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, July 30, 2013

July 30: Maserati - a mountain to climb


Dress it up any way you darn well want. Call it whatever you want. This misbegotten relic from the '80's was still the very low point for Maserati.......the Chrysler TC by Maserati. Could it be a warmed over Le Baron convertible? Or how about this ______(insert your own comment) Bi Turbo........


Nothing special here, when Maserati introduced their Bi Turbo line of coupes, sedans and this strange little cabriolet. How could this company have fallen so far in a relatively short period of time. Mention Maserati a few years earlier and one thought of a Ferrari competitor. Maybe not quite as tough, but always over the top sensual designs, that still cause one's heart to beat a little faster. My all time fav is this Ghibli.........


From any angle, whether it is a convertible or a coupe, this is a great car. Now think ahead a few short years to the dogs' breakfasts shown at the beginning of this blog that were to come and would define the Maserati name for several years. What is my point? Well sometimes, it does take me a while to get around to it.

Saw an article the other day that Maserati wants to sell 50k cars by 2015. Not a bad goal, but in 2012 they only sold 6200 total. Unrealistic target? Based on the stuff from the '80's, of course it is, but, and this is a big BUT, you have to remember that Maserati was rescued by Fiat/Ferrari and since then their cars have once again been designs that have been engineered to impress.

A big mountain to climb? Sure is, but here is their newest ammunition, just now arriving in showrooms......




From the top, the mid sized Ghibli (that great name once again), then the Levante suv (look at Porsche's Cayenne sales) and the big kahuna, the Quattroporte. Ferrari engineered and beautifully designed to achieve that 50k sales per year goal.And they are reasonably priced (relax, Civic, you have nothing to worry about).

So now that target doesn't sound like so much pie in the sky does it?

Let's finish off today's lesson with another piece of eye candy from the glory days, the Khamsin.......


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


Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 26: Corolla - don't be so smug


Dear little Corolla. It went from a nothing little import to the very best selling car in the world. But there was a time, when the dinosaurs roamed this fair land. A time when it would be laughable to think that this little Corolla would ever make that kind of impact. Times change and how. But before this Corolla pushed aside the big guys, those behemoths ruled supreme and were completely undaunted by the little cars from Japan that were nipping at their heels. Such a nuisance.

Those land yachts rocked in their day.

1,046,514. Impressive number, eh. Way back in '65 (you remember those days, don't you?), one name plate sold this many cars in one year. Correction, one model within that line sold this many cars. Chevrolet ruled the roads in 1965, but within their full size line up, the Impala was America's darling. The Impala nameplate sold over one million cars. A record that has never been bettered anywhere since then. Pretty impressive, when you realize that Chev also had a couple of other full size cars, a mid-size, a compact, a smaller compact, the Corvette and a truck line. Altogether they sold enough to be a separate car company.


But the Impala was the dream machine and these three were featured in most of the dreams  -  the coupe, the convertible and the sports sedan. Each with a new body for 1965 and arguably the best looking cars on the road at that time. But there were other models......


The full size station wagon. Extremely popular in its day, but now replaced by the sport utility or crossover in most North American car lines, BMW and Mercedes being the exceptions. Had a big family in '65? Then you had no choice, but to slide into one of these immense and immensely practical wagons.


Dream car for most red blooded North American car guys. But on the horizon there was the pesky little Corolla. Who cares, as only quirky types would buy this quirky little import. Right? Well, you know the answer, if you read my first paragraph.

Moral of this story is to watch your back and never be complacent. Who would ever have thought back in 1965, that one day, Chevrolet would actually put their name on a Corolla? Another story for another day.

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23: What's a nice grille like you.........

What's a nice grille like you doing in a place like this? Common question, eh, although most of us would have dropped the "r". Still, no matter how you phrase it, a car's grille is the main identifier to that vehicle. No matter how novice a car gal/guy is, they can usually id a vehicle based on the grille, even if it is floating alone in space without a car attached. Does anyone not know this one.......


I think that even my blind aunt, who lost her hands while chopping carrots, would know that this is a Rolls-Royce. This grille goes way back to the very beginning of the line and apart from the proportions changing somewhat, it has remained the same (for the purists, yes, I know the logo used to be red). What a grille. Another classic, although not going back quite as far, is this BMW front end......


Again the proportions may change, but this twin kidney shaped grille has remained since the 30's. By the way, what is a kidney shaped like?

A strong brand will try to develop a strong grille, that will carry it thru the years and help it to create brand awareness. There are tons of those BMW twins around, leading folks to think that BMW's sell like hotcakes (well, expensive ones anyway). And they would be correct.

Sometimes designers, in their hunt for individuality, go one or two steps too far. Lexus please take a bow.......


An hour glass figure is great, but this front end has taken some getting used to  -  will it still be around in 2113? Others score highly with their search for brand identity, like the new Mazda's show us........


For some reason this reminds me of a tulip (don't ask), but as it works its way across the Mazda line, it is creating a new Mazda corporate face and in my opinion a very good one. Distinctive without being scary, tacky or just plain awful.

If immitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Aston Martin, must be thrilled........



For those of you who are not fully up to date, the car on the top is the Aston Martin, while the one on the bottom is the Ford Fusion. Sure, Ford once owned Aston, but this front end came out long after their relationship had ended. The result? One of the best looking new front ends out there. This Fusion gets my attention (in a good way) every time I see one (these days a lot). This grille has found it way to the Taurus and is migrating across the Ford line up. What is a nice grille like you doing on a car like that? Happily getting greater exposure, although no one will ever mistake this Fusion for 007's ride of choice.

Getting a distinctive front end, must be like trying to re-invent the wheel. What can they do that hasn't been tried before. Can they make the front end look like a tiger's snout? 


I don't know, can they? Kia calls their grille design a copy of a tiger's face/snout. I can't see it, although my big bro says it is very similar (where are Siegfried and Roy when we need them?). At least they are thinking about the correct end of the tiger, because some designers have copied the wrong end of a horse.

Oh well. Good design and beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder. So what is a nice grille like you doing in a place like this?

Until next time.......



Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19: Funny car and a cat



 Here she is, the world(?) famous Car Modeling Cat, my model building partner, checking out the instructions for building a vintage Funny Car from about 1970. The "Rambunctious" Charger build has been stalled due to poor instructions, that both she and I are having a hard time with. Not near as straightforward as the one we just finished.........



I like the old Funny Car's, as I remember seeing many of them run way back in the day. Never did see this particular Chi-Town Hustler 1970 Charger from Illinois, but always liked the car anyway. Run by three partners, Farkonas (a pilot and the main $ man), Coil (the mechanic) & Minick (the driver), for many years until they went their separate ways. If the name Coil sounds familiar it is. Austin Coil joined John Force's team as crew chief in the mid '80's and of course, you know what happened then. Force, the perennial runner up, started to win and has become the winningest driver in NHRA history.

But back to the Chi-Town Hustler..........nostalgia Funny Car racing replicates the old racers with more or less modern powertrains generating a lot more power. The current racers all look the same, but there was a time when they looked almost exactly like their street counterparts. Like this one........


At last weekend's Nitro Nationals (see July 16th's blog), there were two nostalgia cars, but this one really got my attention (with 3000 HP hard not to), the 1973 Chi-Town Hustler. This came after the one the CMC and I just built. As you can see big name sponsors, in this case Revell, had come on the scene. You could also buy a scale model of your favorite at your local hobby shop.

I remember seeing the original of this car run at the long gone Georgetown Dragway just outside Toronto. They used to run Wednesday nights and booked in some great shows. The new Chi-town belongs to Ontario resident, Doug Cadman, who has quite a collection of famous old dragsters. Although they don't come near the 8000 HP monsters of today, their 3000 HP sure gets your attention.

Compared to the modern machines these nostalgia pieces are tame, but there is something unique about their sound that takes one back, way back. And who wouldn't like watching a race with cars that look "real" as opposed to a carbon fiber covered arrow? The good ol' days?

Until next time.......


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16: Nitro Nationals

Ridiculous but fun to watch. Sort of like the description of a mouse fighting an elephant. In this case, this is the Shockwave Jet truck. Simply put, it is a Freightliner tractor with three, count 'em, three, jet engines strapped to the back. Thrust equivalent to a mighty 36,000 HP  -  now that is real get up and go power. Why do it? Now you ought to know that if you have to ask that question, you just don't get it. Shock and awe, baby, that's what it is all about. And this thing puts on a SHOW.

Let's step back a bit. The Canadian Nitro Nationals were held at Cayuga Dragway this past weekend, so this was my annual pilgrimage to the smell of nitro and the shock of 8000 HP Funny Cars. The Shockwave was an exhibition piece to punctuate each session with some fire and smoke. This year's event was a family affair as I took two nephews and was also joined by my brother.


Here is yours truly with nephew Adam, sports fan extraordinaire, in front of Shockwave. As I said ridiculous but fun. The real show was centred around the nitro cars. "Nitro Nationals" is a bit presumptuous, but as far as I know this is the only time/place in Canada where nitro cars run, so let them call it what they want.


There were four nitro funny cars, headlined by Canada's only car in this category, Todd Lesenko's CN sponsored Charger (out of Edmonton)  -  8000 HP of nitro fueled fury. When these things start, they sound like a war. As they accelerate, the wave of power goes right thru you, so plugging your ears can only do so much. Love it!


Todd had two funnies at Cayuga, his old Fountain Tire car and his new one. Also running were two top fuelers, the best known being the Paton Family Racing car.........


I've followed Barry Paton and his team for almost 40 years, since they are originally from Nova Scotia and maritimers support their own. Progressing from funny cars to this nitro car, it has been interesting to watch the Paton family's progress over the years.

This event also featured alcohol funny cars, pro modifieds, nostalgia funny cars and another jet car, the Terminator, so it was a full and very fun family evening for hearing damaged race fans. But the Shockwave was a hoot and worth another closer look..........


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




Friday, July 12, 2013

July 12: Morgan - a wooden concept


I know the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a wooden car. Right, it's this wooden Ferrari cruising the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. No surprise here, everyone does it. But I'm talking about a real car, not some pine or whatever curiosity. Think again car people. No other guesses? Well what about this car.........


My friend GID would recognize this right away. Yep, it's the Morgan Car factory in, where else, but merry old England. Yessir, they are making wooden framed cars to this day. My buddy would recognize this because he has a Morgan. Eccentric? I suppose. Can't think of another country where a quirky little company like Morgan could survive.

And talking about quirky, look at how they started........


The old Morgan three wheeler from the 20's and '30's. Get this, they actually still make this oddity along with this "traditional" Morgan.......


I don't think this sportscar has changed since whenever it was originally built. Old design, but with all the underpinnings of a modern car. Assembly line? Well sort of..........


Pull another body off of the shelf and deliver it to Rupert in the Cotswolds. Nothing like tradition, eh? And don't smoke near the frames.

Good old Morgan. Still churning out these old/new beauties and still having no problem finding buyers. As I said before, only in merry old England would you find an anomaly like this.

But Morgan is not all about the good old days, as they also build a very modern sportscar, the Aero Super Sports......


Reminds one of current Ferrari or Lamborghini? Well, not really, but it is a very nice take on a traditional design, although a bit heavy handed. Runs a 4.8L BMW V8, so power is right up to date and get this, there is still wood used in this modern interpretation.

Morgan. As traditionally English as treacle pudding, but not as sticky.

Until next time.......



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9: Chevy Suburban - my how you've changed

Late '30's Suburban
Suburban - my how you've changed. There are those of you who would not remember that the Chevrolet Suburban was once a truck. No really, it was definitely a truck. Sure it's still a truck, but way back in the beginning it was a TRUCK. No fancy amenities, just a tough truck with no pretensions. Wow, how things have changed. Check out this pic of all the Subs and see how they've changed over the years........


From the basic 2 door on the left to the fancy urban soccer mom car in the middle, you have come a long way baby. Imagine driving one of these things around the most affluent neighbourhoods in the '60's. Wouldn't happen, unless it was the gardener's work truck.

Although Chevy tried to pitch this truck to big families, for years it was basically a utility vehicle. Sure the brochures might wish otherwise........



........but unless you needed a trailer puller, you walked right by these guys on your way to the family sedans. As we went thru the '90's, things started to change. The Suburbans became more and more luxurious and interiors like these were the norm, not the exception.......


Right out of a Cadillac, a Mercedes or a BMW. And now the drivers were the so called soccer moms, as their husbands had the luxury sports sedans. No longer were these big trucks owned by the average buyer, they became the status symbol of the wealthy. It seems every wife wanted a Suburban. How do they park these behemoths?

There was another change in the fortunes of the Chevy Suburban. Who would have thought that an armoured black Sub with blacked out windows would become the new political limousine and also the primary police escort vehicle? Check out this pic and count the Suburbans.........


Or this one carrying the US president.........


No longer the workhorse construction vehicle or the best choice for a trailer tow, the good ol' Suburban has become the favorite of the rather well do urban dweller. Going way back to the beginning, who would have thought?

Suburban  -  my how you've changed.

Until next time.......



Friday, July 5, 2013

July 5: Corvette - you sure don't look 50!

Of course you don't look 50, since you are now officially over 60, but how you've retained your curves! Look at that sensuous grille opening, the "come play with me" look in the headlights, the full hips and that very tight rear end (take a cold shower, Barry). Every 60 year old should look so good. You sure have matured over the years, so that the older you've become, the better you've become. Now at 60+ you are in the best shape you've ever been.

You didn't start out that way did you, ol' girl? Remember way back in 1953........
Not a bad looking baby, but you had nothing to back up those faux European looks. A weak kneed 6 cylinder was all you were born with. Not exactly an ugly duckling, but a bit of a laughing stock. But things would change for you very shortly. Remember in 1956, your parents finally gave you the power to play and got rid of your baby fat? Even as a child, you began to get respect, but boy you had to earn it.

Let's look at some of the changes people tried to impose on you as you grew.........


George Barris' Asteroid Vette. Did you deserve pink? Well maybe not, but those side pipes gave you an extra dose of aggression. Then how about having you compete with a sexy movie star.......


They even made a scale model of this misbegotten car, but no scale Farrah Fawcett unfortunately. But how about really ugly? And how about really ugly on the big screen?


Terrible movie, but what they did to you was even worse. Blind people with no taste should never be allowed to redesign an icon or anything else for that matter. What a disaster and all the time, you were just trying for a little respect.

But as time went on, you got better, much better. People really began to notice and appreciate you as you established yourself on the world stage. No longer a bloated American girl with no brains to back up your good looks. Unsual though, what you inspired..........

Pininfarina's Rondine Corvette
Or this ZR1 inspired monster, the ZR48.........


Ever wonder where folks get their ideas? At least out baby is getting the respect she deserves after all these long years. Not just a pretty face anymore are you? A real contender for beauty and brawn.


You've got the great looks of a amazing 60 year old, but everyone knows you can back up those sexy looks with skill, daring and ability. They even put one of your dates' names on you to commemorate your on track exploits, the Ron Fellows edition above. You wore your subtle markings with pride.

You were an ok looking baby, but boy look at you now. Happy 61st, ol' girl. You are still one of my all time favorites.

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