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, August 26, 2016

Aug 26: Lambo dreams

Ah, those memories! Nothing says SEX like a Lamborghini and back in the day, I remember fantasizing over this car (and quite possibly the rather hot looking, leather wrapped damsel leaning against it), when it appeared on the cover of Car & Driver magazine back in the '70's. Matter of fact, I think I only turfed it last year, when we moved from our house to the apartment. Probably fantasized then as well, as I packed it off to one of my friends. Lamborghini. If a guy didn't have a poster of a sports hero on his bedroom wall, he had a Lamborghini or maybe he had both. And it would have been the Countach........


Ever see one of these things driving towards you? Like looking at a flying door stop. For a car person, it is an amazing looking car. This is the car that made Lambo's reputation. This is the car that established the brand as the home of outrageous looking cars, named after famous fighting bulls (did you know that?). Didn't start out that way, with the design or the names.......


......but things evolved, as you can see with the lovely Muira from 1966, the first Lamborghini to be named after a bull.........


.........followed shortly by the unusual, pancake looking Espada.......



 This one followed the Muira by two years. Not named after a bull, but for the sword the matador uses to finish off the poor, unfortunate beast. Ok, those two established Lamborghini as a legitimate contender. Possibly even as competition for the hallowed Ferrari. But it was the Countach, that firmly set the future path this company would take.

Fast forward to the present day and the wildest Lambo to date, the oh so exclusive Veneno.......


Carrying on in the tradition of extremely wild designs, the Veneno would be very rare to the tune of a mere three units. One guess as to where those three were probably headed. You just know, it wasn't going to be Saint John, New Brunswick. One recently came back on the market for $11 million USD (Google it if you are interested).

But who can even contemplate air this rare? No, for us mere mortals the standard Lambo line up is far easier to accept and maybe even possible to own, if those dam lottery tickets would finally pay off. Cars like the subtle(?) by comparison Huracan........
Or the less than subtle Aventador.........



.....in your choice of coupe or roadster. The latter is much better to be seen in and who wants to spend all that coin and be subtle about it? No sir, flaunt it to the world. Saw a roadster going down my street the other day and I got to tell you, it sure did make a statement. No one seeing it would think that it was the new Honda.

Which brings us to last week's Pebble Beach Concours. This high society event has grown to become a car person's nirvana. Everything one could ever want shows up there and now the manufacturers use it as a venue to shown off new concept cars or a new model. Now understand, Honda and Toyota won't be unveiling anything there anytime soon, but Mercedes, Cadillac and this year Lamborghini stepped up in a big way.

Trust wild and crazy Lamborghini to wow the champagne and caviar crowd with the latest Centenario, in this case the roadster.......



I could bore you with power outputs, buts let's be honest, you know that it will be plenty, so enough said. A volume model compared the ultra rare, Veneno, there will be forty made, twenty coupes, twenty roadsters. You better know, that if you haven't already reserved one, you are s___ out of luck, no matter how much you won in last weekend's lottery.

Ah, Lamborghini. Again, nothing says SEX like a Lamborghini. Nothing says, nail me to your bedroom wall, like a pic of their latest wild creation from Italy. And what Lamborghini picture would be complete without a comely damsel draping her sensuous body over its sensuous body? Let the fantasies begin.


Until next time........




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Aug 23: A weekend away

Yes, this is one whopping big off shore boat. Stats? Two jet turbine engines each producing 3000 HP! The heat from the two giant exhausts, each about  two feet in diameter, can be felt thirty or forty feet away. A nice little weekend run about, assuming your weekend runs are at 224 MPH (358 KPH for us Canadians)! This was the centre piece of the weekend Poker Run in Kingston, Ontario. We were visiting my brother, taking in these hot rod boats, dining at a nearby winery and also going to a local, weekly old car show. The boats were great, but this blog is about things on wheels, not on trailers, so let's move along, shall we? I haven't been to a cruise night in Toronto this year, so I was looking forward to see what showed up in Kingston. Not a lot of cars, but a nice amount and interesting.

What says the '50's better than a long and low, baby blue convertible (no, not a cabrio) packing one of those, in my mind ugly, continental rear tire mounts?


This Meteor was a Canada only car, a slight modification of a Ford, but one that could be sold by Monarch dealers (another Canada only car). Speaking of which........


 Another '50's icon a chopped top Mercury, except this one is a Monarch. Slight grille change, but otherwise the same car. Chopped Mercs are common, but a chopped Monarch, not so much.

These days, every show has to have a few rat rods. Rat rods? Those cars built for personal enjoyment, not for show.


These two are slightly evolved from real ratty rat rods, but a far cry from this old Willys, that was beautifully turned out with immaculate paint and bodywork, more my kind of hot rod. Check out those lines .........


Every old car is welcome, but a 1989 Cadillac? Nothing special for sure, but it did fit the criteria of being more than twenty five years old (next time scrub those whitewalls for Pete's sake). No picture of that one.

Personally, although I enjoy all the old cars, I really go for the cars of my youth. The ones that bring back those nostalgic memories of the cars, that I either really liked or had experience with in my hometown. Cars like this '64 Pontiac or the '69 AMX or the seldom seem '66 Olds convertible.........




And definitely these two big bruisers, a '64 Galaxie and a '64 Dodge, which resonated muscle, before the intermediate cars like the GTO took over the crown from them......


 

 And of course, any car running those great looking Torq Thrust rims always looks good in my eyes (remember Steve McQueen's Bullit Mustang?). And weren't those old interiors just a little much, although this one is a bit subdued compared to many. Nothing says the fifties and sixties like red and white, whether it is this vinyl interior or the '59 Edsel wagon below it.......



And beside this Edsel is that, give me a break, '89 Cadillac. And with the hood up no less to show everyone that weakling motor. Now I ask you, was that really necessary?

One final question.......with a choice of two very nice Japanese cars or 'Murican iron, what would you drive to the cruise night? Yes, that was the right answer.......


......and although my brother's Mustang's wheels are not my favorite, the Torq Thrust, they sure do have the look. And speaking of my brother, yes, he is in one of the pics above. Something for him to look for as he peruses today's blog.

All in all a great weekend. Hot boats, old cars and very good food. This car guy's heaven. Oh, and one more thing, also having my wife with me (whew, that was close).

Until next time.........




Friday, August 19, 2016

Aug 19: Straddle Bus!


Great idea in these days of mass transit and trying to figure out how the heck a city moves more people efficiently and effectively. This pic is of the recently unveiled "straddle bus". Yes, I know, it is more of a train, but hey, I didn't name it. Cities have tried a variety of ways to get more of their citizens to work quickly and easily over the years. Of course the easiest way was to go up........



.....as these two pics of London buses show. That city was the champion in this regard, so much so that when one thinks of a double decker bus, one automatically thinks of jolly old London. Right? Since then a few other municipalities have taken London's lead. Here in Toronto we have the GO (government of Ontario) system which has about fifty of these double deckers......


Can you think of one thing that might go wrong with something this high. Think about their high centre of gravity and then think about a corner taken just a tad too quickly.......


Yep, all too easy to see the result, like what has happened to this two story tour bus. The other problem is those low bridges, that you just didn't take into account when planning your route. No pics of that, as they are way too gruesome, if you get my drift.

A better way might be to add on to the current buses. Should be able to get a few more seats, without the worry of those sharp corners or too low overpasses. Think I'm the first person to come up with this idea?


Not a chance. In Toronto we use these, but with only one addition, not like this super long, train like bus with its two additions. Come to think of it, wonder how this one gets around those tight corners - with a wing and a prayer, perhaps? Quite frankly, I don't know how any of these big buses or big trucks navigate our city streets without creating havoc and mayhem in their wake.

So who has a better idea? Well, back to the straddle bus..........


Not in use yet and maybe it never will be a fixture on a big city's super busy streets (nice scale model, though). But the proposal has been made. A few points.........since it is actually a train or streetcar (see those rails), it definitely has limitations. Want to know another big one? This thing can clear vehicles up to just over six feet high. Think about all those Escalade drivers or those high roofed delivery vans. Sure, there will be warning signs about the height limitations on the straddle bus lanes, but who reads them? While this thing is supposed to straddle vehicles, as it makes its way over traffic jams, there will always be some idiot sitting there, throwing a wrench into this whole concept. And let's not even think about a accident stopping this thing, since it can't go around those kind of problems.

By the way, think this is a new idea, friendo? Not a chance, as this old (check the date) magazine cover shows.........


Isn't this the straddle bus, envisioned with a few minor mods? And it's sensibly higher. Of course, a city might have to tear down a few overpasses along its route, to make this baby fly.

But let's go back to the past's view of the future one more time for possibly the best idea yet........


Climbs mountains, but just think about its use in our cities. All those municipalities trying to think outside the box, can thank me for moving the process along. Say tuned for more bright ideas from your car guy blogger.

And look up.....is it a bird, a plane? No, it's the straddle bus!

Until next time.......




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Aug 16: Taxi!

What do you see here? Take a really good look. No I mean, a really good look. If you still haven't got it, I'll tell you, its a power window switch with a roll up window crank below it. Go figure! More about this later.

Picture any taxi in your home town, assuming you live somewhere in North America. I live in Toronto and when I picture a taxi, the image of a huge Crown Vic is rapidly fading, being replaced by a Camry. A Camry for Pete's sake! Who would have thought that they would have had the stamina for the tough life of a big city taxi. Picture a taxi in many other parts of the world and this is the picture that comes to mind........


Row upon row of Mercedes Benz. Take your choice, Citan, C Class, E Class or even an S Class.......


.......and make your selection between a sedan or a wagon. Sure, there are other makes being used, but the chances are about eighty percent that when you call a taxi, some sort of a Benz will show up to ferry you to your destination. Beige? Well, some countries have regulations that say a taxi has to be a certain colour. Beige stands out (who would have thought?) and also makes them easier to sell after their working life is through.

But why a costly Mercedes? The thought process is that since they are so reliable, the extra cost would be worth it and they would last for a very long time. Wonder why they think like that overseas and not on our side of the Atlantic? No matter how one cuts it, a Benz taxi will cost more than a Camry, assuming you could buy a Camry in Europe, which you can't.

Speaking of which, if you've read my blog, you know that I recently visited Portugal. They've had a couple of colour changes of heart, going from a strking black and turquoise to beige and now back to the black and turquoise combo, as shown on this old Mercedes taxi from some time in the past.......


......and as you can see from this present day view of the outside of the train station in Porto.......


Of course, the cabs are Mercedes, but in terms of age, look at the second one in line. This older (or just plain old) C Class, I believe comes from the late '90's. We were in one that was at least twenty years old and it was a manual, as are all the old ones. Kms? Nearing eight hundred thousand. Now back to that pic at the top.......


......our driver was over the top enthusiastic about how good Mercedes were. He almost ran down a pedestrian and when they gave him the evil eye, he yelled out the window, that he was driving a Mercedes, the greatest car ever made and its brakes were wonderful, so the pedestrian was never in any danger. But not being a fool, when the power window broke, rather than make a costly repair, he simply had a window crank installed. Mercedes may be the greatest car ever made, but they ain't cheap to fix.

I wasn't surprised that so many of the taxi's were Mercedes, but I was shocked that so many were so friggin' old! Careening up and down the cobble stoned streets to meet their client's needs. Even a Mercedes will start to show its age after being subjected to this hard life year after year.

Mercedes in all shapes and sizes, including as I mentioned above, the Citan Tourer..........


......like this one seen in the Algarve with another Benz behind it, of course. Citan? Its a small van, which for the time being hasn't reached our shores, but as Mercedes expands its truck line over here, don't be surprised to see it sometime in the future.

So next time you leave our hallowed shores and have to hail a cab, take heart, as there is a very strong possibility that you will be ferried to your destination in that creme de la creme of taxi's, the Mercedes Benz, which according to that taxi driver in Lisbon is, "the greatest car ever made!"..


Until next time.........




Friday, August 12, 2016

Aug 12: Say, you look familiar

Once upon a time the car manufacturers would sell the same car under different names, like the Ford Crown Vic and the Mercury Grand Marquis. Rare today, but it still happens, for example take the pick-ups from Chevrolet and GMC. Exactly the same truck, but with some minor design differences to aid(?) the consumer in their decision. These days things are different and one doesn't see this "badge engineering" as often. These days what we see is completely different companies sharing the same vehicle, but with some brand ID changes, again to aid the consumer in their choice.

Take these two.........



 The red Mercedes GLA came out last year, an entry level suv (or suv type car), which is being followed this month by Infiniti's QX30. Both share the same platform, but with some individual changes for brand awareness. Also, being a Benz, the GLA is slightly more costly. Never used to see this happen in the past, where different companies shared what is basically the same vehicle under a different brand name. Fascinating.

Another example from Toyota and Subaru is their sharing of this little sports model.......


Very nearly identical cars, with minor changes that are extremely minor. Your car guy can't tell the difference, until he sees the Subaru stars or the Toyota whatever symbol.

Or how about the brand new Fiat 124.......


......which is essentially a Mazda MX-5........

.......but with some clever, and in my opinion better design changes, to help people see the original 124, which left us years ago. Obviously, the reason behind these alliances is cost. Fiat could bring out their brand new Japanese sports car for a fraction of what it would have cost to make an Italian one. Will folks buy into this? Probably, since the basis for their new ride is the very competent and generally loved Mazda Miata (oops, MX-5). Smart move, just find a car you like and make a call to the other company......"Hey, Asumi, guess what I was thinking?".

Does this new Chevy City Express small van remind you of anything else you might have seen recently?
 Possibly this Nissan NV200?

Unless you are completely blind, you'll realize that they are exactly the same vehicle. Chevy needed a small van, after being caught flat footed by Ford's new European arrivals, so a quick call to Nissan, a minor grille change and voila', the new Chevy City Express. Whew! Dodged another bullet and saved the day, until Chevy can develop their own small van or bring one from Europe.

Doesn't Opel sell a neat little city van in Europe? Sure they do and their Combo is the perfect small van, that would compete nicely with the Nissan and the Fords.......


. But wait a minute, doesn't this one look remarkably like this Fiat Doblo below?
Which it should, since they are the same vehicle. So, then bringing it to North America might be tough, since the Fiat Doblo is already being sold over here as a Ram van...........
.......which makes sense since Fiat owns Chrysler. But then again, since different manufacturers are selling the same vehicle in the same market, it probably wouldn't make any difference, as we've seen with these other vehicles.

Are you following all of this? I do my best, but heaven knows, I'm not a miracle worker.

What we've seen here is just the beginning of various alliances that the manufacturers will have to enter into as new vehicle development costs increase. To remain competitive, these joint ventures will be key. So you like the Nissan truck, but prefer the Chevy name on it, the choice is yours. Like the Benz, but not sure about its style, then drop into an Infiniti dealer. Haven't things become so much easier? As I said, this is just the beginning, folks.

Until next time...........