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, March 30, 2012

March 30: Over the Top - '57 & '58 Mercury

Consider these two pics above to be bookends to today's blog. The one on the left is a 1956 and the right a 1960 Mercury. Both are quite attractive and rather subdued when taken in the context of the late '50's. But what happened to Mercury in between? How about the ultimate in bad taste or designs that were way over the top.

How's this for "modern art"?

The 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser.......check out the two little "space age" antennae at the top corners of the front windshield, the gold trim in the side alcove, the reverse slant rear window (it goes up and down) and the strange fins. There were cars which had some wild designs in this time frame, but nothing as over the top as these Mercurys. Aliens landing would be very pleased to see this sort of thing greet them  -  make them feel right at home. As the ad says, "Styled to influence......cars for years to come....", which really meant for one or two more years and then sanity took over.
1957 Turnpike Cruiser with 4 headlight option

But where did this design come from? From a dream car of course (see ad above), or may be from a nightmare. Check this out........

This preview of the future was from '55 or '56. Pretty good preview of the over the top 1957 and 1958 Mercurys. Neat to look back at these things today, because we'll never see stuff like this again. Thank goodness!

Until next time.......

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27: Mercedes-Benz Then and Now

What is it? One of the most famous cars to ever come out of Germany and one of the most sought after 50+ years after its introduction. All you car people know that this is the mid to late '50's Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing coupe. Always thought to be a gorgeous design and unique with its gullwing doors  -  easy to see where their name came from. Nowadays these cars in top condition can fetch over a million dollars. Even in rough condition, I can't afford to be behind the wheel.

Canadians might know the roadster version as the Trudeau car, since our late, former prime minister had one and was often seen it driving around Ottawa. It was kept in the family and his son, Justin, used it on his wedding day. The droptops don't have the same iconic status as the gullwing, but give me one and I'd probably take it.

Flash forward to 2012 and look what Mercedes now sells.......

Compare this new SLS gullwing to the original. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? I always loved the original, but living in Saint John, New Brunswick, I only saw one once, driven by a tourist. Rare car. Even the new one is not plentiful and I remember where and when I saw my first one (attention name drop alert). It was at the end of April, 2010 and it was in Tuscany, Italy. They had just been introduced and a silver SLS passed us on one of Tuscany's winding roads. Great car to go touring in.

This new roadstero version also harkens back to the original and in my opinion is even better looking than the coupe (beauty in the eye, etc). What's wrong with paying homage to your past classics, if you can do it in a classy way that reminds one of the original, but that doesn't copy it line for line?

Until next time......

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23: New Batmobile!

I figured out that the new Batmobile is this 2012 Acura TL with a matte body wrap, black rims, (probably) illegal deep tint and some blacked out chrome. Look at that front end  -  brings back memories of Bruce Wayne and the Batcave doesn't it? And with AWD it will go wherever Batman wants it to (well maybe).

Unfortuntely I grew up in a time when we wanted our cars to be clean and shiny, not clean and flat (yeah I know, "matte" sounds better). I don't care what Batman might want to drive, this just doesn't work for me. Would I drive it? Sure as an attention getter for a few days, then please take it back. I'd keep it a bit longer if it had the rocket or jet motor.

My own ride is an '09 TL AWD in SHINY black with deep tint and although it's an acquired taste, I like the look. Great car and with the brown interior it looks very German. Interesting though how a few mods can dramatically change a car's looks.

By the way, Batman's little buddy, Robin, would probably drive the Mini suv in the background. Talk about scary, this thing is a fully loaded '11 and crossed the curb at (please sit down) $48,000 list!!!! Give me a great big break  -  what Mini is worth that? Great marketing, but there has to be a couple of dozen other ways to use nearly $50 large. Like maybe that TL?

Unusual that there is another F1 race this week after the season opener last week. Interesting race and the winner Jensen Button is an amazing driver  -  cool in the extreme. Who'll win this time?

Until next week........

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20: Macabre, part trois

My wife is going to say, "Enough already with the macabre hearse blogs!", but I'm writing it and there is some very interesting stuff out there that just must be shared.

Ever wish that the funeral would be over and you could get back to normal the quicker the better? Here is the answer.......

The ultra quick way to the graveyard is in a sparkling new Maserati Quattroporte hearse. No doubt that this beauty is fast, but it is also oh so tasteful. Probably not worth dying for, but what a great last ride, although I'd sure prefer to be behind the wheel.

What else is there that will get them talking long after one is in the ground.........

The ultimate in togetherness  -  the mourners can not only all go the cemetery together in this hearse, but they can also have the wake in this luxurious Airstream hearse. That neat square hole in the rear quarter panel is where the casket slides in. Cool, eh? Saves on lengthy funeral processions as well, so it is very green.

Remember the Film "Harold and Maude", remember the early '60's Jag XKE hearse......

It won't carry much (maybe just the ashes?), but it would be another good reason to go to the funeral.

Sick of the whole dam thing and want the simplest alternative, then here is the ultimate in simplicity, No Jags, no Airstream, no Maserati, no hearse.......

And it also sure helps if you own a convertible.

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16: Cats and Cars

Anyone who has read my blog knows that I love building model cars and have a faithful helper, the Car Modeling Cat. Want to know what we've been up to?

We've just finished this '65 Mercury Park Lane 2 door hardtop on the left  -  note that all the chrome is in place, just like on the real one on the right. I don't care about the engine, but I like to have the outside look as close to the real car as possible. I believe that it is a rather rare model, since I've never seen another. This has always been one of my favorite cars with its square, very Lincoln Continental like lines. Not sure what the CMC likes, since she is a cat and can't talk (at least not that I can understand).

Now we are on to a couple of other classics........

The candy apple red car, is a 1969 Pontiac GTO. The '68 and '69 were in my opinion, two of the best looking years for this car. Funny that I've never made one before now, so the time is right or overdue. The silver model in the background is a '62 Buick Electra 225 2 door hardtop. Great looking car in its day and very large as it was built on the Cadillac frame.

Here you can see the Car Modeling Cat purusing the GTO's instructions to make sure we are putting it together in the correct order. She definitely has no time for glamour shots, but is a very good and willing helper.

F1 starts this weekend.......will Ferrari be as bad as they say they will be or just trying to catch the other top teams off guard? Since it's from Aussieland, I'll have to watch the tape delay. Also NASCAR at Bristol  -  a wild track that has to be seen to be believed. Should be fun.

Until next time.......

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13: Geneva Auto Show, part deux

Be still my heart.........Ferraris are ok, but often times their designs are just not 100% great (blasphemy?), call it pushing the envelope or whatever. But at the recent Geneva Auto Show they unveiled the interestingly named F12 Berlinetta. Now in my opinion this is a looker, no matter what the angle........

Sure beats the 599 that it is replacing or that strangely styled FF (smiley face anyone?). When I see a car like this, it pleases me greatly that I'm 6'5" and can't fit in one or else I might be tempted (sure, talk the wife into selling the house, fat chance). In the one Ferrari that I've driven, I had my very non Italian legs wrapped around my head.

There was a much more affordable red convertible unveiled at Geneva........

The new for Europe only, Golf GTI cabrio. Neat looking. I'd rather have this little bomb instead of the Beetle cabrio  -  more power and better handling.

Next blog will have an update on the CMC (Car Modeling Cat) and show you what we've just finished.

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

Friday, March 9, 2012

March 9: Geneva Show Bentley Plus

Finally!!! All those folks who have a Bentley coupe or cabrio and need a winter beater  -  your prayers are answered..........

Yup, this is the new Bentley suv, the Falcon, which was unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show this past week. Just what the aspiring soccer mom needs when she realizes that her friend's Escalade is a bit too big and a bit declasse'. Actually I do know of a guy who drives a Bentley cabrio in the Summer and has a Porsche Panamera as a "winter beater". Needless to say, he doesn't live in my neighbourhood.

But what's with these brands that are traditionally one thing and then they add something out of left field, for example the Porsche Cayenne? Does the term "survival" come to mind? Really they are just being smart and taking advantage of a market opportunity. But surely a brand like Lamborghini would never add a sport ute, would they?

Don't be so sure about that, Barry. This pic from an Italian mag, shown on the sportlux.com website, is what rumours say might be the new, yet to be announced Lamborghini suv. Lots of teaser info, but nothing definite. Lambo has also teased us with a sedan version, testing the market before spending the big bucks on an actual vehicle.

Who else might go this route.......

This is not a "might", this is a definite, the Maserati Kubang. Where did they get that awful name? Why not call it the Maserati Rock Salt  -  it's just as stupid. Name aside, I think these suv's are quite good ideas and will probably make a mint for their respective companies, afterall look how well the Porsche sport ute has done.

Some other interesting intros at Geneva, but they'll wait until next week.

Until next time........

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6: African Dictators' Cars

Dictators and their cars. Certain countries have a type of ruler who likes a very particular model of car, a car whose citizens probably don't make enough yearly to buy just one wheel. Let's start this blog with the pic above. These cars belonged (note the past tense) to the 41 year old son of the head of Equatorial Guinea (oil money). This scene took place in Paris when these cars were being impounded for something or other. And this was only one trailer load  -  there was at least one more and this was from one home in Paris. Ok, boys and their toys, but what about dad?

Their car of choice for years and years has been the Mercedes-Benz 600 limo. I have a model of one in my office and a friend when he sees it, always calls it "The African Dictators' Car".......

This Pullman version was considered to be the ultimate and a must have for any up and coming dictator on the Dark Continent. Want to be better seen and worshipped(?) by your citizens, then how about this model........

Hard to be really appreciated if your fellow country men and women can't look you in the eye (but don't be too obvious about it).

Even though the cars were built primarily in the '70's, they were kept by these guys for years, because they were so well respected (the cars that is) and had immense presence. Nowadays the body style has changed, much more armour has been added (those darn trigger happy citizens), but the make of choice is still their beloved Mercedes as seen by this new model........

Hopefully you'll remember this blog if you ever get to be head of an African country and wonder what you should be driving. Just trying to be helpful.

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

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2: Toronto Auto Show Recap

Bugatti Veyron

Let's start with the ultimate eye candy and one of the three cars at the show that you'll probably never see on the street (and hopefully you'll never see the butt ugly Pagani Zonda). Apparently there is one of these $1 million plus Bugatti supercars in Canada on the west coast. For a carguy, just to see this and the Aston Martin One-77 was worth the price of admission. In my opinion what made this year's Toronto Auto Show so interesting was the huge number of  new intros or "soon to be new" intros. Almost all of the manufacturers were showing a car that will hit the streets shortly. Some examples.......

Buick: Verano, Encore (pic below)
Mercedes: SL, C Black series coupe
Chev: Spark, ZL-1, Malibu
Dodge: Dart
Ford: Fusion, Lincoln MKZ
Acura: ilx
Lexus: LFA, GS
Audi: Allroad (pic below)
Infiniti: JX
Scion: FR-S
Subaru: BRZ

And those are just the ones I remember (age has something to do with it).

                 Buick Encore

Audi Allroad

The Toronto Auto Show is different in that it adds some features that aren't seen at many new car shows, it gives us a history lesson. This year Triumph was the featured marque and there were some excellent examples of their past sportscars and a couple of really cute little trucks (where were the sedans?). Also shown were the finalists from various cruise contests around the area and a winner was chosen, a '69 Camaro Z-28. As I said different from other shows.

Also, was it my imagination or were there more open doors on the high dollar stuff? I hate to lie about trading in my Rolls-Royce Phantom, just to sit in a 5 series BMW.

Ever wonder what most African dictators drive? Stay tuned.

Until next time.......