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 26, 2016

Feb 26: A new Ford Bronco?


A new Ford Bronco? Hey, what's up? Do we really need a new 4x4 in our market place? Apparently we do, if one believes the rumours and tries to read between the lines. Way back in 1966, Ford introduced their little sport utility, long before that description became common place. Why? Not sure and I don't remember that anyone felt a Jeep competitor was needed back then. Anyway, along came this little guy with a horse type name. Why not, it worked for the Mustang. Just a practical little workhorse, family (small family) vehicle.


Throw on a set of white walls and you were ready for the nightclub circuit or maybe the golf club. Or, if you were the rugged outdoorsy type, then a few mods (quite a few) and you'd be high flying over the off road courses out west.......


A little niche vehicle, until Ford decided to make it bigger. Quite a common story. So the next Bronco was based on the F-150 and yes, a few folks took this one off road and high flying as well.......


This Bronco lumbered along with average sales and not much acclaim until its big event. Do you remember this episode in the early '90's..........


One doesn't have to have been a football fan to know who was in that white suv leading the pack. So, a spike in notoriety (and the sales of white ones) and then to the vehicle boneyard in 1996, never to be heard from again (one thought). But several years later, Ford brought this one back to the show circuit........


Cute, with more than a passing resemblance to the first and long gone, but obviously, not forgotten first generation Bronco. Teased as a concept, then put aside until a recent announcement from Ford that, there would be four new suvs brought to market by 2020. Once again the rumour mill was turned on and cranked up.

Four? That has to mean that one would be the new Bronco. Or, at least that is what is hoped for. After all, Jeep is red hot, so why not come up with some (hoped for) competition? The armchair stylists and prognosticators came up with a variety of styles, all with a strong resemblance to the big brother F-150, but with some thought of the original. Most look similar to this mock up.........


Looks to me like a cross between the smaller Bronco and the later generation larger one, but it still looks good. Will this happen? As usual time will tell, but maybe the time is right and of course, maybe the timing is also right for a special edition, taking some ideas from this famous Explorer of 2014 (courtesy of Autoblopnik.com)..........


Or maybe not.

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


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Feb 23: Yikes, it's AG Excalibur!


Hide your children! Keep back 500 yards! Don't turn your back on it!

The BMW X6. Not a great looking car in most people's opinion, but enough folks bought it, so that Mercedes has created their own much better looking competitor. But no, my initial remarks are not about the X6, as BMW originally designed it. No, something much worse has reared its very ugly head.

Behold.........

Yes, my friends, this is one of the scariest designs to come down the pike in many a year. It has a name, the EG Alligator. An ugly duckling, custom redesign of the strange X6, but done in such as away as to make the Bimmer seem like a gorgeous swan (I couldn't think of a reptilian analogy). Bur wait, there's more to this creation than meets the eye.......

 

Yes, the Alligator wears its name well, since the interior surfaces, every single one, are textured to resemble some part of an alligator's hide. Check out that steering wheel and that dashboard. Becoming, don't you think? I'd be proud if I were a 'gator, but offended if I were BMW.

So, who is responsible for this abberation? This transformation from unpleasant to just plain scary. From awful to hideous. To find this person/company, one has to travel to Lithuania and look for AG Excalibur. A company that takes customization to the extreme end of bad taste. Reminds me of California's Barris Customs, about which I blogged not long ago. Lithuania used to be behind the Iron Curtain. Well, maybe if this is what they are doing that, curtain should never have been raised.

You think maybe I'm taking one bad example and colouring the entire company? Ok, fair enough, but let's look at what else they've done. The Mercedes CL500 is a classic design. Simple and elegant.


Could it be improved upon? No doubt, but let's see AG Excalibur's take on the CL........


Wow! Now, that's some transformation and to top it off, the owner of AG Excalibur is proud enough of it to stand behind it, or in this case in front of it.......


And, if you think that those unique design elements stop at the exterior, think again, my friends......

 

.......those crystal buttons and switches are pure Swarovski Crystal. No cheap knock offs for this company. And in case you forget who created this abomination, they've thoughtfully embroidered their name on the headrests. Check out that headliner.

So, let's get this straight right now, you will be noticed in this car. Don't go running around on your spouse, thinking that folks will see just another red car. Think Mercedes is pleased?


You can start your letter writing to AG Excalibur immediately. Depending on your point of view, you can either berate them or contract them to create your own very personal ride. Remember money is just an object.

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


Friday, February 19, 2016

Feb 19: The auto show

 The Toronto Auto Show, aka the Canadian International Auto Show. The big one. Our local auto show is a great place to see what's new, what will be in the showrooms in a few months and a few concept cars. But putting the Toronto show in perspective, it is probably one of the top twenty shows in the world, but not necessarily in the top ten. Want to see the concept cars that were at Detroit last year, then Toronto is a good place to be. But unlike Detroit, Toronto has some other features, like the classic car display that, make it a visual feast for any car person.

Now to the cars and what better place to start than with the upcoming new Ford GT. This yellow rocket is a stunner from any angle. Will it be worth the $400 large asking price? Good question, but early indications are that it will. As an aside, I work out with the driver that has done much of the early track testing of this beast. He also recently won his class at the 24 Hours of Daytona. I'll leave it to you, to figure out to whom I'm referring.

Like I said, Toronto is a good place to see the concepts that made a splash at last year's Detroit show. Not surprising then that, Buick brought their gorgeous Avenir. Their very lastest show car, the Avista, was holding court in Chicago, which gets many of the Detroit debuts. The reason? A huge market and I believe, over double the attendance of Toronto's event.


If you are reading any of the local papers, you can see many of the Toronto show's cars, so I'll focus on the ones that appealed to me, after all, it is my blog. Right? I mean, where else are you going to see pics of this cute little trucklette from Toyota, their Urban Utility Vehicle? The whole back end opens up, so that this practical little rig, can be used for any number of purposes. With all the small panel trucks coming to market in North America, we should expect to see an entry from Toyota in the very near future.


 By the way, all these pics are courtesy of my brother's ipad, so blame him if the clarity is not always 100%. Seriously, he was the one who got me interested in cars as a little gaffer, so much of our chats revolve around cars. A great relationship, but I'm glad he lives in Kingston not Toronto.

Convertibles are always attention getters, as who hasn't at one time or the other envisioned themselves cruising the highways and bi-ways with those cancer causing rays shining down on them? And would you care, if your ride was this Lexus concept? Behold the upcoming RC cabrio........


But, not all convertibles are what they appear to be..........


Notice anything different about this Ford Fusion? Yeah, you got it. This is actually a sedan with the centre of the roof cut out for display purposes. Not sure what feature they were highlighting, but someone felt that this would show it off to better advantage. Got my attention, didn't it?

As I mentioned, the Toronto show has some different features, which separate it from many of the other shows. Features, like the classic car display.........














......featuring prize winning examples of hits from the '30's up to the '60's. Nothing like nostalgia to bring back those old memories, is there?

Bad lighting (I'm sorry), but what we have here is the Mustang Cobra Jet, which was unveiled last November at the Las Vegas SEMA show. What is it? Well, the second picture shows it in its natural habitat.


The Cobra Jet is a turnkey drag car, built by Ford in a very limited run of fifty units. For around $100K US, one gets a car that is ready to race, complete with no back seat and a roll bar. If you know anything about quarter miles times, this one turns them in the eight second range. Mighty quick for a "stock" car.

What we have here is the VW Dune. A strange take on the Beetle. Strange because it looks like a small suv, what with its raised stance and fender flares. But in reality, this is merely a costumed front wheel drive bug with pretensions. Will it sell? Now, that is a very good question. I like it, but I haven't seen very many of the standard Beetles around town, so I have no idea (sorry, but you expected a visionary's viewpoint?).


I get electric vehicles, but I'm still amazed at how many very expensive Tesla's I see in my neighbourhood. With over 50 thousand vehicles sold last year, I think that this is an amazing number for a small company, and I don't care how smart or worshipped Elon Musk is. This Bolt is Chevy's bargain priced new electric..........


Yeah, I know, no electric is bargain priced. The future? Certainly they will be a factor, but I wouldn't count on the electric car sales being much more than about 20% of the market. Battery prices have to come way down, along with some plan for disposing of the dead ones, when the inevitable happens.

And as Monty Python would say, now for something completely different.........


.......the Hyundai Enduro concept. This one has been floating around the car show circuit for the past two years, with no clear explanation of what it is or whether they plan to build anything remotely similar. Are they waiting for realty to catch up with the future? Is it a future Veloster being given the VW Dune treatment? Who knows. We'll just have to wait and see.

And finally a piece of eye candy........


......the VW Vision GTI concept. Now, you just know that this one will never see the light of day, but it sure is a fun piece. Even if there were once a hope (there wasn't), VW's current problems would take this off the front and back burners and consign it to the "what might have been" pile. In any case, it's great looking.

The Canadian International Auto Show. My take? Ignoring the local press, who glorify this event, it was as usual, an interesting show. Worth my and anyone else's time (providing they like cars and not trains).

Until next time.......



Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Feb 16: Mitsubishi - what happened?

Mitsubishi - what in the world are you thinking? You used to be a company that, had some interesting cars (more about that later), but now you are really struggling on this side of the Pacific. Your North American line up now consists of a handful of forgettable suvs, a couple of small cars and a "who really cares" electric. Struggling in our market, you introduced the Mirage subcompact last year to the sound of one hand clapping. This was a small hatch that, was much better suited to the markets where it originated. It arrived here, not fully developed. So now we come to the 2016 Canadian International Auto Show and you have something to unveil in North America for the first time. Something to create some much needed excitement.

So, what do we get?


Hard to believe, but we get the North America debut of the Mirage sedan. Why hard to believe? Well, for starters, the Mirage wasn't much of a car, but more importantly, this attention grabber(?) lands in a market segment that, seems to be disappearing. The similarly sized Ford Fiesta is not a strong seller and Mazda has dropped their Mazda2. What has happened to this company?

Not so long ago, Mitsubishi was lauded for their innovation. The Dodge Stealth, itself a sought after car, sprung from the Mitsu 3000 GT, which was a terrific sports coupe.

 

Beautiful and technically ahead of its time by equipping this type of vehicle with all wheel drive. Try to find a bargain priced Stealth or 3000 GT these days. Not possible. But Mitsu had other neat sports models prior to this one. Remember the Conquest? The Eclipse?


















There were also some interesting sedans, like the Diamante luxury model.......

 

Or the lauded Gallant VR below, which was also the basis for a similarly high tech model from Dodge, the 2000. My brother had one and he thought it was a great car, until his son ran it in to a bridge and totaled it, but thankfully not himself.


And now we get the Mirage hatchback and sedan? Yikes. What the heck transpired over those years to reduce this company to trucks, suvs and forgettable sedans? I personally don't recommend them to any of my clients, since there are much better choices with better resale and a 100% better chance that, the company will still be selling cars in Canada in five years.

This brings to mind an old Porsche ad that, mentions Mitsubishi, since they were a player back in the day.
Think Porsche would use Mitsu in a similar ad these days? Fat chance!

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




Thursday, February 11, 2016

Feb 11: Ford Falcon - humble beginnings

Ford Falcon. Oh, such humble beginnings. Way back in 1960, each of the Big Three domestic car manufacturers introduced a small car. At least small for their times, as nowadays these cars would be considered almost full sized. The Falcon, plain Jane, but practical, was a sales success and eventually, its underpinnings would be the basis for a car called the Mustang. Remember it? But that is an entirely other story. Ford also sold the Falcon in Australia, as Ford and GM (Holden) were the strong local players. Eventually the Falcon in North American was replaced by the Maverick. End of story?

Nope! The Falcon in Australia was a popular car and a name to build on. It morphed into a full sized car, basically only sold on the island. But Aussie is a small market and I wonder how it managed to support these home grown cars (Holden as well) for so many years, developing new bodies and drive trains. I guess others wondered the same thing, since recently both Ford and GM have announced the end of their Aussie specific cars and production. But back to the Falcon.

Along the way, the Falcon family car got a top line performance model. A model with better handling and usually a six or V8 option. A car to wreck havoc on those long cross country jaunts. An example........


Or an even more extreme version........


We also sold a Cobra in North America, but ours was based on the Mustang. 

Remember Mad Max? Of course you do. So what nutball creation did he turn to, when his country went sideways? Take a look......


The ultimate Falcon? Well, we'll see.

So Ford continued along, developing the full sized Falcon over the years............. 


Each new model, also had a hot rod variant, to keep that hot Aussie blood flowing.

But this is 2016 and things have changed. Announcements have been made and these home market cars will exist no longer. What's next? Probably the European Mondeo (our Fusion) will wear the Falcon badge, but don't expect an extreme model like Falcon has had over the years.

Check out the most up to date versions, the XR6 and the XR8.........

  

Basically the same car, but as you have probably figured out for yourself, one is a six and the other a V8. The original Ford Falcon had a Ranchero version (a car based pick-up).............


........and while we dropped our version, the Aussies continued on with theirs, even making sure that you didn't lose the big motor that, you had grown so attached to..........


But now their story is coming to an end. Like any smart manufacturer, Ford is giving the Falcon a royal send off, well, maybe not a royal one, but definitely a much quicker one. This swan song will again be available in both a six and an eight. Going back to a Falcon name from almost the beginning, Ford will produce a limited number of Sprint models.........


Classier looking than Mad Max's crazy car, but maybe not too far off, when comparing the horsepower. How about the raunchiest six pushing out 496 HP! Or the V8 churning out......(wait for it)......536 HP! Now, this will make for one raucous going away party. Betcha no Mondeo or Fusion will be that crazy.

Ah, those Australians, you gotta love them.

Until next time.......