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, October 28, 2011

Oct 28: The Pimp Mobile

You might have heard of the show "Pimp My Ride" or the expression "that car is pimped". The word "pimp" seems to be common in car culture, but why, where did it come from?

Well, let's start with this Cadillac pic (well, actually it is a very well camo'd old Vette).. Back in the '60's and '70's there was a group of nasty criminals (pimps) who wore outlandish clothing and drove outlandish Cadillacs and Lincolns, done up in the most over the top and tasteless manner. Invariably they were Eldorados or Marks (and the occasional Corvette). Is there anything else one could add to this monster? Tasteless styling cues from the '30's abound on this poor car.

Or how about........

Another early '70's Eldorado done up in the classic pimpmobile style. Can't imagine what the inside would look like. Here's an action shot of a rare 4 door......

Note the standard classic grille, the big lights, the side mounts and the other crap. Can't imagine driving this baby.

After the '80's the pimpmobile just kind of faded away. I'm sure that business didn't die, but you never see pics of what they drive today  -  probably dark tinted Escalades with huge and fancy wheels. On the other hand, what if a pimp was really "successful", would they do up a car like this one owned by Prince Marcus
Von Anhalt, one of Germany's biggest brothel owners..........

How much money was spent to spoil this new half million dollar Rolls drop top? I guess the bottom line is that while tastes change, people without any and lots of coin will always be around.

Until next time........

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oct 25: Barry's cars cont'd

I really liked my '84 Camaro, but longed for something with more power and my business was doing well, so I upgraded to.........

My "arrest me" red 1987 IROC-Z had the standard V8, not the 'Vette motor, but with the manual it was quite quick  -  185 horsepower (boy how things have changed). After the 6 cylinder '84, it was a screamer and certainly not subtle. Handled beautifully and the quality was great.

As I mentioned, my business was doing well, so when I had the opportunity to indulge my passion for an older car, I rolled the dice. A "friend" and business associate had a gorgeous 1967 Cadillac Coupe de Ville  -  triple black -  which he was selling. Seemed like a great deal from the outrside looking in.

1967 Cadillac brochure pic - Coupe de Ville in foreground

You can see the size of this monster and the roof design emphasized it. Now about some issues......

1) couldn't find a garage big enough in central Toronto in which to store it in winter
2) needed brakes all around
3) starter went
4) where body mounts on the frame rails was rusted thru

Sure, I could have had it fixed, but it would have taken up all my "fun" cash  -  no more magazines, no more books, no more models. A valuable lesson was learned, if I was to have an old car, I either needed to be able to fix it myself or afford to get it done elsewhere. This was going to be a money pit.

Solution? Only one and that was to sell it after only one year. An expensive lesson, but it could have been much worse. Oh well, time to move on.

 You think I got a wheelstander next?? Not quite, but this is a pic of the model that the Car Modeling Cat and I are currently working on - the Little Red Wagon from the '60's. We were off modeling for a while as we tried to initiate a new cat into the household. Unfortunately it didn't work out, but thankfully we found Checkers a great new home.  He'll be missed.

Until next time........

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oct 21: A Matter of Taste

"Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends." So go the lyrics to Janis Joplin's famous song, but as you can see from the pic above, Janis also drove a Porsche. Now this is where the "matter of taste" comes in..........or a lack of it. Check out that late '60's psychedelic paint job. Nice car but ruined with that wild paint  -  these days that would be a relatively inexpensive body wrap, that could be removed when one grew up.

Rock stars aren't like you or me, they have the money to do anything they want to any great car. Remember this Rolls-Royce that John Lennon owned in the mid '60's?
Typical of him to do this to a mainstay of the British royalty and the establishment  - a visual tweak of their noses. Both of these cars are still around for us to enjoy(?).

I haven't seen any questionable paint jobs on cars owned by today's stars, usually the mods are limited to huge, fancy wheels and the standard heavily tinted windows (heck I have those on my own car). Sometimes, though you can come across the same bad taste exhibited many years ago. Case in point.........

Now how about a nice gold plated Escalade with a few minor mods and huge wheels? Not much good to say about this modern day pimpmobile owned by El Hadji Diouf, a Senegalese football player, but it's all a matter of taste, right? Or lack of it in this case.

So on it goes........folks make money and use it to create cars in their image. Good taste is flushed down the toilet of new money. It's a matter of taste.

Until next time........

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oct 18: Utes

Actually, not much of a car and not much of a truck, but in 1957 Ford brought to the US the car based pick-up, a style called the ute, that had been popular in Australia for years. Ford called theirs the Ranchero and it was initially based on their full size car, later on their compacts, then an intermediate where it stayed until its lifespan was done. Chevrolet called theirs an El Camino and followed suite with a full size model then going to the intermediate platform.

Our versions differed from the Australian model in a very distinct way........
A newer Ford Falcon and an older model

Check out the softly rounded roofline vs the hard edged one on the North American Ranchero or the '59 El Camino below........

These were never more than a novelty item over here and seldom were very many sold. They were good for llight loads, but lacked in interior room as you can imagine from these pics. Like a station wagon without its roof.
Late '50's Holden

For some reason, the Aussies love their utes and continue to make them to this day and we almost got one recently. Before Pontiac was given the axe, they showed a G8 ute (based on the Holden Caprice) that was planned for a North American release.

This would have been a hot pick-up with the big V8 that was in the sedan, but I didn't figure that they would sell very many at all. Regardless, Pontiac got the axe and this ute went down the drain with the rest of the line. Oh, what might have been.

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

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oct 14: Sad passing

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air

Great pic for a dreary, rainy day like today, but what I wanted to show was one of the 1st four door hardtops. Hardtop vs sedan? The difference is that the "hardtop" does away with the centre post leaving an airy feeling. This configuration debuted in the mid '50's and were usually on the more expensive models of any particular car. They looked better than the sedans as they used a better looking roof line (my opinion).

1976 Buick Park Avenue

Every car had to have have a model like this and eventually even the lowly Corvair included one. One of my favorite styles was the relatively rare hardtop station wagon like this beautiful 1960 Mercury below. Some family friends had a '59 Mercury Commuter wagon and it looked great.

Sadly they slowly went away with the last ones being (I believe) the 1978 Chrysler products like this New Yorker.........

Why were they dropped? Probably the advent of air conditioning helped to bury them, as well as the safety czars who felt that with no centre post there was less rollover protection  -  they said the same thing about convertibles and look what happened to them. Recently, Mercedes has brought this style back with their two doors, but no news of any 4 door on the horizon.

I remember when my folks bought a new for 1966 Chevelle Malibu four door hardtop  -  immediately drove it around the neighbourhood with all the windows down in very cold but sunny weather. "Hey look what we just got!".

Ah, the good old days.

Until next time........

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oct 11: The Car Room

This old car scene is not some lot from back in the '50's, although that is what it depicts. It is a diorama of a real life location somewhere on the western end of Route 66 in Arizona. Some fellow in Ohio made it and I was lucky enough to pick it up several years for a relative song. I choose this pic to show you the different things that I have in my Car Room.

Ok, let's back track. When I started this blog several months ago, I mentioned that I made models and had a car room in my basement where the Car Modeling Cat and I hung out. There are actually  two rooms filled with pictures, models I've built, diecast models, Hot Wheels, Dinky Toys, 3 dioramas and a small library. Thought it would be interesting to show you a few pics of this hang out...........

Notice the trophy I won in 1971 when I raced my "71 Satellite in New Brunswick

Boxes up top are filled with about 120 unbuilt models 

An eclectic mix for sure, but who cares since no one is keeping score. I buy what I like and like what I buy. There are some I'd like to unload, so if you have any ideas, please let me know.

Until next time......

Friday, October 7, 2011

Oct 7: Turkeys

Seems appropriate that with the Thankgiving weekend upon us, that we should talk about turkeys and the auto business has had tons. But for this blog, let's focus on a couple of the more widely known and one obscure Brit.

Who could forget this beast out of Pontiac.......

The poor, unfortunate Aztec was from a company trying to be edgy, but forgetting that even edges can be good looking. Just make it edgy and ugly as sin  -  what a concept. Once inside it was a good vehicle, but try walking up to it without feeling nauseous  -  harder than one might think. No matter what GM did over the Aztec's life, they couldn't get it to look less than brutally ugly.

Now let's go back 50 years to the true meaning of an expensive debacle.......

Truth in advertising......the Edsel was here to stay, but only for two and a half years. That front end has inspired more jokes/ridicule than 100 other cars combined. Does it remind you of "The Scream" painting? Google it and see it you disagree. Another view......

If you listen closely, you can still hear the sound of enormous amounts of cash being flushed down the toilet.

And what about this obscure British sports car, the Marcos.....

Can you believe that a stylist would design this and feel good about it?? Not a single line on this bizarre creation works with another. The British have produced some strange cars, but this baby takes the cake. Now here is the kicker......they actually sold a few! Who walks into a showroom, sees this monster and says sign me up?

Hope I didn't spoil your Thanksgiving dinner.

Until next time.......

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oct 3: Coupe de Fleur

As I blogged before, I like hearses and other funeral cars, but probably the most interesting (to me) is the flower car or since most were Cadillacs, the Coupe de Fleur (get it, a play on Coupe de Ville). As you can see from the pic above, they were basically Caddy limos made into a kind of pick-up. The rear section was covered in stainless and had railings to which the floral arrangements could be attached.

They used to be much more popular, but even back in the day, they were not overly common  -  I've never seen one. Pretty expensive way to transport flowers, but they sure looked impressive. Take a look at this '58........
Or this '59.........

Now if this pic looks a little strange, it's because this is a 1/18th scale diecast flower car that I have in my office to go along with my hearse and limousine. This is a big heavy model and it cost a mint, but it looks great and gets lots of comments (sitting as it is amongst other '50's and '60's cars, as well as my drag car collection). Hey, variety is the spice of life!

Even today there are a few being made, but count yourself lucky if you get to see one (better if you are not in the hearse following it). This is a new one......

By the way, the rear section is raised, so that other floral arrangements can be stored underneath or it can serve as a hearse with the casket below the flowers.

Now aren't you glad you now know about the Coupe de Fleur?

Until next time........