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, May 30, 2014

May 30: Long to drive a Rolls?

Now what car guy or gal wouldn't want to be seen cruising the hood in this classic beauty from the late forties? Even if you are into sports cars or muscle cars, just the thought of a brief time in this regal ride should be of interest. But let's say that you were really into the classics and have pined for a vintage Roller like this forever. The problem is cash and no matter how long you wait, the flow situation never seems to improve. What is one to do? Give up on the dream?

Of course, I have the ideal solution to have your dream ride or darn close to it.......


Hard to tell the difference isn't it? But those eagle eyed readers will notice that this isn't quite a Rolls-Royce. But to the untrained eye it has all the cues  -  the upright radiator grille, all the classic coachwork angles and the two tone paint scheme. What could possibly be missing?


I guess the main thing that missing is the R-R name, but most importantly so is the R-R price. So you want a Rolls, but budget constraints have held you back? Well folks, step right up to an early '50's Triumph Mayflower, brought to you by that well known sports car company. Everything a Rolls-Royce isn't, but is (think about it).


Even in plain old black, this little Mayflower reeks of regal status. Unless you show them what you actually paid, your automobile ignorant next door neighbour will have no idea, that you haven't really one upped them. But who's to know?


Lust after a cabrio? Well, Triumph can also accommodate those capricious whims of yours. And note those "look at me" landau bars, that obviously denote that you are driving a car of substance.

Ok, so you've had enough of this swapping a high end dream for a low end ride. You've decided, that if you must lower your sights, you are going to make your little dreamboat one that will stand out, even when a real Rolls rolls up next to you. Here are a couple of imaginative solutions........


Look closely and notice that the exhaust is exiting in front of the right tire. And what a tire that is, probably 18" wide. These are a couple of clues as to what might lie under this little gem's hood. A few years back, I attended British Car Day just outside Toronto and saw a very similar Mayflower with a flip front end exposing a 600+ cubic inch motor. Short wheelbase, big power  -  now there was is an exciting ride.

Ok, so you are more into a classic look, as opposed to big, but somewhat discrete power..........


The answer is surely this nicely customized Mayflower. Coach building what already looks like a classic coach built ride. Think it and someone will have done it.

But back to my original premise, that the little Mayflower could solve your Rolls-Royce fantasies. Just how far fetched is my thinking, when you look back at the original Mayflower ad below? Yep, the Triumph folks were no dummies. They realized what they had and were ready to flaunt it. So folks, dust off that seemingly unattainable R-R dream of yours and buy an inexpensive little pretender. Heck, only you will (and I) will know the difference.


Until next time........



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27: My, how things have changed

Just a small cozy, little, small town/city dealership. Probably has room for a couple of cars in the showroom or maybe even only one. My first new car was bought in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1971 at a Plymouth dealership, which had been made out of an old building, that resembled something one sees at old airports, you know with a corrugated steel, semi circular roof. Nothing fancy at all, but typical of what one would find in any number of cities and towns back in the day.



Here's another pic of the same sort of dealership, but this one is selling the long gone Nash, before it became American Motors and way before it was bought by Chrysler (got that?). My second new car was bought in a small, northern New Brunswick town and if I remember correctly, the dealer didn't even have a showroom for one car.

Obviously not all the dealerships were like this, as some had larger lots and room for several cars in their showrooms. Ones like this Plymouth-Chrysler dealership from the late '50's or the Ford one, below it, from the mid '60's........


I guess there may still be the odd dealership like these hidden away in some village or town somewhere in North America, but it's probably unlikely. Think things have changed since those days? Actually, those days are not that far behind us. In the last fifteen years the manufacturers have realized that the dealership experience was lacking and that they didn't always present their best face to the world. Don't all retail stores try to entice their clientele to come in and have a good experience? You would think so, but it's not always the case.

Anyway, how things have changed. That small, rough dealership has become somewhat more presentable (lots of sarcasm here).........


Much cleaner and much bigger. But this is only the outside. Now there are computer terminals inside, coffee shops, tv's, lounges and in some cases, wine bars (have a few drinks before we give you our bill). One of my favorite dealers is Downtown BMW in Toronto.......


Six stories and it includes an opening (above left), where six cars are positioned for drivers to see as they come down the highway. Very cool. Amazing what can be done with old office buildings and lots of coin. Mercedes also has these palaces to showcase the many ways that you can spend your hard earned dollars......


Now who wouldn't want to drop into this great looking edifice with a couple of hundred grand to spend or even to buy a Sprinter truck?

Let's do one more flashback to the old days and see what the Porsche experience was.......


Basically a VW dealership with the odd sportscar available, in case you wanted something a little more exotic and unusual than a Corvette. Well, you know how things have changed with Porsche. Sedans and suv's now compete for sales and floor space with their iconic sportscars. How does Porsche present themselves to the world these days?


Of course, in a building that screams German cutting edge and efficiency. Big change from the, "Oh, and we also have a sportscar you may be interested in", showroom in the old pic.

Yes, how things have changed. Almost makes you want to buy a new set of wheels or to take your car in for service just for this grandiose experience. Yes, almost.

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



Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23: Oh baby, how far you've come

1958.........step right up folks to see the new to America Toyopet Crown. Something a little different from that far away island of Japan (you remember them, right?). A right sized alternative to the big American land yachts. Sure, it's economical, but really who cares, since gas is so darn cheap.Be the first in your neighbourhood. Your city. Heck, probably your state.

Flash forward to 2014........


Not much resemblance, but then nothing else looks like it did over 50 years ago, either. But what we have here, is the 2015 Camry. Newly rebodied in order to keep it up to date. The main point here is that in the United States, now the 2nd biggest car market in the world, thanks to China's new found wealth, the Camry is the best selling car. Well over 400,000 leave the dealers' showrooms each year. Nothing else is close. So do you think this redesign is important? Lots of interesting lines, on what has been a reliable, but very boring car. Want handling? Buy an Accord or a Mazda6. No matter, the good folks still line up for this A to B transportation.

How did the Camry achieve this lofty position? How did it start? Ok, another history lesson is about to begin........


Here is the first use that I could find of the Camry name......the Celica Camry 2000 GT. We know the Celica as a sporty coupe, but in the '70's, apparently it had a more diverse range. But the Camry name was used in Japan, before it became its own car and was introduced to North America in the early '80's.......


I remember an acquaintance pulling up in that not so great looking fastback and telling me what a great car it was (before the rust set in). Hard to believe this was the start of something so very big. The break through model? An easy choice.......


The 1992 Camry was considered to be a junior Lexus and it even looked like the bigger Lexus LS. Very high quality in all respects (materials/reliability), that Camry has yet to fully duplicate. It was here, that it began its ride to the top of the charts and has been there for several years.

Toyota didn't get to be where they are by being stupid, a bit complacent maybe, but not dumb. The competition is so good, cars like the Mazda6, the Accord, the Altima and the Sonata, should be ready to take a run at the king. But obviously, Camry customers want boring reliability over excellent handling and stunning looks. That being said, Toyota has just changed the world's best seller Corolla and now has increased the emotional factor in the Camry. Will this change be more than skin deep? Good question and one that will have to wait for those first road tests. Will it matter to the loyal Camry customer? Probably not, but still, smart thinking by Toyota.......stay tuned.

Before I take my leave, one more pic of an early Toyoda (yes, that is the correct spelling) from way back in 1951........


Part old Ford, part old VW Beetle. My how things have changed.

Until next time.......



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20: Storage Wars??

I don't watch a lot of TV (honest). Aside from Modern Family, some car racing and golf, my watching usually consists of sitting in front of my TV and playing channel roulette for about half an hour. Now you probably know where this is going. A couple of weeks back, I came across a show called Storage Wars. Yes, I know, it has been around for a while and is one of the most popular (maybe the most popular) show on A&E. Anyway, that was the first time I had seen it. Sure, it has the typical plot twists (expectations?), but what intrigued me, was that every time Barry Weiss was shown driving to an auction, it was in a different ride and usually a very far out ride. So what was he all about? Time to head to the net and do some research.


Turns out that this guy is not making a living off of gambling on other people's junk. He was partners in a large California produce company and is currently worth millions. One of his interests is cars and it seems like rather unusual ones, such as this chrome land yacht. And land yacht is an apt description, since as you can see, it has a flying bridge, from where the owner can drive it in good weather (bugs permitting). When was the last time that you saw one of these? When was the first time? Guaranteed to be an attention grabber as you pull into the trailer park.

Or how about this demur little big rig..........


I say big rig, since it is designed to look like an old cab over engine (COE) truck that plied the highways back in the '30's and '40's. It is about the size of a pick-up truck and that is actually what it is. Again, not something you'd see at your local Loblaws.

Now, I've seen Barry drive a ten year old Jag XJ, no doubt on those days when he doesn't want to draw attention to himself. But that car sure isn't his show persona. I mean, who would drive anywhere in this wide ride........



Like the royal Lexus in last Friday's blog, only modern technology could keep one from slowly cooking, as they drove along in that hot California sun. Hey, no shrinking violet is going to be seen in this old style bubble top custom. And this certainly seems to fit Mr. Weiss's "out there" personality. But he has fun with it, not like some of the other serious grinders Storage Wars features.


Low and slow, would describe this chop top, lead sled Cadillac from the late '40's. Not quite ZZ Top's Cadzilla, but a classic looking custom ride, never the less. When I saw Barry pulling up to a storage locker auction in this car, I knew something was up.

So I don't watch a lot of TV, but maybe I should do some more channel surfing, trying to turn up some unusual stuff like this. Yes and no to that, but I admit this was a cool find. And maybe the "low and slow" description for Barry Weiss's Caddy wasn't quite accurate..........


Until next time........



Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16: Royal rides

Victoria Day Weekend. Here in Canada this long weekend, named after Queen Victoria, signifies the start of Summer. The time to open the cottage and anticipate the real start of those hot Summer days. Enough background, so what does this have to do with cars? A weekend named after royalty? Doesn't that mean we should take a look at some of the royal rides? Of course, and where better to start than jolly old England?


Beginning with the inside. Because the loyal subjects yearn to see their monarch, those big side windows are an absolute must. The drink cabinet is a nice addition and of course, the mandatory lamb's wool carpets to snuggle those royal tootsies.


To those of a certain age, the name Austin denotes a small English car that sold to the masses, not the Queen. But look at this regal beauty, it is an Austin, specifically the Princess. This top of the line ride was often used by the monarch, as she viewed her masses and acknowledged their adoration with a small, genteel wave.


But being royalty, the car manufacturer's were (and are still), willing to produce something special for your royal butt. This is a one off Ford Zephyr woodie from the late '50's. Made for the duke to run around his Scottish estate. And of course, note the big windows, so that the peasants instantly knew who just blew by them. Lot's of room for those Victoria Day Weekend two fours, that one needs to help celebrate the beginning of Summer.

For the Queen of England, even the French maker, Citroen, got into the act with this lengthened 1970's SM coupe (you know the beauty with the Maserati motor). I think that the extra length and the classic squared off roof line really work well on this convertible version (fit for a queen?).


Easy to focus on England, since that is where royalty lives large, but how many of you were wondering about the Emperor of Japan? I thought so. Here is what that regal gentleman can cruise his island domaine in........

You are correct, this is the very serene Toyota Century, equipped with a V-12 for those times when the masses' adoration gets a little unruly. Sure doesn't look like any Camry I've ever seen.

Now, here is my favourite........


This is a Lexus LS, custom built for Prince Albert of Monaco. See, even the royalty of the tiniest states get the respect of the car makers in the form of custom built wheels. I always wonder how these cars, which to me look like ovens on wheels, protect their passengers from the sun and heat? Modern technology, no doubt.

So as we'll leave our royal rides, as we head off for the weekend, starting with our usual Friday afternoon golf game........


So long, your Majesty (by the way, that is a Daimler)!

Until next time.......



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hot wheels for hot shots

Is there anyone anywhere who hasn't seen a pic of Bob Hope's famous ski slope nosed golf cart? I don't know whether he had it made himself or whether it was a loving(?) gift from adoring fans. Either way, it sure would make a statement on the links. But let's say a real car guy or gal wants to make a golf cart statement and has the coin to be able to do it, what are their options? The typical customized cart seems to be an Escalade or something like this classic ride.......


Pretty standard stuff, a baby mock up of a '57 Chevy, but hey, someone has to have the imagination to really personalize their country club ride. What if one was into pick-up trucks in a big way? What could they come up with?


Sure, this is the way to go, a classic Ford F-150 and you are the star of the golf course. You could shoot 200 and not be ashamed, because you are behind the wheel of a great ride. Want to go one further in the truck line? Practise one upmanship?


Yeah man, now we're really talking. You could use those extra long belly putters without having to leave your cart. The downside of course, is the climb up and down this beast, as you move from shot to shot. But, hey, when you have a macho ride like this, that is a very small price to pay. Not man enough for you? Ok, here is one more truck idea........


With this baby, there ain't no one going to question whether you parred the last hole or shot five over. No sir, this ride would rule.

Not into this truck stuff? In fact, you are the stereotypical old dude on the golf course? Have no fear, you can make your own smooth and quiet statement with this Buick flavoured cart.......


Nothing going to stand out as you cruise the course shooting par in your low key ride. Probably wouldn't even be noticed.

But you are a real car guy, not into trucks, but a sporty individual of unquestionable taste........


Speed from shot to shot in your very own Viper golf cart. Woweeee! Finish your 18 holes in a mere 60 minutes. "Hey, did that guy just play thru? He was going so fast, I couldn't tell."

Me? What would I drive? Well, the Viper kinda catches my eye, but I want to be safe from all those bozos whose "once in a lifetime shots" almost hit me on the head. I want a ride that gets my message across. What would be the ideal choice?


Of course, an armoured golf cart. Great for those inner city courses. You pull up in this as golfers are waiting to tee off and you go right to the front of the line. You won't even have to lock and load that firearm you're obviously packing. That ride along armed caddy is a bit over the top, but a great effect never the less. Ah, if only life was this easy.

So get thinking car folk golfers. Come up with your own great personalized ride, something that says you have arrived and are ready to tee off. Be the talk of your club.

Until next time......




Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 9: Pity the poor chauffeur

Pity the poor chauffeur.

What's this all about, Barry, in days gone by these guys got to drive the very best cars. Why even in the lunch bucket town, that I grew up in, a senator's wife had a chauffeur driven Cadillac Fleetwood. So why the pity party for these servants of the rich and powerful? Ok, let me tell you why. Not every car was the beautiful, enclosed luxury mobile, that we currently associate with a chauffeur. There was a time period, when the elitist, capitalist class wanted to be separated from their staff (servants), by more than a mere glass divider, between the back and front seats. Oh yes, friends, there had to be more of a class driven design for these folks.......


Of course, here is the perfect answer to a question that maybe nobody asked.......the Town Car. Let's show those lower classes where they belong. In this case, they belong out in the sun, the rain and the cold, while their "rolling in it" employer rides in the cozy back compartment, separated from the reality of the outside world. Ah, what a life.


A beautiful late thirties Cadillac, with that open to the elements front section. The only good part, might be the leather seats, since that durable material had to stand up to all sorts of real world misery.


Even Chrysler had a custom Imperial done up for the owner, Walter P. Chrysler. Not enough that one owned the company, one had to show every Tom, Dick and Archie, that you were numero uno.


Even as recently as the 1950's (now you are really showing your age, BT), Cadillac showed a concept Town Car. Literally thrown away after doing its auto show rounds, this Caddy was found in a Detroit junkyard. It has been restored to its Motorama condition by well known Chicago concept car collector Joe Bortz.

Not just an American idea, Roll-Royce also did a model or two to show the lower class their place in the world.......


This car is so gorgeous, that maybe, just maybe the chauffeur would be happy to be rained and snowed on, just to be behind its steering wheel. Well, actually, all these cars all had a flimsy little canvas top that rolled out to give the driver a little (just a little) protection.

My favorite is this last one........


Complete with its little top, this hearse let its high class owner show their status, while taking their final and I do mean final ride. Maybe if the wife died first, she got back at hubby, by suggesting that he drive her to her grave (or maybe he was happy to do it). Either way, this was certainly an impressive vehicle to take one to their final reward.

So once again, I say, pity the poor chauffeur. Visibly outcast in the high society circles in which the owner was involved. Ah, the good life, 80 years ago.

Until next time......