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, 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.......

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nov 20: Those wild '50's car movies

Saw "Skyfall" the other day and although I enjoyed it, the part where Bond's Aston Martin gets blown up broke my heart and probably ruined the movie for me. Same reason I could never enjoy "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". But this got me to thinking about the car movies from the '50's (I known this is a leap, but bear with me). The poster above is typical of these flics  -  hot babe, fast cars, wild action and a touch of sex (see upper right). And who can forget those Oscar winning performances from thespians such as Brett Halsey and Yvonne Lime.

Drag strips seemed to be sin strips in the '50's as a lot of the action took place in these venues. I guess only the really bad guys hung out there and bullied the heros like Frank Gorshin below in "Dragstrip Girl". Wasn't he the Joker in the Batman series? You can find all the elements that I mentioned above in this poster.......

This must have been a classier drag strip, since one of the ladies is wearing a dress. Typical race track attire? By the way, Fay Spain's first screen test, which she failed, was with James Garner. What other car blog gives you this sort of stuff?

If I was to guess, "Hot Rod" probably failed at the box office, since it seems to be missing a very important ingredient of this genre  -  no sex showing in the poster.
Wow! This one has it all in the era before seatbelts. Police chase, custom car, great speed, a tight dress and "She's.......fired up for any thrill!". By the way, note the Mercedes in the background  -  foreign cars were usually driven by those super smooth and rich bad guys.

Think the "Fast and Furious" series is so original? So what about this........

Way back in the 1950's there was the real original  -  sex, action, tight dresses! Nothing hits all the buttons better than this. One more.......
And look at this......starring Jack Nicholson way back in 1960, long before his "Easy Rider" role. Betcha he's proud of this movie.

We just don't see this type of movie anymore and thank goodness for that. Check out clips from youTube, the acting skills will make you smile or click to a better website. But often you'll catch some neat cars and that afterall is what we are all about. Right?

Until next time.......

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nov 16: Four door dream - Maserati Quattroporte

Just look at this thing.........

.......or how about this view........

The other day, I asked an associate of mine in our office, what car would he pick if he could only have one? I'm asked this all the time, since I sell all makes/models and because I love cars. Being somewhat practical (ha!), I try to pick a car that would suit my current lifestyle, so my choice is the Mercedes CLS 63 - great looks, huge power. Well, in a "Petraeus moment", meaning I might have to cheat on my longtime automobile love, there is another car that tugs at my heart.

The pics above are of the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte. Just a gorgeous and senuous bending of metal. I've always liked most versions of this car, going way back to the first one that I ever saw way back in 1970, outside of Portland, Maine of all places. Even remember that it was deep wine.

For its time, the lines were beautifully simple and even delicate. A rare beauty. Maserati followed this first four door a few years later with a rather bulbous version, that in the context of the '80's wasn't a bad looking car. And like all Italian super luxury cars, it had an interior to die for........

Current Quattroporte interior
I had an art gallery in the '80's and the store owner next to me, sold his Lincoln to get a Quattroporte like this black one. His was silver and usually being repaired.

The current version is once again a beauty........

Snow White. You can be my princess anytime. Since Ferrari has been behind Maserati, their products are now up to date and reliable. What a great combo!

So back to the question of which car would I drive? Which car would you drive?

Until next time.......

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nov 13: New "chick car" - why?

Dodge La Femme......a car made just for madam. Now this was an idea that might have only worked in the '50's and it didn't work then based on the sales. What bright bean came up with the idea that women would like a pink car marketed specifically to them? An idea whose time never came. Thankfully we won't have dumb ideas like this anymore.

But wait, what's this.........

Oh no, could it be that someone is doing a new La Femme? Surely not in this day and age? Aren't we supposed to be much more enlightened than this? Well, obviously Honda thinks it is on to something that the rest of us have thought was well in the past.

Behold the new Honda Fit She's. Catchy name?

Yikes, isn't this exactly what Dodge failed at in the 1950's, almost 60 long years ago? And now Honda has brought it back to fulfill a need? Not sure if it includes the pink umbrella and cosmetic case that came with the La Femme. In keeping with the times maybe a pink Smartphone, but if it were really keeping with the times, why would it exist at all?

In my opinion, there is some good news here and that is that the She's is only being sold in Japan at this time. If you think this is a really good idea, then get some pink note paper and send a pleading letter to Honda Canada. Then the guys can ask for a companion model, "He's", in powder blue with a matching football or hockey puck, your choice. Just an idea, but don't blame me if it actually happens.

Until next time......

Friday, November 2, 2012

Nov 2: New Buick cabrio? Stay tuned.

1959 Buick Electra 225
Those were the days. Gas was cheap, the cars took up an entire city block and handling was not something to brag about, ok, it was nonexistent. And that styling, well it definitely stood out. This was the old Buick and one sure doesn't have to go all the way back to '59 to talk about the "old" Buick.

But things have changed. Now Buick is a big player in China and their cars are designed with that country in mind before anything else. Example, the extra roomy back seats, since so many of these cars are chauffeur driven. Buick is also gaining strength here in North America, because their new products are very good, taking on Lexus for great interiors.

So what about this possible new cabrio?

The Cascada is an upcoming Opel/Vauxhall that was shown recently. Now here's the point of this blog (finally).........since Buick often gets Buickized Opels, why not this great looking cabrio? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I see shades of the new BMW 6 series in its smooth flanks. And that is one of my favorite cars.
BMW 645 cabrio
See? Not that far off, except with the price and maybe the Cascada's even better looking. So what do you think, should the Cascada be the next Opel to land on our shores, showing up in showrooms as a Buick? If VW can sell the Eos and Chrysler the 200, surely there is a place for this lovely looking cabrio. As I said at the top, stay tuned!

What's the deal with this pic? There'll be no blog from me until the 13th, since this is where I'll be for the next week. Blogging sure is tiring!

Until the 13th.........