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, June 30, 2016

June 30: Those Hearse Ads

When was the last time you saw an ad for a new hearse? What's this, Barry, you think we all subscribe to Mortician Daily? You know, the publication that runs articles like, Looking Good in Your Casket or Urns to Die For. Well, no, I didn't expect anyone would put up their hand when asked that question. The point is, that of course, there are ads in the trade publications for these custom built conveyances. I'm fascinated by hearses for all the right reasons. They are custom built. They use a variety of cars. They use a variety of body styles. Then, of course, there are the over the top names. And over the years, their advertising has also changed.

Back in the day, a much broader variety of cars were used as the basis for hearses and their kin, ambulances, as seen in this ad for a plain Jane Ford, perfect for the underachieving funeral parlour...........

But, now with station wagons being a thing of the past, the opportunities to use any old wagon with upgraded rear springs has gone by the wayside. Ads like this are history.

But one thing has stayed constant over the years, high end luxury cars like Cadillac and Lincoln form the basis of the best hearses. These cars that, will haul our remains to the graveside, represent the final bit of style our bodies will ever experience.........



Great ads showing all the exclusive features that, make our final ride something we'll remember (use your imagination, ok?). Ever seen a hearse with this colour combo? Or like this Olds........


My favorite kind of funeral car is called a combination, as seen and explained in this magazine ad.........


Combination? Means that with the removal of the hearse landau bar panel, it becomes an ambulance, since many funeral homes also provided the local ambulance service. Two questions. One, would the funeral home have an incentive to rush the patient to hospital in order to save them? And two, you are feeling poorly and the local hearse rolls up to your door, albeit with one minor change. Of course, if you had read this ad, you would know the difference. Rest a little easier.

Let's get a newer with this creative and classy ad for a Cadillac.......


All those great selling features. Its end user? An individualist in life, an individualist in death.


But what's with this Mercedes van hearse advertisement? Are they trying to say, one could use it for deliveries, when its funeral duties were done for the day? Maybe, they should have been tastefully clearer?

Talking about an interesting message in your colourful new hearse ad........


Are they saying that you should end it now, so you can experience the classic beauty of this late '50's Cadillac today? Or, are they simply saying, get used to it, since you'll never get out alive, at least one should go out in a Cadillac? Play around with it - what can you come up with?

Today's ads are less, well, shall we say that, they are simply less..........
























Low key in the new millennium kind of way. No fancy colours, no grandiose backdrops. Let the hearse's beauty speak for itself. Or, in the case of the Lincoln, scare the funeral director towards the traditional styling of the Cadillac.

We see funeral vehicles all the time and thankfully from the outside, but we never see ads for them. My blog today has shown you what you will have found in Mortician Daily or Undertaker Weekly over the years (we've only scratched the surface, folks). And as expected, there are other options, than what would be considered traditional.........


Make of this ad, what you will.

Until next time.......





Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 28: Why change?

This is the culprit. Maybe that is too gentle a term to use for this gear shift lever that may or may not work, depending on the unit and the driver. Let me clarify things for you. This is the gear selector on the newer model Jeep Grand Cherokee. Although its problem was common knowledge and a recall was in place, it gained more prominence last week, when a well known actor was killed. His Jeep, thought to be in gear, wasn't and it rolled back and crushed him. The issue, is that with this selector, it is very hard to tell for sure whether it is actually in the gear the driver has selected. Very dangerous. Now, my point in hearing about this is, why re-invent the wheel?

Let's see who else has a better(?) idea...........


I'm in the car business and experience a wide variety of cars, yet when I get into a Mercedes and am faced with the stalk in the picture above, I'm flummoxed. Why? Easy. This is not intuitive and so it is hard to get the selector into the gear one wants. Up, down, sideways and then there is that push button on the end. Aggravating would be a mild term.

I remember a few years ago, when BMW came out with a new selector, the Car & Driver magazine testers said it took them about twenty minutes to figure out how to get the car into drive and to get the test started. The good thing? No carjacker was going to jump in your car, when you turned the other way and drive off. Unless of course, you were turned the other way for quite some time. But fear not, since BMW now has a different gear selector, but again like the Mercedes, it is not easy to use and extremely easy to get mixed up.......


Why, oh why?

Now Acura has come up with another new idea. Well sort of a new idea........


......push buttons. Intuitive? Not really, but actually this idea is not so new. While Acura has thought their attempt to re-invent the wheel might be a hot new concept, not so. Let's look back at this ad from 1957.........



.........or these pics from around the same time of another brand of car.......



So, Acura's hot new idea isn't so hot or so new. All those push button gear shifters came and went like the hula hoop. But the point here is not whether it is new or not, but whether a new type of selector is really needed. The old gear selector on the steering column and eventually on the centre console had worked for many years and continues to work today on most cars, so why try something different for the sake of being different? Especially something as important as a gear selector. And in the case of our first example the Jeep, their new selector equaled a deadly change.

So why try to stand out with something that is different, but not exactly better?


Why not stay with what has been proven, is easy to use and is safe? I know what gear my Maxima (shown below) is in and the shifter moves easily between the choices. And I'm not taking my life in my hands walking behind or in front of my car after I've parked.


Trying to be new and different is not always the best route to take, as Jeep has so tragically proven.

Go with what you know. Fancy it up as much as you like to make it look new, but for the sake of your customers, why not make it easy to use as well? What a strange and unusual concept.

Until next time.......


Friday, June 24, 2016

June 24: Bugatti - rap(per) it up!


The late and beloved Prince had his Little Red Corvette, but that was only a song. What would he have driven in real life? Easy to find out these days, since no matter where a star is, someone is taking their picture. Don't believe me? Then Google "celebrities in washrooms". But, I'm interested in star cars and one particular type of star and one particular type of car. Any guesses? One look at this blog's title should give you the answer.

Apparently nothing says rapper like a Bugatti, since it seems like they all drive this rather costly ride like a rite of passage, as these pics of Drake in Toronto attest......



What's the psychology behind this? Why this one car for this one type of celebrity? At well over $1m, this car takes a certain level of success to own and another level to have it customized to your standards, no matter how questionable they may be.......



.......and no, this is not the same car, as the bottom one belongs to Nicki Minaj and the top one Flo-rida (I think, since rap is not my music of choice and these guys and gals are a little foreign to me). You have to admit that, they can get rather creative. By the way, Nicki has a pink obsession or passion, as this is just one of her tastelessly done up exotic rides.

What, your standard Veyron doesn't stand out enough, particularly when you hang with your sick rapper friends?


Maybe some chrome fenders will do the trick? And every time you walk by your ride, you can check your, ever so cool, look in those mirrored fenders. Good to see that common sense prevailed, when it came to the hood.

No shrinking violet drives a Bugatti, but this rapper dude seems to be camera shy........


I'm of a certain age that misses the point of the look, but the red Veyron ticks almost all my boxes (affordable is left empty), except where my golf clubs go. Rappers have some interesting views of themselves with their rare and valuable rides.......



















........yes and oh so creative. If I had the time and the inclination, I would try to come up with snappy captions for these rather unique rapper shots with their exotic rides. Enough to say that they are all rappers and they all drive Veyrons.

Think I'm generalizing? Check out Drake, Jay Z, Birdman, T-Pain, Lil Wayne, Flo-rida, xzibit, Chris Brown, Game, Nicki Minaj and Soulja Boy to name a few. Think that they all prayed for success, so that they too could drive a Bugatti Veyron? Think they all prayed that, they could continue their success, so that they could afford to maintain it? If you don't think so, then what is happening in the pic below?


Whatever.

But the question remains, what is with rappers and Bugattis? I guess, if I have to ask, I just haven't enough money and here is Drake to make that exact point........


You got it, bud!

Until next time.......




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 21: Summer = ice cream

Check your calendar. Notice that today is the first full day of Summer, 2016. Yeaaaa!!! And nothing says Summer like ice cream. And what better way to start this blog, than have a tasteful and tasty ice cream truck with Jesus hawking those delicious treats. Who really cares, if this pic has been photo shopped, the message is clear (whatever that message is). But the bottom line is that Summer = ice cream. So let's take a look at few of the imaginative mobile ways we can get this treat.

Pull up in any neighbourhood on a hot and sultry Summer's day, ring that silly little bell or play that extremely annoying music and look who comes running. With any luck, some of them might have money. We've all seen this type of ice cream truck, the very traditional kind..........


But let's go back to an earlier time, as we begin our journey........


 This must be one of the very earliest, probably supplying treats for the gunslingers at the OK Corral, while the below one is the famous Good Humor truck. Custom built thru the years, with a fleet of smartly dressed drivers ready to stop at a moment's notice to quell the ice cream needs of the local populace........



Another fleet were the Bungalow Bar trucks, with their roofs complete with chimney and that very clever picket door. Just like grandma's house, except there the ice cream was free.


Nothing too unusual about this vehicle, unless you consider a monster ice cream truck unusual, but like everything, there are people who defy convention........


.......people who think that bigger is better (look at the size of that cone) and also, that the little ones should have to work for their treats. Luckily someone thought to bring a ladder. So, from the biggest to the smallest. So small in fact that only single cones are served, but customer friendly even for the smallest of munchkins........


Or how about this entrepreneur who has decided to stick to the basics.......


Three flavours only, take it or leave it. Obviously from the people around this van, one can see that the hoped for customers are voting with their wallets, or just maybe the fair hasn't opened yet (pictures are worth a thousand words and their captions a bit more).

You really want to attract kids to your cheery ice cream mobile, but you haven't quite got the user friendly part down pat.........



Maybe, just maybe, this person needs to rethink what they are trying to do and who they are trying to attract. What little kid, other than in a Stephen King novel, is willingly going to mosey up to one of these trucks and ask for an ice cream (maybe a frozen lizard in a waffle cone?). What parent is going to give their kids money and suggest that they try that grim looking truck down the street, you know the one playing music from Jaws? You know, the one little Bobby from next door went to last week and has never been seen since.

Sure, this one is also a little dirty (clean helps, but is not essential), but oh so cute with that darling little soft ice cream cone growing from its roof........


Or how about this opportunist, who gamely goes about his business as it slowly descends into the depths of the River Thames? What a great idea, a floating ice cream truck. Whoever said that only land lovers get the need for this sweet treat?


Yes, sir, Summer is here and on those scorchingly hot days, what better way to quench your inner most snack desires, than with a scoop of flavoured frozen milk on top of a crunchy cone? Last year when we were in the south of France, it was 39C or about 103F, too hot even for an ice cream truck, but who would have expected this result.........


Until next time........


Friday, June 17, 2016

June 17: Super ugly $

 Look at those seductive lines. The come hither, "do with me as you will" look. The "ride me all night long" promise. The.......oh, I'm sure that you get the picture by now. Yes, I admit the model is quite attractive, but is there anyone reading this blog who didn't for one second doubt that, I was referring to the lime green dream machine that, she is so carelessly leaning against? Maybe I should have started with this sideview and skipped the double entendres? No fun in that.


Beautiful Lambo. In my opinion (the not so humble one), there is not a line out of place. Fast? You bet. Common? Not really, but not super rare either. So, here is your dilemma. You have tons of money, you like hyper speed, but your neighbour also has one (at least in the neighbourhood that you live in). What to do? Of course, if you are the kind of person who gets their crank turned by supercars and have the coin, then there are rarer options. Now herein lies the rub. It seems that most of these ultra rare, ultra costly, ultra fast machines are also, ultra ugly. What, you don't believe me? Ok, so let's take a walk.........

Our first stop is at the Spyker display. It has all the prerequisites that I've listed above, including the unfortunate last one, it is super ugly. Come on now, even you, the one with the diminished eyesight, can see that this lump of a ride, wouldn't win any beauty contests. Sure, you won't find another in your 'hood or probably even your city, but would you really want to be seen in it?



Let's move on, shall we?

Say this name a few times quickly......Spania GTA Spano. Imagine answering the car person question at your next party, "So, what do you drive?". By the time you've finished saying, Spania GTA Spano, the questioner has left to meet the lady(?) in the first picture. Again, unfortunately, this one ticks all the boxes........


Actually, to be fair, there is not one bad line on this car, all of them are! But, yes, I know, you'll stand out and there won't be another one parked down the block.

Now in this next case, I wish they had kept the cover on this beast and I think you will as well, once you see what was being unveiled recently and very proudly, I might add.........


 So, should the cover have stayed on this Mazzanti Evantra Millecavalli (say it and spell it without looking).........



A boy racer's dream machine, but this shouldn't be seen in the company that you, our ultra wealthy imaginary car person, keeps. By the way, the millecavalli part of its name comes from the fact that it has a 1000 HP motor. That is so yesterday, since Bugatti has been running this power, and more, for years. Is so much money spent on engineering that, they had to get the local hardware store owner to design it between selling weed whackers?

Now every good blog, needs a grand finale, so let's assume that this is a good blog and finish off with this piece de resistance.......


How appropriate that the person looking at it has oil money written all over them, since that is what it would take to purchase the Devel Sixteen. And of course, this car has all the same attributes that make the other cars I've featured stand out. And again, not in a good way. In case you were wondering, the Devel Sixteen has 5000 HP and a top speed of 560 kph or 350 mph. You know where you can see that top speed? Nowhere. But in this case, you'll be the only one in the country with one (thank goodness). How's that for exclusivity?

After all that ugliness, let's cleanse your visual palate with a great looking supercar..........
.......and who cares if all your neighbours drive one?

Until next time.......