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, October 28, 2016

Oct 28: Halloween (again!)

October 31st! What could be scarier than the scariest night of the year? The night, when all those little tykes and errant youth, that you have scorned the other 364 days of the year, get their chance at revenge. Load up with treats, as all those miscreants are going to come knocking at your door, looking to unburden you of those sweet goodies you have bought for everyone. No matter what you think of them, you'd better be generous. Treat or trick and you know which one of those you don't want to be subjected to. Halloween, scarier than ol' pumpkin head in his rusty old Ford pick me up. What could possibly be more frightening? Lots of things and to a car person, nothing could be scarier than sitting down on All Hallows' Eve to watch a marathon of car related horror movies. Think Jaws was a hair raiser, well you ain't seen nothing yet.

Think car horror movies (or horrible car movies) and I bet the first that comes to mind is that Stephen King chestnut, Christine........


A car guy's dream ride. One that would wreck vengeance on anyone foolish enough to mess with its beloved owner, Arnie Cunningham. And even better, when Christine, the '58 Plymouth in the title role, got scratched, dented or worse, leave her alone for a few hours and she'd magically repair herself. What a car! Sign me up.

Dig a little deeper and you'll come across less well known, but equally scary and implausible, other car movies to add to your Halloween night marathon. How about The Hearse?


Don't know anything about this golden(?) oldie, but any ad showing an old Packard hearse has got to be worth watching. If it turns out to be a stinker, use this time to answer the door, when those needy kids come knocking. If it's a goodie, then just ignore them.

Ever had to go after your car (or any car) with a gun? Neither have I or have most Canadians. Now with our friends to the south, that is a completely different story. James Brolin in one of his less memorable roles (he has memorable ones?) faces down The Car..........



Nasty business, but what is a mere six shooter going to do when up against this evil black and possessed ride? Rent it and find out. See if this mom and her adorable little son, can out run The Car.......


As your night of terror grinds on, unknown classics like Wheels of Terror.........


 .....or another Stephen King drama of metal gone bad.........


........will fill your night with dread and fear of ever stepping foot outside your home again. You'll nurse dreams of time spent in a pedestrian mall.

Now that you've gotten past the preliminaries, it's time to anticipate the main attractions. One is probably unknown to most of you, but an excellent time waster, while the other is the scariest mad machinery movie ever to grace the silver screen. Well, actually, it never did show in theatres, but more about that shortly.

Get ready for Killdozer..........


Be honest, who amongst you hasn't woken up in a cold sweat after a nightmare about the excavator next door coming after you? Or worse, a giant bulldozer, that due to some un-imagined paranormal activity has been turned into a Killdozer........


This one never hit the big screen, but was very entertaining. Take a huge machine with attitude, six men and an island (I think), put them together in a pot and stir. What do you get? Mayhem, terror, death! And a great way to pass ninety minutes of your life, that you'll never get back again. Think about that.

Now on to the best of them all. No evil possession. No improbable self restoring Plymouth. No mindless machinery set on killing all those in its path. No, nothing but sheer suspense and terror. Picture yourself having a pleasant drive across the US southwest, when in a moment of ill conceived annoyance, you piss off a lunatic in a nasty old tractor trailer, who has it in his mind to kill you........


 This basically one actor movie was Steven Spielberg's first effort. Although it was released in theatres in other countries, in North America it was a Thursday night movie. Poor old Dennis Weaver, in his greatest role, is chased across the desert by this nutbar and his smoke belching rig..........


A nutbar, that we never ever see. I remember coming home late from work and my mum, told me about this amazing movie she had just watched on TV. Sounded unusual. Eventually I did get to see it and you could say that it was a land version of Spielberg's other horror epic, Jaws.


So, by now, your horror watching binge has lasted well into the next morning. You are absolutely way too paranoid to leave your home, as well as being too tired to put in a full day's work. A quick call to an unsympathetic boss, leaves you without a job. Now the real horror begins.

Until next time.......



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Oct 25: Originality in design?


Think fast! You are strolling across the street and this white apparition appears out of nowhere. You have no time to bob, weave or make any other maneuvre, that will get you out of harm's way. Punted to the side of the street, you'll live, thank goodness, but now comes the inevitable question from the copper, "What kind of car was it?". This is easy, as any fool (including you) knows a BMW front end when they see it. Time and stable design logic have kept this front end in the public eye since the 1930's. Brand identification in its smartest form.

Now this is a soapbox, that I've been on before. Surely for designers paid mucho dinero, coming up with a unique and attractive front end to identify the brand, can't exactly be rocket science. Ah, but that is where I'm dead wrong. Just look at these two big name cars.........



They are almost identical, except maybe for their unique logos. Funny how designers working thousands of kms or miles away from one another, can come up with the same solution for their brand's identity. So it must be rocket science or great minds think, or in this case, design alike. I wish this was only a coincidence, but alas, it is not to be.......



Not as similar, but pretty darn close. Close enough, that your very car astute (in my own mind) blogger, has to look twice and specifically for that company logo in those very similar grilles. How I pine for the good old days of car design, when each and every car looked very different. Sure, the cars weren't as good, but your neighbours knew if you had changed cars, but kept the same colour. Not so easy these days.

But that's only the front end, surely the rest of the car must look different? Care to take a shot at identifying these three?




Gawd! One has to be an expert in taillight identifying to know which one is which. Let's go back to our poor, unfortunate pedestrian, who has just been hit by that Bimmer. What the heck would they say, if one of the cars above ran into or even backed into them. "I have no idea officer, but I know it was a car."

So, you think, I'm being unfair focusing on those rear three quarter views? Ok, so let's go full side view, bucko.......



Our distressed pedestrian, also won't have any luck identifying the car in question, if he's broadsided. What a dilemma.

Discouraging. Does money have anything to do with it? Maybe the cheaper brands have to look over one another's shoulder and copy their designs? Maybe their designers don't make enough money to be creative?Ya think?

Ok, let's see what the high rollers are doing......



A Rolls is readily identifiable as a Rolls, just as a Bentley is ready identifiable as a Bentley, but what about the car here that isn't a Bentley? Think that knocked about pedestrian would know what the heck it was? I might, but then again, I'd probably look both ways before crossing the street, so unlikely I'd ever be hit (knock on wood). 

Maybe, just maybe the designers' corporate bosses are telling then what to do. Pointing to the other brand and telling them to replicate their look. If this is truly the case, then they should back off and give the designers the freedom to create a unique and attractive new grille, that will immediately identify their brand. Maybe if they did this, the front end pictured here would be the result........


On the other hand, maybe they are better off saying, "Copy, copy, copy!".

Until next time......





Friday, October 21, 2016

Oct 21: A new brand

Just when you were convinced, that there are quite enough car brands in this world, one more is being launched. In case you have been sleeping or worse (watching the Trump/Clinton debates), you may have missed this important new introduction. I know I did, and I'm in the car business and obsessed by anything new (this happens when one leads a cloistered existence). The big news is that Geely, that huge Chinese industrial company is adding to their portfolio of brands.


First they bought struggling Volvo from Ford and have resurrected it very nicely, thank you. Now they are bringing out a new sub brand, called, wait for it, Lynk & Co. Unusual, but maybe that what is needed to bring attention to this new product.........



Not all the details are out, but this smaller suv is apparently built on a Volvo platform. The name, wait for it yet again, is the 01. Simple. All other new Lynk & Co vehicles will follow along with this nomenclature...... .....02,03,04,etc. I can see it now, "Hey, is that the new 07?" and eventually, "Hey, is that the new 083?". Either way, this company and model is supposed to signify a new way to buy cars. Sort of a combination of the Tesla model, throw in some online info and for a very nice touch, delivery right to your door. All things that have been done before, but now they will be all mixed together and sold to the world as something new and different. When? No exact date, but initially being rolled out in China, with the rest of the world to follow, including the US (2018).

Funny how Geely is firmly entrenched in North America with Volvo, and eventually Lynk & Co, but nothing under their own name. Why? Usually, it would be because of product and right now, that could be a valid reason. Their line up in their mother country is extensive.......



.....but with the exception of the top pictured Emgrand GT, most are nothing special, including the old Rav4 looking Emgrand X7. I'm sure the redesigns will make them presentable and palatable to a wider and more discerning audience.

Geely is nothing if not imaginative, as one can see with this concept shown a few years back......


This, by the way, is its best view, as the front end would cause sleepless nights to small children everywhere, even making the odd adult have nightmares. But if a sporty concept is not in your future plans, how about an uber luxury model like the Geely SE, seen at Chinese government functions everywhere......



So, want to see a Geely in the flesh on this side of the Pacific? Venture to Cuba, my friends........


.....or the Middle East (pick your country)........


For the rest of us, a longer wait will be the norm, even though our brand new 01 will have the Geely name behind it. Just what the world needs, another automobile brand.

Until next time.....


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oct 18: Hola!


Well, hello to you too. What a friendly looking car you are. Those unusual lights give you a happy face. Just the kind of character driven car, that would appeal to young and old alike. And to top it off, you are a BIG small car. Big on character. Big on power for your class. Big on space inside (a cab forward small car). Yes sir, Chrysler Corporation was on a roll with you. Sure to be a big success.

How big? Well, just look at this magazine cover from January, 1994........


Automobile of the Year. Hey, this isn't an award that they give away lightly, this is the real deal. Even my wife succumbed to its charms and leased a bright blue Highline. She loved it. I had a Camaro at the time, so a roomy, but economical and interesting second car fit the bill nicely.

Time to expand the line and bring on some sporting versions to capture even more of the youth and enthusiast market. Versions like this R/T coupe.......


Please don't laugh, but I had a client trade in a Corvette convertible for a dark green R/T with a manual. He wanted something simple, but with character and a little bit of power. I'm guessing this wasn't a normal occurrence. But enough people were interested in a little more power than a mild upgrade, so Chrysler's infamous SRT treatment was given to the second generation Neon, as the SRT4.......


The Neon line. Sold as a Plymouth and sold as a Dodge with absolutely no difference but the name. Identical in every way, just like sliced bread. How could it lose?

Easy. Taking a page from many new car models, that had been introduced over the previous hundred years, and not unusual for Chrysler, they brought the Neon to market not quite fully formed. Not ready for prime time, as they say. Put a few miles on your Neon and watch out. Those famous Chrysler quality gremlins rose up and attacked the Neon BIG time (there's that word "big" again, but in the wrong context).

The happy little Neon became a pariah. A standing car joke. How bad? Well, in a effort to resurrect this car, they changed the name.......


Sure, that will work. Isn't there an old saying, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear? Of course there is. Maybe this isn't quite what Chrysler was trying to do, but by calling a serial killer, a multiple disposal artist, it doesn't change what they are or what this car was. People saw thru the name change and the Neon/SX 2.0 was quietly lead away to its own death sentence.

Gone, but forgotten? Let's not rush things. What gained a reputation and not a good one in Canada and the US, was looked at differently south of the border, down Mexico way. So surprise, surprise, the chastised little Neon continues to be part of their Chrysler car line.........


And to top it off, in that country the Neon was so well thought of, that when they introduced a new one this year, they showed the old one in the same ad, just in case those Mexican citizens didn't remember their history or that car's.........


I guess the wall, that the rabid Donald Trump plans to build, should he ever gain the reigns of power, will keep not only the Mexicans on their side of it, but also this Neon. Ok, so you are asking yourself, how can Mexico support a car only sold in their country? Seems like a lot of time and money just for their smaller market. Well, not really, since their new Neon is really this Fiat.........



Just add that classic Dodge grille, the beloved Neon name and watch them fly(?) off the showroom floor. 

No matter what happens, its interesting to see the friendly little Neon continue to thrive in a market next door to the market that shunned it and cast it aside. So say, "Hola!", again to the new Neon. Welcome back, senor or senorita.

Until next time......



Friday, October 14, 2016

Oct 14: Another good-bye

I can just imagine what this big fellow is thinking, "Where have all my Aussie cars gone, mate?". And no wonder he's thinking that, as Ford has just closed their last Australian manufacturing plant. A shame really, since Australia has a tradition of having unique cars, at least among the transplanted American manufacturers, who found this island fertile ground for American iron and unique local products. Not sure how this all came about, since the population is relatively small. How did they manage to design and engineer cars that would only be sold in Australia and possibly the Middle East? Good question and this blog, unfortunately won't be able to provide the answer.

But in the case of Ford, it seems to have started in the early '60's (yet another history lesson) with the introduction of the Falcon to North America.......

Also introduced to the Australian market, it became a fan favorite and to this day, the Falcon name is used and has spawned some very interesting machinery. But first, humble beginnings. As the American Falcon moved to a new body, the Aussie version featured a tweaked design, based on the original......



And it found a variety of uses, that would never have been considered stateside.......


No doubt the Aussies were smaller, if this ambulance version, shown at an all Ford show, was going to be successful in transporting them to the local hospital. Even the next generation Falcon was only a slightly modified version of what we had over here.......


After experimenting with the modified original, they went all out and came up with their own unique models......



.......and for the Aussies, the Falcon name meant an upscale ride and depending on the trim level, a real hot rod........



Back to my original question of how could a country with a small population and subsequently small yearly sales support their own unique model? And these efforts were certainly not half baked local oddities. Well, some were oddities for sure, like the uniquely Australian ute.......



A little like the North American El Camino and Ranchero, but this body style was feature of the Aussie roads long before those other car based vehicles graced our landscape. Their ute design was unique in that it always had that little window behind the door glass. Also unique, in that its popularity has been sustained until the present day. Whatever will they do, now that they will no longer have those special Australian rides?

Going back to the Falcon coupe and sedan, there is a model that most North Americans will be familiar with, although they may not realize it.......



Yep, this performance coupe was the basis of Mad Max's wide ride in the movie. Hands up, how many of you knew that this was an Aussie Falcon? Be honest, please.

Yes, it is a sad day, now that Ford has stopped making these interesting cars and GM has also announced similar plans. No longer will the islanders see ads like this.......


.........or buy car magazines with covers like this one........


Ah nostalgia, it brings back old memories (courtesy of Stephen Wright). We love our old Mustangs, while the Aussies love their old Falcons. They look like us, but car wise, think quite differently. But what will they do, now that the production has shut down and their beloved Falcon will no longer roam the outback. Cars like the wild XR6 will now be the staple of collector car shows. Performance sedans that we can only dream about.......
Yes, old buddy, shed a tear for the very recent good old days, and now only you, the ubiquitous symbol of Australia, will be unique to the island continent (and of course, the platypus).


Until next time.......