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, January 16, 2018

January 16: One movie, one car, the Bullitt Mustang

You remember that classic movie from way back in 1968. The movie that was good, maybe not great, but a ten minute scene in the middle of this film made it the classic it has since become. The movie, of course, was Bullitt, but what defined it was the classic car chase between a new Charger and a new Mustang. This scene set the benchmark for car chases to this day and to this day, although there has been some very good on screen action since then, nothing has been quite as thrilling as this good guy verses bad guy chase thru the streets of San Francisco. Even watching it on the small screen can give your stomach flips, as these cars bound up and down those notorious hills. That big motored Charger chased by Lt Frank Bullitt's modified 390 Mustang GT is still talked about fifty years on.

One more thing about this chase, it made a hero out of one of the cars. As nice as that Charger R/T was, it was Bullitt's gently modified Mustang that set folks' hearts to racing. Something about that beautiful dark Highland Green car, with the Mustang emblem removed from the front grille and those iconic Torque Thrust rims made this average car a big screen winner, so much so that one of the most anticipated intros at this week's Detroit auto show was a new 2019 Bullitt Mustang.......


Funny how that one car from one movie made such an impact. Good thing the car buying public didn't feel quite the same way about the Family Truckster in Chevy Chase's vacation movie. I shudder at the thought.

Was it the way Steve McQueen's character drove his classic ride?















Or was it the fact that it came out the winner? Or was it simply because it was a Mustang and this was a great car chase? Whatever the reason, this car made its mark so deeply that Ford has released several Bullitt Mustangs over the past twenty years. All in Highland Green and all with those mods which made the original so cherished..........



 All were and are limited edition models (whatever that means) and all have had their exhaust sounds modified to mimic that manual shifted 390 from back in '68. Whatever the reason, the debut of yet another Bullitt Mustang special edition sets enthusiasts' hearts a flutter. Maybe they should had unveiled it in a cardiac ward?


For any number of reasons, this Mustang has been loved for fifty years. Imagine if the original was ever found or if it even still existed? Well folks, surprise, surprise, there are actually two original Bullitt Mustangs. One was for stunts and one was for "driving". Both still exist and here is the stunt car as it was found in a Mexican junkyard not long ago and validated..........


Once restored (and judging by its condition, this will be a project), watch the auction action on this icon.

A thought.........maybe the Charger didn't become the anointed one, since something was slightly off about it. Maybe it was because it lost FIVE hubcaps during the chase?

For those of you just coming out of long term hibernation, you can check out this chase online, but make sure you catch the whole thing, including the build up to the real action. Looks like McQueen is doing the driving and he started to, then relinquished the wheel to more experienced stuntmen.

Love nostalgia. Love the movie? Love the Mustang? Got a cheque book? If you checked off all those boxes, head down to your nearest Ford dealer and get your order in. Time's a wasting.


Until next time.......


Friday, January 12, 2018

January 12: Honda Insight: A Prius alternative?

Let's start off by checking out the hybrid competition. Back up just a minute, where is this hybrid stuff going? Ok, here's the scoop......Honda is bringing back the Insight. You may remember when they first used that name on a misbegotten little car.........


This strange two seater was one of the first hybrids (the first?). Apart from having a new form of motivation, this unusual little coupe also only sat two people. Great way to get acceptance. Market a sporty looking coupe to tree huggers, while most of the people who were looking for this sort of car wanted a VW GTI type of ride. Lesson learned, so the Insight had a short and unsuccessful life.

Meanwhile Toyota brought out the Prius........


A dumpy little compact car, that like the Insight only came one way, as a hybrid. But, and here is a big "but", it was a practical ride, seating four people as comfortably as any small car at the time. Kind of sold, but nothing spectacular as it wasn't really marketed.

Next step........


Now the Prius was hitting its stride. An unusual, but distinctive look, so everyone who saw it knew it was a hybrid. Toyota marketed this new car well, so over a short time, Prius became the "go to" car, if one wanted a hybrid and more importantly, when someone said hybrid, the buying public said Prius. The result? The Prius is so cemented in people's mind as THE hybrid, that all the other companies have introduced hybrids to mediocre success. When's the last time you saw an Accord, or an Altima or a Fusion hybrid? Sure, they are out there, but at no where near the volume that the Prius line (yes, now there are four distinct models) generates.

Back to the present day and Honda's big new announcement......they are bringing back the Insight to be revealed in the flesh at next week's Detroit auto show and this time, they think they have it right........



Billed as a 2019 and as an upscale compact, this Insight is geared to take the car world by storm (at least in Honda's eyes). Good looking and probably what the too busy Civic design should have been, but I believe to most folks this will be mistaken for a new Accord or Civic. Is this important? I wonder. I believe a lot of people get a Prius out of principle, saving the planet, etc and because of its design, everyone knows it.

So, in two years when someone says hybrid, will the answer be "maybe Honda" or will it be "definitely Prius"? Put my money on the latter. Any bets?

Until next time.......


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

January 9: The EV bandwagon

 Our future? Probably, based on on the development that is going on these days. Typical though, that this EV (electric vehicle) charging station is empty, but it shows that someone is being proactive. Could it be the government? That would be a surprise. Over a hundred years ago, when the car was in its infancy, it seemed that every day another company announced that they were entering the market with the best car solution. Jump on the bandwagon. Well, we all know how that worked out. Flash forward to today and it's almost the same thing. Companies saw the light (or Tesla) and figured they too, wanted a piece of the lucrative(?) EV market. Apart from the big car manufacturers, EV vehicle start ups are as common as The Donald's gaffes.

Let's look at a few.........


 The Faraday. A beautiful EV and like all the other candidates trying to win you over, this is one loaded with wonderful new technology and a high price tag. After much publicity and a 2018 production date, Faraday has fallen on the inevitable cash crunch problems and is unlikely to ever have Job 1 roll off the production line.

Next up........


Fisker. An old established name, but with baggage. The original and expensive Fisker failed and has been rejuvenated with, I believe, Chinese money. Not hearing much about its current sales, but Fisker is optimistic enough to show the next model in its future line. Please don't hold your breath.

And now a sportscar........


 The Rimal Concept. Sure, everyone needs more power than they know what to do with and electric power is unique. The Rimal Concept has a proposed 1088 HP motor, so with an EV's instantaneous torque, I think this one should compete with the acceleration of a top fueler. For those of you who don't know, that number is 0.2 seconds zero to sixty. Just saying, folks!

And now from Poland.......


The Varsovia. Ready to be customized to each client's peculiar tastes, such as the grille design being mimicked on the side of this preproduction example. Now before we dismiss these start ups out of hand, remember that there are many very small car companies around this blue planet, who get by making a very, very few bespoke cars each year. The Varsovia and the others, like the Rimal could be two more.

And another from China......


The Byton Concept. I love to see these new companies coming out of the Forbidden Kingdom, since they are usually well financed and have a better than a basement start up's chance to survive. And these days, the Chinese have caught up quickly with the best designs. No surprise there, as I've written in blogs over the past years. Scheduled for 2019 Chinese sales and then following up by coming to North America and Europe.

A contender from the USA.......


The Lucid Air. Lucid Motors appeared to be be further along than most and have proposed building a factory in Arizona. But guess what? They are short of cash. Surprise, surprise! Haven't any of these companies checked past history and know the huge amount of coin it takes to bring a car to production. Even an expensive and limited production car like the Lucid Air can't end up in showrooms for a paltry few hundred million dollar investment. Don't believe me? Call Elon Musk at 1-650-681-5000. He's having trouble with only a few billion dollars at his disposal.

History repeating itself? Yep, but thankfully hope springs eternal. Some or none of these cars may ever see the light of day, but undoubtedly some will sneak by. Better be quick though, since the billions needed to create a winner are held by the established brands and they don't want you in their market place.

Until next time......


Friday, January 5, 2018

January 5: Look alikes


Wow! What a great way to start my car blog for 2018. Does this indicate a new direction for the Car Guy or what? Those of you with raging hormones can relax or move on to another site, as this pic is just a way to illustrate today's topic. So you'll know, this is a look alike mother and daughter. They can't help the way they look, as they were born this way. Cars on the other hand are different, as they are designed and made. Which brings me to my point. The other day, I read that Audi will in the future differentiate the look of the various models of their cars, which today are hard to tell apart. Check this out.........




See what that Audi designer meant, when he said they needed to give the cars a family resemblance, but not have them so similar that a $35k A3 looks exactly like a $75k A6. Gee, it's about time someone got the message. Have the designers do something more than photocopy the design, simply making them longer or shorter. Family resemblance doesn't have to mean identical, but in various sizes. Blame Audi for its current designs, but they are not the only ones. Case in point with these examples from Mercedes.......



Used to be that the Benz models looked quite different, but with that classic grille, nobody would mistake them for anything else on the road. Now they are morphing into very similar designs. Which is the C Class and which is the E Class? Check the price tags.

Another offender is BMW (why are all the German brands the prime suspects?)........




Different years, but more to my point that they are very, very similar and coming towards you, I defy anyone to know whether they are seeing a 3 Series or a 5. Or a 5 Series or a 7. I'm getting a headache.

Those pesky Germans. But wait, let's not curse them out before looking in our own backyard and these two Lincolns.........


Or these Cadillacs.......



And so it goes on and on. One company after another tries to have every car or suv in the line look so similar, that the poor customer has to check the window sticker in order to see which is which. Some ideas are not worth copying and this is one of them. So, back to those comments from Audi about differentiating the designs of the various models, while still retaining a strong family resemblance. Smart move and one I'll look forward to seeing over the next few years. Let's hope those other guys also get the message.

Until next time.......



Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 21: A Christmas treat from Mercedes

My dream.........


......Santa looking over the Mercedes line up to select a choice ride for yours truly and knowing that I'm a discerning car guy, the big bearded fellow will chose wisely. Oh, if life were only like that. Any Mercedes that I'd be buying would be thru my own sweat and tears, or something like that. But Merry Christmas from Mercedes Benz, as they realize most of the rest of you are in the same boat.

Let's take a quick look back in time.........


Mercedes brought out the A Class many years ago, so that just about anyone with Honda Accord or Toyota Camry money could aspire to this prestigious nameplate. Of course, the Honda and Toyota were better choices, as this original bargain basement Benz was universally considered to be garbage. Ok, maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but let's just call it junk. But, and this is the big "but", you could be driving a Mercedes without breaking the bank. We never saw it over here, since Mercedes still felt we wanted the high end stuff from them. Oh, and we wouldn't buy no stinking hatchback!

Eventually the A Class became respectable........


Looks like the GLA doesn't it? Close but no cigar, remember we don't buy hatches (well maybe we Canadians do, but not south of our border), so Benz, gave us the pumped up AWD version and sold it to us as an entry level suv. Now, that we bought!

Still, it was a little pricey on our Honda budget, so this is where Santa Mercedes now steps in and gives us plebs hope for a three pointed star in our driveway. Thinking we might buy a Mercedes sedan instead of a pricier suv, they are looking into their gift sack and coming out with a neat little treat for next year, a lovely looking CLS look alike A Class.......



This is brand spanking new for 2019. A down market Benz that resembles an upmarket Benz. You need never tell those no car knowledge neighbours, that this baby cost less than their Accord Touring, but heck, they'll never know. Let them think you won big at the casino. Or, that maybe you are successful and not the cesspool diver, that they think you are.

Wander into your Benz dealer this Christmas and put down your deposit. Also, take along a Christmas card, as those folks in Germany would appreciate that, after all they don't get to be Santa Claus every year.

Christmas is right around the corner and so is my time off, so I wish you all the best for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for reading. Let's meet back here on the 5th.

Until next time.......


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 19: Demon - heavy breathing exercise

300 HP. Three hundred horsepower. Once upon a time that was a big deal. I have that much in my Maxima and its only claim to fame is that it will crack a six second 0-60 time. Big deal, an EcoBoost F-150 will that that as well. My '76 Corvette had 180 HP, my '87 Camaro IROC had 185, while my '95 Z-28 had a monstrous 285. My, how times have changed.

And have they ever changed. Dodge rolled the dice with the Hellcat, featuring a huge 707 HP power rating. Figured they would only sell about twenty five hundred. Well, that figure was soon eclipsed and this motor keeps on  rockin', while finding its way into a Jeep and a Dodge suv. Then this happened........


 Take one Hellcat, add additions like fender flares and a rather large hood scoop and give it a hugely powerful 840 HP engine. Lord have mercy! Most powerful production car on the planet and the wet dream of testosterone filled kids everywhere. Oh, and also delete the back seat and the front passenger seat. You see where this is going? Dodge figures there is only one place for this beast and that is the quarter mile. But they haven't forgotten the everyday driver, so for a little coin, you can add a front and rear seat. How little, you ask? $1.00. Got that? One dollar for each seat.

 Look for the red devil on the front fender, to differentiate this ride from the garden variety Hellcat.


Only three hundred coming to Canada and we snagged one for a very good client, so let's check out the other differences on the one sitting down the hall from my office. First the hood.......


 ......and those fender flares........


......and finally those wild tires........


Note.......no tread, except for those two worm trails thru the rubber. Rainy day? No problem. Call in sick, since this baby ain't going anywhere, anytime soon. There is one more big difference, but unfortunately you'll have to take my word for it. The sound. When this drag strip bound terror lights up, it sounds like a NASCAR stocker at idle. Wonderful.  

With all this power the Demon can do what no other production can, pull a wheelie...........


Now, here is where it gets interesting. Built for the track, this car is illegal as it sits, since the NHRA insists (and rightly so) that any car capable of this feat must have a roll cage. Easy fix and you can rocket down the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds at 140 miles per hour. Go faster than 150 MPH, and they'll make you add a parachute. And this right off the showroom floor and for only a few bucks over $100 grand. Gosh we live in great times.

Got the coin and a desire to act like John Force? Then check out your bank account and call your local Dodge dealer fast, as these performance anomalies won't last.


Until next time........


Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15: Automotive oddities

When someone and in this case it's me, lives and breathes cars, new, old, luxury, performance, economy, street or racing, one comes across some things that seem a little unusual or in my mind are worth blogging about (it obviously doesn't take much). Shall we begin?

How about this new car...........




What we have here in descending order is the new Opel, the new Vauxhall, the new Buick and finally the new Holden. Oops, that's wrong, the second car is the Holden and the last car is the Vauxhall. Who knew? As you can see (take my word for it), they are exactly the same car, just sold in different areas with one significant difference......the badge in the centre of the front grille. Sure, you might see some other front fascia variations, but that's only because I'm showing different models in each range. I can understand the same car under a different name being used in North America or down under, in Australia (Holden), but less understandable in Europe, where the Vauxhall and Opel run across one another on a regular basis. Marketing? Automotive Oddity?

I build model cars, have hundreds of them. Some dustier than others. Wouldn't a tiny car wash be a great idea?

Of course, it would and I'm not the only one with this idea. Nissan uses theirs on a regular basis to test the longevity of different paint colours. Hundreds, thousands of swipes by those whirling brushes will in short order separate the durables from the pretenders. I gotta get me one of those. Calling Nissan this morning.

Beautiful limousine. Used by potentates, oligarchs, tin pot dictators, Elvis Presley and even popes, this Mercedes 600 Pullman exemplifies what a luxury limousine should be. Much better than all those ubiquitous stretches. Nothing odd about this is there?


Try to name a vehicle that hasn't been stretched. Now name a purpose built limo that has been made into a coupe. I could be waiting here until next Christmas and you'd still not have an answer, unless of course, you knew about this Automotive Oddity..........



Looks great and what creative genius would have thought about going the other way with this limo?

And finally, when it comes to electric cars it seems that anything goes. Make it and hope the world will embrace your strangeness. Why the hell not, it's worked many times before. And now a Ugandan firm hopes to bring mass automobile production to their African country with the Kiira EV.........


Quirky? Of course. Saleable? Not so sure. An Automotive Oddity? Absolutely.

Any Automotive Oddities on your radar? Think about it over the holidays and get back to me in January.

Until next time........