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, December 6, 2016

Dec 6: Iconic Derelicts?















Did you miss the boat when any of these bruisers above were new in dealers' showrooms? Do you lust after a good used Toyota FJ or a Ford Bronco or even a big ol' Dodge Power Wagon? I feel your pain, not that I would ever want one of these vehicles, but I know all about car lust. Well, just like my blog last Friday about a creative Russian, there is a company in Los Angeles, that had an interesting idea several years ago and decided to run with it. The trucks above are visual restorations, but with absolutely up to date chassis, drivetrains and interiors. Geared towards someone with fond memories of what they once had, or wished they once had, and who now has the money to scratch that vehicular itch. I knew you'd ask  -  $250,000 USD or there abouts.

Blame Jonathan Ward for these perfect replicas and before you try to out think him with some other idea, look at this.......


Just a bunch of derelict old cars, rotting away until Mother Nature reclaims what was originally taken from her. The end of the road for these once proud cars? Think again and think again of Jonathan Ward. He had the idea of resurrecting some of these heaps, but unlike those restoration shops bringing the perfect old car back to original perfection, he had this idea......


Leave the exterior more or less as he found it, so less concern about where one parks, but update the interior, the chassis and drivetrain, much like the trucks.


Now this wouldn't work for me, as I'm not into sleeper vehicles. If had a great old car, I'd want it to look like a great old car. But others feel differently and Jonathan Ward has tapped into their wants and desires (even if they didn't know they wanted it to begin with). His Derelict line takes an old ride, like this late 40's Buick, and drops a modern chassis underneath. Great handling and with something like a Corvette motor, amazing performance, from what looks like a car on its way to its final reward.

This baby won't have a place at your local concours, but watch their collective jaws drop as you power away from those trailer queens. They can only wish they were as capable as this early '50's Buick Roadmaster......



 Even if you are more of a family man, Derelict has a car for you.....


 Actually any old car you desire can be given the Derelict treatment, just bring money. Even with price tags reaching $350,000 USD, there is a line up of clients waiting for their ride, expected to be ready in about three years.

Park anywhere, enjoy the thrill of people looking down their noses at you, temporarily at least, until you thunder away, heading into the next corner with aplomb. Gosh, it's great what unlimited financial resources will buy.

Whether an Icon or a Derelict, this whole idea is beyond me, but that is why we are all different and have found different ways to spend our money. So, the next time you wish you had a perfect old 4x4 or a ratty old ride, think of Jonathan Ward. But maybe those other vehicles aren't for you, so just ask, he might have something else in mind, that will help you write that big cheque......


Until next time......


Friday, December 2, 2016

Dec 2: 2017 Bilenkin

Do you happen to have an older BMW 3 series and know a Russian designer? You do! That's great, because there are many of us who have one, but not the other and are flummoxed about what to do. Maybe the Bimmer is a little too modern for us and we envision it with a touch retro design. Maybe that Russian designer could whip up some sketches for our consideration? Something like these.......



Now that's more like it. No reason why we should forget the '70's entirely, while sporting a very sporty chassis. It's fun to dream. But hold on just a cotton pickin' minute. What if that Russian designer had contacts or had decided to produce something like this for real? Wouldn't that be like dreaming in technicolor? But would the real car stay true to those cool sketches?



Who would have thought? Here it is, the car of your dreams the 2017 Bilenkin. So there actually is a Russian designer, who has put your dreams into reality with this very low production car, nicely retro on a BMW 3 Series platform. What's not to like? Want something a little more individualized and just maybe a little more unusual? Wish no longer........



Taking a cue from those heavy and dusty old tapestries, our designer has whipped up an interior that will have your friends talking (after they've stopped laughing?). Ah, the time of the czars was never like this.

Seriously though, who hasn't had nightmares about what to do with an older Bimmer? No car from the 1970's had the panache, that you were looking for and you were at your wit's end about where to turn. Thankfully there are creative people in this world who share your dream and have your imagination. Check out that steering wheel.........


Oh, so reminiscent of an old Mercedes. I think it may actually harken back to the 1950's, mixing decades to make your dream car, a dream no longer.


Now let's get serious  -  check out this link.....  http://new.bilenkin.ru/ . Of course, it helps if you can understand Russian, but please don't let that be an impediment to you putting this drivable dream in your driveway. In a multicultural city like Toronto, it shouldn't take long to find a comrade to assist you. If you live in Calais, Maine, well, friend you are on your own.

The 2017 Bilenkin........imagination meets reality, meets the 1970's, meets a big cheque. File under things to do with those lottery winnings.

Until next time......



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nov 29: Toyota, is that you?

When one thinks of Toyota, one usually thinks of excellent quality, but sleep inspiring styling and a sofa on wheels ride. The best selling car in the US and it has been for the past few years is the Camry.......


Everything boring A to B transportation should be. This car declares loud and clear, that its driver doesn't like cars, but being a necessity, they might as well get great quality. Now, admittedly this pic is a couple of Camry designs back, but you get the picture.

But something is happening within the bowels of Toyota, the largest selling car company in the world. The first inkling was their reworking of the Lexus luxury line. Controversial front end design grafted on to an origami sculpture like body, but at least they now stand out and everyone knows that is a Lexus. And to top it off, Lexus is making steps towards being a driver's car, even getting ready to introduce a range topping sports model, the LF-FC (catchy name??)........


Those of us who love cars, had hoped that Toyota was planning to get away from their sleepy designs, when they introduced the still great looking, Venza, eight years ago.......


It pains me to see this model going away in 2017 with no replacement planned. In my opinion, everything was right about this crossover. Then, when Toyota showed a concept design of the next Corolla, the world's best selling car, well, we were overjoyed  - Toyota was finally getting with the program.....


What style conscious young man or woman wouldn't want to go clubbing in this car? Heck, I even wondered if I'd fit in it (just joking). Honda was finally getting their design act together, so it looked like Toyota was also going to up their game. Oh, we could dream, but this is what ended up on the showroom floor.........

Yawn. So I wouldn't be going in for a Corolla fitting just yet (joking, yet again), based on this reliable but ho-hum looking car.

Now with crossovers of all sizes pushing cars to the back of the dealers' display space and everyone trying to fill every single niche, what does Toyota show us? Remember this concept?


Supposedly a preview of a new small suv, the C-HR to compete with Honda's HR-V (no, I don't get the name similarity either). The key word here is supposedly, since Toyota had teased us before, only to drop a much less interesting design into their product line. So what has happened this time? Drum roll, please.....



No kidding, this is the way the actual C-HR will appear when it arrives in Toyota showrooms within a few months. Looks like the Lexus designers snuck into the Toyota studios, when the other guys weren't looking. Not everyone's design cup of tea, but no interesting design ever is. I like it and it doesn't have a strange face like do the Lexus models.

So, is this the tip of the proverbial iceberg? Can we expect Toyota's bread and butter cars to up their style game as well? Very good questions. When you have a best seller like the Camry, you don't really want to go all space age, but at least have a great looking design. Hey, it works for Hyundai.

This will be another stay tuned moment.

Until next time.......




Friday, November 25, 2016

Nov 25: New AMG

Pity this poor guy. Here is the three time (so far) world champion Formula One driver, Lewis Hamilton, leaning against his rare, custom painted (aren't they all?) Pagani Zonda. Lewis drives for Mercedes, but a guy as wealthy as him can't be driving a common place Benz, no matter good a car it may be. No, Lewis, the poor wretch, has to pony up his hard earned (at least) $2.5 million US dollars for a rarer car, that befits his immense wealth and stature. If you haven't shed a tear so far, what in the world are you using for a heart?

Well cheer up, friendo, as all that is about to change. Mercedes-Benz' performance arm, AMG is about to make Lewis and a couple of hundred other multimillionaires extremely happy. AMG was started nearly fifty years ago by two gents, Aufrecht and Melcher, who, looking for a quaint name for their new tuning company decided on using their initials, A and M, while adding a G for Grossaspach, Aufrecht's hometown (Melcher must have lost the coin toss). So, AMG was formed to perform wonderful things to Mercedes-Benz cars, to make them, shall we say, a little quicker on the autobahn. Cars like the infamous AMG Hammer......


Which I believe was the first real AMG created car sold thru Mercedes dealerships.Great name for a rather brutal car for its time. Eventually bought by Mercedes, AMG is approaching their 50th anniversary, so obviously, with poor ol' Lewis in mind, they have decided to come up with a barn burner to celebrate the occasion. Yes, I know, many would have simply whipped up a great cake, but this is the auto industry, where every occasion (like the upcoming 10th anniversary of the discontinuance of the Pontiac brand?) deserves a model to commemorate the date.

AMG and Mercedes are obviously not immune to opportunism, as they have forgone the cake route, to create the AMG Hypercar (has a nice ring to it - kind of understated?)........


This beast of a car, which so far has only been teased in concept form, will apparently use an F1 drivetrain providing around 1000 HP motivation. A little something to tickle Lewis' fancy? And only between two and three hundred being made worldwide, so if the price doesn't guarantee rarity, this will. Oh, the price? Expect it to be in the $2 million plus range, when it finally hits the streets (or dunes) in late 2018 (maybe). Rest assured Lewis and Nico won't have to start saving, as this little trinket is probably written into their contracts.

And, if this AMG Hypercar special edition bears any resemblance to the concepts, it will be one very striking automobile.....





......proving one again, that one doesn't have to design something as butt ugly as the Pagani Zonda to get everyone's attention.

Now back to that production figure. Even without a finalized design to show buyers, the production run is almost completely sold out. Actually, it may be completely sold out, as I haven't heard from Benz telling me to start saving. One more reason to buy lottery tickets and to envy Lewis Hamilton.

Until next time.....



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Nov 22: That date again

Surely you recognize this famous pic, but if you don't, it is Dwight D. Eisenhower waving to the crowd after his 1953 presidential inauguration. He was the top guy, so he was riding in the top car of the time, a brand new Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Very expensive, as benefited the head of the most powerful nation on earth. Out in the open, waving to the crowds, who are watching this moment in history. How innocent we were or they were back then. It had been years since a president had been gunned down, while in any sort of a parade or public event. Now, flash forward a mere ten years to a sunny day in Dallas, Texas, November 22nd, 1963.......


Here is another president out in the open, waving to his (mostly) adoring public, watching what would become a very infamous moment in history, that ended this way.......


One minute all is well and next minute pandemonium reigns, as the dying president is rushed to hospital. A moment that certainly changed the way, the public would or could see their presidents in the future. That open innocence was washed away in an instance and set the path for what was to come. Here is that same car a few short months later (photo courtesy of Wally McNamee/Corbis).......


 Now to me, this begs the question, would you want to be riding in the same seat, in the same car, that your unfortunate predecessor died in a few months earlier? But I digress. Notice anything different? Sure you do. This formerly open topped Lincoln has had a bullet proof canopy added. A level of protection, that would set the trend from then until the present day. No longer would the US president be riding high, wide and handsome, as the old saying goes. No, from then on, the presidents' rides would be full of armour and have plenty of bullet proof glass........





.......until the secret service thought enough is enough, and decided to make the president's ride a protective cocoon. I'm sure you've heard of The Beast, as it is commonly referred to.......


.....bearing no resemblance to any Cadillac one would see on the street, the most recent one has been based on a truck chassis with a few touches added to identify it as some sort of Cadillac. The early limos were also customs, but any chance to make the new one elegant, was passed by in an effort to make it impervious to just about anything, baring a nuclear strike. Check out the thickness of those very heavy doors.......


That shooter way back in 1963 in the school book building or on the grassy knoll (pick your conspiracy), would have been out of luck, no matter what they were firing (thank goodness).

Now they have a new president and he gets the latest presidential limo, which is very similar to the last one, but with more of an Escalade type grille. Hey, this Beast is a in fact a truck, so let's make it look that way. Expect Trump's ride to be unveiled on the day of his inauguration and expect it to look like this........


 Hard to see your new leader, but as long as that presidential standard is flying from the front fender, you know that he is actually inside. Comforting thought. Give it your best shot, but all in vain, as with this car, a repeat of November 22, 1963 will be all but impossible.

Enjoy your day.

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







Friday, November 11, 2016

Nov 11: Welcome to Florida

Yes folks, it's that time of year again. Time to pack up and head south, if you happen to be one of those fortunate few, who spends their winter months in a sunny and warm destination. For many people from my province of Ontario, this is the time to head to Florida, to the welcome arms of that retirement state. Jump into your new Corvette, you know, the one which flaunts its speed with those 200 MPH vanity plates, that your wife warned you against getting. Why make yourself a target she said. Well, after all those years of wedded bliss, maybe you should have listened to her..........


Just over the state line, cruising without a care in the world, when you notice a sure sign of a Florida welcome in your rearview. And if that doesn't get your attention, a few quick blasts on the siren quickly pulls you over to the roadside, by those beautiful azure waters. Lucky guy, a personal greeting from Florida's finest.

Relax and take a closer look........


Is it real or is it Memorex? In this case, it's Memorex and it is a model that the Car Modeling Cat (CMC) and I have just completed to add to our extensive collection of state police cars. But the message is the same, Florida welcomes you with open arms, but buddy, respect those speed limits or one of our Hemi equipped Dodge Chargers will bring you down. Remember, Florida is not just palm trees and coconuts.



The Florida state police cars always have looked tough. None of those effeminate silver alloys wheels, that one sees on most of the state police cars in the southern states. No, these guys are all business. Sure, enjoy the scenery, but do it at the legal speed limit. Those dual exhausts are coming from a very powerful Hemi motor and they sure aren't afraid to use it.


 The CMC and I really like building these little scale replicas. Painted up correctly  -  actually this one isn't, but I'm not going to point out our error, as it is rather minor, and it still looks "right". And with the antenna(s) in the correct place, this one looks like it's ready to patrol the highways, on the lookout for those scofflaw northerners in their fancy cars.


And speaking of southern vacations, it's time for my wife and I to head to Mexico for a week of reading and relaxing. Our apologies to the CMC, but she and her apartment mate will have to stay in Toronto, contemplating our next build and sleeping. Oh, if only our lives could be so idyllic.

Until the 22nd.........