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, February 5, 2016

Feb 5: DeLorean: Back to the future?

Where is this car headed in such a rush? Well, if you are any sort of car person or a movie buff or even someone, who has not done a Rip Van Winkle for the past thirty years, you'll recognize this car as a DeLorean in a scene reminiscent of the movie, which made it famous, Back to the Future. Remember the old doc's time machine? Of course you do. Everyone remembers the doc and Marty McFly doing the near impossible, in a rather curiously modified DeLorean DMC 12 sportscar. Probably, if not for the movie, this car would have been consigned to the back pages of car history books.

Here are a couple of shots from the Back to..... movies.........

 

Yeah, what a wild ride.

A brief DeLorean history.......... this car was conceived by John DeLorean, the former wonder child of General Motors, the father of the GTO among other things. Well folks, John was way too cool for GM, so not surprisingly he was turfed. He had fashionably long hair for gawd's sake! He had to go.


Anyway, he developed his own sportscar, its claim to fame being the stainless steel body. Have a stainless steel appliance? So, you know how easily they mark. Also, the front and rear caps are a different shade, because they couldn't get the plastic to match the stainless body. Great start.

Thank goodness for the car's movie fame, since they weren't much of a sportscar. The old story ended badly.......the money ran out, DeLorean grasped at any way to get additional funds and his car company dreams folded. Leaving the Northern Ireland factory to collect dust, like the Bricklin one did in Saint John, New Brunswick a few short years before. Don't they ever learn?

So, why do I bring this up today, you ask? Because the fellow who bought all the leftover car parts has enough to produce 300 new DeLoreans. Do I hear cheering? Probably not. New rules in the US, means that he can build them without having to go thru the expensive crash worthiness testing or something like that.


The one difference is that the anemic Renault power plant has to be replaced with a modern unit. Nothing wrong with that, as the original didn't get accolades back in the day. The good news, is that one of the new ones will only set you back slightly less than $100K. Great except for one minor detail, a refurbished original can be had for roughly half of that. See any cracks in this plan?

So now the Delorean will not go back to the future, but it will rush back to the past........


Good luck, but I think that this idea is a non starter. Anyone else agree?

Until next time......



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Feb 2: A beautiful Ferrari?

Ferrari's are beautiful or at least they are supposed to be.........

 

Of course, there have been a few questionable designs, like the Enzo or the F40. Now, hold on just a minute before you start frothing at the month and suggesting that I'm blind, please remember the old adage, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Well, now that is out of the way, look at what just landed in our showroom......

 

.....a real "beauty is in the eye....." example. This is the Ferrari FF, their version of a four by four, at least so far and until Ferrari produces their own suv. Like it? I think that its design is questionable. Really long hood and a truncated back. Brings to mind the old BMW Z3 hardtop that had a similar look.......


But this Bimmer was even stranger, a look so bad, that it my mind it makes the worst ever designed cars list. And maybe near the top, but below the Pontiac Aztec. At least the Ferrari FF had the length to set off its unusual look.


But Ferrari had other things in mind with the FF. A family Ferrari for all those dads and moms, who felt the need for speed to go along with their family duties. You don't believe me? Ok, look at this promo picture put out by the company.......


That is one great looking child's seat for your budding Nicki Lauda or Sebastian Vettel. This makes a heck of a lot more sense, than the recent Porsche 911 cabrio, we recently had traded in with two child seats in the rear. A Porsche 911, two kids and it's your only car? Strange and painful. Or, maybe I'm mistaken and this pic was meant to suggest that the FF could be Herve Villechaize's chauffeured ride ("Da plane, da plane!"). Probably not, he died many years ago.

You know what is really interesting? Yes, I know there are many things. But I was thinking that no matter what the car, there is always someone ready to modify it in a less than successful way. Know what I mean? You don't? Ok, so check out this FF mod.........


Why? Good question, which shall probably remain unanswered, at least in today's blog.

Anyway, back to our standard issue FF. Like it? Want to own it? Great, it is a 2012 with a mere 17k on the odo and a give away price of $249,000. Original list with options was about $425k, so luxuriate in the savings. And your friends won't know if it's four years old or brand new (hide the kilometres and lie to them). You can reach me at 416-386-3074.

If, on the other hand, you are just a tire kicker, then read this blog and move along.

Until next time........




Friday, January 29, 2016

Jan 26: Big snow storm? Try the Antarctic Snow Cruiser


Big snow storm like what hit the eastern US last weekend? What are you going to drive? What would be your ideal ride? You should know that, those all wheel drive cars and crossovers won't really help, when you are faced with mountains of snow. Even a big 4x4 might not be up the challenge of three plus feet of snow and drifts that tower over you. You are probably longing for a Nissan Rogue Warrior, since nothing would stop those big tracks. Well, Nissan isn't planning to make more than this one, besides, it's not quite what I had in mind. No, I had something really gargantuan in my mind. I want something like what is lurking behind the intrepid adventurer in the pic below.........


Take a closer look. Big enough, whatever it is? Ok, so let's put it into perspective..........













Got a better idea of the sheer monstrous size of this beast? It has a name........this is the Antartic Snow Cruiser. What and where can you get one? You can't, but here's the story behind this big boy. It was built in 1939 for Admiral Byrd's expedition to the South Pole. Big enough to conquer the Antarctic and make easy work of all the mountains of snow you would find down there. Right? We'll see.

Amazing stats for the Snow Cruiser........37 tons (162,800 kilos), 9463 litres of fuel for 5000 miles or 8000 kms (what's a fill up cost?) and room for a crew of four (should be close friends). Can anyone foresee a problem? How about getting it from the factory in Ohio to the wharf in Boston? Seems it got side swiped by a truck in Ohio with this result.........


......it careened off the road into a ditch. Now, just think about that for a moment. Didn't the truck see it? And how could something this big careen anywhere? Well, it did and it took three days to extricate it from the mud in the ditch. Bodes well for its mission in the Antarctic, doesn't it?

Finally in Boston, another problem is just how to get and keep it on a ship? Great minds obviously came up with a solution (pic courtesy of the Boston Public Library)........


Note that the back end had to be removed, to be re-attached once they reached their final destination. I suppose they could have used a bigger boat. But I digress.

This brute was equipped for all eventualities........




.......and would even take a small plane along for the ride. Great idea. Note those huge tires. Hard to see in this pic, but you might notice an important omission.


A gold star to anyone who said, "The tires have no tread!". Good eye, Sherlock. That is exactly right. Those huge balloon tires didn't have any tread, so maybe in theory they would cruise over the Antarctic ice and snow, oblivious to their environment. In reality, it slipped and slid and generally floundered. So much for your $300,000 in 1939 dollars.

Admiral Byrd left the Antarctic and his Snow Cruiser. Located in snow and ice again in 1958, it has since disappeared under the snow and the shifting ice shelf. Feeling lucky? Just won the Powerball and thinking of ways to fritter away your fortune? How about a new Antarctic expedition to find this beast? I think you'd agree, it would be well preserved. What to drive? Play it safe and get Nissan to make you another Rogue Warrior. Costs less and it's guaranteed to actually work.


Until next time........



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jan 26: This is a Honda?

This is a Honda? Well, no it isn't, it's a Murano.


But anyone who follows the new cars, knows that Nissan and Lexus have the latest "out there" designs. No more the boring box that everyone else seems to design. This Nissan Murano stands out, whether you like it or not. I like it.

The other day, me, your intrepid car guy was looking at the rear three quarter view of a new sport ute and you know what? I couldn't identify it. After several puzzling minutes, I came to the conclusion that it was the new Honda Pilot.........


Had I been closer, of course, I would have checked out the name or the emblem. The point being, so many of these things, cars or suvs look the same. But compare this new Pilot to the Murano above it. No question that the Murano is what it is and you'll never mistake it for anything else. The Pilot not so much.

Now, if you go back to my April 24th blog of 2015, I show a concept Honda from the Shanghai Auto Show. My prediction was that, soon you would see this vehicle being introduced as a production model and sold somewhere, probably China. Surprise! Honda announced the other day, that their Concept D would indeed be produced for the Chinese market. Get a load of this wild child.........

 From Honda? What a shock. Is one of the Nissan or Lexus designers moonlighting? This Concept D looks like nothing else from conservative Honda, but give them their due, they are going to make it. For China, at least.

Here's a tissue, wipe those teary eyes.

Why not send this suv thing to North America. The crossover, four door coupe market, seems to be blossoming, so wouldn't this fit into Honda's line up? Sure, it might make the other stuff in the showroom look old, but your designers can change that over time. Maybe Honda was so burned by the abominable Crosstour that, for our market at least, they'll take baby steps.

First baby step, might be this new Civic........


 It sure breaks the relatively boring Civic mold from years past. So maybe there is hope for Honda yet? My opinion (you were waiting for this, weren't you)? I believe that this Concept D, or whatever they will eventually call it, will end up on our shores, maybe as an Acura, a line which really needs help, or as the Honda that, it is everywhere else.


Bets?

Until next time.......



Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jan 21: A wild cat or a Wildcat?


A wild cat? Not really, although our beloved little Car Modeling Cat (CMC) can be quite frisky, when she runs amuk thru our new condo. Or, when she play fights with me or her bigger feline companion. But when it is time to settle down at the car modeling table, she becomes an entirely different animal. Concentrating at the task at hand, she is always ready to get involved in whatever way is necessary.

So today, the not so wild cat, is helping with a real Wildcat..........


Wildcat is/was a famous Buick name that, originated way back in the early '50's and was put on the Wildcat I dream car. This car toured the country in the famous GM Motorama, showing off the General's latest cars and greatest new dream cars (these days concept cars).


Another time, another place. Seeing the benefit of the Wildcat name, it was put on a personal luxury coupe in 1962, which eventually became a whole line of midpriced "sporty" Buicks (remember the times, folks). This brings us to the model the CMC and I have just finished.........

 

Our Wildcat is a 1970 two door hardtop. Sporty was a relative word, when one was talking about a big highway cruiser like this Buick. But for its time, it supposedly exuded sex appeal and said that the driver was a happening kind of person. Remember, no Japanese competition at this time and very little was coming from the Continent.


Whether it was a sportster or not, this Wildcat was quite attractive, again, in the context of its day. Looking at our model below, along with a real Buick, it brings to mind the old ad slogan, "Is it real or is it Memorex?".


Another good way for the dear little CMC and me to spend quality time together. A wild cat building a Wildcat.

Until next time........



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Jan 19: What's in a name?

What's in a name? Obviously, if you are Fiat Chrysler (FCA), not a whole lot. Last week, to relatively great anticipation, FCA took the wraps off a redesign of one of their major bread winners, the brand new Pacifica. The what? Where did that name come from? If you have any sort of car memory, you'll recall the Pacifica of the early 2000's........


......an interesting lump of a vehicle, which might have been the first crossover. A bit underpowered for its size, it was a good mix of station wagon (there's that awful word again) and sport ute. Sold for about five years, then dropped as its novelty wore off. I don't think people look back with a tear in their eye, when they remember its passing.

So FCA's new Pacifica is unveiled..........


.......and it is a stunner, at least for a van. All new and very stylish. But about that name. This van is essentially the new Chrysler Town & Country, a mainstay of the US van market for many years. Want them cheap or want them expensive, the T & C had all the bases covered. And the Town & Country name had been around since almost before the beginning of time. How long?

 

From way back in 1941. Chrysler put the T&C name on a line of cars featuring a coupe, a convertible, a sedan and this sort of, station wagon. The hook was the real wood paneling along the side. From there the name headed to Chrysler station wagons, whether they were the big full sized ones, or the intermediates or eventually the K car derivative. And when Chrysler would get their own version of the Dodge Grand Caravan, that van would bear this famous moniker. All through this time, Chrysler never let us forget their heritage........


And why should they? This name was synonymous with Chrysler's history of fine automobiles (at least in their eyes). Nothing like heritage. Can you think of any other car name that has stood this test of time? If there is one, it escapes me for the moment.

So now, they drop the very familiar Town & Country designation for a new van name that, came from a very inauspicious crossover. I just don't get it. If it is all that new (and it is), then use a better name. Call it the Chrysler Ram and tell people that it is a truck. That'll sure light those sales fires. But Pacifica?

Automotive history is strewn with great vehicle names that were dropped, because someone had a better idea. Usually one that shriveled on the vine. Remember the Acura Legend? It was replaced by the RL, never again to achieve strong sales.

So what's in a name? Good question and one to which Chrysler thinks they have the answer. We'll see.


Until next time.......



Friday, January 15, 2016

Jan 15: The P5 - this was at Detroit?

This was at the North American International Auto Show?


Well, yes it was. The press conference, Elio Motors owner held to talk about this revolutionary new car(?), drew huge numbers of the press. Ok, this is an exaggeration, as I believe there were a couple of dozen, semi interested scribes listening to his spiel.  Almost embarrassing, when all the other new introductions had hundreds or thousands of journalists in attendance. What is this thing?

This is Elio Motors, "new" P5. New is a relative term here, since it was first shown a few years back, with 2016 being given as its in production date. So what exactly is the P5? Technically it's a motorcycle, but some hard lobbying has exempted any P5 owners from having to wear a helmet. That would have seemed just plain strange.

Compact and ready to race to its 160 KPH speed, or 100 MPH for my American readers, this little car or whatever, will reportedly get just over 80 miles per US gallon (sorry, but I can't do the kms/litre conversion) on the highway or about 50 in the city. Top speed is a "who cares" number here, since anyone one heading down the 401 in a P5 at full song, needs their head to be seriously examined.




The P5 seems like a happy little number, but like most new car companies (Tesla excepted), Elio Motors is seriously underfunded, so production in Louisiana this year, may be a dream not reality. But, as always, hope springs eternal. How hopeful? About forty eight thousand deposits to date.

Cheap? Well, not really expensive at a proposed $6800. Load up you, one of your close friends and hit the road for all the good times the P5 promises. Room for a couple of very small overnight bags or one set of golf clubs (providing you are travelling alone).














Just the right set of wheels for those lonely, but very thrifty folks. But maybe, if this lady's reaction is anything to go by, a P5 driver won't be lonely for long.


You'll no doubt hear more about the unusual P5. More than likely that, Elio couldn't get the capital needed to crank up that production line down south. Nothing wrong with dreamers, this world needs them, but how often does that dream turn out to be a nightmare?

Until next time......