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, March 31, 2015

March 31: Lincoln - yet another change?

What a beautiful looking car and it should be, since it mimics another beautiful ride and that is the new Bentley Brooklands.......

But hey, I'm not here to point fingers, especially in a world where design elements of one car are freely taken for use on another car. You know the old adage, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (in most cases).

No, what this blog is about is the latest Lincoln model that, will hit showrooms in the next couple of years. Thanks to Neil Young's verbal slip up, we knew that it was coming, just not in what form. The top pic is the upcoming Continental, to be unveiled at this week's New York Auto Show. A luxury car to compete with the new big Cadillac (CT-6), also being unveiled in New York, and of course, those other pesky luxo cruisers from Lexus and the German companies. Good idea, if one is trying to re-establish the brand and what it represents. The other unveiling from Lincoln is their new front end, which will filter across their line in the coming years. What?

Now, let's just take a breather here and think about that last comment.

Remember when Lincoln intro'd the new MKX, with a grille reminiscent of what is know as the Kennedy Lincoln? You don't remember, do you? Ok take a look.......

This was supposed to be the new Lincoln front end that, would distinguish the brand from all those other luxury makes. Good idea, since those older Continentals were lovely, elegant cars. Not a bad starting point to use in order to, once again, be an important brand.

Then Lincoln's execs thought, well, if old is good, then older is even better.......

.......and here they are showing off that new "old" face to the world and telling everyone that this would indeed be the new face of Lincoln. This one came from the '30's.......

A bit awkward at first, it eventually was integrated very nicely into the front end of every new Lincoln, the latest being their new for 2015 small suv, the MKC........

Not a bad look at all. And everyone knew it was a Lincoln.

So now Lincoln has reached back into their past for a rather revered name, the Continental, put it on a great looking design.......

.......and once again put a different, new corporate face on this car. And one that mimics the Chrysler 300, which itself mimics the Bentley. We all know that product identity is very important, but for Pete's sake give it a rest and stay with one front end. Lincoln has struggled with exactly what the brand stands for and what makes it stand out, but it sure doesn't help matters to continually make changes to its frontal identity.

So, come on Lincoln, make up your mind or we'll be sitting here waiting for the next, new front end to appear in a couple of years. But in the meantime, congrats on a very nice new Continental.

Until next time......

Friday, March 27, 2015

March 27: The Car Modeling Cat makes a gift

Showing a picture of the new for 2015, totally redone, Mustang is always a good way to get attention and to start a story and this is a good story...........

My lifelong friend has like me, a real interest in cars. We can talk for extended periods just about cars and what the different designers and manufacturers have done right or wrong over the years and what they might be doing in the near future. I always prefer these chats to the brow beating I get for not watching House of Cards (any good cars in it?). Anyway, my friend took a different path in life, had several kids and headed up a large national company. But for this other car guy, one thing always was front and centre, he never really spent much on himself, either as a treat or as a necessity. Although he could afford much more, his personal wheels were usually modest, while mine were usually showier and more expensive. On the other hand, he was generous to a fault with his kids, helping them acquire new(er) cars, or with a mortgage or helping them to live a dream.

Time for another Mustang pic.........

2015 Mustang scale model
Now retired, my friend always talked about getting a "toy" to play with, like a Miata. Never happen, I thought. Well, for whatever reason, that all changed last week. He called me on Thursday to talk about the possibility of buying a new Mustang. Then, surprise, a call on Friday to order said 'Stang.

Upon hearing this, the Car Modeling Cat and I, decided to make him a scale model of his ordered Mustang. You know, for a cat, she has some pretty good ideas (but then, she's a pretty great cat).......

The Car Modeling Cat ponders her next move
So in the space of the last week, we quickly went to work and whipped up a rather good representation of his upcoming ride......a Magnetic Metallic, 6 speed manual, Mustang coupe. Something for Summer fun and so much more versatile than a Miata would be.

Now, in all honesty, our model is not quite identical to his ordered car, in that the kit came with matte black multi-spoke rims, while his will be five spoke, black with aluminum accents (much better looking in my opinion). We tried to replicate the look by painting only the top of the wheel silver, leaving the rest flat black. Not exact, but pretty good and isn't it the thought that counts? Of course, it is!

Now he has this nice little model to tide him over until his real ride arrives in a couple of months.Who are we kidding? No way a 1/25th scale model will ease the anticipation, but what the hey?

His reasoning to finally do something big for himself? Not really sure, but I'm so pleased that, he finally pulled the trigger and decided to treat himself to a very nice, shiny, new toy. He deserves it. One less regret with which to go thru life?

Until next time......

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 24: Volvo and other cars we are missing

North America is one of the world's biggest car markets. In fact, the United States used to be the very biggest, until it was bypassed by that behemoth of a country China - hard to compete with a few billion people with a bit of money to spend. One might think that, in this market we get each and every manufacturer's best. Well, we do get a lot of product, but maybe we could use a little more?

Take for example, the struggling Volvo brand.....

Have they missed the boat by not bringing their entry level sedan, the 40 series, back to our shores?Remember, there used to be an S40 and a V40, which kind of went nowhere? They were replaced internationally by this attractive hatch. Might this not be the time to give this car another chance, since all the other luxury brands are introducing an entry level model? Just a thought, Volvo.

Kia doesn't have any issues struggling for their place in the market, but wouldn't a hot little hatch, be a good addition? Something like, or exactly like, the Pro Cee'd GT that they sell elsewhere. Yeah, I know, say that name fast. What is with those cute names from the other side of the Pacific?

2015 Kia Pro Cee'd GT
You want to talk about a company struggling for sales in Canada and the US? Well, look no further than poor old Mitsubishi. They just can't seem to get their act together. Sure, they have a long warranty, but generally dismal products in our market. Want to add a little spice? How about this strange, but oh so cute EK Space Custom (again with those names)?

Sure, it wouldn't save the company, but it would bring people into their showrooms, just like it did for Scion (for awhile at least), with their strange, but cute little mini mini van.Just picture the EK with 20" chromies.

Toyota has been keeping this little people mover on the other side of the Pacific.......

Hey, how about us? Similar in size to the Mazda5, but with a much more interesting design. Surely with Toyota's vast line up, a space could be found for their Hexa Space (that name?). I don't think that sales would be a problem.

Want to see the next Hyundai Accent?

My guess it will be this I20, which is being sold everywhere else, but not in the US or Canada. The current one is good looking, but this new I20 is better.

So let's finish today's blog with a concept that, I believe has a 100% chance at production. This red wagon is the Kia Space Concept shown recently at the Geneva show.......

Not a bad line on this beauty. Should you line up at your local Kia dealership with cash in hand, ready for its US and Canadian intro? In my opinion, not a chance. To our consumers, this is a station wagon and that is the kiss of death for a car in our market. Maybe Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, VW and Audi can move a very few wagons, but place them in anyone else's line up and watch them become covered with dust. Too bad, since we also miss out on the Mazda6 wagon.

So you like these cars that we don't get, but don't want to move to Europe or the Orient? Well, that's just too bad. Console yourself with the realization that, from time to time, I'll tease you with vehicles found elsewhere, but never around here. Better than not knowing, right?

Until next time......

Friday, March 20, 2015

March 20: Enough already!

Yes indeed, blog readers, all that dreaming about freeing ourselves from the shackles of our earth bound existence is about to be a thing of the past. Your dreams will become reality. And I'm not talking about flying high in your imagination, thinking about a night with Jennifer Anniston. Oh no, I'm talking about walking out to your car in the morning, starting it up and hitting the skyways, on the way to wherever your heart desires.

That intrepid Slovakian company AeroMobil, has been grinding away at this problem since 1989 and after many concept vehicles, they have unveiled, what they say will be the new reality as of about 2017. Only two years from now, parked in our driveway will be (or could be) a spanking new AeroMobil 3.0.........

Sure, it's a little shy of interior room, but who says you need to take the entire family for a sky jaunt to the local convenience store? Besides, this is early in the game, lots of time to work on adding a van model or even an suv (but if it flies, who needs a sport ute anyway?). Cruise at up to 124 mph in the skies or at a more leisurely 99 mph on the road. Can't you just see it?

But let's step back a minute........whose dream is this anyway? Like me, do you find it frustrating enough to watch out for all those other sky pilots driving our roads? Are you wondering, when driving a two, four or even six lane highway, from what direction the next surprise is going to come? Can you imagine what it would be like, if you had to look above and below you, as well as from side to side, front to back? Yikes, those flying dreams are becoming nightmares. Enough already!

But these high flying car ideas go back years and years.......

........even to the point of each of us having our own personal family sized flying saucer. Why the heck not? Surely all those UV rays can't hurt us? But seriously, doesn't the flying car idea belong back in the 1950's, when our ideas of the future were a tad warped and included all sorts of fantastical machines?

But why does anyone think that flying cars are such a great idea? Surely the creators realize that, professional air traffic controllers are stressed out enough, minding the skies around our major airports, without having to worry about the lower flying hundreds or thousands of carplanes zipping around town. Scary stuff!

Did the inventor think that, if you were stuck in traffic, you could simply pull over, attach your wings, wait for a break in traffic and then take off? Oops, didn't you see that flying semi coming up from behind? Oh well, better hope that they have a flying hearse for your funeral.

Enough already! Let's leave the idea of a flying car way in the past, where it belongs........

.........and let's have all that creativity work on something that, would be really useful, an idea that holds water, so to speak.......

You're welcome and please send all those hefty residual cheques to my attention, please.

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 18: Motorama Dreams

Yes, sir, all these folks had Motorama Dreams. What's that, you ask? Obviously you do not live in Toronto and are not a car "person". For years, one of my rites of Spring would be the Performance World custom car and hot rod show held each March near the airport. Then it got tired and slowly slid into oblivion, only to be rescued in principle, if not in name, and resurrected as this year's Motorama Custom Car & Motorsports Expo. Long name for what was a much better car show than had been held in the recent past. Let's take a brief overview of this new show........

I've always loved the 1960 Ford/Meteor, so to see this 60's style custom (with those very current huge rims) parked in the entrance way to the show was a very good sign of things to come.

Any good custom/hot rod show worth going to, will have a Willy's street rod. This model car has graced drag strips forever. It looks great and was slightly smaller than its compatriots from Ford and Chevy. They all seem to be black, but that didn't take away from this very well done piece.

The bottom car is rather unusual, in that it is done in an understated platinum shade that positively glowed under the show's lights. This would be a stand out anywhere. Subtle beauty.

This year, being Jeff Gordon's last before he retires from full time racing, one has to expect that there will be a tribute to him at every show across North America. No exception here in Toronto.......

.......as his #24 show car was the first thing one saw entering building two. No matter what one thinks of Jeff, he was a great racer. But let's get back to the real reasons I went  to Motorama with my friend........

This classic Mercury's colour scheme was sure not my style, but it was so unique and unusually painted that, it had to make it into my blog. Kinda a '70's vibe with its creator being undecided about what theme, with which they should overlay that glorious pearl paint. When in doubt try a little bit of everything?

Sure it's a Mustang, no question about it, but what Mustang? My guess is that it was an early '70's fastback recreated to look like the current car. Again, not my style, but extremely creative and the kind of full custom that folks love to see at these shows.

Motorama and Motorsports Expo, so it made sense to see local race cars. Here is a new addition to our drag racing scene. Rocketbilly's Pyro jet truck has been bought by a local drag race veteran and will be touring Canada in 2015. These jet trucks are ridiculous, but they put on a great show, all sound and fury, or as George Bush would say, "shock & awe" (but in a good way).

Want something contemporary, but with a very nostalgic look? Ok, then this 1969 Camaro stretched over a recent Corvette chassis and drive train should work for you........

Old looks updated and it's reliable, too. Not a bad combo, though I don't think anyone is driving this one in the rain. Once again, this is the kind of car one likes to see at these shows - a real show car.

Not sure if this '49 Ford was a work in progress or not. I don't like matte finishes, but it was a great way to highlight the terrific body work done on this custom. No way to hide any mistakes. That top was beautifully integrated into the old car's body, with not a bad line. Well done!

The very well known Tucci Brothers, from New York state, brought their '41 Cadillac custom to Motorama. These guys have appeared in many magazines and on numerous TV shows with their meticulous customs, as well as competing for the famous Ridler award, a feat in itself (Google it, please).

Like nostalgia drag cars?

......then this Comet dragster from the 60's should work for you. Right out of a time warp.

Speaking of a time warp.........one thing I noticed was the overwhelming number of grey hairs taking in this show. So is it all about nostalgia? Are the young folks not tuning in and turning out? Good question, but some of those at the show have certainly seen much better days.........

Until next time.......

Friday, March 13, 2015

March 13: Sbarro - a wild and crazy guy!

 Friday the 13th! Just the mention of this date sends nervous chills up and down most people's spines. The date do dreaded that, many of us are glad when the calendar turns to Saturday, the 14th. So, what would be a good car type topic to talk about on a day such as this? How about something kinda of scary, but really just harmless fun? Gotcha, that's what I'll do. So, keeping this in mind, who is that handsome gent looking out of this somewhat strange conveyance? Anyone guess, Franco Sbarro? Probably not, but if you did great job.

Franco Sbarro is a Swiss designer, whose company builds one offs and a few replicars. But, now here is the neat part, Franco thinks way outside the box. When the Geneva or Paris show rolls around, he usually trots out some wild and wildly creative design that, may be as scary as Friday, the 13th. Need proof? Ok, behold......

The top pic is of the Two-For-100 (name relates to its gas mileage) and the bottom one is the Autobau. Both concepts of cars that, wouldn't automatically come to mind when one is thinking about an interesting new ride. And I dare you to try to parallel park the Autobau. 

Not yet convinced of Franco's uniqueness (weirdness)?

How about now? Try to figure this one out. Is the rider installed on his new motorcycle on the assembly line or is there some other interesting way for him to become part of his machine? This is 100% a Friday, the 13th ride. It's a tradition in southern Ontario for bikers of all descriptions (usually 1000's), to show up at Port Dover every Friday, the 13th. Trying to be unique? Then here is your ride, friendo!

No creative designer should leave well enough alone, when it comes to a sport ute.........

This beast is the Windhawk, designed for some middle eastern type to be used for falconry. If they are hunting with falcons, why the gun? I guess this shows how much I know.

Or how about an interesting city car, that would put the smart to shame? How about this Assystem?

Its name is as much a mystery as its design. But outside the box for sure.

Whoa, what the heck has happened to this Golf GTI? I'm not sure either, but it has been followed up recently with the Sparta sport hatchback in the lower pic.

The Sparta is a much more "conventional" car, as I'm sure most of you would agree, but again, like most of Franco Sbarro's designs, it would stand out a mile away for good or for bad.

Now, because I like North American cars, I searched for something that Sbarro has done to one of our domestic cars. Of course, being an equal opportunity designer, I found something from a few years ago (quite a few actually). This '78 Eldorado was commissioned by a wealthy (what else?) businessman to be used as a mobile office.

Want a hint as to who that rich guy was? Ok, the name of this Caddy is the TAG Function. Get it? Anyway, it shows you that even in his early years, Franco Sbarro was way outside that proverbial box.

So, back to Friday, the 13th. Scary date and maybe a scary designer, but definitely fun. Thank goodness there are guys like Franco around to entertain us, when things go awry in our world or when it is Friday, the 13th!

Until next time......