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, October 30, 2012

Oct 30: Maybach - $ well wasted??


The other day, a friend of mine emailed me this pic of the 2012 Maybach Landaulet  -  a unique luxury car for only $1 million plus something. Great for the sun loving African dictator or the "so much money, I don't know what to do with it", Russian oligarch. Unusual rig and with a spiffy private jet interior........


So what's the deal about wasted money? How about the fact that Mercedes-Benz has announced recently that the Maybach brand would be discontinued shortly. Designed to disappear into a crowd of nondescript sedans (and it does this so well). No surprise that this car, with all the panache of the much, much less expensive S class Benz, has never sold well. Compare its look to the in your face Rolls Phantom and tell me which has money written all over it? Well, it sure ain't the Maybach.

What is or was a Maybach?


Back in the '20's and '30's Maybach was a very exclusive German brand. When one saw this hood ornament a top this regal radiator, one knew they were in the presence of real wealth.


A classic setting, complete with the castle like Black Forest country estate, just where you'd expect to find one of these beauties of yesteryear.


Image this pulling up to the Reichstag? So about ten years ago, Mercedes thought that this would be a great old name to bring back in order to compete in the ultra luxury arena against their long time rival and owner of the Rolls-Royce brand, BMW. Nice idea, bad execution. A Rolls has always looked like a Rolls. Just check out this pic.......


......need I say more? Now compare that to this Maybach........


Sure doesn't stand out in any crowd that I've ever seen. And very few others thought so either. Hence about 10 years on, Benz has decided to pull the plug on this ultra luxury attempt. So back to the Landaulet. Who in their right mind is going to plunk down well over $1m for a disc'd car?

Money not well wasted!

Until next time......

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Oct 26: McLaren cars and $



Recognize this race car? Since you are reading this column, you probably do. It's the McLaren Formula 1 car driven by World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button. The Taj Mahal that it resides in, is the McLaren Tech Centre in Surrey, England. Any money in F1? See a team headquarters like this and you have to ask? I may be off a bit, but I think it probably costs about $400 million/year to run this team. Get that, buckos? $400 million!

Aerial view

This place sure is a sight. Granted, Mclaren also designs and builds road cars, but F1 and all its money came first. The Mercedes SLR and the current McLaren MP4 (below) are but off shoots of McLaren's main reason for being and that is racing.
 

 Wha a dream car, but check out that Tech Centre in the background and below........


Wha a palace for their race team and manufacturing facilities.......


I'm always amazed at how much money is put into any race team, but the $15 or $20 mil that it takes to field a competitive NASCAR team really does seem miniscular by comparison. And how about these transporters, which don't even carry the cars.......


.......no cars at all. These F1 transporters carry two story office and hospitality facilities to each race. Talk about taking the show on the road!

I'm sure you know that race winnings also don't pay the salaries or pay for the technology Or pay for these huge buildings. No those are paid for by you thru the sponsors. Get it? You buy the products, the money is put into sponsorships, which causes you to buy more products. And so on.

This blog is just about McLaren with one of the more lavish team headquarters, but I find it interesting to show just how much money is floating the sport of F1. Nothing like capitalism.

Until next time.......

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oct 23: Wild horses and a cat


Wild horses, indeed, all 550 of them temporarily at rest under the hood of this 2010 Mustang Shelby GT500. No question this is one tough looking horse and it can back up those mean looks. How compelling is this car? Well, a friend of mine is a manager with Toyota and he has one  -  so much for brand loyalty! Even back in the days of the "muscle car era", there was nothing remotely like this. Nothing had the power and nothing handled so well.

Now with carrying around golf clubs and carts, I have long passed my time for two door, two seat plus groceries cars, but I still bought this Mustang........


Here is mine, parked amongst my other models in my basement car room. At 1/25th scale, I can have any car that I lust after. Can't drive them, but I can build 'em. Just finished this with a little help from my friend. I don't like the stripes, so my GT500 has the stripe delete package.


Not the best kit I've ever worked on, since the manufacturer made it ride too high. It took a little cutting and adjusting, but to my eyes it sits about right, a little high in the back end.


No strip package, but I kinda liked the rocker panel stripe, so I put it on one side only  -  two versions for the price of one! Yes, of course, I had help as always with this model. The CMC (Car Modelling Cat) lent a paw as she does on every build of mine. I wonder if it's the smell of the glue?


As you can see, she gets right into to it. What would I do without her?

Any Mustang stories out there that you can share?

Until next time.......

Friday, October 19, 2012

Oct 19: James Bond's Aston Martin's

Bond, James Bond. We've been hearing that intro for 50 years. Fifty years! That's when the first Bond movie hit the big screen. And what car has been associated with James Bond since (almost) the beginning?


You got it, the Aston Martin. The powerful, sleek and sexy Aston Martin. Not an "Austin" Martin and not quite from the very beginning, since Bond was in the Bahamas for his first adventure, "Dr. No". I think the hottest car in that film was a Sunbeam Alpine and not, I believe, a Tiger. But the car shown above set the tone for this super spy. Many of his movies had tricked out Aston's playing pivotal roles. Yeah, I know that in one show, there was a flying AMC Matador (see below), but let's forget about that turkey.


The good stuff featured that classic Brit grand tourer, the Aston. Look at these other Bonds with their rides.......
Pretty boy Bond, Pierce Brosnan

Tough guy Bond, Daniel Craig
You can see from the captions where my feelings lay. I never liked the Brosnan or Roger Moore characters, as I felt they were all looks and no substance. Give me the Sean Connery and Daniel Craig, killers without remorse, Bonds. Not the guys whose hair never got messed (they did have great hair).

Now we are just about to see another Bond film, "Skyfall". You've listened to Adele's song, heard about the 50th anniversary exhibit and maybe seen the promos, but what about his car? Well, I'm cheating a bit here, as I don't think this new Vanquish is in the film, but you can bet that James has one on order. Behold.........




Way too gorgeous for mere words. The buff books are just now doing advance tests and this beautiful beast is getting great reviews. One can just picture this Vanquish ripping along the Almafi coast in pursuit of an SLS (matte black in colour) driving baddie, tail out on every corner (but not hitting the stone walls), avoiding trucks and tour buses. Can't you?

I don't think Aston Martin has ever produced an ugly car or one that I could afford unfortunately. Always beautiful, always powerful and always the perfect car for a super spy (I never understood the blower Bentley from the books). So if the super cheap Nano from my last blog is too extremely cheap, go wild and
dream about your (and James Bond's) new Aston Martin.

Until next time.......



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oct 16: Nano, Nano?

Better start saving. Put away those thoughts of a really cool, but super expensive Hyundai Accent, Chevy Spark or a Nissan Versa. Forget those cars which will set you back a minimum of $13,000 plus freight/pdi. What you are looking for is a great value, but at, let's say, a much more reasonable price. What could possibly be the answer???

I've got it........

Yes, sir, this is the Nano from India and the very good news is that it is headed our way. Hard to believe  we'll be getting a car, that we have lusted after since we first heard that it would be sold in India for about $2500. Chump change my friends, even for a cash strapped young dude. Heck, that's less than the price of a really good stereo. Or maybe super good seats at a U2 concert (really, really good seats).

Tata announced this past week, that within three years North America would get a redesigned version of this tasty treat (tasty like in cold oatmeal with no sugar). Can't hold the $2500 price unfortunately, but that's not surprising since it came with no extras, absolutely none. No heater, nothing. We'll be getting the grown up version for under $10k. You know that new BMW 328 is starting to look a lot less appealing.

Interesting story behind the little Nano and mother Tata. This car was the miracle that would get those Indian families off of those unsafe scooters. Pics like this one are all too common.......


They sure look happy, but wouldn't a four door car be so much better and safer? And for only a little more money? You certainly would think so, but for a variety of marketing reasons, the Nano has bombed in the country for which it was specifically designed. Hence, a super Nano is being re-invented for North America. Add a few features like that heater and all the necessary safety equipment and voila', you have a little bubble of a car for under $10 grand. Marvelous.

What about Tata Motors? Who the heck are they? Most of all, they are a huge company in their native India. They manufacture a variety of cars and very heavy trucks like this monster.......


But you know them for a couple of other cars that have been around for years, like this one......


Yep, Tata Motors is the company that now owns Jaguar and also Land Rover. Funny that two of the most traditional old Brit companies end up being owned by colonials. And they are doing a good job of owning them as well, judging by their new vehicle intros.

Now back to the little Nano. Is it the answer to a question that nobody has asked? If you think so, then save those pennies (you'll need less than a million of them) and hang on until about 2015.

Can I hardly wait??

Until next time........


Friday, October 12, 2012

Oct 12: What's next Porsche?


A long, long time ago in a land faraway, an engineer named Porsche designed and produced a sportscar. You may have heard of this fellow and his car. Porsche has become an iconic sportscar and it seems that no matter what they produce, it is darn near perfect. Ok, there have been a few missteps  -  the 914, the 924 and maybe the 928  -  but overall their success rate has been enviable. Since 1964 their 911 design has evolved and evolved, they can do no wrong. Or can they?

The outcry from the traditionalists was deafening (and still is in some quarters), that this great sportscar maker would even for a moment consider doing an suv. And yet, their logic was sound. Many 911 owners also had an suv, so why not try to keep them in the fold? It worked.....they sell tons of their Cayenne model, just look at the worldwide August, 2012 sales  -  1559 911's, 850 Boxsters and a whooping 6331 Cayennes. Pretty astute decision on Porsche's part (my neighbour with a new 911 Turbo also has a 4Runner, but that's another story). So what's next?


How about a new smaller suv to slide in below the Cayenne? Something to compete with the GLK, the X3 and the Q5. This pic is of a pre-production Macan which will be coming our way for the 2014 model year. Who would have thought? Now what else?


The Panamera was another idea resisted by diehard Porschephiles......a four door sedan (coupe?) Porsche? Sacriledge! Who would have thought that this, in my opinion, very ugly model (that back end!) would also find its way into such a huge number of garages? Not me, but go figure!

Just last month at the Paris auto show, Porsche once again took an astute, but brave step forward and showed a variation of the poor Panamera.........



This Sport Turismo concept looks to be production ready and European clients would line up for a version like this.The engineering is a hybrid  -  electric backed up by a hot V6. No bad news here  -  save $ while spending a fortune on your new ride. No release date yet, but stay tuned and start saving.

What can you say about a car company like Porsche, who obviously know their brand and their clientele. Only a very few years ago, when one thought of sportscars, one thought of Porsche. Now one thinks of suv's and sporty sedans. Big change. Big sales increases. Smart moves.

Until next time.......


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Oct 9: Model Police Cars and a Cat

I believe most car guys have an interest in police cars. There is just something threatening, exciting or whatever about these bruisers. Whether its the motors or the handling or just the intimidating looks. These cars have a definite presence. Check out the car mags, they'll test a cop car whenever they get the chance. I've always liked police cars, just check out this part of my car library........


I also have a collection of police cars and if you have read this blog before you know that they will all be 1/25th scale. This way, I can have every car I've ever wanted, I just can't drive them (is the driving part over
rated?). Here are a few........
Saint John, New Brunswick - unusual late 60's and 70's paint scheme
Maine - 1970 and current
New Hampshire - 1978 and current
No matter what state (and many cities) you want to replicate, with some research you can find a company making miniature decals, so your favorite police department is just an order away. I generally prefer different colours or graphics, but sometimes I just build one just because. Here are a couple that are close to home.......


The OPP car is a mid '90's Caprice in the colour scheme for that time frame, while the Z28 Camaro was used by the Toronto police highway patrol division on the local expressways. Toronto police always seemed to have cars with big motors for this work, but now they use the ubiquitous Crown Vic. Be interesting to see what does this job when they wear out.


And a couple of more US state police models........

West Virginia  -  the 1990's

Current Idaho and Georgia
And finally............repeat readers of my blog will know that I never work alone. I always have the aid of my willing helper and able assistant, the CMC....Car Modeling Cat........

CMC doing research for our next police car model
I just can't see things getting any better than this.......models and a cat (I wonder if my wife will read this?).

Until next time......

Friday, October 5, 2012

Oct 5: Dream Cars?

Dream cars? Cars of our dreams? We might as well dream about these cars which are not sold in Canada, since it's doubtful that we'll ever see them in our showrooms. More is the pity, since they are (or soon will be) some of the most striking cars on the road. Let's start with my favorite and a car that the sedan version causes me to have palpitations when I see one, particularly with a "63" on the trunk lid.........

2013 Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake
Get excited about a station wagon? Oops, sorry, but it is a "shooting brake". How can you not love the lines of this beautiful brute? I dream about rolling up to the golf course in this baby and causing more than a few folks to miss their shots. It's just being introduced in Europe this Fall, but I'm extremely doubtful we'll see it over here. Hopeful, yes.

Next........

I would almost stake my reputation as a knowledgeable car guy on this Jaguar XF wagon ever coming to North America. We are so enamoured with our suv's that wagons have fallen out of favorite in all but a very few models. Sure VW moves quite a few Golf wagons, but it and a few Bimmer and Benz models are all we have.

Most of my pics today seem to be of wagons, but there are some beauties........

Opel Insignia

2013 Volvo V40 Cross Country
The Opel is sold here as the Buick Regal, but of course, the wagon is staying in Europe. I've seen quite a few of these in my travels and they are as good looking in real life. The Volvo is brand new and also comes in a non Cross Country version. We used to get the V40 wagon, but it was disco'd along with the rest of the line last year.


Now here is an interesting case.........this is the 2014 Mazda6 wagon. We had a version of the 6 wagon that sold here in the mid 2000's. I never delivered many Mazda6's, but almost all were the Sport Wagon. It was cancelled with the last redesign. Will Mazda give it another chance over here when the 2014 6 is intro'd in January or February? I think not, but let's cross our fingers and toes.

Lest you think that all I lust after are wagons, this final model is a real head turner and for the life of me, I cannot figure out why VW has not brought it over here. Other companies have neat coupes. Maybe they figure it would hurt nonexistant Eos sales. I present to you the Scirocco.........


Again this is a car, that I've seen in real life and it makes a great design statement. No place for it in VW's Canadian line up? Go figure.

Any other models that you can think of that should be in North American showrooms? Some cars to dream about?

Until next time.......



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oct 2: Popemobile - what Jesus would drive?


The Popemobile. Almost as famous as the Pope himself, at least to us car guys, who are interested in anything vehicular. The Popemobile. So well known that one can even buy a toy version of it (above), complete with a miniature Pontiff. I believe that the adoring crowds could be purchased separately.

All kidding aside, the Popemobile has quite a history and variety of vehicles from this 1930 Benz (a favorite Papal brand)........


To this behemoth Leyland truck........


Kind of a party Popemobile with room for all the cardinals? This one was not retained by the Vatican and was recently sold at auction for about $130,000. Buy it and be the talk of the neighbourhood as you take your kids to soccer practice.

Always custom vehicles, whether they were a landau like this Mercedes-Benz 600......

.......given to the Pope in 1965, used for 20 years and returned to Mercedes in 1985 (currently in their museum). Times change and so did the Popemobile. Security became a major issue, so the Pope had to be enclosed and protected. This Benz ML is representative of the design of current Popemobiles......


Before the enclosure became mandatory, the custom convertible took many forms, such as this Cadillac de Ville based P'mobile with the typical raised middle seat......


Papal Limousine interior
Never let it be said that the Papacy is not current. Recently (Sept,2012), Renault presented his Holiness with an electric Kangoo van (in white of course).........


I could make all sorts of tacky comments, about the Pope's electrifying speeches or his shocking views, but I'll leave those for less principled bloggers. But even the unobservant can see that His Holiness is not particularly interested in this model and is (probably) longing for his beloved Mercedes. So much for keeping up with the times.

Until next time.......