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, February 28, 2014

Feb 28: Drive in and eat

Love your car so darn much, that you just can't bear to leave it, whether it's flying off a cliff or just going out for an evening meal or on a date? When you go to your favorite eatery, do you have to sit by the window, so that you can gaze lovingly at your shiny set of wheels or even better, watch those admiring glances as folks ooh and aah over your ride ("Oh look, a Ford Taurus!")? Seriously though, how many of you are just like me?

That's what I thought. And in past years there were millions more like us. So what could be better than actually eating right in your car (but carefully, please)? People walking by could see the discerning individual who owned that shiny Taurus.

Sure, what a great idea.......sit there and be served by beauties, who you and your cool friends could chat up, while she took your orders for fries, burgers and Clearasil........

Who wouldn't want to impress a clean living American beauty like this one? She has "farmed raised" and "corn fed" written all over her.

I remember those days.

The drive-ins competed for your business, as this old ad shows....."World's Most Beautiful Drive-in Restaurant". Pretty sweeping statement, but hey, judge for yourself.

Get a new car or just have had the old one washed and the first place to go was the local drive in restaurant. In my case, in Saint John, New Brunswick, it was the A&W, very similar to the one shown below. Nothing fancy, but most importantly, all your friends hung out there and you didn't have to leave your car.

Winter or Summer, showmanship knew no season. See and be seen by all. Even better than cruising the town square, which was a Summer only past time.

But whatever happened to those good ol' days? What made folks decide that eating inside was better? Maybe the weather? Maybe it was cleaner? But all is not lost, there are still a few bastions of the old days and the carhops even wear roller skates - now how retro is that? Behold this blast from the past.........

All the right ingredients, but it's probably just not the same. Thoughts?

Until next time.......

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feb 25: The son also rises

This is Daytona, USA. Home of the famous Daytona Speedway. Home of the even more famous Daytona 500. Home of some of the wildest races on the NASCAR calendar. Not uncommon for the odd car to do a full 360, like Clint Bowyer's did last week in a race leading up to the 500, and then drove to pit lane, the crew talking to their driver all the while. Incredible.

So last Sunday was the day for the big race. The chance to make your career or to add a very impressive line to your resume. Now this blog isn't about the race per se, as that has been covered ad nauseam in the media. No, this is about the driver who crossed the finish line first, ahead of the other 42 drivers who had started this race........

......Dale Earnhardt Jr. Almost forty, but still carrying the "Jr" designation, that separates him from his famous dad, who died racing during the 2001 500.

Dale senior was the iron man, the toughest driver in NASCAR and one of their two greatest drivers ever (named my first cat after him). Tough act to follow. You carry your father's name into battle and naturally fans expect you to be him. Not the case with Jr, but still a very competent racer with 20 wins to his name in this tough series. No championships yet and maybe never, but that's not the point.

Dale Jr had every chance to be a cocky, spoiled off spring. No doubt being an Earnhardt has helped along the way, but his dad made him struggle thru the lower series, dragging a late model to the small tracks of the south, learning his trade and learning about what it took to be a success. Bit by bit, until he had earned his way to the bigger leagues and then eventually to the "show".

Jr never traded on his family name and was always low key. Never have I read a story about him, involving any sort of scandal or bad behavior (hey Kyle Busch, are you reading this?). Always courteous to the press and to his fans. Eleven times winning NASCAR's most popular driver award. With all his $ and his fame, he's probably the driver who seems to be less affected by it all. Here is a driver who walked away from his family's race team in a effort to find success elsewhere.

Wins have been tough to come by in recent years, but his fan base has held strong (count me in). Whenever he took the lead in any race, the stands reverberated with the cheering. So winning the Daytona 500 was important (as always) and couldn't have gone to a nicer driver.

Maybe this will be the year Dale Jr achieves his break thru and becomes NASCAR's champion, but if not, he still has much to be proud of and his fans will still love him.

Until next time........

Friday, February 21, 2014

Feb 20: Auto Show, part 2

Here he is, your world famous blogger being interviewed by the press on the opening day of the car show. And you didn't think that I had credibility! You believe everything you read in print or see online? You probably shouldn't. I was simply being asked, what feature was most important to me in a new car? Safety, power, tech stuff or __?__. The answer was easy  -  looks.. And then they asked a few questions to get me to explain my thinking. Fun.

Anyway, back to the neat stuff that was rolled out for the auto show. Doesn't every company have to have an suv these days? You know that Maserati will be introducing one shortly and Bentley has been teasing us for the past year or so. Now Jaguar is in the teasing mode, but this C-X17 is a sure thing.......

Tagged a prototype, but what you see, will be what shows up in showrooms in the kind of near future. But what a lousy name. Oh well, as I've written before, numbers and letters, not names seem to be the norm these days.

Another Jag was the long expected F-Type coupe.......

Jaguar has always prided itself on their designs and this one with XKE genes is a stunner. Better looking than the very nice roadster? Sure is in my eyes.

This neat looking little ride from BMW is a whatever. Is it sort of a little suv, a little mini-van (oxymoron?) or a little hatchback? Its name? The BMW Concept Active Tourer Outdoor. Gee, that must have been an interesting committee meeting. I like it regardless of its dumb moniker.

Even Kia got into the act with this interesting looking coupe......

Kia's version of the Hyundai Veloster? This is the Provo. Sounds sort of militaristic to me, but I like the look and the colour combo sets it off. Production? Who knows, but it stands to reason, that Kia, as the sporting brand, will want a hot little coupe in their line up.

What auto show would be complete without a Hot Wheels something or other.......

This is the Transit Connect. Imagine this little utility vehicle pulling up to your home for a delivery or to service your TV? It would sure get your attention and make you forget the two days you waited for them to arrive.

Another February and another auto show. Always fun, but this year's was one of the best, due to the many new arrivals (and thanks to my friend Glen for today's pics). No question the good ol' days are now.

Until next time.......

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Feb 18: Toronto Auto Show, Part 1

The Canadian International Auto Show. Pretty big name for what is really the Toronto Auto Show, but what the hey, for a car guy it approaches car heaven. Lots of new cars and a few concepts sprinkled in the mix, to make the $22 I paid for parking well worth it (besides I get to write it off).

Contrary to what you've probably read many times, these big shows are lousy places to go car hunting, as there is just so much to see and stuff to filter out. But as a great place to see the highlights and the special exhibits, well then step right up........

What won't most of us ever see on the street? How about this new super car by Mclaren, the P1.......

The old line, about the price ("if you have to ask......") applies to this rocket. The P1 is simply spectacular (although the design is personal taste) and $1,190,000. The production run is sold out, so put away your cheque book. There are a handful coming Canada  -  check the parking lot at your local Home Depot.

Want to see a make it or break it vehicle in my opinion? Acura showed their new TLX concept. Change the colour, drop the wheels and you pretty much have the TL's replacement coming later this year........

It looked great, but quite frankly, a dump truck with those wheels and that colour would look great. Acura got off to a slow start with the last TL and the ILX hasn't met expectations. Not sure what is going on with the RLX, so this TLX needs to make Acura more than just a very good suv manufacturer.

Lines, look at those crazy lines........

Expect to see a similar (very similar) Infiniti roll into their showrooms as (I'm guessing) a replacement for the current QX50. I love it when the car manufacturers get creative.

But don't expect to see this Infiniti in any showroom at any time.......

Sebastian Vettel's F1 ride
Talk about a very important and historic nameplate that means a lot to it creator.......

Yes sir, the 2015 Mustang. Completely new right down to its (finally) independent rear suspension. Although the Camaro has out sold the Mustang the last few years, this is an important car for Ford. A halo car in the extreme. I think it has enough "Mustang" in it to be recognizable, but it is also new and different enough to make a impact.

One more exciting car.........

The 2015 Corvette Z06. Sure the Corvette was intro'd last year and sure it lost out to Mazda by one point to be Canadian Car of the Year (robbery), but this is the Z06. If you thought that the last version was wild, this one is very close to what the former ZR-1 was. Power? Over 600 HP and a handling package to tear out eyeballs. Another dream machine to occupy those thoughts between going to bed and getting up.

So much more and so little space. I'll wrap up my auto show edition blog on Friday.

Until next time.......

Friday, February 14, 2014

Feb 14: Wow!

Wow! What the heck is hiding behind that wild camo wrap? Front end looks like a BMW, but hey, that's just done to throw us off. Rumour has it that this could be the new Mercedes-Benz S class coupe. Used to be that they were called the CL, but in the near future they will be part of the uber luxurious S class line up. Mercedes has designed some pretty wild stuff over the past few years, wild at least for a generally conservative luxury brand, so what might be next?

Time for a little history lesson........

Mercedes has always had a big coupe in their line up, like this 300 S from the '50's. The European luxury brands were a little behind the North American designs at this time, as you can see from this pic. The design elements were late '30's and '40's  -  upright grille and separate fenders. Still an impressive looking machine. A classic design, that I'd be proud to own today (or at least have enough coin to be able to consider owning one).

Next up was this 220 S.......

Getting more contemporary with the molded in front and back fenders. Attractive in an understated way  -  very German, very Mercedes. And featuring very Mercedes conservatism for a very long time, probably until the early 2000's.

And next the 280 SE........

Absolutely gorgeous. Contemporary and very classy. Still looks great today, forty plus years later. This was followed up by a line of big coupes, that said Mercedes and big bucks, but in my mind weren't the most attractive vehicles to grace the autobahn. They said money and that's about it.

Eventually Benz must have tired of the militaristic look of their big cars (one writer said that an S class looked  like it was mad at the atmosphere), so in the early 2000's they started to get edgier (don't get too excited, this is after all Mercedes-Benz). But now, we have the new S class coupe about to come out from under that camo. So what can we expect to see?

Take a look folks........

Yes, sir, this wild child is the new S class coupe, just unveiled the other day. Happy Valentine's Day, I think I'm in love. What a hot looking set of wheels.

On looks alone, I'd stack this car against its competition any day. Competition? Bentley? Maybe the new Rolls Wraith? Not much else is available in a rather grand two door (as soon as I publish this blog, I'll think of several).

Congratulations, Mercedes. It's great to see that your designers are earning the big bucks that you pay them. Well done!

Until next time......

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Feb 11: Oscar time?

As the Oscar presentations are just around the corner, it gets one to thinking about those movies, that for some reason or other managed to miss Oscar's gaze. One wonders if they had been released in another year, how many awards they would have garnered? Today I'll look at a few of those forgotten gems, that should have brought home the gold.

Can anyone ever forget this classic.......

A subtle rendering of the life of two car aficionados, caught up in what society considered to be anti social behavior. Snowden and Hartunian handled their roles with aplomb and nuance. But then what else would you have expected from those two thespians? Any doubts that this was Oscar material?

These next two came out in the same year, so they probably split the votes and allowed some unworthy to walk away with the Oscar gold, but such is life.......

Tag lines like "youth on the loose!" and "Hotter than Hell's Angels!", sum up the great action, Story lines that no doubt left the audience mesmerized and lead to some thought provoking coffee shop discussions. Chuck Connors was featured in an early role, before heading on to one of network TV's great dramas, Rifleman. The line up of great talent in Hot Rods to Hell, could have won awards in any decade  -  Crain, Andrews, Rooney. 'Nuff said.

You want action and more great acting?

Look no further than Fireball 500. And let's talk about talent.......Avalon, Funicello and Fabian. All in one movie! And all in star turns that garnered praise from many a critic who did not see this film. An added extra? The singing. Nothing better to tug at the heart strings, than when a talented voice brings tears to one's eyes. And real crashes, before computer simulations. Great stuff, but once again left out at the Oscars.

Being a car guy, I lusted after the Barris Customs Ala Kart featured in the Hot Rod Gang poster. Also the beautiful rendition of the pointy bra. On graphics alone, this pic should have won something. A classic good vs evil tale as told thru the eyes of youth. Another insightful look at the problems of the day with classically trained thespians showing the way. No awards. Truly a crime.

Even some great foreign films were over looked. One that comes to mind is this Russian epic about wild and crazy Soviet youth rebelling against their restrictive society in the '50's. Set on a collective farm, where they modify heavy equipment in their quest for excitement and social justice. Was Dr. Zhivago any better than this?

So there you have it. A handful of movies that mysteriously missed Oscar's nod.  I wonder if they were released again today, would justice finally be done? Maybe Ron Howard could remake one or all of these classics and give them the credit, that they missed back in the day. Someone want to start a petition?

Until next time.......

Friday, February 7, 2014

Feb 7: Another SS

Regular readers of this blog know that I like the muscle cars of the '60's and early '70's. Well, who the heck doesn't, just check out the collector car auction results.Big bucks for the nicest examples. This red one is a classic -  1969 Chevelle SS396 with (I believe) American Racing rims. Show and go. Love to have one, but the $ involved would mean a divorce. The solution? Should be obvious to my regular readers, a 1/24th scale model. Bingo! Inexpensive and easy to maintain.

And since back in the day, big power meant high speeds, it seemed appropriate to pose our latest build with a police car (Maine State, to be exact). Probably pulled over for a not so gentle warning about the risks of high speed showing off.

Our model is similar to the picture, in that it is red and has the same rims, but since black is too black, we went with a red interior and a white top. A very '60's combo. And as you can see, our SS has the requisite 4 on the floor.

Now a quiz for the sharpest car guys and gals. This is a '69 Chevelle, but there is an error in our model (two if you want to get picky), that wasn't correct for a 1969. Our defense? This was not a very good kit and although we could have fixed the error, we choose to keep it the way it came. Less work and besides it looked "right".

"Our", "we"........so who else had a hand in this build? Again, regular readers will know the answer........

Yes, of course, it is the CMC, the Car Modelling Cat. Always ready to assist with each new model we build. Seen here checking over some research material as we get ready to add the final little details. What a great furball!

Until next time......

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Feb 4: Paint me a picture

Just who reads this blog? One never really knows, but about a year ago I started my blog with a great painting of one of the old blower Bentleys. Didn't know who the artist was, as it was just a pic off the net. As a rule, whenever possible, I will give credit for a picture or a quote. It's the right thing to do. Anyway a couple of weeks back, the artist who painted that Bentley emailed me, nicely asking to recognize him as the artist (which I promptly did).So this lead me to check out who and where he was. Now I was in for a treat. The hand in this pic belongs to British artist, Ian Guy. Ian lives in the south of England and he calls himself the "Motoring Artist" (www.motoringartist.com).

Although born and bred in the UK, Ian's focus has been on American scenes and cars, typically from the '50's and '60's. Favorite movies? The California Kid, Two Lane Blacktop and Steven Spielberg's first effort, Duel (now there was a scary movie). So it isn't surprising to see that he has painted the final scene in The California Kid.........

California Kid
You can sense the action, hear the engines' roar and the tires' squealing, as they wrestle their machines down the mountain (rent the movie for the outcome).

Classic Americana, like this typical scene from the '50's......

Mel's Dinner
Every red blooded guy's dream scene  -  hot cars, hot girls and hot food. Nothing better.

Or how about this one, which we all have experienced and know that sinking feeling......

Rear View Nightmare
"Honestly officer, if I had known you were behind me, I'd have slowed to the speed limit." Licence and insurance, please.

Or this classic drag strip scene from the heyday of gassers.......

Henry and the Rat
Ian captures the look and the feel of the good(?) ol' days in the U.S.of A., as we'd like to think it was back then. But not just hot cars and racing, he also paints period pieces with a real feeling of nostalgia......

The Hold Up
Nostalgia for the old trains, the Airstream trailers and road trips with the family. Well maybe, there isn't as much nostalgia for that last one, but I have a few good memories. By the way, look closely at those clouds.

Ian travels around England in his Ford F-150, displaying his paintings at car shows. And how much more classic American can you get than that? I went to an Auto Jumble at Beaulieu, when visiting the island in 2005, so I might actually have come across Ian and not known it.

One last pic of one of my favorite cars from anytime........

Simply titled, Grand Sport, this shows that great Corvette race car from the '60's in a classic duel with its nemesis, the Shelby Cobra. This might even depict Bahamas' Speed Week (look it up).

Have a favorite subject? A favorite car? A favorite scene? Want all three in one painting? Whatever, you should contact Britain's Motoring Artist, as he does commissions. I get paid to do what I love and so does Ian. And you can see it in his passion, his paintings. Check out his website and keep reading my blog (you'll never know what the Car Modelling Cat will be up to next!).

And, Ian, thanks for getting in touch with me.

Until next time.......