the driver's seat. This is where it gets scary, since there is still, in some cases, a nut behind the wheel. A nut who feels that their Tesla (in most cases) can get them safely wherever without any driver input. Not the case. Definitely not the case.

Want proof? Look no further than this "driverless" Tesla, that just last week didn't notice a big red fire truck sitting on the left side of a California highway and promptly committed vehicular suicide by running into it.


Here's my question........where was the nut behind the wheel? Were they sleeping or texting or making a sandwich, thinking that their wonderful new car would avoid that immovable object before it demolished itself. Maybe the car knew what it was doing and was just pissed off? After all, aren't we almost to the point where machines can think for themselves?

Not the first time a self driving car mistook a huge object in its path for air. More proof.......


In this case, the driver didn't live to scold their new ride (another Tesla) for running into a tractor trailer that was crossing the road in front of this late driver and their late car.

Are these accidents the fault of the car? The driver? Or Tesla for telling everyone that their cars are (almost) self driving. Before you answer, please have a chat with one of the idiots in the accidents above (well, maybe only the first one). At least Mercedes and some others make the driver touch the wheel frequently to prove to the car, that the driver (or whatever you call the person sitting in the left front seat these days) is still alive and marginally in control

Want to save thousands of lives, at least in the US of A? Bring in gun control and forget about this self driving stuff. Get real, Barry, neither of these things are going to happen. So my friends, pay attention and don't assume that all the wonderful new technology on your fancy new ride is meant, at least for the time being, to replace you. Maybe in a couple of months the way technology moves these days, but we ain't there yet. Now we have driver assistance and that word "assistance" is the key.

As we speed towards the inevitable, this is what should be happening in your wonderful new ride.......


Otherwise, you too, maybe the lead story on the evening news.

Until next time.......