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, January 29, 2013

Jan 29: Road trip - the Detroit Auto Show

"Ne plus ultra". The best of the best. This is exactly what the Detroit Auto Show (or more correctly, the North American International Auto Show) is to this side of the Atlantic. Generally considered to be one of the top three shows in the world, based on new car intro's and press coverage (5000-6000 reporters in attendance). Remove all the cars and the displays are still outstanding. My brother and I went last Friday and here are some of my pics, starting with the star of the show.......

2014 Corvette Stingray with adoring fans
And moving on to some exhibits.........





A picture is worth a thousand words, but you really had to be there. Some specific car displays that caught my attention were......
Viper street and racing versions
2013 NASCAR Camry
There is a real problem with attending this show though. It is in the middle of winter and one has to get the weather just right. We did going down from Toronto, but coming back was less than ideal. If I was the only one on the road, no problem (where have you heard that before?), but sadly that was not the case. Anyway, the stress and traffic aggravation was almost worth it. 

One last pic, that in no way lets you see how neat it was in real life, almost 3D, you would swear that this car was coming at you.........
2014 BMW 4 series coupe
"Ne plus ultra". If you are a true car guy/gal, you owe it to yourself to see this show at least once. Take a train, drive, fly or hitch, but do it. For $12 it is one great car ride!

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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jan 24: Mercedes-Benz - Little Sister


There she is, the original Mercedes-Benz CLS "coupe" (sedan?). In my opinion one of the best looking cars ever and from a company that up until the last decade, was very good at designing cars that generally had all the style and trimmings of a tank. Whatever happened at Mercedes was definitely for the better, since then every Benz has been "styled". Give me a CLS 55 and I'll be a happy car guy.

Next up, the CLS redesign wasn't quite as lovely, more brawn than beauty.......


.........but still a strikingly handsome car. Make mine a CLS 63 and I'm good to go (and very, very quickly).

So what does Benz do for an encore? How about downsizing this 4 door "coupe" into the soon to be released CLA.......


How downsized? Good question and I think you'll be surprised at the answer. This new model is slated to be introduced in Fall 2013 and will fit into the Benz line just below the C class.


Not bad, eh? I've heard figures like $29,995 to start in Canada, which means a loaded one should still come in under $40k. In my books this is still a bargain for this shrunken beauty. And better still, they plan a CLA 45 performance edition that will have a tire smoking 350 HP. A road rocket for sure.

I think we should all give thanks to the mighty Mercedes-Benz for letting even us common folks be able to possess a gorgeous design like this without having to talk our way into our wealthy friend's will before offing them.

Dream on and save those quarters.

Until next time.......


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jan 22: Barrett Jackson Auction - $ well spent?


Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale. This is the big gun auction. Sure, there are several others held at the same time in the same area, including one by our Canadian company, RM Auctions, but B-J is the numero uno. This past weekend saw six days of prime time TV coverage and multi-millions of dollars spent in front of that TV audience. I love to watch folks with money play.

Although it runs for 6 days, the cars going for the biggest bucks go over the auction block on Saturday evening and that is where one sees HUGE dollars change hands. How much you ask, well take a look.......


The right to buy the first 2014 Corvette went to mega dealership and NASCAR team owner, Rick Hendrick, for a cool $1.1 mil. But to put this into perspective, the proceeds went to charity, so he wasn't completely crazy. One of my favorites was the gray and cream '49 Delahaye coupe.......


......this rolling sculpture went for $1.2 million. Picture this beauty at the Tim Horton's drive thru, "I'll take my double/double in a gold cup, please." Want something a little more up to date, a little less expensive? How about this Porsche 959.......


Considered a wonder car when it was intro'd and sold only in very limited numbers (and none in North America), this one went for $440,000. A rather small(?) amount when you realize that was about the 10% buyer's premium on the much anticipated Batmobile.......


Hyped up to the nth degree, this icon and TV star sold for $4.2 mil plus the $420,000 buyers's premium. Way over the top and to me a waste of hard earned dollars. Back to reality with Clark Gable's '55 M-B 300 SL, hammered down for $2.035 million.......


Here are some other gems........

'71 Hemi Cuda - $1,320,000
'50's Chrysler Diablo concept car - $1,375,000
1934 Duesenberg - $1,430,000
Starting to get a noise bleed, have runny eyes? Well let's step back a bit and realize that not all of the bidders were related to Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or had just won the Powerball lottery. This Caddy from 1973 probably wins the prize for the cheapest car per pound at Barrett-Jackson.......


.......since it went for a measly $9570 and it weighed about 2.5 tons or more.

But even the top bids couldn't prior some cars from their current owners.......


This '67 Shelby Mustang prototype ("one of one"), went as high as $1.8 million, but stayed with its owner. Not sure what the reserve would have been, but I'd guess that it was close to $2,500,000. Noise bleed territory indeed.

Your retirement nest egg burning a hole in your bank account? Well, don't despair that you missed out on this event, since Barrett-Jackson runs three more throughout the year. Lots of time to earmark your hard earned dollars for a primo piece of shiny metal. And remember.......my advice is always free!

Until next time.......



Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18: Detroit Auto Show - my opinion

My humble opinion? Well, maybe not humble, but I do have some strong opinions about the intros this week at the North American International Auto Show - the Detroit Auto Show. Detroit is no longer the hub of the auto world, but its show is still one of the top three in the world, based on new intros and press coverage. Lots of new stuff, but I'm highlighting five that I think are quite important to their brands. I'm skipping the new Corvette, since I covered that on Tuesday. So, let's get started.........

What was the most important new intro? Well, it was just a concept car, but here is the Furia (read the background sign)........


And why is a lowly Toyota Corolla concept so important? That's easy, the Corolla is the world's best selling car, so naturally any new design is important. The current Corolla is ancient by car standards and dead boring (boring sells in this case), but this new design direction looks very interesting. Sure, one has to throttle back on the great looking wheels and other trim bits, but the basic shape is rather daring (for Toyota).

Next up is the redesigned 2014 Acura MDX........

One of the most popular suv's and very, very important to Acura's success. The current model is a real gas hog, but a very good selling one, so any improvement in that direction will be a big step. The styling is evolutionary, which in this case is not a bad thing.


Another big seller for its brand is the Infiniti G37, so naturally any change in this rather old model will be important. I think that the G supports the Infiniti line, as I don't see many M's on the road and a dwindling number of EX, FX and QX's. In a stroke of marketing genius or desperation, all the new Infiniti's will be "Q's" or "QX's". I'm sure there won't be any confusion with all the Audi Q's (yeah, right). Were there no other letters available? Anyway, take a look at the new Q50.......


Forget about the colour, as it's just the lighting. I really liked the G37x and might be driving one if it had more room, so this one with a bigger interior should rectify that issue. But it comes out too late (this Summer) and I've already ordered my next car.


This is the next Lexus IS250. Important because Lexus is trying to reinvent itself with more drivers' cars. The IS has been capable, but has anyone bought one? I get lots of clients looking at the Infiniti G, the Audi A4, the BMW 3 series or the Benz C class, but I can't remember the last time I was asked to price out an IS. This new one looks interesting, once you get past that awful cheese grater/electric razor grille and it's a little bigger all around. Another contender?

And finally a concept truck, the Ford Atlas.......


Important? You bet, since the F-150 is the best selling truck in North America and a big $ maker for Ford. The Atlas previews the 2015 redo. Nothing drastic, just evolutionary and tougher looking. Everything that the pick-up buyer wants.

I'm going to try to get to Detroit next week weather permitting. Lots of other stuff to see and drool over and the displays are usually worth the trip. If I go, I'll post some pics.

Until next time........


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jan 15: Little Red Corvette

2014 Stingray
Prince sung your praises in his song "Little Red Corvette", Jan and Dean crashed you in "Dead Man's Curve" and the Beach Boys raced you in "Shutdown". You've come a long way baby, from the weak knee'd original intro'd in 1953......

1953 Corvette
........an American answer to the sportscars that the GI's were bringing back from Europe. Just a six cylinder that sold in amazing numbers  -  all incredibly low! It was questionable whether this car would make it past 1955. But survive it did as Chevrolet got serious about its sportscar, giving it real power and handling. Any car guy/gal had to have owned a Vette at sometime in their past and your blogger is no exception.

Corvette had a succession of increasingly capable cars. A brief overview, please........

1963 - the first "Stingray"
1968
1984
Corvette inched closer to respectability and just plain old respect, but when compared against the perennial sweetheart Porsche, it was always found lacking. Rough riding, too big, no finesse  -  you call it what you want, but the car mags called it all of these things. Then in the mid '90's there was a major commitment to make this American icon a real "world class" sports car..........


Still a little big, but quite a bit more capable than before. I had a friend who was always buying Porsches (911, Boxster S, etc) and going to all the track days. Then one day he shows up in a Z06. Never drove a Porsche again.

Corvette's next step was the incredible ZR-1.......


..........hang on baby, this car had everything  -  huge power, fantastic handling and yet it was civilized in daily driving. Take that Porsche!

And now the eagerly awaited next step in the Vette's continuing evolution, the eagerly awaited 2014, that was just intro'd at the Detroit show.........


.....and what a car! Edgier styling than ever before (although the '63 was good in its time), this is a car that should be able to tick all the proverbial boxes, even down to an interior worth sitting in (finally?). This is definitely a love it or hate it design, but I think it matches those beautiful brutes that are coming out of Italy these days. And its trump card? Porsche and Ferrari performance at a fraction of their pricing. How can you not love it?

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


Friday, January 11, 2013

January 11: Smaller and smaller

Once upon a time, when we thought of a sport utility vehicle, what came to mind was the hulking great Chevy Suburban, like this one........


Room for your entire family (including the cousins) and everything they owned. In New Brunswick people used to live in them, but only the very rich. Then Jeep introduced the Wagoneer, which was a bit smaller.....


And this started the whole trend towards the suv as we know it today. But if the smaller Wagoneer was better, then how about one smaller than the Wagoneer? Smaller and smaller. Every time a more compact model was introduced, they sold really well and got the product planners to think about an even smaller version. Just how small can they go? Well look at these models that are here now or will be arriving shortly......

I think the Mini was the first really small suv and it showed the manufacturers that consumers would pay relatively big bucks for a capable little trucklette. Here are a couple that are just coming to market, one  economy priced and one premium........

Chevy Trax
Buick Encore
Smaller and smaller. But what's in a name? This is the first Buick Encore, but doesn't "encore" mean second time around? Look it up, that's exactly what it means, but I sure don't remember it being here before. But hey, this is the car business, where "coupe" means a four door sedan, so go figure. Anyway, the Encore is a new premium and surprisingly roomy, but tiny suv (a contradiction in terms?).

Other little ones.......Audi started with the Q7, then the Q5, now the European Q3........


........and possibly a Q1. Expect the Q3 to end up on our shores, but not sure if the Q1 will ever get here. Another one in the works is the soon to arrive Porsche Cajun. Smaller and smaller. Will BMW go one smaller than the current X1? An X 1/2??

So where will this all end? Will Smart expand to an suv? Now that would be interesting.

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


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 8: Barry's 1st car

Way back in '68 my big brother picked up his new 1968 Charger and in an act of kindness he gave me his  '61 Chev Impala convertible. Sure it was 7 years old, a bit rusty around the edges (like all even recent old cars back then), but it was a convertible and I was in my second year of university  -  any car would have been a bonus. That old Impala gave me and my buddies some neat trips.


This is exactly how it looked in its light metallic brown finish (better to hide the rust). Even in cold and foggy old Saint John, New Brunswick, I managed to put the top down. Nothing better for a young stud (my term, but probably not reality). So that brings me to my Christmas holiday model building...... 




As you can see I built two '61 Impala's  -  a white coupe and a red convertible. I tried to do a brown one like the one I had, but couldn't find a suitable colour match. No problem as most seemed to be either red or white back in the day, like this actual car below........


Of course, if you've visited this blog before, you'll know what is coming next. You'll know that I don't build these models by myself. You'll know that the Car Modelling Cat has her paw in each and every model.......


Truly an amazing little furball!

Until next time.......