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, January 31, 2012

Jan 31: Ambulance Thoughts

We all know to get out of the way when we see this ambulance roll up behind us. These truck based units are pretty much the norm everywhere in the world (plus a few bus ambulances). They make sense  -  lots of head room, very rugged construction, tall and noticeable  -  but they weren't always this way. They used to be quite creative and if based on a Cadillac chassis like this 1963 model, very showy.........

I come from Saint John, New Brunswick, not to put it down, but it was and maybe still is, a "lunch bucket" town  -  lots of industry and blue collar jobs. But our hospital had a very flashy cream and red '59 similar to red pic. When it grew older, they bought a 1963 exactly as the one above  -  same colour, same flash. They weren't cheap and they made a statement (not sure why a hospital had to make a statement).

My uncle was the hospital's head of purchasing, but he never told me why the SJ General Hospital had to spend money on Cadillacs when a lesser and less expensive model would do. How about this Pontiac....... My point is that all the old ambulances were very interesting variations on the cars of the day, whether a Ford, Chrysler, the very popular Cadillac or whatever. The companies that did these life saving conversions could and did turn any vehicle into an ambulance.

As time went by, trucks and vans took over and eventually there were standards that precluded car based units from being put into service. Kind of a shame, since they were fun to look at (car people will know what I mean). If you'd like to see more pics, Google "professional cars". You'll be surprised at what you'll find.

Until next time.......

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jan 27: Wild Off the Streets

Any true car guy always wants more and more power to go with the handling, braking and general all around competence of his ride. There is one type of vehicle though, that has huge power and handles very well, but I have never gotten the point of it. This is the hot rod suv. Why muscle up what should be a great off road or winter vehicle to the point where it is neither? Wouldn't it be better just to get a hot sports sedan?

That being said, if you have money burning a hole in your bank account (and don't feel particularly generous towards me), then here are three that are top of their class.......

1) 2012 Jeep SRT8 with only 470 HP...........

Well respected as a performance suv, that can actually handle up to an inch of snow. Looks great  -  aggressive front end leaves no doubt that this is a serious (or scary) machine.

2) 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML63.......

Comes with 517 HP, but if not enough, the performance package ramps it up to a "slightly" hotter 550.

3) 2013 BMW X5 M........

The Big Daddy of these three with 555 HP. Perfect for a Sunday Summer drive to your local drag strip  -  teach humility to some of the so called normal hot rods you'll find there. I wish though, that BMW tarted it up a bit like this "in your face" version........

If you are going to drive Godzilla, make it look every inch of the part.

So do you think I'm jealous just because none of these are in my budget or do you also wonder about the need for an off road power house with a zillion horse power?

Until next time.......

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jan 24: McLaren Mercedes SLR

The neat thing about working in a leasing company is that I get to see all sorts of very cool cars. My own clients are what I call "normal" folks, but a couple of guys in our company deal with some very high rollers. The McLaren Mercedes SLR was a very rare beast (and at 617 hp it was a beast)  -  I think there were about 12 coupes in Canada. We had 3 of those on our books!

Then Benz came out with a cabrio version that was even rarer and we also have one of them on lease. Now this is where this story gets a little sad. Here is that cabrio, we are storing it over the winter for our client.......

This is a very rare car and yet, someone decided it would look better with green stripes (on a silver car with red interior/roof?). And what about the number on the side and the hood?

Unfortunately it gets worse. This very special car which cost about $600,000 new is in rather rough condition. How about an accident of about $100,000? There are not too many cars that would survive this kind of a hit without being written off, but at a value of several hundred thousand dollars, this baby was repaired. Oh well, such is life.

No matter what the condition, it's still neat to walk by this machine daily and imagine myself behind the wheel. My dream usually ends there, since I'm 6'5" and there is absolutely no way for me to fit in this or most other exotics. Again, oh well, such is life.

Until next time.......

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jan 20: Cats and Cars

The Car Modelling Cat and I have been hard at work or at least we were over the holidays. This pic is of the chopped '48 Ford custom coupe that I recently mentioned I would post. This is done in the style of a 1950's custom with Cadillac hubcaps and red "lipstick" trim on the wheels.

I like simplicity, so no flames or added on body parts, just a chopped or cut down roof. The nail polish pink paint really suits this type of custom.

Here is another model that the cat and I finished in the Fall......recognize it?

This is the famous 1963 Chrysler Turbine car. They made 50 of them and gave them out to various people to test. President Lyndon Johnson had one for a while. They also toured the dealers throughout Canada and the US. I saw one being unloaded in Saint John, New Brunswick  -  the exhaust was extremely hot and would have cooked a few legs and dogs if it had gone into production.

Since they were experimental cars, they had to destroy most of them after the testing was complete. I think about 3 or 4 survived. Jay Leno has one in his vast collection.

Recently Chevrolet celebrated its 100 anniversary, so I thought I'd show you my all time favorite Chev model (in real life and as a model)........

This is a 1965 Impala SS. The colour seems extreme today, but back then, Evening Orchid, was "subtle" and quite lovely  -  take my word for it. The Car Modelling Cat thinks it's sublime.

I was hoping to make it to the Detroit show today, but work and weather conspired against me. Oh well, such is life.

Until next time........

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jan 17: Barrett Jackson Auction

Alright car guys and gals, it's that time of year again, the Barrett- Jackson Scottsdale Auction starts tonight and goes thru Sunday. A true candy store on wheels, this auction is one of many held around Phoenix this week, but B-J is the most recognized, has the most coverage and has the most cars, trucks or whatever.

Speaking of a "whatever", it's always fun to see what is going to cross the block next, like this GM Futureliner.......

GM used a small fleet of these trucks?buses? in the early '50's to show off their products at shows throughout the US. I believe there are only four remaining (one is in Ontario?), but at a B-J auction a few years ago, one sold for a wildly high $4.2 million! Not your average auction vehicle. Or how about this car........

Supposedly, this was the 1963 ambulance/hearse that received President Kennedy's body at Andrews Air Force base after his assassination in Dallas. There was all sorts of paperwork to back up its claim to fame, but there was also some doubt. Anyway, it sold for somewhere around $120k. Again, not your average auction car, but the kind of thing that surfaces at Barrett-Jackson.

This is what makes the Barrett-Jackson Auction so interesting. And at times dull, as one sees the 53th Corvette go across the block or 77th Mustang or Camaro. Speaking of the old muscle cars, they are plentiful at this auction. Ones like this '71 Hemi Cuda.......

These seem to come out of the woodwork for the Barrett-Jackson event. Rare with low miles, this auction attracts many of the best vehicles. Customs, trucks, hot rods, classics  -  you'll see them all.

Check out the Speed channel (http://www.speedtv.com/) for the listing of times, but basically it's all evening starting tonight with afternoon coverage on Saturday and Sunday. Worth a look and a lot of fun. Oh and one good thing about watching it at home.......you can scratch your head without fear of buying a half million dollar dream machine!

Until next time........

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jan 13: Detroit!

For a carguy, there is nothing like going to a big auto show and within 4 hours driving from Toronto is one of the top 3 in the world  -  the Detroit Auto Show or more correctly, the North American International Auto Show. What makes a show top 3.......

1) coverage by the world's press, auto or otherwise, Detroit gets about 8000 reporters I believe

2) the manufacturers all try to have a dazzling concept car to show or a new intro, because of the extensive print, television and e coverage 

3) more concepts and new car intros than at other shows

Here are a handful that I really liked........

Ford has been hitting homeruns lately, so the new Fusion is an important introduction. This car's a big seller for Ford, so it has to hit the ground running. I think they did it with this Euro update of a conservative but pleasant older model. Has some Focus lines and maybe a Hyundai Sonata line or two.

The Lincoln MKZ has been a Fusion clone, different front end and back lights, but overall the same car. Well take a look at this beauty. Sure it's based on the Fusion, but with plenty of differenation. I think Ford will sell a ton of them. Enough room for 2 sets of golf clubs?

Don't know whether this 700C van concept from Chrysler will ever see the light of day, but it sure sheds the old van look. Like a friend said, drop a Hemi in this thing and let's go!

clockwise from upper left.....Caddy ATS production, Acura NSX concept, Chevy coupe concept, Smart pick-up concept

Not near enough room here to outline all the goodies, but check out AutoWeek online (http://www.autoweek.com/) to see all the new stuff. A Smart car pick-up?? Just what the world needs most, a place to carry your toothbrush!

The downside about Detroit is the mid winter timing. I'm planning going next Friday, but the weather has to be perfect. Ever hit the 401 near London during a snow storm? Yeeeeeech!

Until next time.......

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jan 10: Tatra and other oddities

Happy New Year!

You never know what is hidden in your neighbourhood. I was at a friend's open house on Boxing Day and got talking to one of his neighbours. Turns out this fellow was originally from Czechoslovakia and had a Tatra in his garage. This was quite surprising for me, since we both figured there might be a couple of dozen Tatra in all of North America. Now I know a bit about formally Communist country cars and thought I knew about Tatras  - they were unusual looking rear engined aero cars. True, but first before they went "weird", they were more normal.

This is the beautiful 1934 Tatra cabrio that I was taken to see. Mid '90's Porsche paint with dark red glove soft leather seats. What a little gem! I saw it with the top up, complete with landau bars and I must say, it was very striking. By the way, here is what I used to think all Tatras looked like......

See what I mean about being weird. Hopefully this Summer, I'll get to ride in the little cabrio.

Went to Mexico over the holidays and saw a rather odd vehicle.......

Sure, this is the new Hyundai Accent, nothing unusual about that, but it was labelled a Dodge Attitude  -  now that's unusual, especially since it still retained its Hyundai stylized "H" in the grille, at the back and inside. Turns out that Hyundai isn't sold in Mexico, so Dodge markets some of their products as Dodges  -  but couldn't they at least, put a Dodge logo on them? Odd indeed!

Until next time.......