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, September 28, 2012

Sept 28: Jag F-type = XKE?

This was the "it" car. The automobile that left every other car behind when it was first shown. The car that even today draws admiring looks when some lucky guy drives by in one. This car was the original Jaguar XKE introduced in 1960  -  unlike anything else on the road at that time. Featured in songs and on album covers. If your puritanical parents wouldn't let you put a girlie pin-up on your wall, they had no problems with an XKE pic. Little did they know, it probably illicited the same hormonal response. Sex on wheels. And it could also back it up on the track, like a gorgeous girl who could cook!

Today a lot of folks are wondering if now Jaguar is ready to relive their glory years with this stunning new model........

Just unveiled at the Paris Auto Show, the F-type mirrors the many teaser concepts that have been shown over the past few years. This is a significant car. When Jaguar was taken over by the giant Indian car maker Tata, many feared that this would spell the end of a famous, yet troubled marque. Nobody would question Tata's resources, but where was their history  -  crappy cars and big trucks? Well surprise, surprise.

Since the XKE, Jaguar has had a number of "sports cars", but they were really just grand touring machines. Nothing wrong with that, but they sure couldn't compete on the track with something like a Porsche or a Corvette. An SL or a 6 series for sure, but they were nothing like the original XKE, which added to an already strong Jaguar racing history. Hopefully this new aluminum F-type will change that. Sized like a Boxster, but with big power from a 355 horsepower V6 to a 495 HP V8. And looks to die for or at least lust after. Sex on wheels?

And just in case this wasn't good enough, it's no secret that just down the road Jag will throw a coupe version into the mix. Porsche Cayman competition?

Pricing? Not sure, but if it's competition is the Boxster and Corvette, then you could expect pricing from around $70k Canadian and up to maybe $90k for the V8.

Time to start saving or at least get a poster for those adolescent bedroom walls?

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sept 25: Lincoln MKZ and Memories

It's almost time for Lincoln to take the wraps off of their new and (for them) boldly styled 2013 MKZ. Poor old Lincoln has strugged in the luxury car market since I was a kid (don't ask), never really succeeding to top Cadillac and then being obliterated by the Japanese and German brands. A couple of years ago Ford decided to go for it and bring Lincoln back as a strong luxury car brand. Redesign the showrooms and redesign the cars. No more Fords in tuxedos, the new cars would be real Lincolns. The very Fusion based MKZ (originally named Zephyr) would be one of the first of the new Lincolns. 

This beautifully styled concept showed the future MKZ line for line. No part of this body looks like it was derived from the Fusion, like the current model.

Let's digress a little bit...........I grew up in a lunch bucket town in the Maritimes, lots of blue collar jobs and almost no fancy cars. The local dealers probably didn't sell a new Cadillac or Lincoln a year. So when our neighbour's relatives from Maine showed up in a new Lincoln coupe, like the one below, it was a very big deal (to little 8 year old me anyway).

My dad asked if they would take me for a drive and of course they agreed. Their teenage son got behind the wheel and took me around our town, ending up at the local den of iniquity, the pool hall. "Just stay in the car, Barry", he said, as he would just be a few minutes. At least a long hour later, with a cold, heavy fog rolling in off the bay, he came out to find a very cold little Barry sitting in his car, unable to raise the power windows without the key. My first and last experience with this option for about 15 years. I got my Lincoln experience, my cold and my taste of the future, all in one drive. Why that dope didn't drop me at home before heading to the pool hall, I'll never know.

Now back to the Lincoln of today. You can see from the production pics below, that the new MKZ is a dead ringer for that beautiful concept above.........

I love the look, but can it back it up with the power and handling that this segment demands? Even staid old Lexus has had to reshape their image away from the grampa cars. I'll be very interested to see the first tests which should appear shortly. Lincoln has a great opportunity, now can they pay for those expensive new showrooms? Time will tell.

Until next time........

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sept 21: "What a doozy?" "Duesie?"

Ever heard the expression, "What a doozy?". Used to be quite common, especially after a well know TV comic used it repeatedly. Where did it come from? Good question, but there is a feeling that it originally was "duesie" and referred to that magnificent luxury car from the 20's and 30's  -  the Duesenberg. Now, I don't love a lot (or most) of the old cars from that era, but the Duesenberg was special and had styling that has stood the test of time.

These were custom automobiles, that often went directly to custom design companies who would drape the chassis, engine and front end with a (hopefully) gorgeous body. Good example is the "20 Grand" in the pic above. The name came from the cost of this car back in the '30's. 20 Grand today would be in the neighhood of $300k. Actually not a bad price, except that in the depression era this was much more than a fortune.

A few other examples.........

......with the appropriate mansion in the background

I don't believe that there is any one who wouldn't say that these are beautiful cars. Nowadays a restored example (and there aren't tons of them) is worth well into the 7 figure range. Jay Leno has one that he drives regularly. Most of them are "trailer queens", meaning that they are trailered to shows, not driven. Makes sense when you consider their value.

Check out those side pipes from the supercharged engine

How can you not love these beauties?

As with many famous automobile names from the past (Maybach, Bugatti), there is always someone who will try to resurrect these old cars in a modern way. Bugatti has succeeded, Maybach has failed. And of course, in the 1960's the Duesenberg name was slapped on a custom bodied GM car of some sort. They actually sold a few in both 2 and 4 door models. It sure didn't have the cache' of the original, but for a very brief time it was the car of the stars (Elvis had a couple). Check out this ad........

You'll have to blow it up to read the fine print. This is actually a good pic, but the real car was a little unusual looking (if you get my drift).

I love a lot of the new cars, but it's fun for me, the Car Guy, to occasionally go back in time to see what has come before to get the complete picture.

Until next time........

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sept 18: Dodge Magnum Memories

The Dodge Magnum was a very neat ride, gone but not forgotten, but there is another reason for writing this blog today (more about that later).
Original Magnum wagon

Dodge was very gutsy when they first introduced their Magnum wagon in the mid 2000's. They had dropped the Intrepid sedan and replaced it with a station wagon of all things. I say this, since in North America, wagons had long been out of favour and been replaced with either mini-vans or suv's. So Dodge was gutsy. But check out that design  -  it looks like a customized car with its big wheels and chopped top. I mean, if you are going to do a wagon, it doesn't get much better than this.

I can't remember a car that was so personalized by it's owners. Check these out......

They never sold tons of these Magnums, but sales were steady and there was enough interest so that ever since they were discontinued a few years back, there have been constant requests to bring it back. 

Personlized every which way from the addition of aftermarket rims, to two tones, to scissor doors (why their appeal, I've never figured out). Recently Dodge said not to give up hope, that we may see yet another Dodge Magnum on the show circuit in the near future. Stay tuned.

So why do this blog today? Recently a friend emailed me saying that due to their growing family, he was considering a used Magnum. He liked cars and this was going to be his way to get extra space and still have a cool car. This friend also had done a very good food blog since 2009, so that when I started Wheel to Wheel in February, 2011, he mentored me. Told me the do's and don't's. Gave me pointers and almost always commented on each blog (see Sept 14's edition). Today, he would have told me why the font size changed in mid blog and then changed back. Occasionally, he emailed me a pic of a cool car that he had seen around town and we would discuss its finer points. Sadly, Dan Saraga passed away very suddenly and unexpectably last Friday evening at a way too young age of 37. We were shocked.

Dan, this blog is for you. I hope you enjoy the Magnum pics and think about what you could have done to personalize yours. God speed, good buddy.

Until next time.......

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sept 14: Chinese Cars Are Coming

Here is the new and very bright yellow "Book of Songs". No seriously, the Book of Songs is actually the name of this uniquely styled Chinese car. Yes, "uniquely" is one way of describing this design. Just another one of the fun cars coming out of China.

Chinese cars are coming whether you like it or not. And really what's not to like. Sure there will be some stumbles along the way, remember how Hyundai started out with crap like the Pony? But look at their product line now, great quality and designs to die for. But the start ups are always interesting, so let's walk thru some recent Chinese cars to see what we might expect.........

Since copyright laws in China are almost nonexistent, there are several cars that resemble their western counterparts. This remind you of a Rolls-Royce just a little tiny bit or a whole lot?

Or how about these very complimentary BMW knock offs, right down to the logo?

Some clever names currently in use are......the Beauty Leopard, the EQ724OBP, the Detroit Fish and for you mercenaries out there the
Crazy Soldier.

BMW actually threatened to sue over this X5 inspired design, when the Chinese company indicated that they would be selling it in Europe.

This Geely GT is unusual and rather scary, but the design is a step in the right direction

Just plain strange, but all designs have to start somewhere. Now back to some other arresting car names.....
.....the King Kong, the Eastar and my personal favorite, the PU Rural Nanny. Love that name and can you imagine how impressed your friends would be when you told them that you drove a PU Rural Nanny? I can hardly wait.

Now this last pic is another favorite of mine. The car's design is typical of current small cars and not bad looking, but the artistic way it is presented has made me a big fan.......

You gotta love it!

It won't be too long before we see the first Chinese cars on our shores. Let's hope there is some fun before they get to the really good stuff.

Until next time........

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sept 11: NASCAR Road Trip

Yep, that's me, sitting in the number 88 Chevy Impala NASCAR racecar waiting for last Saturday night's race to start. Believeable? Yeah right.

Every year for the last 15, my buddy Steve and I have gone to a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in the Fall. New Hampshire, Delaware, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia have all been stops over this period, some multiple times. The last two years we've gone to Richmond, Virginia. Good race for a number of reasons  -  it's a short track and it's the last race in the regular season before NASCAR's version of the play offs. Lots of action and nail biting.

Ever been to a NASCAR Sprint Cup race? It definitely is a bigtime show. The teams all have their souvenir trailers, the sponsors have numerous big displays and there is extensive TV coverage. Lots of colour and excitement. Here are a few shots of the experience........

.......Chevrolet racecar display......

........Kyle Busch's rotating Camry race car above the Toyota exhibit......

........cut-a-way racecar at Ford's display......

......Speed TV's live pre-race show......

 .......and finally, the race itself. We had great seats in one of the highest grandstands overlooking the front straight-a-way and the pits. Good location for the best action.

Used to be that every race was sold out months in advance, that is why it took us several years before we eventually came to the Richmond race. Now things have changed somewhat with the US economy. Seats are generally available right up until raceday, but the better ones still need to be booked in the Spring. Attendance is down, but I would guess there were still around 60,000 in the stands.

The race itself is always fun, although with this year's rain delays, it seemed to go on forever. But the neat experience is the road trip. Steve and I get along really well and in 15 years have never had an argument (we should be married?). We are usually away 4 days, so it is a good way to wrap up the Summer.

Anyway, if you are the least bit interested in car racing, any bigtime race is a treat, but in my opinion the show around a Sprint Cup race is the best.

Until next time........

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sept 4: Art Cars - a question of taste?

Many years ago, I used to own an art gallery and people often used the cliche, "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like." Fair enough, but this brings us to the infamous art cars. Back in the '80's if you had mentioned an art car, I'd immediately have thought of a BMW, such as this M1........

BMW commissioned several well know artists to paint a few of their cars. I believe they were usually racing versions, but I'm a little fuzzy on that particular point. Whether you liked them or not, they had a certain style. Time goes by and things change.........

This is what passes these days for an "art car". Somebody's warped dream of a very, very individually styled car. I use the word "styled" loosely. Bits and pieces get added on over time and the end result is something like this, although a real art car is constantly evolving or whatever you'd call it.

Is nothing safe from this madness?

Shouldn't this Miata be cruising the countryside with it's shiny paint glimmering in the sun? Maybe not. I usually expect an old heap to be transformed, like this Ford wagon.......

Give the old family truckster a new lease on life (or embarass it completely). Nothing is sacred........

See, even old hearses are abused in this fashion. Note the pink flamingos that have gone missing from someone's lawn.

All this goes back to my original comment, "I don't know much about art......."  -  well, that goes without saying. The question is, should one make an art car or simply hold a garage sale. Any thoughts?

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