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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sept 20: Cobble Beach Concours - part 1

Pebble Beach
Amelia Island
Meadowbrook
St. John's

All names of famous Concours d'Elegance. Now you can add.......
Cobble Beach. Cobble Beach? What the heck is that and where the heck is that?

Glad you asked and about time. Cobble Beach is the home of North America's newest Concours d'Elegance. You know, those invitation only displays of the very best cars, usually held in some prestigious location, where the cars compete with the scenery for your attention. Cobble Beach is held on a golf course, overlooking Georgian Bay. Very similar to Pebble Beach, but sunnier and warmer. Relatively new (fourth year), but climbing rapidly in prestige. Since Cadillac is one of the main sponsors, I thought I should start off with two of the cars from their display. Guess which one is the Cyclone, a "dream car" from the '50's? The other pic is the Elmiraj, which was originally unveiled at Pebble Beach in 2013. An interesting point about the Cyclone - the original Motorama car had huge fins, which were later cut down, as this car was shown into the more conservative '60's (stump your friends with that one).


Cadillac's display was a great entrance to the fairway of the golf course, where these gems held court, overlooking Mother nature's gorgeous views. And what better way to start off this mini tour, than with this 1932 Packard Dual Cowl Phaeton (impressed with my knowledge or that I can read from the thick and glossy program?)........


Apart from being a great car, this pic shows off the venue and the beautiful surroundings. Note the golf carts in the background. Relax, no one was playing thru, they were for security and the officials. I would have loved to yell, "Fore!" and seen the reaction (as I was being escorted off the grounds).

One always expects the classics, including this Best of Show and Peoples' Choice winning, 1932 Auburn Speedster......


.....or this 1922 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost..........


Interesting feature.......you can just see a small red light atop the roof over the front windshield. This is an opera light, which was used to identify the car, when its owners were being picked up after the opera (you thought they drove themselves?).

This 1938 Cadillac roadster was special, in that it had a coach builder designed body by Brunn, which featured those interesting cut down doors, also a golf club door and a rumble seat. You want history? This car was originally built for Ralph Pulitzer of the Pulitzer prize fame........

Other worthies........




......and my wife's favorite, this 1937 Studebaker Dictator Coupe........


Considering the times, Dictator, seems like a rather unusual name for a car. Art Deco styling in a lovely soft green - Niagara Mist Metallic, if you must know.


The beauty of an event like this, is the space around each car, so they stand out and can be admired. There were a plethora of categories, for which the cars were judged and then there was an overall winner, as well as Peoples' Choice for the uninformed, who simply liked a car. Note the fire extinguisher by the rear wheel of all these cars, actually by every single car. Reason? In case there is any kind of a fire when they are started. Smart.

Interesting to see the specialist judges pouring over each car, looking for any little (minute?) deviation from the way the car was originally.......


Note the mandatory, dark blue sports coat and straw hat. Must be a concours dress code thing, as this attire is seen at them all. Nerve racking? Now, I'm not an expert, but I can see right away that the licence plate is not original. Wonder if they noticed?

There's that fire extinguisher, I mentioned. Apparently if you are lacking one, your car is not judged.........



What I found interesting about this 1939 Rolls Royce Wraith is the comprehensive tool kit built into the trunk. Were the owners (chauffeurs?) more mechanically minded back in those days or was it simply a nice touch, because you had spent a huge amount of coin on this car?

Great show and I have our friends, John and Pam, to thank for the invitation and the accommodation (even if we did have to buy them breakfast).

I'll be away this Friday, so tune in later next Tuesday for other great cars from the Cobble Beach Concours (humour me, ok?).

Until next time......



Friday, September 16, 2016

Sept 16: Road or track?

This old Mercedes from the '30's is so stunningly beautiful, that it almost hurts the eyes to look at it. This car came from the time when Mercedes was establishing their sporting tradition, which has lasted until the present day and based on leaked plans, is not going to go away soon, if ever.

Mercedes Benz. When one thinks of this brand the big luxo cruisers come immediately to mind, but not far behind are their elegant grand tourers and sportscars.

I think that the spiritual successor to those big old Benz of the 1930's and later the SL's of the 1950's is the current SL. Spiritual maybe, but today's car is more of a grand tourer. The original SL was actually a sportscar as opposed to the grand tourer of the '30's ("Monte Carlo for the weekend, darling?").........


But in 2016 calling a car with, in some cases, about 600 hp, not a sportscar seems strange, but this car is suited more to city posing or jaunts thru the countryside, driving by the nearest race track, but not necessarily on to it..........


Beautiful, but for a day at the track, another tool would be more suited and that one is the AMG GT, a real sportscar in every definition of the term. Developed to go after the Porsche 911 money. And now the good news for those able to spend the coin, is that in the very near future, it will be available in as a convertible, cabrio or spyder (pick your term). This new version will be introduced at the upcoming Paris auto show.......


In the opinion of a piece I read online yesterday, they thought this car should actually be the SL. Maybe then they would want the current SL to wear the 500K badge. Actually not a bad idea, but let's stay on topic, ok?

My brother doesn't like the new grille and I can't say I find it particularly attractive, on an otherwise great looking car........


......but it is aggressive, as suits this AMG GT, but there is another reason for it to be like this. It mimics the original, like it or not........


Ah, there is that word again, tradition. 

Whether one likes them or not, Mercedes is great with tradition and we can all be thankful for it, as they have progressed from those beautiful cars of the early days.......


.......to their beautiful cars of today.........


A very compelling reason to sell your cat and start going through the neighbour's garbage for any bottles, that might yield a few valuable coins. Do this for a few years and that Mercedes mirage might become a reality.

Until next time......


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sept 13: Coming colours?

Anything come to mind when looking at this Buick brochure from way back in 1961? Ok, so while you are thinking about that, consider this.......

5 blacks
2 silvers
2 greys
2 whites

Now do you get my line of thought? Give up? The Buick brochure is full of colour. Matter of fact, you could order your plush new ride in one of over twenty(!) colours. All different, many bright. The list above is the colour palette of a 2017 Mercedes S Class. Before you get too down on Benz, they also offer two blues and one green (go wild, will ya fellas). Sure, I know that things change over the years, but folks, we may be seeing a slight shift back to those colour palettes of the easy, breezy 1960's (at least until the Vietnam war got into full swing). Listen up......
.

Here's another colour chart from later in that decade. Name your colour and and more than likely you could get your new ride painted in that becoming shade (even if it wasn't). Note, only one black, one silver and one grey. Now you're talking. They sure knew how to pick 'em. So, why do I think things may be changing?

Everything filters down from above. In the case of cars, what is first available on the expensive vehicles, eventually becomes common place on the lowest models in the line. A few examples........air conditioning, power windows, back up camera and GPS. Remember when only the hottest supercars came in flat or satin black or lime green or whatever. That trend is now filtering down to less expensive models, but thank goodness it hasn't yet become common place. Ever try to wax a flat finish? Well, don't.

Check out this current Bentley colour palette..........


.....or this one from Ferrari......


You'd have to be blind not to notice the brighter shades appearing on these top end models. The next step is usually, that the more fashionable models in a less costly car line get the bright colour treatment. Case in point, this line up of recent Camaro colours.......
See, there are a few more bright shades, certainly a lot more than what would be showing up on an Impala. I know, I know, you are saying that the bright "in your face" colours suit the sportier models, but remember, there was a time when even the plain vanilla family sedan could be ordered in those bright shades. So why not have this trend filter down to the mainstream sedans or, nowadays, suvs? Think they wouldn't suit an suv? Think again, when you look at the 2017 Ford F-150 colour chart below.......


Good enough for a real truck, then why not good enough for an Edge or an Explorer? Truth of the matter is that, we are seeing more of these brighter shades on those vehicles. Kind of like putting your toe in the water to see how cold it is before committing your whole body.

Another sign that the bright colours are on the rise again, is this colour palette that Dodge has just unveiled for their 2017 Charger. A flash back to the '60's for sure. Even with those catchy names......Go MangoTorred, Green Go, or Maximum Steel (ok, not a bright one, but a great name)


Am I dreaming? Maybe just wishful thinking or is there a real trend starting here and in a couple of years your bud will drive up in a bright yellow Honda Accord or a Pilot? Or, will it still be just the guy with the Porsche next door, that will get to experience the delight (or scorn) of having a brighter than bright, robin's egg blue cabrio?


Will we all be able to break out and live this colourful dream?

Until next time......




Friday, September 9, 2016

Sept 9: Heavy load


Sure, we've all had those days, when thru no fault of our own, some idiot causes us to be the butt of jokes and possibly even puts us in, might I say, a dangerous position. In this case, this poor horse has been asked to pull a heavy load, but not just heavy, but badly loaded. Oh, to get my feet back on the ground! Beast of burden for sure, but if this load needed to be moved in North America, Dobbin would be left in the pasture and the family work truck, the North American pick-up or some other truck would have been put to good use. And if you've been paying attention to the ads, you can see that they can pull almost anything.

Question. Why is it that in all the ads bragging about what a Ford, Chev or Ram can pull, they are shown with this similar load.........



You got it, in each case the ad says that this truck can pull a million tons and they show it pulling a tractor of some sort. Are there that many tractors that need moving? Now, I've seen lots of pick-ups pulling lots of varied loads, but rarely an excavator or some other piece of construction equipment. Just wondering, that's all. But that is simply a side observation, what I'm getting at, is plan the load and pull what your equipment is meant to pull.

Great ad, but unlikely we'll ever see a Touareg at Frankfurt airport pulling a 747, but you get the point. Right? (what is the point, anyway?)


But what about when some poor soul hasn't gotten the point?


Moving can be expensive, but this old Pontiac might be giving its all with this one last load, assuming of course that it even makes it. What, no friends with a pick-up? Maybe no friends at all. Wonder who's got his mattress?

But stupidity, or should we say optimism, isn't restricted to North America. Think the Poncho above was being strained to its limit? Nothing compared to this Russian merchant, saving some coin by making his family sedan the work horse for his thriving fruit and vegetable business.


Might be tough getting up to speed even on a sidewalk, but that's a worry for later. Better he should invest in a truck that is better suited to the job at hand, like this one.......


Putting those blind spot monitors and back up sensors to good use (ie: the folks riding on top), as this heavy load wends its way to wherever. Might be a good idea, if the dude at the top puts out his cigarette or whatever they smoke in his corner of the world.

No matter the extreme load, these guys used a vehicle suited to the task, even if the manufacturer never planned it that way. Creativity or necessity is being shown here......


Obviously the local transit system is using one vehicle to carry parcels and transport their paying customers. In our city, we use trucks and buses to perform these tasks, but not everyone has this luxury. Maybe this pic wasn't taken in North America?

 No pick up or other truck available and the local horse was already out of commission?


Yes, I know it seems strange and possibly even cruel, but have you priced out a new pick-up lately? Put a few tasty options on one and the $50k figure rapidly disappears in the rearview mirror. So, your bike is the only option. Obviously it helps when the jars are empty. Heck, any one of us would be up to this task.

A couple of other over achievers and under thinkers..........



For god's sake, would someone haul out the manual and check out the gross vehicle weight capabilities and see if, just maybe you've over estimated the toughness of your work truck. I mean, what is wrong with these guys (and I assume that they are guys)?

I always say, use the best tool for the job at hand. Well, maybe I don't always say it, but it's implied. This smart car owner thinks like me and is not over estimating what his tiny car can do........


......while this Ram driver knows exactly what his big bruiser can accomplish......


......and again with those tractors. So think about it folks. You've got a heavy load that no beast of burden can possibly move for you (nor should it), then turn to the most capable vehicle available and don't put your poor horse, your old truck or the family car thru hell, just because you want to save a bit of coin.

Another life lesson, courtesy of the Wheel to Wheel blog.

Until next time.......





Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sept 6: Model with a back story

Personal taste. Everything is personal taste, unless of course, it isn't. Take for example that fifty year old car on the left. This is the 1965 Plymouth Satellite, top model of the "new" intermediate Belvedere line. One of my favorite designs ever. To me, this car is beautifully proportioned. To us in Canada, it was forbidden fruit, since it was a US only model. My thoughts aside, what makes this car interesting is where it came from and how it got to be the mid-sized Satellite of the new for 1965 Plymouth line. Stay awake, as this is mildly interesting.

Let's use my models as an educational tool here and go back to 1962 and 1963.......




The turquoise convertible (no cabrio back in the day) is the new, full sized Plymouth for 1962. Downsized due to incorrect information, when every other new car had stayed the same or gotten bigger. Also, the design was bastardized, as originally it was meant for a full sized car. A last minute panic attack, based on this incorrect info, led the big Plymouth to be shrunk. And as you can see, it just didn't work with this car. Even a bigger version might not have worked, but the design certainly looked awkward on the smaller body.

Having realized their error, when the other car companies unveiled their '62's, Plymouth had to hustle to redo their '63's (like the buttercup yellow Fury hardtop in these pics) to give it a buyer friendly, acceptable bigger car look, even though it was still smaller than the competition. You can easily see the more acceptable and more conventional looking redesign.

Now this is where it gets interesting (yes, I appreciate your patience). New, full sized Plymouths were planned for 1965, but Plymouth wouldn't have an intermediate car until the next year, so presto and the smaller full size Fury model of previous years, now became the new Belvedere/Satellite intermediate. One year a "big" car, the next year a demotion to intermediate. Oh, the shame! But with the tweaks given this design, it came out very well and as I said, I really liked the result (and I still do)...........


Now compare it to the origin and strange looking 1962 car from whence it came.......



Every line made better and more appealing. So from a strange looking "big" car, it evolved into a great looking intermediate. Remember through all of this, the sixties were a time when the designs changed every couple of years and usually had major updates every year, so not surprising to see how Plymouth was able to evolve this design over three years.

A favorite design, now a favorite new model (I bought three of them), that the CMC (Car Modeling Cat) and I completed on the weekend. As usual, she is a willing helper and always has ideas of how to inject herself into our builds (sometimes aggravatingly so).........


So there you have it, the CMC and I bring to life an interesting story from the distant (gee, it doesn't seem that long ago) past. Who said these blogs weren't interesting and informative? And those of you who did, can leave the room now.

Until next time.......