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, April 21, 2017

April 21: New Jeep Wagoneer?


Here it is in all its glory, the new for 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Wagoneer, just introduced at this week's Shanghai Auto Show. Yes sir, this is the BIG Jeep that the suv lovin' world has been waiting for with anticipation bordering on rabid. Rumoured for so long and now thewraps are off.

Now, before any of you rush off to your local Jeep dealer, deposit money in hand, asking them about this new model, of which they will have no idea (naturally), let me give you a few more very important details. Yes, this concept is of a seven passenger Jeep and yes, there have been rumours of a new Wagoneer for some time now, and yes, this one will definitely be built. But this Jeep Yuntu (another interesting name) will be a China only model. So we are told. China only? Wasn't too long ago that wording would bring a chuckle or two.

Look at its design language........


From the front to the back, it is right in line with the very latest models from this somewhat revered brand. For example, check out the look of this new Compass.......



You can definitely see the family resemblance, as you can with the Renegade and the Cherokee. So putting two and two together and coming up with five, I think the Yuntu concept has a good shot of giving us a preview of the next Grand Cherokee scheduled for a couple of years from now. And possibly, a preview of the much anticapted and longed for Wagoneer.

Remember the last one? Of course you do.......


It left the scene with not too many tears shed, but as we all know, these days everyone worships at the shrine of the suv and those ancient twenty five year old memories are all good ones. In the Wagoneer's case they must be terrific, since any one in good condition sells for the same or more than it did back in the day. There is at least one company stateside, that specializes in reconditioning these old beasts of burden.

Curious to know how this whole Jeep station wagon thing started? Glad you asked.......


And from those humble beginnings arose the brand, that is probaby as well known worldwide today as is Coca-Cola, hence the Yuntu's intro at the Shanghai Auto Show. Now, all we have to do is wait and see whether my prediction about the styling is bang on or me talking thru my hat. Aw, by the time the new models come out, you'll have forgotten about this blog anyway.

Until next time......



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 18: Greek oddities, part 1


This is certainly what one thinks of, when one thinks of Greece and we certainly gave this a lot of thought, as we sat on our terrace in Santorini and enjoyed this magnificent vista. But your car guy enjoys more than the antiquities and stunning views, when he and his beloved wife travel through Europe. Those roads hold a multitude of interesting vehicles, that we don't and won't get over here. There are also scenes that are, shall we say, a touch unusual. So let's take a wander thru some of the Greek oddities that caught your blogger's eye.

Such as this flock of smart cars seen on Crete........


Keep in mind that the economy in Greece is on the skids and that might better explain why there were these tiny two seaters everywhere. More than I've seen anywhere else in Europe or definitely over here. Four in one easy to get shot. Go figure. It must warm the heart of Mercedes' management, when they travel in that area.

And, of course, there were the ubitquitous Mercedes cabs, all in silver this time and ranging from old, but never decrepit, to brand spanking new. If you look closely, this line up has examples of both.......


In Europe, those Benz taxis are nothing new, but one seldom sees a BMW being used in this way. And for sure, one never sees an M5, old or otherwise with a taxi sign, like this one.........


With most vehicles being diesels, I wonder how this driver can make any money feeding that big throbbing V8? Sure, he might get there a little quicker, but probably not, considering the crazy traffic. Maybe the EU is channeling some extra coin to these guys?

No parking available, no problem, just pull in and leave your car. Only don't try to leave this seaside lot outside of Athens, a little before the others parked near you. This scene was repeated everywhere. No space, no problem. Oh to be Greek!


As you know, Greece has its economic troubles. My favorite line was asking other Europeans we met, if they had come to Greece to see their tax dollars at work (wry smiles were forthcoming). Outside of Mexico, I have never seen so many old cars in such miserable condition, but still being used for daily transportation. This old something or other was parked near our hotel in Heraklion, Crete.......


And don't let that nearly flat tire fool you, as this could be on the road in a few minutes, joining other heaps in similar condition or worse. I've also never seen so many old car graveyards, as I did over there. Whether on the mainland or on the islands, it made little difference. There would be one after another on the outskirts of any town or city. Even non car people noticed it.

All our cities' police forces have buses to transport their officers in bulk to special events, but usually they are not protected like this one in Heraklion........


Nothing special was going on, but the local constabulary had rolled out this wired up bus near a busy traffic circle in the middle of town. Expecting trouble or just hanging out, either way no sticks or stones were going to damage those windows.

When was the last time you saw one of these old Benz C230 coupes in your 'hood? Probably quite a while ago, since they haven't been part of Mercedes line up anywhere for over ten years.


But in Greece I saw them everywhere, along with the old style SLK roadsters. No new ones, but more of the old ones than one would normally see in a bad Fast & Furious dream (and those dreams were always bad). This was an unusually pristine example, as most were limping along, as befitted their age and condition.

Now to finish off, recognize this?


Not surprised you don't, as this is a real rarity anywhere outside of Japan. Seen on Naxos island, this old luxury mobile is a Toyota Crown. This was the type of car the wealthy would drive in its home country. Never exported to North America and I didn't think Europe, but one left hand drive model found its way to this Greek island. Poor pic, I know, but just managed to catch it, as I was watching an inter island ferry depart.

Car person or not, if you have never been fortunate enough to visit Greece, I highly recommend you put it on your bucket list. The history, the stunning scenery, the food and most of all its wonderful people made this one of our most memorable holidays.

The ruins at Delphi
Now back to the reality of working in good old Toronto.

Until next time.......



Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 13: Easter dreams?


It seems so very long ago, that when we thought of Hyundai, this rolling piece of garbage came to mind. Cheap and built to last until it fell apart, which was usually quite soon after its initial purchase, the Pony had bad move written all over it. And posing it against a lovely southern setting didn't add to its appeal or take away from its badness. But as they say, that was then and now is now (how insightful, Barry).

Not quite now, but back in '09, Hyundai's stock had risen to the point, that they could drop a near luxury sedan into their product mix and test the water for people paying well into the $40k's for a Hyundai.......


Yes, the Genesis was that product. Very well equipped and nicely designed to not stand out. Wisely, the Hyundai name was left off of the Genesis, lest people felt they shouldn't drop that kind of coin for a Korean car. Where did they buy it? Of course, from a Hyundai showroom, so who were they fooling? Your non car savy cleaning lady or Stevie Wonder? 

Anyway, time passed and Hyundai went even higher up the automotive food chain with the Equus. Never seen one? Not surprised, as they had the presence of John F. Kennedy's ghost. I'd see one every month or so and mention it to my car guy big bro, "Guess what I saw today?". Good car, but point well taken, if you are hoping to sell a luxury car, then maybe putting your mainstream cars' name on it isn't a good idea. Please see Lexus, Acura and Infiniti as a reference.

Enter the Genesis brand, starting with the G80........


.........and then adding the beautiful and expensive ($84K CAN starting price) G90........


......Hyundai was trying to establish the Genesis name as its own brand. Still sold thru Hyundai dealers, at least for the time being, these cars received very good reviews, particularly the G90. Comparisons with the top Bimmers and Mercedes had this car equiting itself extremely well. At least to the automotive press. That was a very good start, but still the G90 is a rarity on our city's streets. I have seen one. Only one.

But don't count Hyundai out, as the Pony story proves. They've learned and learned quickly. Now they are releasing concepts that are visually stunning........


You've probably noticed how the middle concept evolved into the G80, with basically the same design, minus of course, those auto show doors. Now with the New York Auto Show upon us, Genesis has shown yet another new concept, and no matter how much I like the coupe shown above, this GV80 is the one that should see production first...........


Note how the Genesis "face" is evolving into something less derivative. Knowing how North Americans love their suvs, to the exclusion of many great sedans, Hyundai should whip this one into production tout suite and watch the early adopters flock into their showrooms. Maybe this would be the Genesis that enables the brand to open their own exclusive dealerships?

Count Genesis out at your peril. After watching Hyundai morph into their current quality products and sales, from their disheartening start with the poor little Pony, expecting the Genesis not to gain traction in the market place would be a fool's bet.


Letting my brother know the next time I see a new Genesis, will, I believe, be a thing of the past. Maybe, I'll even call him one day and say, "Guess what I bought today?".

Until next time......


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 10: Never enough power?


Ok, so no more teaser ads, the cat is out of the bag so to speak, but in this case the cat is the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Demon. Now, for all of us power hungry speed aficionados, who always felt that the super hot Challenger Hellcat wasn't really hot enough, this has gotten our attention. Hey, after all, the Hellcat had only 707 HP, when a Bugatti Veyron had over a thousand. Well, yes, there is the question of price and that Italian stallion comes in around 20-30 times more than a Challenger, but heck, what's the big diff?

It's official, not that there was any chance it wouldn't be, and the real car will be unveiled at next week's New York Auto Show. To ramp up the interest, Dodge released this official photo the other day and wisely choose to show its new crazy car in its natural environment, a dragstrip........


Note the flared wheel wells to hold that extra wide rubber, but even with the expected street legal, almost slicks, this will be the typical starting line pic one can expect from this power crazed pony (with apologies to Mustang).......


And yes, those tires won't last long, but imagine the enjoyment you'll give all those waiting at the street light, as you light 'em up. And I don't think this second hand smoke causes cancer. Room for golf clubs? Yikes, that could be a problem.

Now, about that name. Hellcat is one great moniker and will probably go down in history like the Hemi. I also like the sound of Hellcat Demon..........


..........but those of us with a long car memory might remember the first Dodge car to wear that name and when you think about it, it's rather funny.......


Way back in 1971, Dodge responded to the sales of Plymouth's popular Duster, with their version, which they called the Demon, but this Demon, unlike its present day namesake, came with a school marm's six cylinder. Demon? Yeah, well maybe it was in the eye of the beholder and just maybe almost fifty years later, those buying today's Hellcat Demon won't give a damn. I know I wouldn't.

Just in case you are reaching for your wallet to plunk down a hefty deposit, to ensure your being the first at your local drag strip with this latest Mopar Missile (Google it), rumour has it that there may be another version to increase the "base" model's 840 HP to a "terror on the streets" top dog, featuring a mind blowing 1023 HP!!! Mercy!

So burn those hides, baby, as it's going to get wild out there.......


Until next time......

Friday, March 24, 2017

March 24: A unique delivery

Hands up, who doesn't like pizza and who doesn't like sitting back at home waiting for their cheese and tomato pie to arrive, bubbling hot from the oven? And now hands up, who is a touch disappointed, when their pizza arrives, slightly less than hot and and far from bubbly? Of course, the answer to all of the above is all of us. Yeah, those beat up old Corollas and worse yet, motorbikes with those dumb back rack carriers, just don't cut it when we want that fresh from the oven goodness.

Other methods are also, not exactly efficient, but all are worth checking out.........



If this converted lowrider VW van even made it to your home, it would be a miracle, regardless of how hot or chilled its package was. Yes sir, this one is a no go from the get go. And this fleet of lovely(?) Toyota hybrids aren't much better.......


Great to save gas on your deliveries, but any hybrid benefits from careful driving, not those mad dashes from the pizza oven to your home. So, unfortunately this method, while good for the pizza shop owner, just won't work for the end eater - you and me!

What else might be worth considering?


I actually think this might work, but I was distraught to read that it was the shop owner's personal ride and not the hoped for delivery machine of my dreams. Nix this one as well.

So, why not a drone? These days they are being used to deliver everything from books to bombs.......


........but any sharp eyed observer, will see right away, that there is not an insulated wrap around the pie, so all that air rushing by this speedy delivery conveyance negates the main reason for using a drone. Back to the drawing board.

The guys behind the Domino's Pizza chain have been mulling over this dilemma for years. Economical delivery vehicles have been key from the start, but as we all know, unless you live next door to the oven, that age old problem of luke warm pizza pie persists. Still, Domino's has had an interesting assortment of delivery vehicles........




What to do, what to do?

Finally, those bright souls at Domino's came up with the obvious solution. So obvious, that no one else has thought of it before.......


 Now we're talking and what a great idea. Take one economical Chevy Spark and build a real pizza oven into the back seat. Make it accessable to the driver from the outside of the car and quicker than a Donald Trump tweet, one gets a really hot pizza. No fake news here.


And to top it off, I bet this things smells wonderful, as it cruises the biways to your abode. Nothing but good feelings and added sales for the folks at Domino's. Talk about a terrific marketing tool. And for a car guy or gal, an interesting vehicle to look over, while chowing down on their favorite toppings. But be careful, that pizza is HOT!

So there you have it........a problem proposed and a problem solved and it only took sixty years!

Vacation alert.......it's that time again, when those overseas countries beckon, so there will be no blogging from yours truly, as he trips around Greece. Back on April 11th with (hopefully) interesting new insights.

Until next time........




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 21: Hot rod Lincoln?


 Surely they must have been kidding, comparing a huge, relatively soft riding Lincoln Mark Seven coupe (the two door kind) to a taut handling Mercedes 560 SEC. Don't advertising types have any shame? Well, you can read the ad, so apparently not. Written with a straight face, no doubt. True or not, maybe this car kept a few Lincoln enthusiasts in the fold, but I doubt very many, if any, buyers said to themselves, "I better check out that new Mark Seven before blowing my coin on a new Mercedes."
The power of positive thinking. This was Lincoln's kick at the can, that Cadillac was also kicking around. Trying to transform a big, traditional American luxury yacht into a corner carver, that even a Benz or BMW driver could love. Did it work? If you are any sort of a car person, you already know the answer.

There used to be a song about a hot rod Lincoln way, way back in the days, when the only German car anyone on this side of the Atlantic bought was a strange little round creation called a Beetle. So a "hot rod" Lincoln was relative to what else was available over here at the time.

Now, the important thing here is, that some imaginative soul thought a model kit of a real hot rod Lincoln, might be a good idea. So, of course, my trusty companion, the Car Modeling Cat (CMC) and I took this kit, that I had bought fifteen years ago and made our own hot rod Mark Seven.......



Usually these kits are based on a real car that someone somewhere had built in real life, but no amount of research has found any info on any pro street Lincoln Mark Seven ever being built. So, of all the cars the model company could have used, strange that they chose this subject. Oh well, they did and the CMC and I built it. And since it was a supposed drag strip terror, I posed it with a vintage funny car (talk about imagination).

The transformation from street car to pro street is less than subtle. By the way, the idea of a pro street car is one that resembles a production car, but with a monster motor and huge slicks at the rear. No one would ever mistake one for the other, but at a quick glance, they do look sort of similar. Until in real life, when that monster motor is cranked to life.

Stock 1985 Mark Seven

Maybe this is the way Ford should have made their original Mark Seven and marketed it as faster than any Mercedes ever........in a straight line?

Ridiculous or not. Real or imagined, the CMC and I brought to miniature life this car, that the Lincoln division of Ford, at one time thought they might have a true competitor for those European brands. I don't always know what is going on in that furry little creature's head, but I'm convinced while building this model, she shared my thought of how ridiculous this car was........


A Mercedes competitor indeed.

Until next time.......


Friday, March 17, 2017

March 17: A green day

Nothing says happy St. Patrick's Day like a lovely green card with a vintage Buick LeSabre on it, green of course. For those amongst you who send out Saint Paddy's Day cards (does anyone?), this might be one to consider for next year for all your car buff friends. How to celebrate this unusual day? Unusual, since I've never quite figured out why this particular country gets its own day, when folks celebrate by drinking a green beverage, wearing a bit of green or dying their city's river green (Chicago, I'm talking to you).

Ok, so let's give into the need for green and see how a car guy or gal can celebrate this auspicious(?) occasion. Let's go extreme first.......


We all know that if you have a smart car, at some time you must dress it up. I believe this is actually written into the sales contract. And proof must be sent back to the Fatherland. Now this little smart costume must have taken a while to plan and probably longer to execute. Cover car with dirt, plant grass seed, water liberally and wait until after March 17th, before you mow it. Brilliant. Why is it you never see Buicks or BMW's being this creative. Might it have to do with good taste?

Moving right along to crass commercialism........


This money wise sponsor, decided that they must appeal to the Irish and for the race weekend closest to the 17th, show up at the track with a St. Paddy's Day themed ride. Could it have anything to do with the driver's last name being Patrick? Now, there is your insightful question for the day.

Back to the future with this string of DeLoreans or is it back to the past?


Either way, a few green bits, a green t-shirt and a nattily attired teddy bear all say, I'm in the spirit and so is my famous car. Just by luck this driver found a few other like minded owners. Strange but true.

Another car that is always destined to be dressed up for these special occasions is the good old VW Beetle. One way or another, they will always find their way into the local parade......



And as luck would have it, this one also happens to be green. Just how Irish can one be?

And now for the ultimate St. Patrick's Day ride and it doesn't even have to be painted green or decorated.....


The real and the first Irish car, the Shamrock, not that pretender the DeLorean. Show up at your local pub on the 17th in one of these and I'll guarantee you won't buy a drink all day. A couple of interesting background facts about this rarety.......only ten were built and the left over parts were dumped into a lake. Must have been before recyling.

I hope that these car ideas for St. Paddy's Day are not too late for you create your own breath taking ride. The local dollar store should be able to provide all the high quality decor you'll need to tranform your pride and joy.

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day and remember to go green.

Until next time.......