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, January 31, 2014

Peace and love, brother, you'll be missed

Gone but not forgotten. This is the iconic (there's that word again), VW Microbus. Production started way back in 1950 and finally ended in December, 2013. That's one heck of a long run, which resulted in about 10 million of these vans being made. The design changed over the years, but it was still basically the original VW van. I think it might even have been one of the first plastic models, that I built and I tell you, gluing all those little windows in the roof drove me crazy.

How about a nostalgic look back........

A classic "let's make fun of ourselves" VW ad from back in the day. The original mini-van? Of course, but for some reason everyone shook their heads and said, "Why didn't I think of that?", when Dodge introduced their Caravan in 1984. But that's another story.

The original RV? Probably. The ol' VDub van seems to have a lot of firsts. But what does one most often think of when this van comes to mind (hint - check this blog's title)?

Yep. The original peace and love, hippie van. Covered with the flower children's drug inspired paintings  -  their description, not mine, folks. The only thing missing on this version is the peace sign, but then again this particular van is a more recent version.

After a long run in Europe, the last of these vans was relegated to being produced in Brazil. This seems to happen a lot - tired of a particular vehicle? Ship the dies to South America. They'll build anything (again another story for another time).

The last hippie with one of the last vans
 Nostalgic? I imagine lots of you readers of a certain age, have some sort of story about an experience with one of these vans. What's the price of nostalgia? That's a very good question. At one time or another, everything shows up at the Barrett-Jackson auction and often times, those old memories come at a very high price.......

Yikes! A couple of years ago the price of nostalgia was almost $200k. Was it worth it, probably not, but a few bidders had the money to try to relive their past. Oh those pricey memories.

Sixty three years of vanning memories rolled up in one Microbus. So, as usual, gone but not forgotten.

Until next time.......

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jan 28: Coupes and changes

How things change. This gorgeous Cadillac ATS coupe was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show last week. A coupe. A body style that is really mandatory, if you are trying to compete with the 3 series or the C class. Changes? Just think how many coupes or two door cars that are available today. Start counting and you'll see that there aren't many, no matter who you are trying to compete with. Tradition says that Mercedes always has to have a big S class based two door, so they do........

Handsome and intimidating, but who is their competition? Nothing from BMW or Audi or Jaguar. Maybe it's Bentley. But there was a time, when every car line, no matter the size or price had to have a two door. Even the big American luxury barges had coupes, even though one wonders how sporty a big Caddy like this 1993 Coupe de Ville could be........

.......or going back a bit further to the late '70's for this Lincoln.......

.......huge back seats, but with restricted access. What's the point? I had a '75 Coupe de Ville that was bigger than my current home and friends struggled to get into that commodious back seat. Sporty? I think not, no matter how active your imagination.

Changes. So what has happened to the car market, that made the two door pretty much go away, with the odd exception and of course, sports cars? Do you think that we became more sensible? Why is there a Honda Accord coupe, but no comparable Camry or Altima or Mazda? Why has the coupe, a staple of every car line, become the exception instead of the rule. Showrooms don't need eye candy anymore?

Good question, but thank goodness for those companies that still build those hot looking two doors, like the ATS coupe or this new BMW 4 series. Sex on wheels? Maybe, but certainly a very cool looking set of wheels in which to arrive. And doesn't it say something about the driver?

Changes. Changes. Changes. But thank goodness some things stay the same.

Until next time........

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jan 24: Hey, you look familiar!

 Recognize this? I'm sure that there are a few technical types reading this blog who can instantly name its source. Pretty well known, dare I say famous underpinnings to a very well known, you could say iconic, car. Stop guessing, it's the chassis for the current Camaro. I asked if you recognized it, because it is found in quite a few places these days, although not one of them (other than the Camaro) is sold in Canada.

Remember the very well thought of 2008 Pontiac G8 GT? Did you know that it was really another car, but with a slightly changed front fascia?

This was the first time, that we saw this very competent platform, but it didn't start out as a Pontiac. That definitely wasn't where it originated. Let's take a trip to Aussie land and check out their Holden line up of cars. At the very top is this one.......

......the VF Commodore SS V - quite the moniker ("Hey, what do you drive?"). In the land of kangaroos, they designed and built a wicked supercar based on their up market Commodore series. Good enough to be put under our current Camaro. And the same car as the G8.

Where might we see this same car again, but under a different name, with an ever so slightly modified front end?

This requires a shorter trip than the last one, which we took down under, as we only have to cross the Atlantic to England. There they sell the Vauxhall VXR8, again basically the Holden re-badged. Why? Simple. The Australian market is quite small and that makes it very tough to sustain a local car industry, featuring a car that is only available there and only sold in small quantities. So the question arises, how can we re-use the chassis or even the same car somewhere else?

Hey, you look familiar. One more example of this very good car showing up in another market in another country, although with a much simpler name.......

Yup, it's the 2014 Chevy SS. A re-boot of the Commodore, the G8 and the Vauxhall. Got that? Hard to keep a good car down (under).

So when you think a car looks familiar, it may well be, depending on where you live or visit. Such is today's global village. One car, four names. Any guesses where it might show up next?

Until next time.......

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Auction Fever

The big kahuna, the January Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Probably the biggest auction of the year in terms of cars and notoriety. Ok, so why is there a picture of a merry-go-round in their ad for last week's auction. See, the thing with B-J, is that they try to stand out and not just with the cars that they offer for sale. Every so often they'll bring in a plane or a boat and last week it was this vintage carnival ride. Beautiful? Absolutely. Saleable? No so much. Bidding stopped at $450k. Keep in mind that it takes three days to set up this ride and not everyone has a handyman in the family who could do it.

So now to some other auction items........

The main attraction was this pair of very famous Hot Wheels funny car haulers. Pictured in dozens of car mags in the early '70's, these trucks complete with their cargo of the famous "Snake" and "Mongoose" funny cars were offered as one item. One bid takes all. By the way, if you happen to have these vintage Hot Wheels toy cars today, they alone are worth hundreds of dollars. Bidding stopped at $1 million, because the reserve wasn't met. Happily for the seller (Don Prudhomme - the Snake) a deal was made later, which saw this package go to multiple NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick. Fitting, since he already has a vast collection of cars and himself drag raced years ago.

Here is the most expense Corvette ever  -  a 1967 L88, which went for $3.85 million. And you thought that old Corvettes were just old cars. Think again friendo, you should have kept yours. But let's be realistic here, this one had the equipment and the provenance to bring the big bucks. $50k gets you a nice red '67, that isn't quite so special.

Always a strong contender for big money are the original Mercedes 300 SL gullwings (if you have to ask, you shouldn't be reading this blog).......

Sit on your hands, if you don't have the $2.85 million that was necessary to win this beauty. Don't even blink or nod in the auctioneer's direction or you'll have a lot of explaining to do on national TV.

Want something extra special, that you may not even be able to drive? Ok, B-J had just that special car for you.........

........an F1 Ferrari from the 1998 season. Provenance? Michael Schumacher drove this car in tests several times. Special enough to bring the sale price to $1.7m. Don't mean to be macabre, but if this great driver dies from his recent head injury, this price will seem quite inexpensive. I'm just saying.

For a car guy, this auction is fun to watch, although the parade of old muscle Mustangs, Camaros and Mopars can get a bit boring, so these other bits of eye candy make for great watching. Fun to see how millionaires spend their weekends and their $. And to see how they don't buy merry-go-rounds!

Until next time......

Friday, January 17, 2014

African dream machine?

The old Peugeot 504 from the early '70's. Nice medium sized wagon. But what makes it so special and endearing to folks in certain parts of the world?

Is this old girl so tough that it just can't be broken down, while going about its business in some of the toughest terrain around? "Indefatigable" is a word I saw the Toronto Star use recently to describe the 504. Can't remember if this model was ever sold in Canada, but you never see one these days.

Now let's take a short trip to Africa to show some of the classic everyday uses of this revered vehicular beast of burden..........

Not quite in pristine condition, but getting the job done, whatever job that is. See a car like this over here and you are probably walking thru a junk yard. See this in Africa and it's probably being advertised as a lightly used older model. Still plenty of life remaining!

Let's face it, the Peugeot 504 is a good size for carrying all sorts of things and a few friends. But there comes a time, when the extended family can't all find seats. The solution.......

Tough on the suspension, but let's be fair, how often are you going to do this anyway? Going to be fun tackling that hill in the distance, but even more fun coming down the other side. Something to chuckle over at the dinner table.

After a few years on the road, the owner can get rid of any superfluous and unnecessary details like the headlights. And let's be honest, who needs to go out after dark at our age?

Talk about tough? When was the last time any of us on this side of the Atlantic saw a wagon or an suv loaded up quite this much......

Imaginative and resourceful? Absolutely and cheaper than a moving van. The old 504 keeps on trucking along, no matter how extreme the efforts to kill it are. Just go easy on those fast corners, as French cars tend to have a bit softer suspension.

Loaded to over flowing and getting the job done. What the heck is it about those old Peugeots? I haven't seen any other old car being beaten continually and still come back for more. Wonder if these things ever die or are they like the old American iron rumbling around Cuba, being held together with baling wire and tape?

Maybe Peugeot left our shores a triffle too soon?

Until next time........

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Strange but true!

Ever been alone with your thoughts and ideas? Ever decided to put them on paper? Ever had the $ and capability to actually make them come true? Ever designed a car while on drugs? These are important questions to consider when reading today's blog.

Let start with the result of someone stepping outside of their level of ability........

You can see the name of this beast and to get an idea of its size, check out the dude in the back seat. Yes sir, this thing is a monster, a bit like Frankenstein. Who designed it? Get this, a plastic surgeon in L.A.. Do you think his facial business will soar, when his clients see what he can do with metal. Price? If you have to ask.......$1.17 million. Be the envy of Beverley Hills.

Now for something a little more realistic........

The Nissan Bladeglider. A good ride for you and two of your very closest friends. Want to standout? Want to get wet when it rains? Look no further. Want to actually buy one? Better move along, as there is nothing for you here.

The Japanese have always been known for their imaginative car names, at least in their home market. How about the recent Tokyo Auto Show's Suzuki Green Feel Hustler Coupe? Thought you'd never ask.

In recent years, the definition of a coupe has taken a real beating. Do you see a "coupe" in this picture? Whatever it is, it's too bad that Suzuki has left our market, as they just might have sold a few dozen here.

Looking for a whatever with a neat name? Ok, so try this on for size, the Daihatsu FC Deco Deck........

Truck? Little rig? One half of a sport ute? Who knows, but apart from its funky name, the FC Deco Deck is a neat, but strange little puppy. you gotta love those odd ball Japanese names and vehicles.

But truthfully, who doesn't love an intimidating ride? Something to shake up the neighbourhood, when you come home after a hard day dealing drugs. I have just the ride for you free thinkers, with quite a bit of extra cash.......

The Dartz Prombron Red Diamond. Direct from Poland with all the intimidation one could possibly ask for. Want it personalized, so you'll stand out from the other three or four in the country? No problem, but the starting price is $1.71 million. Kanye West has his and her versions (you were wondering what he did with all his money?). By the way, they also sell a "Black Russian" model (no kidding). Love a company with a sense of humour.

So you have an imagination, want something quirky and you think that no one is catering to your needs? As you can see, you are sadly mistaken. All you need is questionable taste, some surplus coin and a willingness to spend it. The sky is your limit.

Until next time.......

Friday, January 10, 2014

Classic Vette and the CMC

 I really love the new Corvette. I loved the last one (with due respect to my loving wife Barbara, of course). But the all time best Corvette (my opinion yet again), was the 1963 thru '67 version, the C2 in 'Vette enthusiasts' parlance. This was a giant leap forward after the '50's styled C1.

Even today this car will turn heads. Recent years' old car auctions have shown that collectors will spend the big bucks to add one or several to their collections. I used to dream about having one of these beauts, but the idea of sitting in a field with one and a picnic basket never crossed my mind. The girl? Well that's another matter..

With no $ to buy one, what is the next best thing? Of course, regular readers will know what is coming next........

.......if you guessed the little Car Modeling Cat's latest adventure, you would be correct. Over the holidays we built our version of this classic, in the only way in which we could afford to.......as a plastic model. Who cares, we still have a great little version that requires no maintenance.

A red hot fuel injected dream machine with the mandatory "four on the floor", whitewall tires and a white interior, so '60's.......

Now what about that '63 split window coupe lurking in the background? That is a 50 year old model (where does the time go?), built by my older brother back in the day. Probably the last one he ever built before moving on to more teenager type interests. Although not as detailed as my convertible, he built very clean models. I bet if he had continued with this hobby, his models today would be stunning. I bought him a '68 Dodge Charger model for Christmas, so let's see if his interest and abilities can be piqued.

One more look
Ah, the good old days!

Until next time.......

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Civic pride?

Here we see the sun setting on another terrific sales years for the beloved Honda Civic. Once again this trusty little steed has led the Canadian car market in sales -  for the 16th consecutive year! Is the Civic this good? Well, it is pretty good and it certainly deserves its accolades. But let's take a look at those Civic sales. In our country people bought about 66 thousand Civics. Very impressive. Want to know what is even more impressive?

Let me present to you the 2013 Ford F-150.............

So why do I bring this truck to your attention? Why because as impressive as the Civic's sales are, the F-150's sales absolutely obliterate it. How about almost double the little Civic's? We are talking about 120,000 (that's thousand) units. Almost 50k more than the next best selling truck and about 40k units more than the Chev and GMC trucks combined. Now, folks, that is very impressive. Sure the Civic has big numbers, but it ain't nothing compared to the Ford family truckster.

And it all started with this humble version from around 1950.......

A replacement for the covered wagon? Who would have thought, that this old work truck would have evolved into a urban family hauler, while still retaining all the capabilities of a construction site and farm favorite? Hard to believe?

What's the most famous F-150? I was trying to figure this out and what should come to mind, but.......

Bigfoot! The original and still the most well known of these ridiculous contraptions. Is there another more well known F-150? If so, I sure can't think of it.

The F-150. Who would have thought that this plain Jane ol' girl would have evolved into a leather swathed version with all the attributes (and pricing) of a very high end luxury car? A truck for everyone and probably one of the reasons for those grrrrrreat (apologies to Tony the tiger) sales figures.

Even the off road hot rodder can find something in the F-150 line up on which to empty their wallet. How about this wild Raptor.......

Yes, sir, applaud the Honda Civic for its well deserved sales figures, but light a few candles on the altar of sales success out of respect for that perennial favorite, the Ford F-150.

Let us now bow our heads.

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