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.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 20: Bentley Dreamin'


 Almost look like the same car, don't they? Well a few years back and we don't have to go back near this far, these luxury brands, Bentley and Rolls Royce were identical under the skin. Their skin was also near identical, as you can plainly see in these pics. Those of you with a sharp eye will notice the key and only difference, their classic grilles. The Rolls has the copy of the Greek Parthenon, while the Bentley has a softer raked radiator. Other than that and a very different cache', they were the same.

Fast forward to the early 2000's and due to a corporate slight of hand, these brands ended up in different hands, BMW got Rolls Royce, while VW received Bentley. Now the brands prospered and changed, as each went their separate ways, Rolls to the highest end of the prestige market and Bentley to the lesser expensive (but still very costly) sporting luxury niche, starting with the svelte Continental........



......in both coupe and to die for cabrio models. The new "Hey, look at me" car for moneyed sports stars and other "Hey, look at me" celebrities. Throw on a set of custom rims, so you don't mistake it for the other Bentleys you see, and you are good to go,

Bentley has done very well, with each new model successfully tapping into that segment's automotive desires. Cars like the Mulsanne.......


.....and the slightly smaller and more economical (define this term anyway you want) Flying Spur.........


..........with both broadcasting the sporting, but quiet luxury look, for which Bentley would like to become known.

Backed by the German powerhouse VW (and with no diesel scandals), Bentley continues to offer great cars in several segments of the market. SUV? Of course. Like Porsche has found, nothing is sacred, when it comes to making money. Diversify, diversify, diversify. So, recently Bentley has introduced the Bentayga sport ute. Don't ask me about that name. No one knows what the heck it means, but like some of the other VW nomenclature, it's hard to pronounce and refers to nothing. But boy, does it fit into this scene with its sporting, multi-millionaire owner. His lordship doing something and going somewhere that, I'm guessing, no Bentayga will ever go........


But also, being a Bentley, it can be ordered bespoke. So, for the man who enjoys his solitude, while getting something for his family's table, Mulliner, a long time Rolls and Bentley custom outfitter, offers the ultimate accessory........



If you guessed, a fishing kit you would be partially correct. I say partially, since at $100,000, calling it what it is, seems to lack a certain something. Anyway you look at it or call it, it speaks to that grand old tradition that, one can get anything in their Bentley. Or order it anyway you want.

Anything? How about a colour palette of one hundred and thirty one exterior colours with interesting names like Gazelle, St. James and Silver Tempest? Or pick your own colour, give it an unusual name and Bentley will custom mix it. Same goes for the interior. The twenty four leather shades, again with interesting names - Highland Hare, porpoise and shortbread) don't quite cut it for you? Tell Bentley what does and you shall receive it, along with a healthy upgrade in the price.

What's next to keep this brand rolling?


Someone say hybrid? Of course, but this ain't no Prius. Expect it within the next three years, priced higher than a Continental, sized a little smaller. I doubt a fishing kit will be offered.

Yes, Bentley, you've come a long way..........



..........and and if it wasn't for VW, it's doubtful that, I'd be writing about you today, except in the past tense.

Long live Bentley and the great cars that bare the name.

Vacation alert! Yes, it's that time again (yea!) and my wife and I are headed to Portugal. Cars? Of course, there will be a few, quite a few actually, that are unique to the Continent, so for a car guy, these overseas trips are a treat in more than one way. Back again on August 3rd. Thanks for reading.

Until next time........



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 19: Love those graphics

 Remember the good old days? No, you probably don't, at least in the way, I'm thinking this morning. The old days I'm referring to, are the days when the police cars had unimaginative signage. After all, they were utilitarian cars used for one function only and that was police work. No need to make them interesting, just order them black, slap on some identification, a few lights, put an officer behind the wheel and voila', you have a police car ready to do its duty. Maybe also, have a panel or two painted white, if the department was a little more daring.

That was then, but now is now and it seems like the cop shops go out of their way to create rolling billboards for the local sheriff, city police, state trooper, provincial police or whatever. Before I get into this, I'm going to ask you to remember that, what was old is new again. Read on.

Keep in mind that these cars have to be resold, so it's best to simply add graphics that can be peeled off at auction time.

The RCMP were one of the early agencies to get creative with their cars' id.........


......note the bright stripes (how could you miss them?), the buffalo/crown emblem, the Canadian flag and the musical ride decal. All the best features of Canada's national police summed up in a few graphics. It works and has been like this for over twenty years. A long time. 

Many other agencies get creative on a semi regular basis and if you compare the various cars, you can see themes developing. There are a handful of departments that, are using graphics similar to what Ford has developed for their police car presentations.........

See the similarity to the way this Dodge Charger has been painted? Basic black (always in fashion), with this simple, but effect signage shouting POLICE for all the offenders to see.

Another trend is some form of red and blue stripes, like on this recent York Regional car (York seems to modify this theme every few years) and the patriotic car below it........



I've also noticed that some police change the graphics to suit the lines of their cars, as on these Windsor, Ontario Charger and Crown Vic..........

 
And then some police are going to very interesting city graphics, which actually started with the Detroit police, as a way, I believe, to add some pride to their force.......



This has now shown up on the Orlando, Florida cars. In my opinion, they should have featured Disney World graphics with maybe a big Mickey Mouse on the hood. Thoughts?

But the comment about what was old is new again, is starting to show up more and more. The California Highway Patrol has always had black and whites, as on the '50's Dodge.........


.......and to this day, they adhere to this colour scheme, whenever they place their large fleet orders. Now, these are the standard police car colours from the past. Even Bruce Springsteen referred to them in Out on the Street, ".....the black and whites they cruise by......."..Everyone knew what he meant. Now it seems that there is a minor trend towards going back to those standard colours of days gone by. Our Ontario Provincial Police is one of the latest converts........


Classic, like a simple black cocktail dress, always in style. And nothing says POLICE like a black and white.

But on the other hand, nothing says interesting like a creatively graphiced up cop car.........



Pull me over officer and let's check out your ride.

Whichever way the police graphics go these days, it's usually interesting and nothing so boring as a simple badge placed on the door of a black car. Well, maybe somewhere, but I haven't seem them. Let's keep up the creativity and continue to check out these cars.......but from safe a distance.

Until next time......



Friday, July 15, 2016

July 15: Self drive - an opinion


This is the Tesla that recently crashed, while in the self-drive mode and while its confident owner watched a Harry Potter movie on his ipad. Look, I just write what I read and the fellow who took this pic was first on the scene. He saw that the movie was still playing. What a way to die. The last thing you see before leaving this earth is Harry Potter.

Self drive! Now, here is a car idea, whose time should never have come. Is driving such an onerous task that, the car driving public has just been waiting for the engineers to come up with a way to get them out of the driver's seat? Sure, there are a couple of friends of mine, who should never be behind the wheel of anything, but there will always be folks like that.

Ah, the future as seen thru the eyes of the innocent(?) 1950's........


......cruising along under a super heated glass bubble, playing some board game, while slowly frying under the Summer sun. And of course, dad is wearing a tie, since no one drove a car without one. But the magazines of that time had all sorts of wild ideas about the future. Some actually came to pass and unfortunately self drive is one of them.

What about road rage and that skill you've been working on? You know, your ability to handle road rage in a smart and efficient manner. A way that will dissuade those other idiots from crossing you. Will that have all gone for naught? Another casualty of those stupid self driving cars.


Recently there have been a few bad accidents due to this function. Not a big deal, since all new technology will have some glitches and failures. But assuming you hate driving, if you are smart enough to have made the coin to buy a Tesla, you should be smart enough to pay some attention to technology that, has yet to be perfected. You can't completely tune out, while your car makes its own wrong decisions.

I saw the writing on the wall, when a few years back, some companies introduced a self park feature on their cars (Ford, I'm looking at you). In my opinion, if one couldn't parallel park, well, just maybe they shouldn't be behind the wheel. A bit unfair? Maybe. But many of us like or love to drive, so do we really need all those cars around us driving themselves, while their owners catch up on the latest in teen, or any other age group's, fashions.......


And if Google has their way, we'll all be driving some blob like car, which has all the personality of a blob like car........



.....and maybe these cars, don't need us along for the ride anyway ("So, where have you been today, little blob like car?"). If I thought my car future was going to look like this, well, just shoot me now.

So, what could be worse than a self driving car?



You got it, a self driving truck, such as the one Mercedes is testing. Just what we need, a multi-ton, eighteen wheeler cruising down the highway, waiting for some software malfunction to send it into oncoming traffic, before the otherwise occupied driver (watching Harry Potter?) can correct its course. Makes one shudder to think about it.

So, now you know how I feel about one piece of the new technology. Maybe the engineers can forget about the self driving car and simply prefect a friendly robot, who with its eyes on the road, can chauffeur its owner around the countryside. Maybe this would be a better idea. Maybe it makes about as much sense.


And one more rather important point........not one manufacturer refers to this technology as self drive, which would open them up to all sorts of ugly and expensive litigation. No, it is referred to as driver assistance, which is exactly what it is. So drive while watching Harry Potter at your peril. And, for Pete's sake, smarten up!

Until next time......


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 12: Happy 50th Anniversary, Camaro!

The older one gets, the more of these milestone events one hears about and wonders where the heck did the time go, this can't be correct. Alas, simple math means that when one subtracts fifty from 2016, one gets 1967, which brings up to this milestone.......


Yes, folks, the beloved Camaro has turned fifty. Now, actually that is not quite accurate. Although it was originally unveiled this week in 1967, it was laid to rest for a few years in the early 2000's. To be accurate, the event is fifty, the cars a few years younger. Now, that is out of the way, let's move on.

Before there could be a fiftieth for the Chevy Camaro, there had to be a reason for it to exist and that reason is this car below.........


The Mustang caught the auto world by surprise and the consumers responded by stepping up and ordering several hundred thousand of them in the first year. New ideas breed competition, so as quickly as they could, the other manufacturers responded to the Mustang. Chevy came out with their Camaro and like the Mustang, it could be ordered from mild to wild........


I remember being underwhelmed by the Camaro initially and didn't really get on board until the 1969 version hit the market. Before the Camaro design was finalized, a more formal version was foreseen, after all, Mustang had a fastback and a regular hardtop to go along with the ubiquitous convertible. To my mind, this model was best left in clay..........


 But, it was the 1969 model that is best remembered. Sort of a stop gap model until the stunning '70 arrived. This is the one that the muscle car aficionados remember and the one that garners all the attention (and big bucks) at those collector car auctions.........

.......and it is the one that, GM went back to for inspiration, when they planned to re-introduce the Camaro in 2010. This one had a long production run, as the '70's were not yet ready, so for the first time I can remember, the prior year's model was shown in the new car ads as a carry over model. Check out the white '69 Camaro in this 1970 Chev ad.........


The next Camaro, introduced as a 1970 and a half, could have been much different.......


.....again using a more formal roofline or possibly showing up with a shooting brake type of styling for one of its versions.......


...... but what came out in the spring of 1970 was absolutely gorgeous. Its inspiration was part American and part Italian.........


..........and even the ads mentioned that it was late arriving. The Camaro was here to stay, as other pony cars fell by the wayside (Javalin, Barracuda, Challenger). This model, with minor restyling, stayed around until the early '80's. Although, I loved the look of this car, my mind and heart were somewhere else, as it was many years before I had my first of three Camaros.

Which ones? I thought that you'd never ask.........













Starting from the top, a base charcoal '84, a loaded bright red '87 IROC-Z and finally a silver powerhouse next generation '95. All manuals, these cars were great in their own way. To show how things have changed over the years for Camaro and everyone else, the "big" V8 in my 1987 had 185 hp, while the "big" V8 in the '95 had 285 hp. Compare those numbers to the 2017 V6 with only 335 hp. How things have changed is right.

Over the years, the Camaro has had a following and has showed up in all the right places, such as at Indianapolis, as a pace car for both of its famous races........


Over the fifty years, there have only been six distinct Camaro bodies as seen here........


.......although the new for 2016 is so close to the prior model in design, as to seem like a slight revision, as opposed to a completely different animal that, it most definitely is.

Many things have changed over the years, but there is one thing that has remained as a constant with the Camaro. What's that? Well, this pic says it all........


After fifty years, the Camaro's competition is still the Mustang. The more things change, the more they stay the same? In some ways, absolutely.

Oh, and about that name, Camaro. Made up, of course, but supposed to sound like French for friend or pal or something like that. Actually, the French word it resembles means comrade, which in the '60's would have been an odd choice. Either way, the name has never hindered this car. So once again, happy 50th, old friend (or pal or whatever).

Until next time.......