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, July 31, 2015

July 31: Land Rover - R.I.P.

 Land Rover - R.I.P. Now hold on just one minute here. What do you mean, rest in piece? Land Rover is doing quite well and is the darling of the "I've got $, you don't." (not that there is anything wrong with that) crowd. No, you are correct, the brand is doing very well, but an icon has come to the end of its very long road and will be laid to rest at the end of the 2015 model year.

Recognize this jeep type vehicle? Sure you do, it's the original Land Rover and as the ad says, it will......"Go anywhere...do anything." And they meant it. Originally, it was expected that these little 4x4's would see a lot of farm work, so their ads reflected that role. Something for the hard working farmer to use to aid him with his daily chores. Not like the later Range Rover and its offspring, which were pitched to the country gentleman and eventually, the city bound rich folks.


So, I say, R.I.P. to this old standby of the 4x4 scene. Originally for rural use, this model over its sixty eight year life span, saw an amazing amount of diverse roles. It was even fit for a queen......

 

.....whether in her official role or just lazing about her castle grounds, as the peasants undoubtedly toiled away in the background (and cleaned those tires when it returned).

Did you ever see news footage of the troubles in Northern Ireland, that didn't feature this iconic vehicle?

 

Or in some far off conflict..........


Yep, in each and every instance, this Land Rover would be there proving its mettle. And, of course, you just know that, this sort of 4x4 would sure as anything show up doing its duty on safari in darkest Africa........


,,,,,,ferrying these soon to be crushed tourists on the last trip of their lives, or as a food truck for the patient cheetah waiting for his/her lunch to step out of that extended Land Rover..........


A friend's dad bought one way back in the '50's and was thrilled with his toy. Rough? Man, was it rough. Simple and effective, but I think you needed a farm in order to appreciate its goodness.

Eventually, like many things, this model, now called the Defender (get it?), made its way up the price scale, so that only the wealthiest folks could enjoy its capabilities (much like the Mercedes G wagen). And so it is, that as this icon comes to the end of its road, the last model should appeal only to those with lots of $ and absolutely no use for what it was originally intended.


This end of the line limited edition, the 2015 Sixty8, looks much the same as the earliest models, except of course, when you see the price tag. Why discontinue this model? Well, everything has its day and while this has been updated over the years, its "bones" are still ancient. Time to move on and time to redesign this icon. Make a clean break? Good question. A concept has made the rounds, but I'm skeptical, that this will be the replacement, as it toured the auto shows to almost universal disgust. Two things will be certain, one, the price. It won't be low. And two, its toughness. Although very capable, it won't serve its original purpose.

So as we wait for the Defender's replacement (2018?), we can look back on the role it was intended for. A tough as nails vehicle to aid the farmer with his daily chores, whatever they may be........

 

Time for a break. Every car guy needs a holiday and mine starts on Sunday with an overnight flight to France. A few days in Paris, a week's river cruise and five days touring Provence. I'm not much of a drinker, but the cheeses and pastries should be worth the trip. And, of course, the cars. Always a highlight of our trips abroad.

Miss me? I doubt it, but in case you do, may I suggest rereading some of the old blogs (just an idea). So until next time, which in this case will be Friday, the 21st........



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28: Rockin' Rims

Clothes make the man. You all know that old adage and you know what it means. Imagine if the president of the United States addressed the citizens in torn jeans and dirty t-shirt. Even ZZ Top wrote a song about a Sharp Dressed Man. Now to a car guy like me, nothing finishes off a car like a great set of rims. Something like the ones on this new Mustang, really set off the look of this hot ride. My brother's 2015 Mustang is charcoal with knock off Torque Thrust rims and it looks so much better than the base rim/tire package. Trust me!

You don't? Ok, so a picture is worth 1000 words.......


How important are wheels on a car? How about a huge multi, multi-million dollar industry supplying aftermarket rims for those of us, for whom the stock rim just won't cut it. Heck, even my wife's lowly HHR has aftermarket wheels. And like, with any product there are always those items that, are over the top in style and dollars. Want to see the rim which comes with a free Bentley?


And in your choice of precious gems. This will get the neighbours talking when you are washing it in your driveway on Saturday morning. Or should I say, the help is washing it?

Sure, when your bejeweled wheel is worth a cool $1m, you can afford to throw in a Bentley, even when it does cost just under $200k. Dilemma. You already own a Bentley, but want something a little tasty to spark up your ride. Something to set it apart from all those other expensive cars and to show the impeccable taste for which you'd like to become known. And make it something a little less garish than the $1m rim above........


Look closely.........loaded with expensive stones, but subtle in a perverse kind of way.

Not your style, assuming you have some? You picture yourself more as the cuddly teddy bear type, then what better way to tell the world, than with this classic.........


Sadly this rim is no longer in production, but heck, isn't eBay just the ticket for finding the few remaining unsold copies? Just hope the size is correct.

Still not convinced that either one of these rims will work for you? You, the colourful character, known for a bit of flamboyance to go along with that impeccable taste. You want a rim that will stand you out from the everyday, something that trumpets your arrival on the scene. Ok, then I have a wheel for you......


Sure. it's bright, but it suits your personality to a "t", doesn't it? Maybe even throw in some pinstriping to match that vibrantly shocking pink?

Ok, so none of these fit the bill. You long for something subtle, but you've always loved gold. So, there is only one choice for you, no second guessing about whether you've made the right choice, when you buy this exotic number..........


Yeah, I figured that would do it. You might want to skip that over the top gold finish on the car, though.

I'm surprised that I still haven't landed on just the right wheel for your personality. Something distinct without being flashy. Something that makes a statement without you having to say a thing. A touch threatening with just a little bit of implied danger. Let me think.........ok, I've got it, this has to be the rim for you.........


Nailed it, right? This snake wheel will make a statement on any car, but make your car selection carefully and you will never have to say anything at all when you arrive, your rims say it all for you.

Rockin' rims. No longer just something to hold the tire. Make them say something for and about you. Do it right and live the dream.

Until next time.......



Friday, July 24, 2015

July 24: What's next?

What is it?
If you pay any attention at all to the world of cars, you may have noticed a new trend. If you are a car guy like me, you've definitely noticed a new trend. This is a trend that I really like and applaud the companies for going in this direction. My wife and I just downsized by moving from our house into our new home, a condo. I guess you'd call it downsizing, even though the condo is 25% larger. What has been a trend in housing, as the kids move out, has come to the car market. And, what started with the luxury cars is moving to the lower priced brands.

Few folks really need a big honking suv and as their needs lessen, so do their desires for a less fuel efficient ride. But before we go too far down this road, the important bits have to stay.......the all wheel drive, the higher seating position and the practicality of the hatch. All the luxo brands, like Audi, BMW and Mercedes have introduced small suvs and Infiniti's entry is just a few months away. So, what is happening as this trend filters down to the more affordable vehicles?

Honda and Mazda have just intro'd their new entries, but we've heard nothing from some of the others. A look at what is available around the world, might give us an indication of what will be showing up in North America in the very near future.

Ford has started selling this little guy in China (or will be shortly). They say it won't come here, but surely with Chevrolet, Buick. Honda, Mazda and Jeep bringing out smaller suv's, can Ford afford to be far behind? This one could be North America bound...........


And Hyundai has the Creta in some other markets........
.......so why not let the fuss over the redesigned Tucson die down, then drop this little number into our market? I think we'll see it soon enough.

And VW is sure to follow, as this Taigun (where do they get those names?) concept shows........


This would come in below the Tiguan (those names again) and grab those folks who might otherwise be drawn to a Honda HR-V or Mazda CX-3. Looks production ready to me, so why not let it roll? German quality in a compact size.

Now you know, we don't get Suzuki here any more, but maybe someone could partner with them and sent this neat little crossover to us........

The way the different manufacturers work together, it should be easy to do. For example, until Chev gets its own little commercial van, it's selling a rebadged Nissan NV200. This surprised me, as I didn't think there was any connection here at all, but I guess immediate market needs can be met in a variety of ways.

See any mention of Toyota in this blog? Not so far, but you may be interested in seeing what they sell as a small crossover in their home market.........


Recognize it? This showed up here as a Scion not so long ago and it sure wasn't any Urban Cruiser over here. So what will Toyota respond with? Good question and you know that I'll be watching for it.

Now back to that pic at the beginning of this blog. Want a small suv? Want something a little out of the ordinary? Want something that I'm confident will never show up on our shores? Then go to Europe and buy a Smart car suv. Unusual, attractive and bound to be fuel efficient. Just another one of these smaller sport utes.

So you can now downsize with confidence, knowing that you have a plethora (I love that word) of choices, but if you want a few more, stay tuned..........

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



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 21: Hey buddy, need a tow?

Everyone has a favorite tow truck, don't they? They don't? You actually mean to sit there and tell me that, not everyone really cares about these "saviours" of the highways and bi-ways. Doesn't everyone look at Towmater from the Cars movies and think what neat vehicles these trucks are in real life? Heck, there was even a recent TV reality show called, Wrecked, which dealt a big towing company in Chicago. Being a car guy many things on four or more wheels and tires interest (fascinate?) me.

Sure, you have the plain Jane trucks that, tour our cities' highways looking for a quick hit (some folks would call these guys crooks). They are usually medium size, similar to this one used by our local police.........


.........but, going beyond that, there are some very interesting rigs on the roads. Ever wonder what can tow the very biggest vehicles?


Something like this would never be seen towing a mere car. No, this monster and the one below......


.......can tow just about anything from a bus (probably a loaded one) to a huge tractor trailer rig or even a fully loaded dump truck. How else did you think that they got moved, when they had a problem? For that matter, even when the very biggest trucks break, there needs to be something even bigger or at least more powerful to come to their rescue and take them back to the shop. For example.......


If you've followed this blog forever, you'll remember the one I did on those huge Terex and Caterpillar mining trucks. Never think that they break down? Guess again, my friend, so they too, need a tow truck that can get them back to the shop. And some of them can get pretty fancy, if you have a proud owner driver......


........and who wouldn't remember seeing this one on the road?

And by this picture below, you can see that there are a few other folks, who find some of these tow trucks interesting and maybe even interesting enough to devote an entire wall to displaying models of them. Hey, I said I was interested in them, not obsessed by them.


But it stands to reason that, if there are huge tow trucks, there must be something at the other end of the spectrum. There might even be a "toe" truck somewhere......


......but, I digress. So, let's see what is at the smaller end of the tow truck realm........


Sure, you'd expect a Mini tow truck, since they have been converted into just about everything that you can imagine and a few that you can't. But what about this Daihatsu Midget (the name says it all).......


......or this one from some other company Pacific rim country........


Now, just imagine what these little fellows are equipped to tow? No, I can't think of anything either, maybe a golf cart, but heck, you could push them.

Tow trucks. Give them respect when you see them, or at least the biggest rigs and remember that size doesn't always equate to power (the exception being the little guys above).........


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





Friday, July 17, 2015

July 17: If I had a million dollars?

If I had a million dollars? Remember that old song by the Bare Naked Ladies? Well, adjusted for inflation and other things, it probably should be, if I had a billion dollars. But let's not quibble about money that we don't have, let's just say, we are rich and want a way to express ourselves that's, a touch out of the mainstream showroom stuff. What to do, what to do?


For a start, contact this company in Belgium and have a chat about your needs. No reason to be specific, since they have more imagination that most of us. Say a Bentley comes to mind, but a Continental is so common.........


Well then, how about this custom ride, the Excelsior? Built for the gentleman or lady who has immense wealth and doesn't want to trouble themselves with the mundane task of driving to Holt Renfrew. The two tone, sets off those classic lines so well. And while this is being built, have the Carat Security Group armor it, since one can't be too safe these days.

Carat is a relatively recent company, but they have ownership of some classic names, which have been building special rides for many, many years........


Recognize that old presidential Lincoln? Reagan also drove in one of their companies' cars.

But you want something more than a mere stretch and a few extra hides of top notch leather. You want to be able to get in and out in the elegant fashion which people expect of you. The answer?


Yes, it is this nice and tidy raised roof option. Particularly advantageous when you are an African dictator and want to be seen by your people (but not too much of you as to be an easy target). They'll appreciate the thought, after all they paid for it.


Check out the Carat website. You'll see that they pride themselves on providing extravagant rides (usually armored) to the rich and famous and despised of our world. Now, maybe this is a little over the top for the simple billionaire's taste that you pride yourself on having. Maybe that simple stretch and an ultra gorgeous interior will be enough.


But let's say, it isn't and besides you are partial to cars from the other side of the Pacific. What can Carat do for you? You wanted something imaginative, right?


Sure, so go all out and let the world know who you are. This customized Lexus should fit the bill nicely, oh and don't worry about the heat, as that roof surely most have some sort of solar barrier built in, this is the 21st century after all.

Not to your taste and you really would like an suv? Fear, no more, since Carat can also transfer the ubiquitous Range Rover into a ride to die for........


Looking for a ride to die for, but not in, well there are options for you as well. Sure you are a billionaire, but let's just say, you need to be a little cautious. Let's say, you are a Mexican drug lord, like El Chapo, then you really need some extra protection.......


......then what better way to get around than in this Yukon that, apart from being able to survive rocket attacks, comes complete with a hatch so that you can counter attack without any impediments to your line of fire.


Even the Russian Mafia, shown in this pic, needs the protection that Carat can provide. Nice vehicles, but a little too obvious for that trip to Holt's, wouldn't you say?

Yes, you and your simple, but classic billionaire's tastes, needs Carat Duchatelet to fashion an elegant, but distinctive ride. Not for you the too obvious macho Yukons or the open to the world Lexus. No, you lean to the classics and nothing says classic like a Rolls Royce.........



...........executed nicely with that raised roof and "just in case" bullet proof glass. The red carpet is a lovely touch and nothing less will be expected from Holt's, when you pull up at their front door.

The lottery jackpot is up to $85 mil this week, no, not a billion, but plenty enough to enable you to contact Carat and have them whip up some vehicular distinction for you. Google them for the exact address.

Until next time......