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, December 20, 2013

Dec 20: Santa's new sleigh

Let's have no more of those traditional Santa Claus pictures of him in that creaky old sleigh from the 1800's. Sure, it's a beauty, but let's be realistic. Obviously any old dude, who lives with and supports a bunch of toy making elves, must have money to burn. Now from my experience, any client of mine in this situation would not be driving an old heap from many years past. Sure it would be brought out for the odd occasion (maybe a pre-Christmas fly by?), but to trust it to go around the world stopping everywhere? Surely the old model just wouldn't do. Any ideas, he asks optimistically?

Sometimes, I think that I'm not the most imaginative of people, but several of the car manufacturers have given this a lot of thought. One of the most pressing questions of the day? Well, maybe. Let's take a look at what they've come up with for ol' St. Nick..........


Yep, Santa must be very well off. A classy old gent like him, but with a very tight schedule, would need something traditional and fast! The answer of course, is his new sleigh envisioned by Bentley. Ostentatious? Sure, maybe it is, but aren't the little kids supposed to be in bed when he arrives? And do they really know a Bentley from Honda anyway?

Ok, so let's throttle back his new sleigh somewhat and go for rock solid reliability, but still keeping a classy chassis with lots of speed........


Nothing like a Mercedes-Benz and a wagon to boot. Great choice, Santa. More room for those pesky reindeer and who needs Rudolph's red nose, when those Xenon lights are shining so bright tonight (if he finally turns them on).

Ok, ok, Santa has no pretensions and is happy with something simpler (I doubt it, but I'm here to cover all bases). How about one of Henry's cars, like this Ford........


Might need a little work done on the motor to boost the much needed power, but with his money, no problem.It's a Ford, so if necessary, get it fixed in any country in which he stops.

I know, some of you are saying that a well off Father Christmas, would opt for a completely custom built ride. So maybe this would suit the old gent........


Add some slight modifications to allow for millions of gifts and this would be one unique Christmas Eve ride. Worth staying up for, boys and girls.

Any of these choices are worth consideration. After all this is the 21st century, so shouldn't we be revamping tradition to suit our thoroughly modern ways? And being realists, don't we know that his old sled just couldn't do all that's expected of the ol' girl in one wildly busy night. Give it a rest, put it in a museum and
update Santa's ride in a very fitting way. Something to think about over the holidays.


To all my blog readers, a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Or maybe just a happy holiday season. Either way, all the best.

I'm taking, what I believe is a well deserved rest and some r & r in the sun, back with you on January 7th.

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


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dec 17: A new Pontiac?

The CMC at work
What up with that? A new Pontiac you say? But how could that be possible, since this brand was discontinued during the great blood letting of 2008? Well, when you build model cars, anything is possible and the CMC (Car Modeling Cat), has been very busy. The little furball and I have just finished building a 1962 Pontiac Catalina two door. One of my favorite cars from one of my favorite years, so for us, this is a new Pontiac.......


If you look closely at the inside, you'll see a four-on-the-floor, from the good old days when manual transmissions only came in four speeds. You can also see that this model has the "used to be famous" Pontiac eight lug wheels, which were also part of the brake assembly. Any Pontiac worth looking at from that era, had these optional wheels added. This was the era when any model in the line up could be equipped with any option. You didn't need to move up to a higher level to get these wheels or a bigger motor or whatever.


Of course, this was also a time when a single model sold hundreds of thousands of cars  -  no Japanese or Korean or European makes to water down a brand's North American sales. Great for the manufacturer, not so great for the consumer. The good ol' days, really weren't.

But I grew up during this time, so some of my favorite modelling subjects are cars from that era, equipped the way I'd order it myself, if I had been able to drive and if I had the money. The CMC just plain enjoys working with me on whatever I'm building. What a cat, what a friend.

Until next time.......



Friday, December 13, 2013

Dec 13: Four shades of black!

This is the new for 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550. Great car and in my opinion, great looking. Did you know that it comes in four shades of black? Two whites? Three silvers? Talk about choice and talk about dull colours. I'm of an age, where I can remember growing up with cars that only came in one shade of black. Yes, we did feel quite deprived, as you can well imagine. But being Friday the 13th, this is your lucky day, because I'm going to take you on a short walk thru yesterday to see how things used to be.........


Way back in 1958, this was the colour palette for the Ford Company car lines. Sure the colours were super bright, but also look at the different two tone combos. In 1957, there was also the availability of having three colours on a car. Can't you just picture that 2014 S550 in orange with a white top? Read the fine print from this poster  -  there is only one shade of black, although it may be named differently from line to line. But what a great selection to chose from, no chance of three silvers or four blacks in this line up.

This was the flamboyant '50's and if you are of a younger generation, this poster will probably make you shudder or just plain laugh or ridicule. So as we move along, how did things change in the '70's?


This colour chart is for Chevrolet cars in 1974. Toned down slightly, but still with enough choice of a wide variety of shades and only one black! Again, can you picture that S550 in yellow or orange? By the way, I don't mean to pick on Mercedes, since the 2014 BMW Gran Coupe also comes in four blacks. Must be a luxury thing. I'd like to see a very high brow shade called the "Conrad Black" (flinty with an undertone of larceny?), but I digress.

Cars were not alone in providing lots of creative colour choices for their prospective customers, as you can see from this Chevrolet truck colour palette......


I can't read the fine print, but a betting man would be safe to assume, that there would only be one shade of black on this chart as well. I wish I could use photo shop to see what that S550 or the Gran Coupe would look like in those wild and crazy shades. Probably, we are better off with four backs or three silvers.

One more pic to stoke your imagination and think how this combo would fit in today's market place.......


Inside and out, just think of the possibilities!

Until next time........



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dec 10: Happy Anniversary!

Whoa, you've got to be kidding me. You're telling me that it's been 50 years, since you made your debut in the world. Are you trying to make me feel old?

Hard to believe, but the Ford Mustang will be 50 years old in 2014 and the 2015 model on the right, has just been unveiled. Undeniably a Mustang, but with smooth lines, which say completely up to date. Now you know how they update an icon.

I could go back and look at all the previous models, but everyone is doing that, so let's take a look at some of the most famous versions over the years. No pics of this one, but Wilson Pickett's song "Mustang Sally" is the most well known Mustang song (actually can't think of another one).

Way back in '74, the original version of "Gone in Sixty Seconds", featured a stock Mustang fastback..........


......involved in a car chase that must have lasted half of the movie, this car was like a Timex watch, in that it took a beating and kept on ticking. This bad movie was remade a few years back and this equally bad redo featured a somewhat different Mustang........


This car was called Eleanor and was the focus of the movie, but it wasn't trashed like in the original. Strangely though, this car became famous and copies have sprung up all over the place. Go to the Barrett-Jackson auction and watch these clones bring huge money. Go figure, since it's just a modified '68 Shelby.

But talk about the most famous Mustang of them all. Take a guess.........


If you said the "Bullitt" Mustang, give yourself a gold star. This dark green fastback, from the movie starring Steve McQueen, was involved in what is usually considered to be the numero uno movie car chase ever. Against a Dodge Charger, racing thru the streets of San Francisco, this chase never grows old (check it out on youtube). This "Stang has become so well known, that Ford has introduced several Bullitt Mustang editions over the years, complete with exhaust systems tuned to a late '60's sound.

Yep, the Ford Mustang has hit 50 years old. Never had one myself, preferring to stick with GM products like the Camaro and Corvette, but this new one looks like a gem. Wonder how many sets of golf clubs will fit under that rear hatch?

Fifty years old and it all started like this.........


Talk about a car defining a market segment. Even though it is currently being out sold by the Camaro, mention pony car and folks think Mustang. Not bad for a 50 year old, eh? Congratulations, ol' hoss.

Until next time.......



Friday, December 6, 2013

Dec 6: Present, Past, Future

The winner.........the 2014 Cadillac CTS.

Up against some pretty tough competition like Mercedes and BMW, but Cadillac came away with this impressive and well respected award. Seems like nothing but superlatives are being used to describe this new car. Sure, the name "CTS" is not new, but with the new for 2013 ATS tackling the BMW 3 series, the Benz C class and the Audi A4, the CTS has been moved up market to go head to head with the vaunted 5 series, the E class and the A6. And in its debut year, it wins this award.

The other day, I blogged about how Lexus was rebranding itself from being a mobile living room to a sports sedan. Cadillac has had to do the same. This picture shows the image Cadillac had used to define its brand for years, actually from its very beginnings.....


Big, luxurious, usually with a businessman behind the wheel, this ad showing a two door was about as sporty as a Cadillac got back in the day. With diminishing sales in the '80's and '90's a rebranding was in order. Their first effort was the 1992 STS, but really, its breakout year was 1993, when the big Northstar V8 was made standard. This became a car that was generally held in high regard for its time..........


But like many things GM started, the STS went off the rails and subsequent versions became irrelevant and fell back into the traditional Cadillac ways. Trying again in 2002, they presented us with the CTS........


A very capable smaller sedan, meant to do battle with the 3 series, although in size it more closely was aligned with the 5 series. So a little off target, but a good car none the less and one that kept getting better with the introduction of the impressive V versions. Cadillac also raced this car with great success. Just what was needed to compete with the German brands.

Rebranding. It takes a long time. The 2014 CTS being the result of a program that started over 20 years ago. Now Cadillac is staying the course and establishing itself as a legitimate sporting luxury car. One that can hold its own against the traditional big guns.

So what is next? Always a good question. Cadillac has shown us some very interesting concept cars over the past 10 years, hinting that they would like to do a top of the line car on a par with the 7 series, S class and the A8. A daunting task, but just looked what they teased us with this past Summer.......


The Elmiraj. If this is the big gun that Cadillac wants to use to fight the top German brands, it looks like it will be a very interesting battle.

Until next time.......

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dec 3: Time for a change?

Up until what seems like a few days ago, this leather wrapped sofa, all cushy and soft, described most, if not all Lexus cars. No aspirations to be a BMW or even a Benz, Lexus just wanted to be a very high end Buick (or what Buick used to be). Then about three years ago, they came out with this very low production missile, the LFA........


Mean and very expensive, think in the multi hundred thousands and you'd be about right. Exclusive? How about 500 worldwide with 150 coming to North America. Not wanting the speculators to be involved, Lexus initially only allowed them to be leased, with the agreement that they would be returned to Lexus at lease end.

What's up, when a company building mobile sofas turns out a legitimate super car? Future plans, perhaps? Now we know now exactly what Lexus was up to with the LFA. They no longer wanted to be the Japanese ultra luxury Buick, they wanted some respect and they wanted some of the BMW market. Well, these sort of major mindset changes take time, lots of time.


This LF Hybrid was their next step. A toned down and much less expensive "halo" sports car, that Lexus could sell with pride and stack it up against any of the German brands. Supposedly a precursor of a production model, it has yet to see production. But across the Lexus line the cars are getting edgier and the F Sport designation gives them some street cred. But still a long way to go.

Their next step was shown last week in Tokyo, the RC.......


This hot looking model is basically a GS made into a coupe. Something to compete with BMW's 6 series or Mercedes E coupe? This car certainly looks the part.

Imagine though that for over 20 years, you have been thought of one way and now you want to change your brand? This is a heck of a job and might it be rather risky? After all you've been very successful with what you've been doing so far. Are they afraid that the luxury market is headed in a direction that is opposite to what Lexus has been doing from the beginning? Good question.

But take another look at the GS coupe concept........


To my mind, it sure looks like a game changer. Can Lexus pull off this major rebranding? You know the Japanese and you know Toyota/Lexus, so only a fool would bet against them.

Stay tuned.

Until next time........


Friday, November 29, 2013

Nov 29: New Sheriff in town, part 2 (the CMC's version)


If this is not your first time reading my blog, then you know how I like police cars and you also know that my friend, the Car Modeling Cat (CMC) and I have built our fair share of small squad cars. On the left sits our most recent build, a county sheriff's car circa 1957 from somewhere in California. We usually like our replicas to be agency specific, but in this case the old Ford is generic (so sue me!).

When the '57 Ford Custom 300 model was recently released, I knew it would be ideal as a police car. In the old days, most of these vehicles were the least expense two doors that the city, county or state/province could buy with the addition of a big motor, at least for the non-city patrols. If you had a better pic of the rear end, you'd notice dual exhausts, meaning a big engined car set up for pursuit work. In contrast to this city unit, with a smaller motor..........


This one is an accurate depiction of a Tijuana, Mexico patrol car, even down to the slightly beat up look with no hubcaps, a common sight around Mexican cities. And with just enough room for a couple of drug lords in the back seat, at least until their bribe money arrived.


I've been building models for years and these two new additions will fit right in to my police car section, a few of which you can see in this pic. By the way, the '70 Ford in the upper right, shows the hideous gold/blue/cream colours of the older Saint John, New Brunswick units (my old hometown).

As always, I have to give credit where credit is due and none of this would happen without the able assistance of the CMC.......


Not afraid to sniff a bit of glue in the pursuit of a great model, although I do have to watch her around those sharp knives - hard to hold with her paws. One more shot of that fictitious county patrol car.........


.........can't you almost hear the siren?

Until next time.......



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nov 26: So long Bandit!

Famous guy, famous name, but you just might not have heard of him unless you were a bit of a car gal/guy. Hal Needham had been in about 4500 TV shows and 310 movies. He also directed ten movies and that is where the "Bandit" part comes into play.

Hal was a Hollywood stuntman extraordinaire. When those famous and not so famous actors did death defying feats, more than likely it was Hal Needham who actually did them or at least scripted the action. But like many things in life, his risky job didn't kill him in his 80's, but a disease did, as is so often the case.


Scenes like this classic, featured Needham doing something tricky or outright dangerous. The actors get paid the really big bucks, so that the stuntman can step in and make them look great. And Needham made them look amazing. With a reputation like his, one becomes much sought after, the money and opportunities naturally come along as well. So Hal moved into directing movies. No academy award winners (Cannonball Run?), but ones that most people know anyway 30 years later. Such as the Bandit.........


Yep, "Smokey and the Bandit". This light, little car chase movie breathed new life into Burt Reynolds' career, as well as featuring quite a few other name brand players......Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed. But what Needham really did, was make the black and gold Pontiac Trans Am famous. Thirty six years later, these cars show up at auctions and car shows, with the Smokey and the Bandit designation, like this version from the second Bandit flic..........


Being a Needham movie, this car played a huge role and it was in almost every scene. But being a Needham movie, meant that action was rampant and that the cars would be doing things not normally seen outside of a movie theatre, unless of course, you lived your life like the Dukes of Hazzard county.........


Can't recall that I've ever seen a car do anything quite this spectacular in everyday life.

But Needham wasn't just about the movies. He loved cars, so with some solid sponsorship, he moved into NASCAR with the famous Skoal Bandit line of race cars........



"Hal Needham's Skoal Bandit" was a fixture in the Winston Cup series for several years and not just as a mid pack competitor. The very talented Harry Gant once drove the NASCAR Bandit to four straight wins, beating out great competitors like Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace, seen above at Martinsville, Virginia.

Atlas, that very full life came to an end last month, as Hal raced off toward that bright light at the end of the tunnel. Wonder if they had a black hearse trimmed in gold with a screaming eagle on the hood, doing some minor action moves on the way to Hal's final resting place?


So long Bandit  -  thanks for the great ride!

Until next time........





Friday, November 22, 2013

Nov 22: The Kennedy Lincoln

No surprise that on November 22nd, I would blog about one of the most famous dates in recent history or least about the car involved. I can't think of another event where the car played such a pivotal role and itself has become so famous  -  the Kennedy Lincoln.

Unfortunately (at least in this instance), John F. Kennedy loved his convertibles and from an early age had one and as much as possible drove with the top down.

Kennedy wanted the people to see him and a convertible offered a perfect way to do it. His presidential Lincoln limo had a bubble top, but it was left off much of the time. Actually, it wouldn't have given much protection anyway, since it wasn't bullet proof (at least not then). As the clips of the assassination got played over and over again, this Lincoln became more and more well known. Now you can even buy a diecast replica of it.......


Of course, I have it along with models of many of the other presidential limos. But what is interesting with this 1961 Continental, White House number SS 100-X, is that after the Kennedy killing, it was armoured and fitted with a bullet proof top........


.........and was still used by subsequent presidents, until its ultimate retirement in 1977. Strange that they would see fit to use this death car again. Normally, I'd expect this limo to be taken out of service immediately. Would you want to sit where a past president was murdered?

So where is it now?


The Henry Ford Museum, just outside of Detroit. Probably one of their more popular exhibits, since we always seem to be drawn to the macabre. By the way, the Henry Ford is worth a visit, since it is one of the great automobile museums.

So 50 years later, we still mourn Kennedy, wonder what actually happened that day in Dallas and also wonder what might have been. And many of us look at that SS 100-X and think, what a neat car.

Until next time........