About Me

My photo
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, October 30, 2015

Oct 30: Happy Halloween?

Yes, it's that time of year again. The time when the younger set get dressed up in all sorts of strange costumes for the sole purpose of getting free food. Well, not just any kind of food, but the kind of stuff that will rot your teeth and put on pounds (kilograms in Canada). But, hey, you are young and dumb, so who cares? You have the rest of your life to get things right and we are only talking about one night.

Remember your best costume? I remember mine. It was a concoction of paper and cardboard, glued together lovingly with the help of a great mum. An outfit to win prizes with, if anyone had been giving them out. The problem? It rained. And rained. And rained. The result? A sodden, pulpy mess that, had to be explained at every house. Most folks just thought I lacked imagination. Oh, if they only knew.

But, like most of us, I grew up. The Halloween gear was put aside and forgotten, since no one gave candy to a 6'5" ghoul. Some folks grew up, but never forgot the thrill of Halloween night, they just found other ways to express themselves, which at long last, is the point of today's blog. Can't knock on doors, but you still want to celebrate the night? Easy solution........dress up your car.

Got one that looks like a pumpkin anyway? So, why not accentuate the fact..........


Or, being more upscale, your orange car just needs to add a couple of easy to apply Halloween accessories.....


Now, we can really see the designers' inspiration for this Lotus, a pumpkin! Who would have thought?

These examples are pretty subtle. Want something much more over the top and quite frankly, rather disturbing?


And, what's even more scary is that, this guy lives in Canada. British Columbia to be precise. Keep him away from me. Tone it down a bit and you get other interesting versions of the zombie theme. Almost in good taste after the one above?


















These Halloween accessories add a nice seasonal touch to any car. Let the neighbourhood kids know that you are not the boring old guy who lives next door. Now you are the interesting, but decidedly strange guy, who is too close by for comfort.

And when the zombie craze is over, traditional decorative treatments can be brought out.......


Not sure how this affects the sight lines, but heck, everyone will stay away from you anyway. A spider on the roof is always a nice touch, don't you think?

Haven't heard from your creepy uncle in years and then he shows up on October 31st with this.......


Scarier than any cardboard costume you may have come up with, those oh so many years ago. You start to worry about the old uncle all over again. Come to think of it, all your dad's relatives seem to be missing a few important parts.

The ultimate Halloween ride was built many years ago, by that over the top customizer, George Barris out of LA (where else, you ask?). The Munster Koach........


Created to include every Halloween cliche imaginable. Trick or treat? Well, in this case, probably both.

Ok, so you have no imagination or any desire to deface your lovely automobile. The answer? Simply cruise the neighbourhood as yourself........


And man, Weight Watchers has really worked for you.

Happy Halloween!




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Oct 27: Maserati rides again

Way back when, the four Maserati brothers opened a shop to fix that new and increasingly popular conveyance, the automobile. One thing led to another and as the old cliche goes, the rest is history. And if it wasn't for Fiat and Ferrari, the rest would have been history. After many years of producing some of the most beautiful cars, this struggling company, was turning out a relatively inexpensive droll of a car called the Biturbo. After making some of the most gorgeous cars ever, Maserati was resigned to making this.........


Not great looking and with quality to scratch your head over. Tell your new date that you drive a Maserati and show up in this thing? Well, let's just say that, you are going home to an empty house (unless you are lucky enough to have a pet).

A quick overview of some of Maserati's past hits, shows one just how far they had sunken with the Biturbo......


Powerful and oozing that power out of every pore. This A6 GCS/54 (rolls off the tongue?) race car from the '50's was the epitome of what Maserati stood for, refined and powerful elegance (well, maybe this one wasn't so refined). But, where they really shone was with their road cars......














In descending order, the Ghibli (my all time favorite) in coupe and convertible and the stunning Khamsin. Not a line wrong on any of them. Powerful? You need to ask? But, times became tough and these cars and others, like the more conservatively styled Mexico.......


..........couldn't keep this company alive, hence the awful Biturbo. But help was on the horizon, riding in like the cavalry in those old western movies.

Maserati was always a Ferrari competitor, so guess who would come to their rescue? Good guess. Ferrari and its parent Fiat. A company they once fought tooth and nail with for a chunk of the luxury sportscar market, was now going to help them survive. Not as a direct competitor, but as a maker of elegant Italian grand touring sports machines. Good move and one that has produced this line up for 2016........


All priced quite reasonably, keeping in mind that the are not Honda Accord competitors and that, they are motivated by Ferrari developed engines. But, now there is a new model on the horizon (another cavalry analology?) and it bears the name of one of the Maserati brothers, the Alfieri........


Said to be inspired by the intimidating looking A6, etc at the top of this blog, the Alfieri should be coming to market in 2017 or possibly 2018 as a coupe, to be followed by a cabrio a year later. Another grand tourer that, will yet again boost the stock of Maserati in the eyes of those who can afford such niceties.

What to do until then? Maybe this beautiful Maserati cabrio will help you bridge the gap......


It's always good to see these great old names survive and prosper ("live long and prosper"?). Oh, to be wealthy!

Until next time......




Friday, October 23, 2015

Oct 23: Want to buy Ferrari?

Hey, want to buy Ferrari? No joking, do you want to buy Ferrari? Well, to be honest, how about a piece, a small piece of Ferrari? Sure, who wouldn't want to own a piece of this Italian icon? This week Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ferrari's owners put out a stock offering of this famous brand, selling off a few million shares. Not terribly expensive, in the mid $50 range, so one could buy a few shares and not be too deeply in debt. And as a shareholder, shouldn't you have a few owners' priviledges? Think about that for a moment.

If you love cars or even just like them, you probably have a favorite Ferrari model. I have a few, so since this is my blog, let's enjoy my idea of an Italian beauty. And please let's not get too hung up on the names, as it is very confusing to remember the exact designations (Google them).

Starting with the present day, this Italia, even in a blasphemous white, is lovely.......


 The lines are so pure and free of any strange appendages. What is unusual, at least for me, is that this is the only mid engine model, that makes my list. I prefer the big motor to be in front of the driver most of the time.

Need a few extra seats, well two, then maybe this one is better for you..........


Again, front engined and with very smooth lines. When is the last time you saw one? I live near a very affluent area and it's not unusual to see Ferrari's, but I don't believe one of these has ever entered my sight line.

Now going back to the earlier years.......

 

This Lusso is the only Ferrari which I actually own, although in a much more affordable 1/18th scale. Probably my all time favorite. Look at that long, graceful hood. This car looks ready to pounce.

This next one is probably one of the most affordable prancing horses, since this 400 doesn't seem to get much respect from the Ferrari cognescenti........


I love the lines, but that would make me one of the few. So what, beauty is in the eye, etc.

Or how about this one.......


Yeah, I know, very square and upright, but again, beautifully proportioned. On one of our European river cruises, I met a guy from California who had this model. I was probably the only other person on the boat who either knew what it was or liked it. His was red, of course.

Another gorgeous red ride, a Daytona........


This Summer I saw a red one drive by our condo several times early Sunday morning, probably the only time the owner felt safe driving his million dollar ride in the city, when there was no traffic. A bit of trivia.......did you know that the Rover designers are said to have copied this model, when designing their 3500 from the '70's?


Take away that extra door and it's mighty close. I digress.

Back to beautiful.......


My apologies, that I'm not presenting my favs in Ferrari red, but what's in a colour?

All front engined and all. in my opinion beautiful. All feature simple designs. Sure, I can also be seduced by a current front engined model, with lots of eye catching design details, such as this F12........


Long hood with a swept back cockpit. Give me the lottery winnings and this might be the Ferrari sitting in my underground parking garage.

Yes, we all have favorites. One last dream before closing for the weekend. Remember a Ferrari with fins? Hard to believe that this brand succumbed to the favorite design element of the '50's, but they did. And what a name........the 410 Super America Super Fast.......


Appropriate that it be beside a jet. Not saying this is one of my favs, because it isn't, but a striking design well executed. Never seen one of these, either.

So back to those shareholder priviledges. When it comes to Ferrari, just what should they be?

Until next time......



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Oct 20: Viper.....another fond farewell?

Let's go back to 1989 and take a look at Chrysler Corporation. This Dodge Dynasty was the epitome of high style in the line and Chrysler's almost identical New Yorker carried the corporate flag. These cars were developments of the much loved (at one time, anyway) K car, Chrysler's saviour from earlier in the decade. But things were stale at this company and needed a shot in the arm. So, can you imagine the surprise, when this concept was unveiled at the '89 Detroit Auto Show........


Hard to believe that, lowly and conservative Chrysler, the maker of granddad's cars, could come up with this high style and hot looking sports car concept. Squint and you'd see lines reminiscent of the original Shelby Cobra, which this car was really supposed to reincarnate. Nice concept, but unlikely that it would ever see the light of day..........we thought.

But behind the scenes, the engineers were toiling away and with the help of a Lamborghini designed V10 (Chrysler owned Lambo at this time), a real car emerged. A real hot car!

Flash forward to 1992 and the first Viper drove off the production line........

 

Almost identical to the concept. A very rough, but powerful sportscar. How rough? Let me count the ways.......no roof, no side windows (just clear plastic that zipped in) and side pipes that would easily burn legs. Rough and ready, sure described this wild child. But it throbbed with over 400 HP (big for the day) and would do 0-60 in about 4.5 seconds, again, also very strong for the day.

Eventually a rudimentary roof was available, but the Viper became a "real" car when the GTS was introduced......


This was just as wild as the original, but with a few more creature comforts. The real benefit was that this car could now be raced and race it was what Dodge did. Their Viper showed up at the most famous venues, such as Le Mans, and usually defeated the other truly American sports car, the Corvette.......













......for awhile, at least. But the Viper was raw, being one of the last high powered sports cars to add traction control. Its owners liked its rawness and it was not unusual for a Viper owner to own more than one of these snakes. A cult following for sure. But the Viper's road was rough. Cancelled in 2010, it was intro'd again three years later......


Probably the best Viper yet, but it was at a disadvantage. The competition (the Corvette) had all the latest electronic aids and a price that was tens of thousands lower. And to top it off, the new for 2015 Hellcat engine in the Charger and the Challenger was substantially more powerful than the Viper's motor.

Viper sales were never high, but they dragged along in 2013, '14 (production was temporarily stopped) and so far in '15 (503 into September). Triple digit sales, do not spell success for a brand (actually numbers don't spell anything).

So, the recent announcement that beyond 2017, the Viper doesn't show up in any of Chrysler's future product plans, shouldn't come as a surprise. And certainly in the new Fiat/Chrysler combine, there is no room for a extremely low production halo car. Heck, even Ferrari sells about 7000 cars annually and is profitable.

So, as the Viper speeds off into the distance, let's applaud, the company that had the guts to make this unusual sports car. Might be a good time to try to scoop up one of the last ones. Drive it and watch it slowly increase in value. But, please drive it!


Until next time......




Friday, October 16, 2015

Oct 16: Playboy and Playmate thoughts

Yes, it's true. You've no doubt heard the news that, at one time would have struck fear in the hearts of young men (and boys?) everywhere. The news? Starting next year, Playboy magazine will no longer feature nudes! What you say, but isn't that the sole reason guys buy the mag? Oh yeah, I know, it's for the articles. "What, it also has naked ladies? I never noticed." Sure, we all read it for the articles. Even an editorial writer in this morning's Globe & Mail, said he read it for the articles. Ok, so if that's your story, go for it.

But, I'm a car guy, so I bought it to see what car the Playmate of the Year would win (sure, Barry). Now, that was interesting. Starting back to 1964, the Playmate of the Year would be given a ton of prizes including a new car........


.......and back then, what would be a better choice than the brand new Mustang and make it Playboy Pink (Playgirl Pink?). Let the world know who you are and what you won. The cars reflected the hot models of the day, so not unusual that, the sporty, big engined coupes would feature large in these giveaways......

 

.......cars like the '66 Charger and then a '69 Shelby. All pink, of course and all hot. In between those two, was the 1968 AMX giveaway. I mention this, since this car was recently found and restored. I believe the '68 Playmate of the Year was sought out as well, but unfortunately she wasn't restored.


Lucky ladies. But what happened in 1970, the penultimate year of the muscle car?


I mean, this poor lady won a Capri, the little English coupe imported by Mercury. Probably the least expensive car that Playboy ever gave away. Well, maybe she also got the Lear jet in the background (yeah, right!). Or, maybe she refused Hugh Hefner's advances? We'll never know.

But thankfully, things got back on track in a big way in the following years, with this Pantera in 1972 and later this Porsche 911. Now, they were cars worth posing nude for. No wonder Hugh had a sly smile that was bigger than normal during those years.













Chauvinistic or cliched? What, you mean the pink cars? Well, I guess Playboy decided that, pink was not a necessity, as future cars were a variety of colours, like this expensive Porsche 928 in 1979.......


But once again in 1985, the Playmate was given an underwhelming car as her prize......


......a lowly, little Toyota MR2. Nice car, to be sure, but after cars like the Porsches, I bet that it was a bitter disappointment to Miss 1985. "But, at least I got a microwave and a full set of the encyclopedia Britannica.", she says, with a forced smile.

Then over the years, the winners' cars were all over the map..........

 












The only thing that, they had in common was that they were free to the winner. Not sure I understand why that bright and smiling Miss 2006, chose a Dodge Charger. A sedan? Let me guess......it was donated by Dodge?

Now, thank goodness, someone got also got a Caddy back in '08 and later that, cute girly car, the Mini........

 

But probably the one that, is the most perplexing of all, was given to the Playmate of the Year in 2009......


Let's get serious. You are hot, talented(?) and you beat out all those other gorgeous ladies and all you get is a Mazda6? Almost as bad as the Capri back in 1970. At least, it wasn't a Camry.

So, as we say good-bye to those Playmates of the Month and the ultimate, Playmate of the Year, one last look, in this case, Miss 1965..........


But, now that Playboy is going to focus more on the articles (after all, isn't that what we bought it for, all those many years ago?), maybe they should have a Writer of the Month award? Cap off the year, with the Writer of the Year award. Give them great gifts and if the winner had been Tom Wolfe, give him a white Cadillac......


Now, we're talking!

Until next time.......