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, July 31, 2012

July 31: Women in Car Ads

Think about this, but not for too long. How would an ad like this work today with its implication that the husband makes the car decisions (or any big decision?). Or how about this one........

Old ads, whether for cars or not are a great way to trace how our society views things over the years. I don't think we'll see any smart ad agency these days implying that the hubby is the decision maker, actually, it's probably the other way around much of the time (in our home it is 100% a joint decision).

Take the man out of it and how about doing a car strictly for the women? This probably wouldn't work today either, but at least once in the past, someone tried it............

.........the 1955 and 1956 Dodge La Femme......pretty in pink (its only colour) and marketed 100% strictly for the lady. Try that today?? Heck, it didn't work almost 60 years ago.

I found some other ads that although not exactly geared towards women, featured them prominently and in the most offensive ways.......

Can you, even for one minute (second?), picture a company running this ad today? If you doubt me, blow it up and read the copy.

Now for the ultimate in sexist advertising and surprisingly from a staid company like BMW. It's actually clever if not completely politically incorrect. Are you ready?

Read the copy and think about it for a second.

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

Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27: Attention Lottery Winners

Just won the lottery and have money to burn, piss away or whatever? Don't know how to make a statement that will tell all the plebs that you've arrived? Wondering what to arrive in? Stay tuned, as I have some answers.

Anyone with about a million bucks and contact with the Ferrari factory could have bought the very limited production (399?) Enzo. But for those with unlimited funds or newly claimed lottery winnings, how about flaunting your wealth with a bright pink version. This will send your message loud and clear, also declaring to everyone that you lack good taste or any at all.

Not man enough to have a pink Ferrari, then how about something a bit more blindingly subtle........

......this chrome model will stop everyone in their tracks, if only to check their look in your mirrored finish. Again a great way to trumpet the fact that you are now in the money.

Ok, these are "cheap" ideas, but you have some serious coin to spend and a mere paint finish just won't cut it. This is your time to really step up and let the world know that you've arrived.........

Roll really high and have Ferrari customize one of their current models for you. After all when you arrive, it's always nice to arrive with friends, so a sedan makes perfect sense and only a Ferrari will do. Or maybe you have no friends, but need something to carry your golf clubs (or bags of $)...........

.........smart looking, yet very practical. Pull up in this Daytona or park it by your new double wide trailer so the world will know you are a person of substance. Still not convinced that the above ideas are special enough and you want the ultimate ride? What to do, what to do?

Solution!! Call Ferrari and have them design an entirely new car for you. You deserve it, since it was you who picked the winning numbers. Now back to real life.......the car above was done by Ferrari for a very well known collector in New York about 5 years ago. The downside is that you have had to be collecting these cars for many years before Ferrari would even talk to you. I guess that means you are back to an Escalade with 24" chromies. Oh well, you still have your money.

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24: The Sultan's Cars

Brunei........what do you think of when the word Brunei comes up? Probably not much, since this tiny little country on the island of Borneo, home to less than 400,000 people, seldom, if ever makes the news. But if you are a car guy, the Sultan of Brunei and his car collection are mythical.

Rumour has it (and there are lots of rumours and some facts) that the sultan of this extremely oil rich mini-state has a personal car collection of at least 5000 cars, Obviously good taste is not necessarily a prerequisite for ruling this country, if you take this official Rolls-Royce as an example, but things get better. The sultan loves Rollers and reportedly has about 500 of them, some custom like these two......

 I once read that Rolls and Ferrari sent mechanics (technicians sounds better) to Brunei for 3 months at a time to tend to the fleet. Ferrari would also go to the sultan with a custom design, say a wagon or a sedan, to see if the he was interested. Often he was and would order one in each colour, like this reportedly one of six, 456 wagon version........

Price? Guesstimate about $1.5m per car. Wouldn't this be every car guy's dream, to have an exotic made especially for them. Actually, there is a Ferrari collector in New York, who has had exactly this done for him.

The extent of this collection is quite secret, so it surprises me that this pic was even taken, but I've included it anyway  -  some very mundane Phantoms and 7 series Bimmers.

So the next time you see something like this custom Rolls-Royce woody wagon in your town, you can assume that the Sultan of Brunei is visiting. Sweet dreams!

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

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20th: New Aston Martin for Cheap!

This is my idea of a real Aston Martin, the drop dead gorgeous new Vanquish. Great looks and power  -  AM hallmarks from the get go. But a new AM for cheap? Certainly not with this baby.

So what am I talking about? Behold...........

Feast your eyes on this beauty  -  the 2013 Aston Martin Cygnet. Can it get any better than this? Just picture James Bond racing along the Amalfi Coast in a motorized dual with a what? A smart car? A Prius?

Aston Martin's idea was to sell a city car to their clients who want something economical for scooting around the packed cities of Europe. "Economical" here is a relative term, since the Cygnet sells for 31,995 pounds in England, which translates to about $51,000 Canadian.........if it were to ever sell here. According to our local dealer in Toronto, this is not going to happen (thank goodness!).

Just what is the Cygnet? Well, it's a Toyota........based on the recently introduced to Canada, Toyota Scion iQ, a very little smart car competitor as seen below........

Hard to believe, since the iQ sells for $18,355 fully equipped. That must be some nice interior!

What is Aston Martin thinking? Folks got bent out of shape when Porsche intro'd a sport utility, so what must the AM owners think? I assume though, that Aston Martin knows their clientele. They probably know that there are a few aging rock stars, who need something when their Phantom is "resting". And here I was wondering how to spend my money when I won the lottery.

Until next time........

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 17: Smart car2go

What could be more "Toronto" than a picture of a car2go in front of the Princes' Gate? Well, I can think of 217 things that would be and this pic would not be one of them. What is a car2go anyway?

My wife and I live in midtown Toronto, near the Mercedes-Benz head office and our neighbourhood walks often take us past their storage yard (great place to see new arrivals - my first SLS coupe and convertible for example). About a month ago I noticed a couple of dozen blue/white smart cars with car2go logos on their hoods parked in the lot. Shortly after that I noticed that there were over 50 and they were overflowing into an adjacent lot. What gives?

A little research goes a long way.........turns out that car2go is a Mercedes car rental concept with a twist, that was started in Germany in 2008 and has spread to some cities in France, Austria and Holland with England starting this Fall. In North America it is in Austin, Texas, San Diego, Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, Washington, DC and now Toronto. The twist? You rent these cars by the minute and you can pick them up or drop them off at one of many designated places around the city.

I've never been a smart car fan, as I figured there were about a half dozen small cars that were just as economical and made much more sense. Jonathan Wong wrote in AutoWeek that the smart car was "just about the most painful automotive experience that I've ever come across." But this might be where they shine.
The twist is that you rent them by the minute. Walk up to one, flash your membership card and drive off. Of course, there are other details, but you can look those up for yourself (http://www.car2go.com/).

Usually a 3 cylinder diesel, the smarts used in San Diego are electric with a range of about 135 km. That would be interesting. You get in a car with 8 kms left on the charge before you are left high and dry.

Not a bad idea and not just a bunch of bull...........

Watch where you step big boy, that's a car down there!

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

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 13: Mercedes-Benz Shooting Brake

Mercedes-Benz is nuts and I mean this in the best possible way. They have been putting wildly powerful motors in their cars and sometimes they drop them into their wagons. The pic above is their new E63 AMG wagon with the Performance package, which pushes out a mere 550 HP! What's with these guys  -  nuts in the best possible way! I've seen a couple around and they look and sound wonderful.

Now they have taken this a couple of steps further with the new "Shooting Brake". The original concept.......

This toured the auto shows a couple of years back, but what the heck is a Shooting Brake. According to my research, the "shooting" part refers to gentlemen's hunting parties in the early part of the 20th century. The "brake" refers to a vehicle used to break horses. Someone, sometime and for some unknown reason put the two together and Shooting Brake started to refer to a station wagon, but always the very most expensive ones, like an Aston Martin or Rolls (google Aston Martin or Rolls Royce Shooting Brake).

Now back to this concept from Benz. My most favorite car is the CLS 63  -  swoopy and hot looking (words I also use to decribe my wife in case she is reading this), so now my buddies at Benz have introduced the hot, hot CLS 63 Shooting Brake........

This is a car or a wagon or a shooting brake that I can love, but why, oh why, does it have to be a car that unless the rich uncle that I don't have dies, I will never have the chance to own.

But here is some good news. Early reports don't show this beautiful brute coming to North America, so I won't worry about lusting over a car, if no one else is driving it either. In Europe, the station wagon has never fallen out of favor, so there are some great looking wagons roaming their highways and byways. What is wrong with North Americans? Why do they persist in buying those cumbersome suvs, when they could have a rolling sculpture like this in their driveway? Our loss.

We all have fantasies, mine just might be driving up to the golf club in this CLS 63.

Until next time........

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 10: Old Car Oddities

This '57 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser is a real old car oddity, just take a look at the antenna above (there was one on each side of the windshield), but that's not today's focus. Look at that monster of a spare tire carrier -  this is today's blog, the continental rear tire kit. Not sure how this idea got its start, but this pic might give us a clue........

The first cars usually carried a spare (or two) out back just in case and with those roads "just in case" became the norm. This black beauty is a '40's Lincoln Continental and it has a tastefully designed spare tire carrier. Is this possibly how the name originated? Any ideas?

Anyway, in the 1950's this idea became a real fashion statement, mandatory for a snazzy custom car and was even a factory option on some cars like this Nash.......

Actually this is not too bad looking, but the one on that Mercury up top is just hideous. Much too big, unattractive and how in the world do you get into the trunk even if the actual tire is removed? Here are some other examples........

Note on the red '59 Ford how it even had channels for the tail lights, so that they would be completely visible. Again, how does one get into that trunk to get your golf clubs? Most of these continental kits seemed to end up on Ford products, but here are a couple of GM's.......

The turquoise Impala has an almost tasteful tire carrier compared to the Fords and this red Pontiac.

This fad was short lived and except for a few customs, it seems to have died out by 1960  -  thank goodness. In my opinion, they added nothing to the overall design and apart from limiting access to the trunk, how did you ever park one of these behemoths? Ideas to ponder.

Until next time.......

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6: Roof Racks - a Public Service Message

With so many of you heading to the cottage or off on a road trip, I thought it would be good of me to give you some pointers on how to load those roof racks. You can thank me later.

This cartoon is a joke, of course, but let's look at what you should or should not do in order to get all that stuff (kitchen sink, etc) to the cottage, campsite or wherever.

This wagon is loaded correctly, with very little overlap. Sure there is a bit at the rear, but overall this is an excellent example of a good packing job. I believe one of the kids or granny is in there somewhere.

The wagon above is an even better example of good packing. Note the use of boxes, which make for a tidy appearance. Be sure to check proper tire inflation, since several tons on the roof need all the help they can get.

Not everyone has the luxury of a trailer or even a trailer hitch. Here is a good example of a smart way to transport that atv you so treasure. Note the clever use of the tie down straps to firmly hold the atv front and back. Not sure how they get it on the roof, but probably just run it right up the back of the Beetle (it is an all terrain vehicle afterall). Just repaint the bug in the Fall.

And what vacation would be complete without a boat and bikes. This very well packed example shows how ingenious the owner is. The boat actually keeps the sun out of the VW, making the interior nice and cool. Another benefit is that no one is going to cut you off in traffic, since they know that you just don't care.
                                                                                                                                                                      Good old duct tape. Here is an excellent example of its usage when packing up to go on vacation. This versatile product is able to secure those items that won't fit in the trunk. An added benefit, is that it can also hold the door closed. If using this method, please be sure to take an extra roll with you for the trip home.

I've always wanted this blog to be about more than trivial car stuff, so this public service of helping you plan for a Summer trip helps me to fulfill that goal.

All the best and happy roof rack packing!

Until next time........

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4: Independence Day & Pick-up Trucks

July 4th, Independence Day for our southern neighbours. What could be more American than the flag, apple pie and the American pick-up truck? Sure, there have been pick-ups in many other countries, but no one has developed them or made them as mainstream as the United States and Canada.

Do you remember when these trucks were used for utilitarian purposes only......

These early pick-ups were plain Jane and had but one use, that was to lug stuff around. Beat them up, push them around and drive the snot out of them  -  they kept on ticking (like those Timex watches).

In the mid-fifties, things began to change as the manufacturers added some passenger car comforts and designs to these practical haulers. The first was the 1955 Chevrolet Cameo carrier.......

Note the passenger car-like trim on the rear quarter panel and if viewed from the back, it had lights that were similar to the 1955 Chev car. Add whitewall tires, full wheel discs and you have a rig that just might be ok to drive to the country club (everyone seemed to drive to the country club in the '50's).

Dodge took this one bizarre step further in 1957.........

Wha makes this truck rather unusual is that the rear quarter panel of a '57 Dodge station wagon was "glued" on to the side of their pick-up truck. Viola, instant stylish Sweptside pick-up! Take that GM! Anyway, it never sold and was discontinued after a couple of years.

These trucks were the start of the pick-up as more than just a practical vehicle. They have evolved over the years to what we have now........pick-ups that have replaced the car as some family's only vehicle. Any option available in a car can also be put on your truck  -  leather, sunroof, navigation. Quite an evolution.

Independence Day. A time to celebrate all things US and let's not forget about the now, not so lowly pick-up truck, an American icon.

Until next time.......