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, May 31, 2011

Tuesday: Racing Thoughts

Indy 500..........GO TAG GO! Well that was unfortunately a lost effort as Tagliani hit the wall along with Paul Tracy and James Hinchcliffe. The latter in his 1st 500 showed pretty well for awhile running in the top 10, but hitting the wall usually impedes all forward motion. The real heartbreaker though, was JR Hildebrand, a rookie, hitting the 4th turn wall on the very last when he had the race sewn up. The winner was also a surprise  -  Dan Wheldon had won before, but this year he only had one ride, the Indy 500. What a way to make up for a season without a full time ride!

Coca Cola 600.........I'm a real Dale Jr. fan, so you can imagine my disappointment when he runs out of gas with only a part of a lap to go. I could say it's just not fair, but his Dad lost the Daytona 500 many times with so many close finishes. Is it not fair or just racing? The winner Kevin Harvick replaced Dale Sr. in 2001 and as such has been one of my favorites since then. He can be quite entertaining (fight anyone?).

Now to my "worst moment" of the weekend..........good race at Monaco until there was a reg flag with about 1/2 dozen laps remaining. Ok, the cars stop, but what's this? Tires are changed, a wing is changed, a front clip is changed and god knows what else!! Is F1 the ONLY series in the entire world that allows this to happen under a red flag? The three car finish was going to be great, but under the red flag, Vettel took new tires and ruined an exciting ending. F1 or Fstupid?

If you follow car racing and read the odd column, you'll find some very frustrated folks about this bush league ending.

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday - Vette and collector Caddy

This a new Corvette? Actually it's a concept car called the Endora SC-1 designed and built by a German company. It really is a Corvette or at least it's built around a 'Vette chassis and mechanicals. When I saw it, I immediately thought it looked like a concept car from the '70's or '80's and certainly wasn't an improvement on the production Corvette. Turns out it is Endora's interpretation of an older concept car. Not sure why they did it  -  it looks like a bit of a lump to me.

Is a new Caddy DTS a collector car? I wouldn't have thought so either, but the head of the Bulgari empire (jewellery, perfume, etc) and a Cadillac collector, just bought the last DTS to roll off the production line.
I've always liked big Caddy's and think GM did a good job on this model. Would I want to own one? Not a chance  -  I had a big, big Coupe de Ville years ago and tired of it pretty darn fast. Was great on the 401 in a straight line, but watch out for anything resembling a corner. I'll stick with my Acura TL SH-AWD or in my dreams a CTS-V.
Great weekend for a racing fan........

F1  -  Monaco Grand Prix  (whoever gets the pole wins  -  come on Lewis!)
Indy Car  -  Indy 500  (100th running  -  GO TAG GO!)
NASCAR  -  Coca Cola 600

Did you see where Kyle Busch was picked up doing 128 mph in a 45 around Mooresville, North Carolina. I know those roads and all I can say is "Wow"  -  now that is car control and guts (or maybe just stupidity?). He certainly had the car for it, a new Lexus LFA. One writer expressed surprise that he wasn't going much faster and must have exercised restraint!

I'm heading for the golf course  -  it's cold and wet  -  just great.

Until next time........

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday: Go Tag Go!


On the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, a Canadian,  Alex Tagliani (www.tagliani.com) wins the pole for this historic race. Pretty neat stuff for Canada. It seems we are always trying to validate ourselves, maybe because we live next door to Big Mama USA, so winning this pole proves we are equal  -  right? Anyway, I've always followed the Canadian racers........Tracy, Carpentier, Villeneuve, Maxwell, Empiringham, Tagliani, Arend, Commisso to name a few........and love to see them do well south of the border.

A couple of the most exciting finishes in Indy 500 history have involved Canadians. How about Scott Goodyear's almost win in '92  -  another 100' or so would have done it. Or another Scott Goodyear moment in '95, when Jacques Villeneuve won because Scott was assessed a stop and go penalty. That was a real heartbreaker.

The Indy 500 is a tough race to win and starting from the pole only guarantees starting from the pole. Tagliani has lots of experience, so the question is can his car hold up, can he stay out of trouble and can he lead at the checkers. Stay tuned Sunday to find out!

Myself, I'll be golfing and later join a friend for a bbq. Now he'll have watched the race and will fill me in. I'll start the day with the F1 race at Monaco, go to the gym, golf, bbq and then catch the end of the Coca Cola 600 from Charlotte. Not a bad Sunday.


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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Beauties

Last week, I wrote about what I felt were ill conceived designs and a good friend took exception with one of my choices. Can't believe it, since I always felt that he had pretty good taste! It just goes to show us that beauty (or ugly) is in the eye of the beholder  -  except everyone thinks my wife is great looking! Today I thought I'd put together a few designs from over the years that I particularly like.

#1  -  the Ferrari Lusso (I have a model of one in my office)  -  has to be one of the prettiest (the right word?) Ferraris ever made. The one above was Steve McQueen's and is shown driven by his son, Chad. I always like Steve as an actor, but his taste in cars was legendary. Not so sure about his choice of brown, though.

#2  -  Mercedes Benz SL  -  the current one is nice, but I preferred its non-gimicky forerunner (simpler front end and side treatments). This car has been around for several years, but it never fails to get my attention when one passes. I'd take any designation, but a "55" on its rump would be best.

#3  -  1963-1967 Corvette  -  how can you not include this beauty on anyone's list of great looking cars. The '63 split rear window version is the most valued, but I prefer the '64 thru '67's (personal preference). Like the Ferrari, this is decades old, but has aged really well and still turns heads and empties wallets.

#4  -  Audi A5  -  this current car is just plain great looking and like the others will have me turning my head whenever one goes by. One of my clients is getting his next week and I know, I'll have a tinge of envy when he drives off. I like power, so make mine an S5. I bet that years from now, the A5 will still be a great design. 

#5  -  something a little different.......the mid nineties Camaro. I had a silver/black 1995 Z28 with 6 speed  -  what a rocket for its time. Sleak like an arrow. Haven't seen this on anyone's list, but who cares, this is my blog. Often used as a police pursuit vehicle, so I thought it was appropriate to show one used by the mounties  -  try to outrun this speedster.

Any thoughts on what you think looks good?

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday: Alive & Well

The Pontiac Aztec is alive and well.........you remember that ghastly looking van? suv? or ? from the late ninties? Of course, it's long gone, but like a very bad dream, not forgotten at least by some car designers. How about the BMW GT........

Baeuty is in the eye of the beholder, but you'd have to look very long and hard to find much good looking about this lump. Seen any on the road? Neither have I. Compare it to the new Audi A7  -  now there is a gem.

Speaking of BMW........

May I present to you the X6. Where do they get their ideas  -  looking down a toilet? But let's not just pick on BMW, how about this next beauty (see top pic).....

This is the new Murano suv convertible, an answer to the question that absolutely nobody asked. It's certainly an eye full  -  not a good suv or a good convertible or sports car or ? I believe Nissan Canada has shown some good sense and won't be selling it here (at least initially).

Next.........this interesting looking slow seller is the Acura ZDX. Another underwhelming design that rivals the X6 for the Miss Congeniality award. Honda was so taken with this idea that they brought out there own ugly version, the Accord Crosstour. Look for them languishing on dealers' lots everywhere.

Great golf this weekend at the Players........good to see all those pros put their balls in the water (it gives me hope). The car modelling cat and I spent very little time on the Charger state police car this weekend, since I was feeling ill and didn't have my heart in it.

Until next time.....

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Funnies

Have you ever seen and HEARD a top fuel funny car do a burnout? It is truly an earth shaking experience as these cars have upwards of 8000 (eight thousand!!) horsepower. Not only does the ground shake, but as the sound goes thru you, one feels like their insides are being rearranged.
When I first moved to Toronto in the mid seventies, there were drag strips in Georgetown, Cayuga and Lancaster, New York. Every few weeks they would have a show featuring touring pros (like Pat Foster, approx 1973 above). I've seen Don Schumacher, Don "The Snake" Prudhome, Shirley "Cha Cha" Muldowney, Jungle Jim Liberman, Don "The Swamp Rat" Garlits and many others all within a couple of hours drive of TO. Sometimes there would be 3 shows a week  -  no wonder I have a hard time hearing!

These days the cars are quite different as you can see from the pic above. Most people have heard of John "Brute" Force (above). Force is the winningest Funny Car driver ever and has 15 championships on his resume. He's been unstoppable for the past 20 years, but at one time he was the perennial bridesmaid, just couldn't win a race, came 2nd a lot though. I was at Sanair Dragway, outside of Montreal, in 1987 when he won his very 1st national event (Grandnational Molson). It was a rain delay on Monday morning and as the cliche goes, "the rest is history".

Well, things have changed since then and one hardly ever sees these cars outside of a nation event in the US. I believe the closest might be Columbus, Ohio. Read on..........

This coming July 1st long weekend will feature a throw back to the good old days at Cayuga (oops, Toronto Motorsports Park), when there will be 4 funny cars (including Cruz Pedregon above), a couple of AA fuel dragster, some jets and a few pro-modifieds thundering down the track.  This a great venue to see these monsters close up. If it weren't for a family reunion in New Brunswick, I'd be there with ears wide open.
I also like NASCAR aand F1, but believe me, nothing beats the spectacle, sound and fury of a fuel car going down the 1/4 mile. I once read that a funny car sounds like a war  -  quite apt. Put down the golf clubs and enjoy an afternoon at the races.

Until next...........

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday - Another taxi story

What's with another taxi story? If you've been to New York City, the one thing that stands out (of course, many things stand out) is the hundreds (thousands?) of yellow taxis........

Almost all are the big Crown Victorias  -  some regular and some extended a bit. A guy like me with really long legs needs his room, so I always look for the extended wheelbase model (about 6" longer). We never see these in Canada, although I believe they were available from Ford. Well, the Crown Vic days are coming to an end as this model is being discontinued  -  it's based on a platform that has been around since 1979!!!
Do you think it might have paid for itself by now?

The future.........

This is going to be the new New York taxi by Nissan. They have a 10 year contract to supply the Big Apple's yellow fleet. Look at its size, plenty big inside, much smaller outside  -  is this the answer to their traffic jams, shorter and narrower taxis? How would Travis Bickle look in one of these?

I think this is a smart move, since this Nissan will be easier to get in and out of, has more luggage space and will have computer hook ups. This choice has generated some asinine comments,  "I've never ridden in a mini van and don't intend to now"  -  ok, so use the subway. Who cares what we get picked up in, as long as it gets us to our destination on time?

Great ending to the NASCAR race at Darlington on Saturday night.........Ragan Smith from upstate NY won (1st time), but the real story was the pit road confrontation between Harvick and Kyle. Happy Harvick gets out of his car to hit Busch, so Kyle nudges Happy's car into the wall as he drives off. Lucky no one was hurt. NASCAR's "have at it boys" policy is producing some interesting "disagreement" resolutions.

Vettel wins yet again in F1, but there were a bunch of great passes behind the leader. Entertaining race.

Until next time........

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Small but Expensive

Here is something I found very interesting........

This is the Toyota IQ in the rest of the world, but which will be coming to the US and Canada as the Scion IQ. It's a little bit bigger than a Smart car, but it looks so much more substantial. It's been out in Europe for over a year  -  I've seen it there and it looks great on the road. Introduction to our market has been delayed due to the problems in Japan, but we'll get it soon enough.

Now take a look at this car.........

Look similar? Well it is the same car, but if you look really close, you'll see the Aston Martin badge. What? Aston Martin?? Yep, this is the new Cygnet  -  same body as the IQ but done up to the 9's inside (http://www.astonmartin.com/). Don't know the price yet, but have heard that it will definitely be Canada bound and please don't look for a $20k price tag.

I find it really interesting that Aston Martin would do this and also that there is an expected market for an ultra premium small, small car. Can you picture this with a Roller grille?

The sun has just come out, so I'm heading to the golf course.

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

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday - Rome Taxi

This time last year, my wife and I were holidaying in Rome. If you travel, Itlay is a must see. Well as we were wondering around Rome, I saw the strangest looking taxi  -  like a Lamborghini but not a Lambo. It bore the markings of a typical Roman taxi. I saw it quickly and after a time wondered if I had been seeing things, apparently not.......
This was a concept car done by Italdesign Guigialo for the 2008 Geneva Auto Show. It is the Quaranta and unlike many concepts, it is fully driveable. Thank goodness for the internet or else I would never have been find out what I'd seen. Check out http://www.conceptcarreview.com/ for more details. 
When you are a carguy, travelling to Europe is a blast since there are many cars over there that we'll never see over here. In many cases this is a real shame and in many cases we can be thankful. The crazy little one or two person "bubbles" that you see all thru Italy are laughable (and make a Smart car seem quite large), but very entertaining as they scoot around Rome. I'll try to dig up some pics.

Kyle Busch wins! Dam.

Until next time........