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, November 29, 2016

Nov 29: Toyota, is that you?

When one thinks of Toyota, one usually thinks of excellent quality, but sleep inspiring styling and a sofa on wheels ride. The best selling car in the US and it has been for the past few years is the Camry.......


Everything boring A to B transportation should be. This car declares loud and clear, that its driver doesn't like cars, but being a necessity, they might as well get great quality. Now, admittedly this pic is a couple of Camry designs back, but you get the picture.

But something is happening within the bowels of Toyota, the largest selling car company in the world. The first inkling was their reworking of the Lexus luxury line. Controversial front end design grafted on to an origami sculpture like body, but at least they now stand out and everyone knows that is a Lexus. And to top it off, Lexus is making steps towards being a driver's car, even getting ready to introduce a range topping sports model, the LF-FC (catchy name??)........


Those of us who love cars, had hoped that Toyota was planning to get away from their sleepy designs, when they introduced the still great looking, Venza, eight years ago.......


It pains me to see this model going away in 2017 with no replacement planned. In my opinion, everything was right about this crossover. Then, when Toyota showed a concept design of the next Corolla, the world's best selling car, well, we were overjoyed  - Toyota was finally getting with the program.....


What style conscious young man or woman wouldn't want to go clubbing in this car? Heck, I even wondered if I'd fit in it (just joking). Honda was finally getting their design act together, so it looked like Toyota was also going to up their game. Oh, we could dream, but this is what ended up on the showroom floor.........

Yawn. So I wouldn't be going in for a Corolla fitting just yet (joking, yet again), based on this reliable but ho-hum looking car.

Now with crossovers of all sizes pushing cars to the back of the dealers' display space and everyone trying to fill every single niche, what does Toyota show us? Remember this concept?


Supposedly a preview of a new small suv, the C-HR to compete with Honda's HR-V (no, I don't get the name similarity either). The key word here is supposedly, since Toyota had teased us before, only to drop a much less interesting design into their product line. So what has happened this time? Drum roll, please.....



No kidding, this is the way the actual C-HR will appear when it arrives in Toyota showrooms within a few months. Looks like the Lexus designers snuck into the Toyota studios, when the other guys weren't looking. Not everyone's design cup of tea, but no interesting design ever is. I like it and it doesn't have a strange face like do the Lexus models.

So, is this the tip of the proverbial iceberg? Can we expect Toyota's bread and butter cars to up their style game as well? Very good questions. When you have a best seller like the Camry, you don't really want to go all space age, but at least have a great looking design. Hey, it works for Hyundai.

This will be another stay tuned moment.

Until next time.......




Friday, November 25, 2016

Nov 25: New AMG

Pity this poor guy. Here is the three time (so far) world champion Formula One driver, Lewis Hamilton, leaning against his rare, custom painted (aren't they all?) Pagani Zonda. Lewis drives for Mercedes, but a guy as wealthy as him can't be driving a common place Benz, no matter good a car it may be. No, Lewis, the poor wretch, has to pony up his hard earned (at least) $2.5 million US dollars for a rarer car, that befits his immense wealth and stature. If you haven't shed a tear so far, what in the world are you using for a heart?

Well cheer up, friendo, as all that is about to change. Mercedes-Benz' performance arm, AMG is about to make Lewis and a couple of hundred other multimillionaires extremely happy. AMG was started nearly fifty years ago by two gents, Aufrecht and Melcher, who, looking for a quaint name for their new tuning company decided on using their initials, A and M, while adding a G for Grossaspach, Aufrecht's hometown (Melcher must have lost the coin toss). So, AMG was formed to perform wonderful things to Mercedes-Benz cars, to make them, shall we say, a little quicker on the autobahn. Cars like the infamous AMG Hammer......


Which I believe was the first real AMG created car sold thru Mercedes dealerships.Great name for a rather brutal car for its time. Eventually bought by Mercedes, AMG is approaching their 50th anniversary, so obviously, with poor ol' Lewis in mind, they have decided to come up with a barn burner to celebrate the occasion. Yes, I know, many would have simply whipped up a great cake, but this is the auto industry, where every occasion (like the upcoming 10th anniversary of the discontinuance of the Pontiac brand?) deserves a model to commemorate the date.

AMG and Mercedes are obviously not immune to opportunism, as they have forgone the cake route, to create the AMG Hypercar (has a nice ring to it - kind of understated?)........


This beast of a car, which so far has only been teased in concept form, will apparently use an F1 drivetrain providing around 1000 HP motivation. A little something to tickle Lewis' fancy? And only between two and three hundred being made worldwide, so if the price doesn't guarantee rarity, this will. Oh, the price? Expect it to be in the $2 million plus range, when it finally hits the streets (or dunes) in late 2018 (maybe). Rest assured Lewis and Nico won't have to start saving, as this little trinket is probably written into their contracts.

And, if this AMG Hypercar special edition bears any resemblance to the concepts, it will be one very striking automobile.....





......proving one again, that one doesn't have to design something as butt ugly as the Pagani Zonda to get everyone's attention.

Now back to that production figure. Even without a finalized design to show buyers, the production run is almost completely sold out. Actually, it may be completely sold out, as I haven't heard from Benz telling me to start saving. One more reason to buy lottery tickets and to envy Lewis Hamilton.

Until next time.....



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Nov 22: That date again

Surely you recognize this famous pic, but if you don't, it is Dwight D. Eisenhower waving to the crowd after his 1953 presidential inauguration. He was the top guy, so he was riding in the top car of the time, a brand new Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Very expensive, as benefited the head of the most powerful nation on earth. Out in the open, waving to the crowds, who are watching this moment in history. How innocent we were or they were back then. It had been years since a president had been gunned down, while in any sort of a parade or public event. Now, flash forward a mere ten years to a sunny day in Dallas, Texas, November 22nd, 1963.......


Here is another president out in the open, waving to his (mostly) adoring public, watching what would become a very infamous moment in history, that ended this way.......


One minute all is well and next minute pandemonium reigns, as the dying president is rushed to hospital. A moment that certainly changed the way, the public would or could see their presidents in the future. That open innocence was washed away in an instance and set the path for what was to come. Here is that same car a few short months later (photo courtesy of Wally McNamee/Corbis).......


 Now to me, this begs the question, would you want to be riding in the same seat, in the same car, that your unfortunate predecessor died in a few months earlier? But I digress. Notice anything different? Sure you do. This formerly open topped Lincoln has had a bullet proof canopy added. A level of protection, that would set the trend from then until the present day. No longer would the US president be riding high, wide and handsome, as the old saying goes. No, from then on, the presidents' rides would be full of armour and have plenty of bullet proof glass........





.......until the secret service thought enough is enough, and decided to make the president's ride a protective cocoon. I'm sure you've heard of The Beast, as it is commonly referred to.......


.....bearing no resemblance to any Cadillac one would see on the street, the most recent one has been based on a truck chassis with a few touches added to identify it as some sort of Cadillac. The early limos were also customs, but any chance to make the new one elegant, was passed by in an effort to make it impervious to just about anything, baring a nuclear strike. Check out the thickness of those very heavy doors.......


That shooter way back in 1963 in the school book building or on the grassy knoll (pick your conspiracy), would have been out of luck, no matter what they were firing (thank goodness).

Now they have a new president and he gets the latest presidential limo, which is very similar to the last one, but with more of an Escalade type grille. Hey, this Beast is a in fact a truck, so let's make it look that way. Expect Trump's ride to be unveiled on the day of his inauguration and expect it to look like this........


 Hard to see your new leader, but as long as that presidential standard is flying from the front fender, you know that he is actually inside. Comforting thought. Give it your best shot, but all in vain, as with this car, a repeat of November 22, 1963 will be all but impossible.

Enjoy your day.

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







Friday, November 11, 2016

Nov 11: Welcome to Florida

Yes folks, it's that time of year again. Time to pack up and head south, if you happen to be one of those fortunate few, who spends their winter months in a sunny and warm destination. For many people from my province of Ontario, this is the time to head to Florida, to the welcome arms of that retirement state. Jump into your new Corvette, you know, the one which flaunts its speed with those 200 MPH vanity plates, that your wife warned you against getting. Why make yourself a target she said. Well, after all those years of wedded bliss, maybe you should have listened to her..........


Just over the state line, cruising without a care in the world, when you notice a sure sign of a Florida welcome in your rearview. And if that doesn't get your attention, a few quick blasts on the siren quickly pulls you over to the roadside, by those beautiful azure waters. Lucky guy, a personal greeting from Florida's finest.

Relax and take a closer look........


Is it real or is it Memorex? In this case, it's Memorex and it is a model that the Car Modeling Cat (CMC) and I have just completed to add to our extensive collection of state police cars. But the message is the same, Florida welcomes you with open arms, but buddy, respect those speed limits or one of our Hemi equipped Dodge Chargers will bring you down. Remember, Florida is not just palm trees and coconuts.



The Florida state police cars always have looked tough. None of those effeminate silver alloys wheels, that one sees on most of the state police cars in the southern states. No, these guys are all business. Sure, enjoy the scenery, but do it at the legal speed limit. Those dual exhausts are coming from a very powerful Hemi motor and they sure aren't afraid to use it.


 The CMC and I really like building these little scale replicas. Painted up correctly  -  actually this one isn't, but I'm not going to point out our error, as it is rather minor, and it still looks "right". And with the antenna(s) in the correct place, this one looks like it's ready to patrol the highways, on the lookout for those scofflaw northerners in their fancy cars.


And speaking of southern vacations, it's time for my wife and I to head to Mexico for a week of reading and relaxing. Our apologies to the CMC, but she and her apartment mate will have to stay in Toronto, contemplating our next build and sleeping. Oh, if only our lives could be so idyllic.

Until the 22nd.........



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Nov 8: Election day USA

Election day. Normally this would be just another election, important but not necessarily scary like Halloween or Friday the 13th or like having a black cat cross your path. This one is the exception. This election is none of those, but scarier than all of them put together. Well folks, let's put politics aside and check out some wheeled election cars and see if we can put some humour into this nerve wracking day.

When one is running for prime minister of an important country, you'd think there would be motorcades and security and all the other paraphernalia associated with the office and the campaign. But this pic is from the '60's, so things were obviously different in understated merry old England........


In case you don't recognize him, this is Edward Heath, running for prime minister and he isn't even in a convertible, the politicians' car of choice before the armoured Suburbans took their place. No, Eddie is popping up thru the sunroof of an ultra conservative Triumph Herald. Makes sense actually, as he was leader of the Conservative party. Certainly has the attention of the throngs(?) of avid(?) supporters waiting to get a glimpse of their future PM.

Moving right along........


Irony is a wonderful thing. Like this fellow leaning against a German smart car, whose election message is, well you can read. German car? The future of Britain? Ironic indeed.

Let's go from irony to subtlety......


No signs other than the candidate's head shot, but there is no question he is running for the Tiger party. Why overstate things, when a simple paint job will get your message out there for you. And in case the paint doesn't work, that tiger head on the door should do the trick.

Running for election on a budget? Ah, those good old days, when one could run for a major office from the tailgate of a station wagon.........


Recognize this humble candidate? He went on to bigger, but not necessarily better things. This pic is of Richard Nixon running for the senate in California. At least he chose a top of the line Ford wagon. No elitist Buick for our man, Richard Milhous Nixon.

Now, this car used in electioneering surprised me, considering the candidate...........

Evita - Eva Peron! Who would have expected her to use a beat up old Hudson? This flamboyant leader should have, at the very least, used a Cadillac, but maybe she should have gone to the top rung and used a Rolls Royce? Her adoring supporters would have understood.

That was then, this is now..........


Wonder how the driver feels about this campaign car? I guess money trumps (there's that five letter word again) logic and intelligence. But what US election campaign would be complete without some involvement from NASCAR?

But's get really serious here and go to the most effective vehicular advertising of the 2016 US presidential election. Let's use the candidate's most unusual and dare I say, controversial feature to advertise his presence.......


You can see this coming a mile away, giving you time to run and hide or at least plug your ears.

Ah, the 2016 US presidential election. We haven't had this much verbal and mental abuse since Rob Ford ran for election, as mayor of our great city, Toronto. But that was then and this is now. Makes me glad to be a Canadian.

Until next time.......



Friday, November 4, 2016

Nov 4: SEMA 2016

Got your attention? No doubt, but the fault with this pic is that this winsome lass is blocking the view of the killer motor in that gorgeous '69 Chevelle convertible. Both are happening at SEMA - the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association show that opened this week in Las Vegas. At one time this trade only show was simply a showcase for new aftermarket auto accessories, but those days have long gone. SEMA is now a trendsetter, heck, maybe they always were, but what happens here invariably finds its way into the driveway next door. Like those black rims, once only seen at SEMA, they have filtered down from the highest priced exotics and customs to the most mundane cars (and in my opinion, still don't look great). Now the auto manufacturers populate SEMA with modified versions of their own cars. Also each year, one make is chosen to be modified by dozens of aftermarket suppliers. Have them give their particular (or peculiar) take on that model.

Where else are you going to see a Jeep Wrangler like this bruiser?


Looking like a Hot Wheels, it is way over the top, but rest assured something from this custom treatment will find its way onto the street. The wheels and tires for sure are already a feature on many of these jacked up rides. The rest of this take no prisoners look......well, I'll let you decide.

And where else but SEMA would you find a Z240 tribute car made from an old Ford Maverick?



It would never have crossed my mind to cross pollinate the two, but some brave soul with a creative mind whirling away, figured it would be a great idea (Google "Project Underdog"). Heck, it made this year's SEMA show and also my blog.

And where else would you see a conservative brand like Toyota unveil an Xtreme series of their most popular models? First up, an Xtreme Corolla......



It's been made into a coupe and it definitely answers a question that nobody was asking. An Xtreme Corolla has got to be an oxymoron. Strange? Sure, but how about an Xtreme Sienna?


Soccer moms of the world unite and demand that Toyota release this ground hugger. Never be embarrased again by nannies showing up in their employers' Escalades, Range Rovers and Mercedes. No sir, with this baby, you could smoke them all and your kids would love you for it.

Think you've had enough of these wild Toyota's? Think again.......


Stop drooling over that Sienna long enough to absorb an important fact about this Toyota Land Speed Cruiser. It has 2000 (two thousand!!!!!) horsepower. Puts most other cars to shame, actually when you think about it, it puts all other cars and trucks to shame. Might need winter tires though, in the northern climes. See all these wild Toyota's at SEMA.

Not to be out done, Chevrolet offered up their Colorado ZH2 (whatever that means).......


Definitely not as quick as the Land Speed Cruiser, but much more intimidating. Park on your neighbour's lawn? No problem and dare them to say anything. See it at SEMA, but unfortunately only if you are in the trade.

Like the carbon fibre look? This is another one of those high priced ideas, that is working its way down thru the ranks of the less costly cars. Usually just a touch here or a touch there for effect, but maybe you want your new Mustang to go all the way. And, just maybe you have the coin to pay for all the way, if so, see this at SEMA......


Not good enough for you and you really do have all the coin necessary to write a cheque for this complete carbon fibre Pagani.........


......then SEMA is where you need to be. Or, just give a big bag of cash to one of your minions, along with shipping instructions to the Middle East. Be the only one on your dune with this wild ride.

SEMA. What a hoot. From the custom cars to the crazy trucks to the manufacturers' concepts, this is now the place to be in early November. Watch for trends and take copious notes. Make sure you don't get caught napping, when one of your competitors puts this beaut on their showroom floor........


Suspend your belief and see it all at SEMA.

Until next time.......