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, December 21, 2012

Dec 21: My next car - decisions, decisions

2009 Acura TL SH-AWD
Being a car guy, I'm usually thinking about my next car shortly after getting a new one. Like most common folk, there is only so much money to go around, so I settle on day dreaming between my new arrivals, which are usually every 3-4 years (term of my leases). Actually, I don't mind this at all, since I like my cars and enjoy the time that I have with them. But now I'm less than four months away from the end of my current lease and since I order my cars, I'll have to decide by the end of January. Decisions, decisions.

I currently drive a Acura TL SH-AWD similar to the pic above, but with the "mandatory" deep tinted glass. It is black with the umber interior  -  a very striking combo that you either love or hate. Lots of power and super handling (just read the reviews). So what to get next? My prerequisites are.......

- lots of front seat leg room since I'm 6'5"
- great handling
- good power
- good looks
- cache' (at least in my mind)
- must fit my budget

.........and not necessarily in that order.

I always have a very short list, so here is what is currently on mine.......

300C, but has to be the Hemi

Audi A4  -  tubo, generally low on power

Cadillac CTS - ticks all the boxes, but about to be redone

Cadillac ATS - interesting new competitor
Those are the nominees and they are all rather different from one another. The Chrysler is your traditional American iron, but it handles well with the Benz E class chassis and it has gobs of power. Before the TL, I had one and that car was super fast. The A4 goes well with the turbo, but power is low for stoplight to stoplight runs. I've always liked the CTS and this design is great looking, even if it is being redone for 2014. The new kid is the ATS, a real BMW 3 series competitor. Its V6 has huge power, but the 4 cylinder is intriguing and very quick.

Cars that fall into this area, but I don't give a minute's thought are the Infiniti G37 (great car, but it's been around too long), BMW 328i (another great car, but not a fan) and the Mercedes C class (can't afford the C63, so it's a no go).

Something to think about over the holidays. What would you suggest???

Savor this blog, since it's my last one until January 8th. Even avid car bloggers need a rest.

Have a happy holiday season and thank you for faithfully reading, I'm now over 70,000 hits. Kinda cool.

Until January 8th......

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dec 18: Attention Superheroes - Batmobile for sale

Yes, sir, all kidding aside, now is the time for you to don your magical cape, black mask and bat ears. No more joking around, this is your time to become the real superhero that you always knew you could be.

Now you can ride in style with the one and the only phenomenal Batmobile. No copy, this is the real one, the original and it is going on the auction block in January. Return those Christmas gifts for cash and start bidding!

A little bit of history........even great super hero cars like the BM have to start somewhere, so what do you think was the origin of this black beauty? If you guessed a Lincoln, you are correct. If you think that answer is nuts, then stay tuned........

.........way back in 1955 Lincoln did a dream car called the Futura. They even made it into a plastic model kit and since I have good taste, I don't have it in my collection. Just look at it, doesn't it look futuristic? Well, maybe not from today's prospective, but at the time, it looked like it could do everything but fly. In hindsight, it actually looks quite a bit like a fish.

Ford toured the country's autoshows with the Futura and even had it featured in the movie, "It Started with a Kiss" (no, I've never heard of it either). But all good things must come to an end. Enter the famous California customizer, George Barris, he of the outrageous and usually tasteless designs. George buys it and when the TV show "Batman" is looking for an appropriately super car for our hero, the Futura is transformed .......

George Barris with his Batmobile
A few changes and the Futura becomes the original Batmobile and this is the one that is up for auction. Sure, there have been a few copies over the years, but this is the bona vide original Futura that was transformed. Barris kept it all these years, occasionally changing the trim colours and also bringing it out to numerous shows.
Batmobile and trailer in front of Barris Kustoms in 1966
You've got to have it. Right? Of course you do, you are a superhero. Right again? Then zip down to Scottsdale, Arizona the week of January 14th and get your bidder's card at the Barret-Jackson Collector Car Auction. Keep in mind that this is the real deal and that you'll be up against some serious high rollers. Beer bottle return money won't cut it here.

And one last thing, Batman, send me a pic of you standing beside your latest acquisition.

Until next time.......

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dec 14: Dream car - BMW Gran Coupe

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Yes, sir, that is exactly who is doing the designing at BMW these days. How else can you explain the gawd awful design of the GT and then across the showroom floor you see the stunning new Gran Coupe (there's that misnomer again).......

How does it get any better than this beauty? Well, how about a little tweaking to make it the just announced powerhouse M........

Either way, this is a great design, but going back to the GT, what the heck happened? How could the same studio produce this abomination? And this is not a one off misstep for BMW.....consider the X6 (I can't even show a pic, it is so nauseating) or the strangely fronted X1 and X3. And even the upcoming 2014 3 series GT is questionable.

This new Gran Coupe is a continuation of the gorgeous new 645 (real) coupe and cabrio.........

Usually the two door is the line's contest winner, but in this case, you could make a good argument for the Gran Coupe being the beauty queen. If one had the money, how about all three in the driveway? Now that is ridiculous, but a cool fantasy none the less (what - the car or the coin?).

So back to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We can only hope that the former wins out and purges the terrifying Mr. Hyde from the BMW design studios. I'll keep you posted.

Until next time......

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dec 11: Too similar?

2013 Honda Accord

2013 Hyundai Genesis
 The all new Accord.......well all new to Honda, but when I first saw it, I thought that it had a very familiar rear end (just like that girl I remember from high school). Viola! It came to me, it was the Hyundai Genesis rear all over again. The good thing is that they are both quite attractive, but it brings up the thought  -  why do they have to be similar at all? There are so many good designers and so many good design elements, why do cars have to be so similar? Look, I go back aways, back to a time, when no car looked like another. Now so many of the cars want to look like BMW's  -  check out the back roof line (the C pillar) design on most new cars.

A couple of other note worthy new designs came to mind..........

Honda Civic
.......and the Kia Forte.......

Look closely......check out the headlights, the back lights, that C pillar and the line on the lower body side. Even the wheels are similar. Who was sneaking around somebody else's design studio? Want the look of the Civic, but with a longer warranty, then get the Kia.

Lexus has a new signature grille, different and somewhat controversial, but at least it is unique to Lexus. But wait is it?
2013 Lexus ES350

2013 Altima
Seems to me that the Nissan Altima has stolen some of the Lexus' thunder or at least one of their design elements. Actually, the Altima front end, to me anyway, is more attractive.

Too similar? I sure think so with all of these new designs. You can find more more examples, but to my mind, these are three of the more blatant. And once again the question is, why? Aren't their designers paid enough? With this in mind are there any other designs that you can think of?

Until next time.......

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dec 7: '58 Plymouth and The Car Modelling Cat

Always really liked the '58 Plymouth in the airy two door hardtop style and red/white was particularly attractive. So when the Car Modelling Cat (CMC) and I tackled this model it was a given that it would mimic the colours of the real car above.

Sure, I can't drive it, but I can look at it forever and it'll never breakdown. I think I've mentioned before, that although we skip the motors in our models, we try to make the outside look at realistic as possible.......

.......even down to the miniature Ontario licence plate. All the chrome is painstakingly applied and often this part of the build is very painful. The CMC stays away from this bit, as you can well imagine, she can't get her paws around the x-acto knife.......

The CMC  -  always a willing helper

One thing about the cars in those days, you certainly could tell them apart. I mean, I'm a car guy (car fanatic?) and even the "great" BWT, sometimes get caught out these days. Check out the 2013 Honda Civic and Kia Forte. Both were shown at the recent LA Auto Show, matter of fact, I originally had them in last Tuesday's blog, until I realized they looked like the same car.

And once again, I gotta tell ya, it's a treat to be able to have cars as a hobby and make a living selling them as well. A model life?

Until next time......

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dec 4: LA Auto Show

2013 Toyota Rav4
Yea! The car show season has started (get a life, Barry). No seriously, with the Los Angeles Show that is on now, the North American car show season has started and it runs until the New York show in April. Great time for a car guy, since new models and concepts are shown. I sell cars and I still can't get enough of this metal (and I actually do have a full life otherwise).

The intros go from the ridiculous.......

..........ok, so maybe not so ridiculous, but rather unlikely to be in a Benz showroom anytime soon is their Ener-G-Force. This would surely scare off all of the grey haired S class buyers.

To the mundane.......

............Ford's new Transit Connect wagon, which continues their policy of bringing successful European models to the North Amercan market.

And now anything in between......

Showroom ready(?) Bentley GT3 racer concept
Jaguar XFR-S........what more is there to say?
To one of my favorites.......

Not that I'm in love with the Mini, but I sure do like how BMW has added and added to their ever expanding line up of models. What is this Mini Paceman? Simply a two door version of the Countryman suv. Who would have thought that the world needed this version?

All sorts of other intros, like the quickly revised 2013 Honda Civic, with exterior and interior changes to the brand new, but widely panned, 2012 model..........

.......and Acura's new RLX top line luxury model, once again trying to pick-up where the Legend left off and subsequent models have failed......
Yep, this is my time. I stay tuned for all the new intros and concepts as the auto show press days unfold. Next up Detroit in January. Stay tuned.

Until next time.......

Friday, November 30, 2012

Nov 30: Fiat 500 - history repeats itself

Just announced at the Los Angeles Auto show (although sneak peaked earlier this year) is the new Fiat 500L - yes, that oh so original name will be its moniker. Makes me think of the evolution of another little cutie, the Mini, which evolved thru a variety of models - let me rephrase that, a ton of models - to where it is today. Smart marketing to be sure, since a one model brand is not a sure key to success.

Now Fiat is going thru the same type of transformation from a one model brand.......

Fiat Abarth
 ......originally starting with this dear little hatch, to encompass a cabrio, an Abarth hot rod version and now the fetching little 500L.

But why the 500 in the first place? A bit of history........like the Mini, the 500 was a rebirth of a beloved old Italian model that originally came to market in July, 1957  -  the Cinquecento. A power house with a rip roaring 13 horsepower motor propelling it thru the Tuscan countryside (how the heck did it get up those hills?). On a trip to Italy a couple of years ago, I saw many of these old models (built until 1975) in various states of repair, but generally well cared for and cherished.

History repeats itself. Like the new model 500, the old one also generated a variety of models including a hot little Abarth. Also, another one that reminds me of the new 500L......

History sure does repeat itself......apart from being only a two door, the idea is the same. Add more room, add more sales. As always in those old ads, the people are very well dressed for their motor trip. Not sure of the Giardiniera's power, but I'm sure this little number wouldn't be passing much loaded like it is above.

I like the Mini, although some of it's models are very strange (ie the Mini coupe) and I like the 500. After a poorly planned launch, it's generating very good sales for Fiat/Chrysler and so will continue to generate some interesting new variations. What's next?

Until next time.......

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nov 27: Dodge Daytona - what's in a name?

Just announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, a new Dodge Charger Daytona. As always this car is in your face - bright colour, big wheels and Daytona graphics.....

A few other changes add sport seats, tighter suspension, 3.06 axle ratio and a dash plaque (that alone has to be worth a ton!). There will only be 2500 made and it is a $2995 option on the Hemi equipped Charger R/T.

So where did this Daytona name come from and why is its heritage with Dodge so strong? For the answer we go way back to the late '60's. Dodge's new for 1968 Charger looked so very aerodynamic, but on the NASCAR superspeedways it was a dud. Seems no one took into account the gaping front end, that stopped the air rather than cut thru it. Also, that great looking recessed back window was terrible on those big speedways.

What to do? Here was their first effort, the 1969 Charger 500.......

The front grille was made flush with the front of the car and that neat tunnel back window was also made flush. The results? Ok, but still not enough to stop Dodge from getting whipped. Again what to do?

Winning was very, very important, so pulling out all the stops to do so was the way to go. Behold Dodge's ultimate weapon, the Daytona......

Dodge finally got it right with this rather bizarre creation. Added to the 500 was this very aero front end and that skyhigh rear spoiler. Just high enough that the small trunk lid could be opened and not hit the top of that adjustable spoiler. The result was unbeatable on the big NASCAR tracks. But there is one caveat here, Dodge could only race what it sold in the showrooms, so this is how the street Daytona came to be.....

Only a few hundred had to be sold to legalize it for NASCAR, so that is what happened. The Daytona only came with the biggest motors, a 440 or a Hemi. Wild in the streets! A screaming success at today's collector car auctions, it languished in the 1970 showrooms and for years afterwards it was dismissed like an errant child. But time heals all and these days the Daytona is cherished as a very valuable collector car.

So back to the new Charger Daytona option  -  an attempt to cash in on the heritage of the Daytona name with a very in your face Charger. Will it sell? Sure and much faster than the original. On the track? Now that Dodge is out of racing, this is not an issue, but street cred is all important.

Long live the Daytona!

Until next time........

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nov 23: How big is bad taste?

How big is bad taste? Probably as big as this poor Caprice. Not sure how this recent subculture trend got started, but the cars have gone from "high tech" to "high tact(y)". I think lowriders are strange (well they are), but this category of custom has gone completely in the other direction. How big is bad taste?

There is a group of cars called "donks, boxes and bubbles". This skyhigh Caprice is a "box". Basically they are old American cars, generally Chevs or GM products, but other makes, such as this Ford, can also be tarted up this way.......

As you can see, they don't have to be skyhigh, but it helps in order to achieve that certain status.

A "donk" is loosely a 1971-'76 Impala/Caprice, a "box" is a '77-'90 Impala/Caprice and a "bubble" is a '91 to '96 Caprice. Other cars can also be included, but 99% of these whatevers are old American iron.

Try a few quick corners in this baby or how about this extreme Buick.......

Now I like cars with big rims, but it is beyond me the appeal that these high riders have. Here are a couple of pics to back-up my point........

Bubble Caprice from the mid '90's

The green Caprice has the big rims that I think are sharp, but check out that low, sleek look. A pic is worth a 1000 words and this pic sure saves me a lot of typing. No need to jack this baby up  -  it looks a 100% better.

Yikes, they've even made toys of these things. Rest assured there are none of these in my vast collection.

So back to my question......how big is bad taste?

Until next time.......